"Better to hunt in fields for health unbought,
Than fee the doctor for a nauseous draught."
If men but realized what complicated machines they were, they would
use themselves better. In the body are 240 bones and hundreds of muscles.
The heart, no bigger than the clenched fist, beats 100,000 times a day;
the aerating surface of the lungs is equal in area to the floors of a
six-roomed house, and by means of its minute blood-vessels which would
stretch across the Atlantic, 500 gallons of blood are brought into
contact with over 3,000 gallons of air every day.
Seven million sweat-glands, 30 miles long, get rid of a pint of liquid
and an ounce of solid waste each day while it takes a tube 30 feet long,
with millions of glands, to deal with a sip of milk.
Man's finest steam engine turns one-eighth of the energy supplied into
work; nature's engine, muscle, turns one-third into work. The body
contains 9 gallons of water, enough carbon to make 9,000 lead pencils,
phosphorus for 8,000 boxes of matches, iron for 5 tacks, and salt enough
to fill half a dozen salt-cellars.
Over 40 food-ferments have been found in the liver; there are
5,000,000 red and 30,000 white blood corpuscles in a space as big as a
pin's head, each one of which travels a mile a day and lives but a
72] millions of new ones being built up in the bone-marrow every
second; a flash of light lasting only one eight-millionth of a second,
will stimulate the eye, which can discriminate half a million tints. The
ear can distinguish 11,000 tones, and is so sensitive that we hear waves
of air less than one sixty-thousandth of an inch long; a mass of almost
liquid jelly—for 81 per cent of the brain is water, and Aristotle
thought it was a wet sponge to cool the hot heart—sends out
impulses ordering our every thought and act, and stores up memory, we
know not how or where.
There are 10,000,000,000 of cells in the brain cortex alone, and
560,000 fibres pass from the brain down the spinal cord.
A clear, watery cell, no larger than the dot on an "i" encloses
factors causing genius or stupidity, honesty or roguery, pride or
humility, patience or impulsiveness, coldness or ardour, tallness or
shortness, form of head or hands, colour of eyes and hair, male or female
sex, and the thousand details that make a man.
Yet man uses this marvellous mechanism but carelessly, and the
widespread poverty, the worry and discord in the lives of the happiest,
our ignorance, the evil habits we contract, and the vice, miseries,
diseases and labours to which most expectant mothers are too often
exposed, explain why one baby in every eight never walks; why but four of
them live to manhood; why less than 40 years is now man's average span;
and why this brief space is filled with suffering and misery, from which
many escape by self-destruction.
Sound children do not come from unclean air, surroundings, habits,
pursuits, passions and parents. Children conceived in unsuitable
surroundings by unsuitable parents, die; must die; [pg 73] ought to die. They
are not built for the stern battle of life.
"Where the sun does not enter, the doctor does!"
Plenty of fresh, clean air is essential to health.
In all rooms a block of wood nine inches high should be inserted
beneath the whole length of the bottom sash of the window. This leaves a
space between the top and bottom sashes through which fresh air passes
freely, without draught, both night and day, for it should never be
closed. A handy man will fit a simple device to prevent the windows being
forced at night, but better let in a burglar than keep out air.
If it be cold or draughty in the bedroom, hang a sheet a foot from the
window, put more blankets or an overcoat on the bed, or put layers of
brown paper above the sheets, but never close the window.
You can take too much of many good things, but never too much pure
Cleanliness. Keep the body clean by taking at least one hot
bath per week; per day if possible. Much filth is excreted by your
sweat-pores; why let it cake on skin and underlinen, and silently silt up
your thirty miles of skin canals, thus overworking the other excretory
organs, and gradually poisoning yourself?
Neuropaths always suffer from sluggish circulation of the extremities,
and to improve this, hot and cold baths, spinal douches and massage are
excellent. A hot bath (98-110° F.) ensures a thorough cleansing, but it
brings the blood to the surface, where its heat is quickly lost,
enervating one, and causing a bout of shivering which increases the
production of heat by [pg 74] stimulating the heat-regulating centre
in the brain. Baths above 110° F. induce faintness. To prevent shivering,
take a cold douche after the hot bath, and have a brisk rub down with a
coarse towel, when a delightful, warm glow will result. Do not freeze
yourself, or the reaction will not occur; what is wanted is a short,
sharp shock, which sends the blood racing from the skin, to which it
returns in tingling pulsations, which brace up the whole system. The
douche is over in a few seconds, and may be enjoyed the year round,
commencing in late Spring.
The cold bath must not be made a fetish. If the glow is not felt, give
it up, and bathe in tepid (85-92° F.) or warm (93-98° F.) water. When
started in the vigour of youth, the cold bath may often be continued
through life, but it is unwise to commence in middle life. Parents should
never force their children to take cold baths, to "harden them".
Other Hygienic Points. Tobacco is undesirable for neuropaths,
save in moderation.
Clothes should be light, loose, and warm. Epileptics should wear low,
stiff collars, half a size too large, with clip ties. Such a combination
does not form a tight band round the neck, and can quickly be removed if
necessary. Wear thick, woollen socks, and square-toed, low-heeled,
double-soled boots. Hats should be large, light, and of soft material.
Woollen underwear is best. Change as often as possible, and aim at
health, not appearance.
Let all rooms be well lighted, well ventilated, moderately heated, and
sparsely furnished with necessities. Shun draperies, have no window
boxes, cut climbing plants ruthlessly away from the windows, and never
Buy Muller's "My System", which gives a course of physical exercises
without apparatus, which only take fifteen minutes a day. The patient
must conscientiously [pg 75] perform the exercises each morning, not
for a week, nor for a month, but for an indefinite period, or throughout
Finally, remember that so few die a natural death from senile decay because so few live a natural life.