If one could maintain his blood in absolute purity disease would be virtually impossible. The blood is the life. You are what you are through the influence of the blood that circulates throughout your entire body.
Now, a proper supply of pure blood, as previously stated, depends first of all upon proper digestion and assimilation. This involves naturally a strengthening diet with a supply of foods that contain all of the elements required by the body and which will permit of a pure and perfect condition of the blood.
Next in importance are the chemical changes which take place in this life-giving fluid as it passes through the lungs. Following this, the purity of the life stream depends upon the various organs that have to do with elimination; that is to say, the throwing off from the blood of the various accumulated wastes and poisons that are inimical to life. Now you might call this the blood- purifying process. The removal of these various waste elements from the blood depends entirely upon the proper activity of the depurating organs.
I have already referred to the great importance of an active alimentary canal. You might say that the lower part of the alimentary canal is the sewer of the body. It removes a large amount of the impurities. In some cases of fasting that I have personally supervised, there has been a daily action of the bowels merely from the waste matter that has accumulated. The debris that is removed from the body in this way does not by any means consist entirely of the remains of food that is not absorbed by the circulatory system. The blood is purified to a large extent by the various waste elements that seek the alimentary canal for an outlet. If these waste products were allowed to remain in the circulation they would produce seriously injurious results. Therefore, in the general scheme of blood purification an active alimentary canal is of first importance.
I may say that proper breathing, together with the facilitation of this function through active exercise, is the next feature of importance in blood purification. Following this we can without doubt reasonably maintain that a certain amount of activity of the kidneys is desired. This will nearly always be accomplished if one drinks the amount of water which is essential to satisfy a natural thirst.
A NATURAL THIRST
Remember, however, that modern habits are often inclined partially to eliminate or entirely to destroy what one might call a natural thirst.
For instance, there are various sedentary occupations in which one becomes so absorbed in his work that the desire for water will be ignored, and where this mistake is made for a long period, one acquires the habit of going without water, and consequently the natural desire is to a large extent lost. In such cases, it is even important to bring back the appetite for water. Have a glass of water at hand and take a few swallows now and then. Or, what would be better yet, carry out the suggestion which I have given in a former chapter on the drinking of hot water. That will usually supply the system with the proper amount of liquid necessary to insure normal activity of the kidneys.
The next means of blood purification is one which rarely receives a great amount of attention. I refer to the eliminative function of the skin. We have more definite control over and can more easily influence this particular channel of elimination than any other. The skin unquestionably throws off a tremendous amount of impurities. Where but little attention is given it, where one bathes at infrequent intervals and to a large extent smothers the skin with a surplus amount of clothing, the activity of the eliminative function of the skin is greatly reduced. There are various means at hand for stimulating the activity of the skin which are of unusual value in connection with blood purification.
One of the simplest methods both of improvising the texture of the skin and accelerating its functional processes is found in dry friction. This friction can be applied with the palm of the hand, with a rough towel, or with friction brushes. In order to secure the greatest advantages of a friction bath it is advisable to brush or rub the surface of every part of the body until it assumes a pinkish glow from the increased peripheral circulation induced by the friction. Where the skin is rough or covered with pimples this suggestion is of especial value. When using friction brushes for this purpose one should not attempt to use very stiff brushes in the beginning, for they will scratch too much. Soft, fair skins usually cannot stand such rough treatment as well as can a thicker skin, or one which is oily in character. In many cases a dry Turkish bath towel will answer the purpose splendidly. If the skin is rather tender it suffices to use the palms of both hands. After becoming accustomed to the friction, however, you will find that you will be able to enjoy stiffer brushes and I would suggest using a fairly stiff brush so long as it is not too uncomfortable. You will find that as you become accustomed to the treatment the skin will become softer and smoother as a result. Also it will become more active. This dry friction bath may be taken each morning following your exercises. If you take a cold bath it should follow the friction. First exercise, then employ the friction rub, and then bathe. I would suggest that from five to ten minutes at least be devoted to this friction. It will furnish some exercise in connection with the rubbing, will quicken the general circulation, and will give you that warmth of body which makes the cold bath desirable and delightful.
Air baths are likewise valuable as a means of promoting activity in the eliminative function of the skin. Primitive man, living in a state of Nature, was not burdened with clothing. There was nothing to interfere with the healthy activity of his epidermis. There can be no question that the smothering of the skin by our clothing has much to do with defective elimination of wastes, and the more nearly we can avoid clothing, or the less clothing we can wear, the better. When possible, therefore, and especially in warm weather, it is advisable to remove all clothing and let the air come in contact with the surface of the body. This not only has a pronounced effect upon the purification of the blood but it likewise has a tonic effect upon the nervous system. In the same way the friction rub has a stimulating effect upon the nerves. This is due to the fact that in the skin are located a million or more of tiny nerve endings or so-called "end organs" of the nerves. These peripheral nerve endings are naturally influenced by all conditions that affect the skin, whether in the form of friction, air baths, cold baths, or baths of other temperatures. The air bath, therefore, has a splendid tonic effect and may be particularly recommended for those suffering with "nerves."
Sun baths are especially effective as a means of stimulating activity of the skin, and promoting elimination. Sun baths likewise have a very powerful influence upon the entire organism inasmuch as they stimulate metabolism or cell-activity. They directly affect the circulation and promote the formation of red corpuscles. The sun is the centre of all energy and life upon this earth. It is our great vitalizing and life-giving principle, both in the realms of animal life and plant life. It is only natural, therefore, that sun baths should have a profound influence upon the body.
A word of caution, however, is required because of the tremendous power of the sun and its powerful chemical effect when sun bathing is carried too far. Those of very fair skins particularly need to be careful. Brunettes, with considerable pigment of the skin can stand a great deal of sunlight without harm, but light-skinned persons, while needing a certain amount of sunlight, should not expose themselves for too long a time to the midday sun in summer, or at least not until they have gradually become sufficiently tanned to do so. Everyone knows the painful character of a sunburn. This only illustrates the powerful chemical effect of the sun's rays. In taking sun baths one should very gradually accustom himself to the sunshine until he is so tanned that the pigment in his skin will protect him. The short or chemical rays of the sun are actually destructive to white men in the tropics. In May, June and July they have a pronounced chemical effect even in our own latitude. They are stimulating up to a certain point, but beyond that point one should be careful. I may say, therefore, that brunettes in summer may take sun baths even at noon, but blondes should take them preferably before nine or ten o'clock in the morning or after three o'clock in the afternoon. In winter, however, when the sun's rays are more slanting, the sun baths can be taken even by the blondes at any time. And because of the more limited amount of sunlight in winter, special attention should be given to sun bathing during that season.
Everyone needs a certain amount of sunlight, and if you cannot take a sun bath regularly every day you should at least wear clothing of a character that will permit the light-rays of the sun to penetrate. I will refer to this again, however, in the chapter on the subject of clothing.
After all that we can say in regard to these various methods of stimulating the skin there is really nothing so effective as active exercise for those who are strong enough to take a sufficient amount of it. Exercise, so far as function of the skin is concerned, is valuable because of the copious perspiration which is induced when one gets enough of it. In these days great numbers of people no longer "earn their bread by the sweat of their brow," and their health suffers in consequence. If you do not have to perform such an amount of physical labor as will promote free perspiration, then for the sake of acquiring the very purest quality of blood your special exercise should be sufficiently active and continuous to bring about free perspiration. There is really nothing so effective as a good old-fashioned "sweat" for rapidly purifying the blood. Anyone who perspires each and every day as a result of physical activity, and whose habits are fairly satisfactory in other respects, can depend upon enjoying absolutely pure blood, or a condition which is not far from it.
It does not matter what form of physical activity is employed to bring about this result. It may take the form of work that is useful and productive in character, or it may be play that is sufficiently active to cause deep, free breathing and bring out the perspiration. For those who are vigorous enough, cross-country running, wrestling, boxing, tennis and other games which involve real muscular effort continued for some time, will all prove satisfactory for this purpose. If you are anxious to purify your blood in cold weather it might be well to wear a good heavy sweater while taking such exercise in order to maintain a marked degree of warmth and thus bring out the perspiration in plentiful quantities. It is always well to avoid becoming chilled too quickly after exercise of this kind.
It is not alone in stimulating the eliminative function of the skin that exercise has a blood-purifying effect; it accelerates all the functions of the body, it stimulates greater activity of the lungs and of the kidneys. It promotes such an active circulation through all the minute structures of the body that accumulations of waste and dead matter are taken up and swept on to be thrown out through the natural channels of elimination. Under conditions of physical stagnation, when the circulation is less active, much of this waste matter tends to remain in the tissues of the body, accumulating and interfering with cell activity and normal functioning in general. The vigorous circulation of the blood induced by exercise gradually has the effect of flushing out all of the bodily tissues, and in that way has an internal cleansing effect that cannot be attained by any other means. In another chapter I have referred to the powerful influence of the drinking of hot water in connection with exercise as a means of promoting a more free circulation, but exercise under any circumstances tends to the same result, and for this reason as well as because of the perspiration brought about, exercise must be regarded as perhaps the most important of all measures for blood purification. No man can be continuously healthy without exercise. No man or woman can be internally clean, in the strictist sense, without a proper amount of daily exercise.
However, for those who are not strong enough to take a large amount of exercise, and who cannot in this way bring about free perspiration, other methods of accelerating the activity of the pores of the skin may be employed. I have already referred to the influence of air baths, friction baths and sun baths. Remember that through these agencies the pores may be made very active without any apparent result in the form of liquid perspiration, for under ordinary conditions perspiration evaporates and the body may not become wet. It is only when one perspires very rapidly that perspiration is manifested in the moistening of the skin. When taking your air baths there may be marked activity of the skin without any appearance of "sweat."
Various forms of bathing have the effect of inducing rapid elimination. Russian and Turkish baths are commonly used for this purpose, and every "man about town" knows the value of Russian and Turkish baths as a means of clearing his system and even of "clearing his head" through the profuse perspiration induced by the treatment. There is no question that these baths are effective in this direction, though it may be said that they are only a poor substitute for daily exercise as a blood-purifying measure. The man who neglects his requirements in the way of physical activity may strive to make up for it by a Turkish bath, but cannot get the same results, although it is true he can accomplish a great deal in this way. The great objection to Turkish and Russian bath establishments is to be found in the unsatisfactory ventilation usual in such places. As a rule the Russian or vapor bath is to be preferred to the Turkish, or dry, hot air. Especially if one is not very strong the steam bath is preferable. If one is vigorous, however, and has a strong heart, the dry hot air room will be very effective. Naturally the "rubbing" and other adjunctive treatment in the Turkish bath establishment are all beneficial.
The influence of these measures (the Russian and Turkish baths) in purifying the blood may be secured at home through the agency of other baths. A cabinet bath in the home will be equally effective in providing either a steam bath or a dry, hot-air bath. Naturally, a shower, or at least a quick sponging with cold water, should follow all such baths. If there is no bath cabinet in the home beneficial results can be secured by means of a hot-water bath. Hot water has a profound influence upon the elimination of wastes and impurities through the skin. In cases of kidney disease, where the kidneys are unable to perform their work, it is often possible to keep one alive by making the skin do the work of the kidneys through frequent hot baths. The tub should be filled with hot water at a temperature of from 105 up to 112 or 115 degrees Fahrenheit, that is to say, as hot as it can be endured, and one should remain in this bath from ten to twenty minutes, or as long as one's condition will permit. It may be a good plan to get into the water at a lower temperature, for instance, starting with water at 102 to 104 degrees, then afterwards adding hot water so as to raise the temperature to 108 or 112 degrees, or even higher. It is really necessary to use a bath thermometer (they can be obtained at a cost of ten or fifteen cents in any drug store) to regulate the temperature of the water. Sufferers from any derangement of the heart or those handicapped by serious vital depletion should not use the water too hot. In such cases it may be well to limit the temperature to 103 to 105 degrees and to limit the duration of the bath to five or ten minutes. In such cases it will be necessary to take the bath more frequently, perhaps each evening, in order to secure results in the way of active elimination. If one is strong enough, however, and merely wishes to purify the blood one may be able to stay in the water from twenty to thirty minutes and to raise the temperature of the bath to 115 degrees or more. The hot bath is much used in Japan and the natives there almost parboil themselves, using water at a temperature as high as 120 degrees. But it is not necessary to go to such extremes. It is most important that one should leave the bath immediately upon feeling any sense of weakness, dizziness or discomfort of any sort. If you feel oppressed by a sense of overheating, do not linger in the water but get out of it immediately. You will usually find that your face will perspire freely within a few minutes after being in the bath. This indicates its rapid eliminative effect. Such a bath will not accomplish exactly the same work as a cabinet or Turkish bath, but good results can be secured therefrom. The hot bath when used for perspiration purposes should be followed by a quick sponging with cold water or by a cold shower. An excellent plan is to have conveniently at hand what is called a hand spray, attached to a long rubber tube. By attaching this to the faucet and turning on the cold water one may quickly spray all parts of the body while standing in the tub of hot water. Finally, the feet may be sprayed with cold water on getting out of the tub. Rub dry quickly and thoroughly with a rough towel, after which wrap up warmly so that you may continue to perspire. It is most essential that one should not cool off too quickly and certainly that one should not become chilled after a bath of this sort. This hot bath is rather strenuous treatment, but it is effective, if one is strong vitally, for rapidly purifying the blood and eliminating the poisons in the body in any toxemic condition. It will be found valuable in the case of grippe or of a bad cold, in syphilis, or in any other disease characterized by a poisoned condition of the system and in which there is no fever present. In the case of fever, which also invariably involves a toxemic condition of the body, the elimination of the poisons through the skin should be accomplished by methods which do not involve the external use of heat in this manner.
Wet-sheet packs, both of the entire body and of parts of the body, are among the most effective of rapid blood-purifying measures. Frequently where one is confined to bed a hot-blanket pack will answer the same purpose as the hot bath just described. Where there is high fever a cold wet-sheet pack may be employed. This will relieve the high temperature to a marked extent, and will also eliminate the poisons of the body in a most remarkable way. The sheet pack is applied by first wringing one or two sheets out of cold water and then wrapping them completely around the naked patient, with the exception of the head. If a single sheet is used the flap on one side may be wrapped around the body under the arms and the flap from the other side passed over the outside of the arms. The patient should then be wrapped up thoroughly with warm blankets, fastened with safety pins.
He will quickly react with warmth, although if the vitality is low it may be well to place hot irons at the feet to insure quick recuperation with warmth. One may remain in such a pack for two or three hours, or if it is applied in the evening one may remain in it all night, provided sleep follows and no discomfort is noticed.
Where the recuperative powers are weak a wet-sheet pack which covers the entire body, may tax the vitality too much and under such circumstances a chest and abdominal pack may be used. This is really a partial sheet pack covering the trunk of the body from the hips and abdomen to the line running round the chest just under the arms. A hot pack of this kind is in itself very effective, although where there is fever the pack should be applied cold. In all such packs it is well to lay several blankets on your couch first, then quickly place the wet sheet upon it so that after the sheet has been wrapped around the body the sides of the blanket can be pulled over so as completely to envelop the patient.
These methods are all suggested because of their effectiveness in stimulating the activity of the skin where one is not able to bring this about through exercise and perspiration. In all chronic conditions, however, in which it is essential to purify the blood, the daily practice of dry friction or air baths is particularly advised. Do not overlook the value of the hot-water-drinking regimen in combination with exercise, which I offered in the chapter on Cleansing and Stimulating the Alimentary Canal. It is especially important to guard against constipation if there is any tendency in that direction, and above all things, daily muscular activity is absolutely essential. Inasmuch as many foods have great value in the purification of the blood, I have referred to this particular aspect of the question in the chapter on What to Eat.
Before leaving this subject it should be said that where there is any necessity for a rapid, thorough and effective cleansing of the entire system there is nothing that will accomplish this result as effectually as fasting. Fasting is the greatest of all methods of purification. Where there is any derangement of the system, with temporary loss of appetite, it is usually advisable to fast until the appetite returns and a short fast of from one to three days is usually sufficient. Where there is any serious disorder and it is necessary to undergo an extensive course of blood purification a prolonged fast of many days or even several weeks may be required. Fasting is such an important subject in itself that I can-. not give any detailed suggestions in regard to it in this volume. Before fasting one should make a comprehensive study of its physical effects and especially should one be informed on proper methods of breaking a fast.
During a fast all of the eliminative functions of the body are exceedingly active. If there is any surplus material the body consumes it during the fast. Owing to the complete rest of the digestive system the energy which ordinarily is required in the digestion of food is free to be diverted to the work of elimination. It would seem that under these circumstances all of the functions of the body are especially active in the blood-purifying processes.
You should remember, however, that even a fast will naturally be made much more effective by the general blood-purifying methods which I have given in this chapter. The measures suggested for increasing the activity of the skin will all be especially valuable if employed as adjuncts to the fast. The free drinking of water and especially the hot- water-drinking plan, together with the colon-flushing treatment, will likewise help to facilitate the cleansing and blood-purifying action of the fast.
Pure blood is the all-important factor in health. If the blood is not pure it can be made pure by the methods which I have suggested. Remember that this purity depends first upon pure food and functional strength, in order that a good quality of blood may be produced; and secondly, upon active elimination of wastes, poisons and impurities in general.
Page Updated 11:20 AM Sunday 21 January 2018
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