By Bernarr Macfadden
The war cry of to-day in peace no less than in war is for efficiency. We need stronger, more capable men; healthier, superior women. Force is supreme-the king of all mankind. And it is force that stands back of efficiency, for efficiency, first of all, means power. It comes from power, and power either comes directly from inheritance or it is developed by an intelligent application of the laws that control the culture of the physique. The value of efficiency is everywhere recognized. The great prizes of life come only to those who are efficient. Those who desire capacities of this sort must recognize the importance of a strong, enduring physique. The body must be developed completely, splendidly. The buoyancy, vivacity, energy, enthusiasm and ambition ordinarily associated with youth can be maintained through middle age and in some cases even to old age. If your efforts are to be crowned with the halo of success, they must be spurred on by the pulsating throbbing powers that accompany physical excellence. These truly extraordinary characteristics come without effort to but few of us, but they can be developed, attained and maintained.
Why not throb with superior vitality! Why not possess the physical energy of a young lion? For then you will compel success. You will stand like a wall if need be, or rush with the force of a charging bison towards the desired achievements. This book sends forth a message of paramount importance to those who need added efficiency. Adherence to the principles laid down herein will add to the characteristics that insure splendid achievements. They will increase the power of your body and mind and soul. They will help each human entity to become a live personality. They will enable you to live fully, joyously. They will help you to feel, enjoy, suffer, every moment of each day. It is only when you are thus thrilled with the eternal force of life that you reach the highest pinnacle of attainable capacities and powers. Hidden forces, sometimes marvelous and mysterious, lie within nearly every human soul. Develop, expand and bring out these latent powers. Make your body splendid, your mind supreme; for then you become your real self, you possess all your attainable powers. And men thus developed possess a capital that can not be financially measured. It is worth infinitely more than money. Within the pages of this volume the pathway leading to these gratifying rewards is clearly described. Adhere to the principles set forth and a munificent harvest of physical, mental and spiritual attainments will surely be yours.
I. VITALITY—WHAT IS IT?
II. FUNCTIONAL ACTIVITY-THE SECRET OF POWER
III. THE PROPER BODILY POSTURE
IV. STIMULATING THE SOURCE OF STAMINA AND VITALITY
V. STRAIGHTENING AND STRENGTHENING THE SPINE
VI. CLEANSING AND STIMULATING THE ALIMENTARY CANAL
VII. EXERCISE FOR VITALITY BUILDING
VIII. HOW TO BREATHE
IX. OUTDOOR LIFE
X. STRENGTHENING THE STOMACH
XI. PRESERVING THE TEETH
XII. HOW TO EAT
XIII. WHAT TO EAT
XIV. FOODS IN THE CURE OF CONSTIPATION
XV. PRESSURE MOVEMENTS FOR BUILDING INNER STRENGTH
XVI. BLOOD PURIFICATION
XVII. HINTS ON BATHING
XVIII. SOME FACTS ABOUT CLOTHING
XIX. SUGGESTIONS ABOUT SLEEP
XX. MIND—THE MASTER-FORCE FOR HEALTH OR DISEASE
XXI. THE LAUGH CURE
XXII. SINGING-THE GREAT TONIC
XXIII. THE DAILY REGIMEN
CHAPTER I: Vitality—What is it?
Vitality first of all means endurance and the ability to live long. It naturally indicates functional and organic vigor. You cannot be vital unless the organs of the body are possessed of at least a normal degree of strength and are performing their functions harmoniously and satisfactorily. To be vital means that you are full of vim and energy, that you possess that enviable characteristic known as vivacity. It means that you are vibrating, pulsating with life in all its most attractive forms. For life, energy, vitality-call it what you wish-in all its normal manifestations, will always be found attractive.
A vital man is at all times thoroughly alive. The forces of life seem to imbue every part of his organism with energy, activity and all characteristics opposed to things inanimate. A vital man is naturally enthusiastic. He can hardly avoid being ambitious. And consequently success, with all its splendid rewards, comes to such a man in abundance. Life to such a man should be resplendent with worthy achievements.
No one belittles the importance of success. Everyone is guided to a large extent by the desire to succeed. When a child toddles off to school the training which he secures there is given for the single purpose of bringing success, but this goal cannot possibly be reached without throbbing vitality. In fact, you are not yourself in every sense unless you possess vitality of this sort. The emotions and instincts that come to one when thoroughly developed, with the vital forces surging within, are decidedly different from those which influence one when lacking in stamina. Many who have grown beyond adult age are still undeveloped, so far as physical condition and vigor is concerned, and this lack of physical development or vitality means immaturity-incompleteness. It means that one is short on manhood or womanhood. This statement, that one's personality, under such circumstances, is not completely brought out, may seem strange to some; but careful reasoning will soon verify its accuracy. Success of the right sort, therefore, depends first of all upon intelligent efforts that are guided day after day, with a view, first of all, of developing the physical organism to the highest possible standard, and maintaining it there.
In other words, it is our first duty to be men, strong and splendid, or women, healthy and perfect, if we are desirous of securing life's most gratifying prizes. Many actually go through life only half alive. They are, to a certain extent, doped by their physical deficiencies. They have been handicapped by a lack of the energy that comes with physical development. They need to be stirred by the regular use of the physical powers of the body. When the body is complete in all of its various parts it is truly a marvelous organism. Throbbing vitality stirs the imagination, gives one courage and capacity, thrills one with the possibilities of life, fires the ambitions. The efforts involved in one's daily duties, be they ever so important, then become mere play. To such a man inactivity is impossible. Every day must be filled with active, interesting duties, and progress in such cases is inevitable. Such a man grows, he improves, he ascends. He becomes a positive dominating force in the world.
Can pulsating, vibrating, vitality of this kind be developed? Can one who lacks enthusiasm and organic vigor obtain these valuable forces? If you have failed up to the present to become a complete man, or a splendid woman, can you achieve these extraordinary rewards in the future? You can rest assured that if the necessary efforts are made a revolution can be wrought in your physical and mental powers. You, too, can feel these throbbing vital forces stirring your every nerve, thrilling your very soul. Go to work, in an intelligent manner, realizing that fundamentally the attainment of these great rewards comes from the development of the highest degree of physical excellence. You must have strength of body. You cannot have too much strength. The more nearly you feel like a strong man the more you can achieve in the desired direction. All successful men are, and have been, men of tremendous energy. Their achievements have been simply the expression of the vitality and nerve force which can no more be repressed than the power of an engine when it has been once liberated. Success is due to the dynamic quality of energy. It is true that physical energy and bodily strength are not sufficient for success in all fields. One must have aptitude for his chosen work. Your energy must be directed in the proper channels, but without this energy and vitality you can accomplish virtually nothing.
Take the one particular characteristic known as vivacity. How we envy those who possess in abundance this great gift! No matter how irregular one's features may be, even though they repel, if a smile shows vivacity associated with a keen, intelligent personality, one cannot be otherwise than attractive. John Bunny, with features rough, unchiseled, ugly, almost uncouth, yet possessed a personality that spread its contagious good humor to millions of people in all quarters of the world who mourned his recent death as that of a personal acquaintance. On the other hand, even though a man or woman possess regular features, the lack of animated expression, of vivacity, causes the person to be regarded as "cold" and "repellent." Speaking in the vernacular, it puts you in the class of the "dead ones." One may say that magnetism and all the desirable qualities that draw others to us are closely associated with the supreme development of the forces of life. No vivacity, then no personality.
The average individual goes through life without living. In other words, he scarcely exists. He has never felt the throbbing exultation of a keen joyous moment. Nor on the other hand has he ever suffered the tortures that are supposed to be associated with the damned, for we must remember that the power to enjoy carries with it a corresponding power to suffer. But we should also remember that the possession of these extremes, the ability to enjoy or to suffer, indicates the attainment of what might be termed the most complete human development. If we wish to find a perfect picture of the phlegmatic temperament, we can study a pig to advantage. And yet there are many human beings incapable of manifesting life-forces equal to those of this humble animal.
But why not be alive, vital, vivacious? Why not be alert, keen, energetic, enthusiastic, ambitious, bubbling over with fiery ardor? The possession of these pulsating, vibratory forces proves that one's physical development has closely approached to perfection. To such vital individuals life opens up opportunities that are almost countless.
But those who have never lived in this "world" of fiery ambitions and throbbing powers, who have never been stirred by the keen, satisfying joys that go with these extraordinary, vital qualities, may ask if these invaluable powers can be developed. Are these stirring, vital forces the possession of favored classes only, or may they be obtained by anyone and everyone? In other words, can they be cultivated or developed? My reply, in nearly all cases, would be in the affirmative. There may be exceptions. There is a limit to the development of the physical force, but health is attainable by the majority. So long as there is life you should be possessed of sufficient vitality to attain a normal degree of health. It really takes more power to run a defective machine than it does to operate one in which all parts are working in harmony, and the same can be said of the body and its parts or organs. Therefore, if you have vitality enough to continue to live even though diseased, rest assured that you have enough to acquire health if you conform to Nature's enactments. And this kind of health usually brings a physical and mental exaltation that is truly beyond description.
It is my purpose in these pages to help the reader to solve the problems associated with the attainment of vitality and health at its best. By following out the suggestions which you will find in this volume, by stimulating the life-forces in connection with the thyroid gland, by straightening and strengthening the spine, by toning up the alimentary canal, and by adopting other suggestions set forth in these pages, you should be insured the attainment of vital vigor really beyond price. Do not be satisfied with an existence. If life is worth anything, it is worth living in every sense of the word. The building up of one's physical assets should be recognized as an imperative duty.
CHAPTER II: Functional Activity-The Secret of Power
Vitality means normal functioning. When the organs of the body are all performing their duties satisfactorily, you can practically be sure of a plentiful supply of vitality. So it can truly be said that proper functioning is the secret of power.
The most important of all functional processes begins in the stomach. There is where the blood-making process commences, and, since a man is what the blood makes of him, you can realize the tremendous importance of this particular function. If the digestion is carried on properly, and the blood is made rich in those elements that add to life, health and strength, then the functions of the stomach are being properly performed. Strength of this organ, therefore, is absolutely indispensable in vitality building.
This blood-making work is then continued by the small intestines, where a large part of the elements of nourishment essential to life are assimilated, taken up and carried to the portal circulation, thence to the lungs and heart, and finally throughout the entire body. It is absolutely impossible for one to enjoy the possession of a high degree of vitality, or of the general good health upon which vitality depends, unless the intestinal tract is in a healthy and vigorous condition, so that the functions of this particular part of the body- machine may be performed without a flaw. The entire digestive system may be compared to a boiler supplying the energy by which the engine does its work.
Then consider the heart itself. One cannot underestimate the functional importance of this organ. It is commonly regarded as the most vital spot in the body, the very center of life-indeed the poets have made it the seat of love and the emotions in general. If anything, the brain and nervous system should be regarded as the real center of life, but the function of the heart, the marvelous muscle-pump, is so vital and indispensable that the world is accustomed to thinking of it as the organ of first importance. And so it is. Should it cease its efforts for a few moments even, life becomes extinct, and you are no longer an animate being. A strong heart, therefore, is if anything even more important than a strong stomach. But you must remember that the strength of the heart to a large extent depends upon the cooperation of a strong stomach, or at least upon the proper digestion of food. For the muscles and tissues of the heart, like those of all other organs of the body, are fed by the blood, which depends for its life-giving and life- sustaining qualities upon the food, which is first acted upon by the stomach and thus made available for use by the cell structures in all parts of the body. The heart is truly a wonderful organ, the one set of muscles which apparently never rest, but work on night and day, year after year, throughout our entire life.
Furthermore, the part played by the lungs in the maintenance of life and health cannot be underestimated. Impaired functioning of the lungs has an immediate and vital effect upon every other part of the body. It is through this channel that we secure the oxygen, without which the processes of life would terminate almost instantaneously. It is through this channel also that the elimination of carbonic acid gas is accomplished. Without the continuous and thorough elimination of carbonic acid our tissues would become choked up and poisoned in such a way that all cell activity and bodily function would come to an abrupt end. If the lungs are sound and healthy in every respect the supply of oxygen is abundant, and the elimination of carbonic acid, which may be regarded as the "smoke" of the human system, is carried on perfectly. Breathing is only one of the various functions that must be continuously carried on, but it is of such importance as to require special attention in building vitality.
In the work of eliminating impurities and keeping the system clean the kidneys are to be classed with the lungs, although they have to do with poisonous wastes of a different type. Insufficient functioning of the kidneys is not so immediately fatal as the failure of the lungs to do their work, but proper action of the kidneys is none the less important. If the poisons which are normally eradicated from the system in this way are allowed to remain or to accumulate, they poison the body as truly as any external toxic element that could be introduced. Insufficient activity of the kidneys leads to the accumulation of those poisons, bringing on convulsions of the most serious nature, and unless the condition is relieved there will be fatal results. The requirements of health, therefore, demand that the kidneys should be strong and active, and that their functional capacity should be maintained at the highest degree of efficiency.
In supplementing the work of the kidneys and the lungs, the excretory function of the skin is only secondary in importance. The skin has various functions. It is one of our chief organs of sense, the sense of touch being hardly second to those of sight and hearing. It is likewise a wonderful protective structure, and at the same time is a channel of elimination which cannot be ignored with impunity. To interfere with the eliminative function of the skin by absolutely clogging the pores for a period of several hours means death. One may say that we really breathe through the skin.
The importance of all these functions of elimination is vital. Pure blood depends upon the perfect and continuous excretion of the wastes formed in the body through the processes of life, and without keeping the blood pure in this manner the body rapidly becomes poisoned by its own waste products, with the result that health, vitality and even life are lost. Health is entirely a question of pure blood, and, while the blood depends first upon the building material supplied through the digestive system, it also depends equally as much upon functional activity in the matter of elimination.
The liver, which enjoys the distinction of being the largest organ in the body, is designed for the performance of a multiplicity of functions. It not only produces the bile, which has such an important part to play in the work of digestion, but it has a very important work in the changing of foods absorbed into such material as may be assimilated or used by the cells of the various tissues throughout the body. For instance, it is part of the function of the liver to bring about chemical changes in albuminous foods which make it possible for the tissues to assimilate these. It also has much to do with bringing about certain chemical changes in sugar or dextrose. Furthermore, the liver has an important function in connection with the excretion of broken-down bodily tissue, converting this dead matter into a form in which it can be filtered out of the blood by the kidneys. Failure of the liver to perform its work satisfactorily will upset the digestive and functional system, or may lead to an accumulation of uric acid in the body, possibly resulting in rheumatism, gout, neuralgia, disturbances of circulation and other evils. When your liver "goes on strike" you may expect trouble in general. A normal condition of the entire body depends upon perfect and continuous functioning of the liver in cooperation with all the other vital organs. The same may be said of the pancreas, spleen, the thyroid gland and other organs which have a special function to perform. The body is really a combination of all these various parts and functions, and without strength and activity in all of them, simultaneous and harmonious, not one of these interdependent parts could do its work, and the body as a whole would be thrown into a state of disease. Strength of the internal organs is infinitely more important than mere muscular strength, if one could properly make a comparison.
How, therefore, shall we build this internal, functional strength? Can our organs be made to function more satisfactorily? How may we promote their greater activity?
It will be the purpose of the succeeding chapters in this volume to point out how the vital organs may be strengthened and the sum total of one's vitality thereby increased. It is true that internal strength is more important than external muscular strength, but the fact is that they go together. As a general thing, by building muscular strength one is able at the same time to develop internal strength. The influence of exercise in purifying the blood and in promoting activity in all the internal organs really strengthens the "department of the interior" at the same time that it develops the muscles concerned. Muscular stagnation means organic stagnation, to a very large degree. To be thoroughly alive and to enjoy the possession of unlimited vitality it is necessary to be both muscularly and functionally active. The requirements of Nature, or what are more commonly termed the "laws of Nature," in reference to all these bodily functions must be strictly observed, for it is only under such conditions that life and health can be maintained at their best.
The body may be regarded as a machine. Why not make it a strong machine, and as perfect as possible? Its efficiency means everything. If you had an engine, a motorcycle, a sewing machine or a printing press that was a very poor machine, you would like to exchange it for a better one, would you not? You would even spend large sums of money to secure a better machine to take the place of the poor one. But if your body is imperfect, inefficient, weak, rusty and clogged up with grit, dirt and all the waste products due to the "wear" in the bodily structures, you seem nevertheless entirely satisfied. You go on from day to day and from year to year without thinking of the possibility of getting a better physical equipment. But why not consider the body in the same light as any other machine that is of value to you. Your body is the thing that keeps you alive. If it is a poor instrument, then it is more important that you should get a better one than that you should buy a new engine or new printing-press or new sewing-machine. The only difference is, that it is within your power to get a better body machine by building up the one that you have. You can repair it, you can add to its vitality, you can strengthen the functional system, you can make it more perfect and efficient. You can make it a high-power machine that will be of real value in any undertaking that you may wish to carry out. You can make it strong instead of weak, and you can thus enjoy that superabundant vitality without which life is hardly worth the living.
CHAPTER III: The Proper Bodily Posture
The very great value of maintaining the body in a proper position cannot be too strongly emphasized. Man is the only animal that walks erect. He is the only animal in whom old age brings a forward bending of the spine. The hanging head, which is the attitude of hopelessness, and which is caused to a very large extent by the mental attitude that goes with approaching old age, no doubt does a great deal to quicken physical decline.
Therefore it would be wise to remember the very grave importance of a straight, erect spine. Each day of your life should be to a certain extent a fight for the best that there is in life and a struggle to hold the spine as nearly erect as possible. If you are sitting in a chair, sit up straight, head back, chin in. If you are walking or standing, the same rule should apply. The more nearly you can assume the position which is sometimes criticized by the sarcastic statement that "He looks as though he had swallowed a poker," the more nearly you will approximate the ideal position.
As will be shown in the succeeding chapter, it is not necessary to make extraordinary efforts to hold the shoulders back or to arch the chest. The one idea-chin in, down and backward-will accomplish all that is needed. The chest and shoulders will naturally take care of themselves.
Furthermore, it is well to remember that this attitude in itself has a tremendous influence upon both the physical and mental organism. The mind, for instance, is affected to an extraordinary degree by this position. It quickens the reasoning capacity, helps to clear the brain of "cobwebs" and unquestionably adds to one's courage. The man who is afraid hangs his head. He who is void of fear holds his head erect, "looks the world in the face!" There is no question that if a man without fear were to assume the position of fear, with hanging head and shrinking body, he would quickly find himself stirred by the emotions associated with such a posture. He would soon "get scared!" In fact, the attitude of the body has so much to do with one's mental and emotional state that the question of self-confidence or lack of confidence may often be decided simply by throwing your head up and back and assuming the general bodily posture that goes with confidence. It not only expresses confidence: it also develops confidence. There is a great truth here that psychologists and those who write "character building" books have not sufficiently understood or emphasized. And when you feel discouraged, the best way to overcome the sense of depression is to "brace up" physically. It will help you to "brace up" mentally. Try it.
Then there are the definite physiological results of maintaining an erect spine. The mechanical arrangement of the spine itself is such that if it is held erect the important nerves that radiate to all parts of the body from this central "bureau" are able more perfectly to perform their functions. Where there is pressure on these nerves there is bound to be imperfect functioning. The affected organ will work lazily, indifferently. In fact, the entire science of the osteopaths and chiropractors is based almost wholly upon the value of spinal stimulation and the remedying of spinal defects.
There is another way in which an erect carriage has a direct physical influence, namely, in maintaining the proper position of the vital organs. When the body is held erect the chest is full, round and somewhat expanded, affording plenty of room for the heart and lungs. This, in itself, is conducive to vitality as compared with the flat- chested attitude. The stomach, liver, spleen, pancreas and intestines all tend to drop or sag below their normal position when the body bends forward. In maintaining an erect position all these organs are drawn upward and held in their natural position, and this means greater vigor and better functioning on the part of each. This particular consideration is of special importance in the case of women. It all goes to show the truly wonderful value of maintaining the spine in a properly erect attitude.
The sitting position usually assumed is far from what it should be in order to insure health. As a rule, we sit humped forward, with a decided bend in the spine, ultimately developing splendid examples of what we call round shoulders. The spine, while sitting, should be held as nearly straight as possible. The position of the head, to a very large extent, determines the general posture of the body. As nearly as possible the chin should be held inward, downward and backward. I will admit that this position is almost impossible when one is using the ordinary type of chair.
An extraordinary effort is required to sit properly in the conventional chair. Furniture of this sort should be made to fit the body in the same way as our clothing does. The back of a chair should be made to fit the backs of those who are to occupy the chair. The chair-back should, at least to a reasonable extent, approximate the normal shape of the spine. If the chair, throughout its entire back, cannot be thus shaped, then it should be cut off even with the waist line of the occupant. Such a low-back chair will usually allow one to sit erect without serious discomfort.
There has been much criticism of American men on the ground that they are inclined to sit down on the small of the back. They slide forward in the chair, with the back bent over and the shoulders humped forward. But the fault really lies with the construction of the chair. The back of a chair does not fit the human back, and the seat is not at the right angle to rest the body.
Why is it that men commonly like to tilt a chair backward on the hind legs? Even when they do not place their feet on a convenient table they are prone to tip the chair back and partly balance it on the hind legs. Why do people instinctively prefer a rocking chair as a source of comfort, even when they do not rock? The fact is that it is not the rocking that makes a rocking chair comfortable, but the position of the seat of the chair, with its downward slope toward the back. The rocking chair is comfortable for just the same reason that the ordinary dining chair is made more comfortable when a man tilts it back upon its hind legs. The reason is that in this position one does not tend to slide forward off the chair, the weight of the body naturally carrying the hips to the back of the chair, where it is supported naturally. In order to avoid the "sliding down the cellar door" character of the conventional chair a change should be made in the incline of the seat similar to that found in the ordinary rocking chair and in the chair when tipped back in the manner I have described.
The photograph which has been reproduced on the preceding page illustrates the point I wish to make. In this particular instance I have used an ordinary chair to show what can be done to improve the chairs in the ordinary home. Both of the back legs of this chair were sawed off some three or four inches-thus elevating the front part of the chair and lowering the back part, giving the seat an incline toward the rear which more comfortably accommodates the body. This position approximates that of the ordinary swivel desk chair tilted back by business men when they are not leaning forward over their desks. This suggestion can be adopted very easily and cheaply in almost any home, for any ordinary chair treated in this manner will be very greatly improved, and far greater comfort will be experienced as a result of the change. Civilized men and women spend such a very large part of the time in a sitting position that the bodily posture when sitting down is a very great factor in the bodily welfare and health. Special thought and study, therefore, should be given the question of the sitting posture. Unfortunately, this particular subject seems to have been ignored absolutely for hundreds of years in the making of our chairs.
It is just as harmful to sit all humped over as it is to stand in such a position. The nervous system cannot be maintained at its best unless the spine is held reasonably erect. Whether sitting or standing, therefore, it is important that you should make a never-ending struggle for a straight spine.
If the back of the chair in which you sit is not properly made then it is better, in most cases, to ignore the back altogether. Sit slightly forward from the back and maintain an erect position, with the chin held in, downward and backward. In this position you should sit well balanced, as it were. The chest should occupy the same relative position as when standing erect. If you will hold the head in the position I have indicated it will help you to keep the chest and back in the right position. As a general thing, it is a much more simple matter to maintain this erect position when sitting, if either one foot, or both feet, are drawn back under the chair. When both feet are stretched out forward upon the floor a person is inclined to sag backward in a partially reclining position upon the chair. By holding one foot underneath the chair in such a manner that you could rise to a standing position, if desired, without lurching forward, you will find it easy to maintain a well balanced and erect posture. If at any time you find yourself slumping forward or slouching in your seat, it is good to stretch your arms high above the head, or to expand the chest and draw your shoulders backward in the position commonly assumed when yawning and stretching. Either of these stretching movements will give you an erect position, and you can maintain this thereafter by keeping the head in the right position-chin inward, downward and backward. These stretching movements will be equally effective for improving the carriage when standing.
The same complaint that I have made against the ordinary chair can be registered with special force against the desks used in the schoolrooms. There is no question that a great deal of spinal curvature in childhood, to say nothing of round shoulders and flat chests, are directly the result of the improper sitting posture in the schools which is enforced upon the children because of the unsuitable character of their seating arrangements. Thus we practically begin life hampered by an unsatisfactory environment, so far as our sitting posture is concerned.
The chair back or the desk chair should fit the human back. It. should favor and not hamper one in assuming a normal and straight position of the spine.
When you get up in the morning, exercise yourself a little in straightening the spine, chin in, downward and backward. When you walk to business or when you go about your duties, keep the same thought in mind. Force the head back. Take the exercises which you will find in the next chapter, referring to the thyroid gland, at very frequent intervals during the day.
Remember that in fighting for a straight spine you are fighting for youth and health and life and energy and courage and enthusiasm. You are fighting for everything that is best in life, and you should strive and struggle with all the energy you possess to win the rewards associated therewith.
Each day of your life will bring difficulties, worries. Life at its best is not a bed of roses. All these various influences are inclined to make you hang your head. You may have moments when you are hopeless, when life seems forbidding and cheerless. Fight against such inclinations with all the power you possess. Struggle against such discouragements with all your might and main, not only through your mental attitude but through your determination to maintain an erect spine. Hold your head up and look the world in the face.
Don't shirk your duty. Don't deviate from the path along which your best impulses and highest ideals would lead you. Life is worth while. It is filled with glorious opportunities. Reach out and grasp them as they come up. Hold your head up and be a man or a woman to the fullest extent of your abilities.
CHAPTER IV: Stimulating the Source of Stamina and Vitality
This is an age of short cuts. Any devious routes to the accomplishment of an object should be avoided. If you want vitality, and the vivacity, energy and enthusiasm with which it is associated, you naturally search for a method which will bring certain and quick improvements. The reasonableness and general prevalence of this demand was in my mind when I began experimentation with a view to discovering a method for stimulating what I term the source of vital power.
Scientific men while delving into the marvelous secrets of physiology, have learned that the thyroid gland in some peculiar manner possesses an extraordinary influence upon vital stamina and virility. This mysterious gland is located in front of the neck, about half way between the so-called "Adam's apple" and the top of the sternum or breast-bone, where it adheres to each side of the front of the trachea, or windpipe, in a flattened form, something like the wings of a butterfly, with a connecting "isthmus." It is a "ductless" gland, its secretions apparently being taken up by absorption into the lymph, and from that into the blood.
While the functions of this little organ are not yet very clearly understood, there is nothing more definitely known than its tremendous importance in the bodily economy. Without it there can be no such thing as healthy development. Thyroid deficiency in children gives rise to a form of idiocy, bodily malformation and degeneracy known as cretinism, while in adult life it is associated with a similar disorder known as myxedema. Goiter is the most common disorder of the thyroid gland; though not very serious in minor cases, it is capable of becoming very dangerous, assuming such malignant forms as exophthalmic goiter, which is marked by palpitation of the heart, nervous symptoms and protrusion of the eyes.
It is thought by some authorities that the thyroid gland has to do with the control of the excretion of the waste products from nitrogenous foods, for it has been found that a meat diet or a high-proteid diet is extremely harmful in disorders of this organ. It has been found that dogs fed on meat after the thyroid gland has been removed invariably die in a few days, but that they can be kept alive for a long time if fed on a diet very low in proteids. It is found as a rule that those suffering from thyroid troubles do very well on a milk diet.
Some students of the subject conclude that the function of the thyroid gland is to destroy poisonous products formed by the decomposition of proteid food substances. It is believed by others that it also has a defensive action against other poisons in the body, including alcohol and poisonous drugs. In other words, it is thought to have an "antitoxic" action. It has also been held that this organ has much to do with the supply of iodine in the system, being particularly affected by the lack of iodine in the food. Again, it is said that when the thyroid gland has degenerated there ensues a condition of auto- intoxication, followed by a degeneration of other organs which destroy and eliminate poisons in the blood. It is claimed that in many cases of thyroid deficiency, as in cretinism, good results have been obtained by the use of thyroid extract, thus supplying the body with the secretion which normally should have been obtained from this gland.
But, whatever may be the function of this remarkable little organ, the fact remains that it is of tremendous importance to health, being undeniably endowed with extraordinary influence on virility, physical strength and mental vigor. Now these facts were in mind when I commenced the experiments which, as I have said, led to the discovery of a method of stimulating the vital forces of the body. The problem seemed simple in some respects. If the thyroid gland has such a definite effect upon bodily health, the query as to how it can be strengthened and stimulated to perform its work more satisfactorily, assumed unusual importance and I was strongly moved to discover the answer. The problem, however, was not by any means an easy one. A long time elapsed before a satisfactory solution presented itself. The first thought that naturally occurs to one when endeavoring to stimulate the activities of any part of the body is to find some means of increasing the circulation to that part. Ordinary massage will usually accomplish this purpose to a limited degree, though massage to my mind is a superficial agent in many cases. It will increase local circulation, but it does not facilitate tissue changes to the same extent as exercise which directly affects the structures concerned, or the mechanical movements of the parts themselves that are brought about through active use of them in some way. I have known of cases in which pressure and massage applied to the region of the thyroid gland have been followed by harmful effects, such as fainting, and certainly no one with a weak heart should attempt to stimulate this organ in this manner. Therefore, in endeavoring to find a satisfactory means of stimulating this important gland, I did not give massage serious thought. And I might as well say that I finally "stumbled" upon the important truth which is the basis of the method that I am presenting.
For many years I have been a student of vocal culture, having taken up the study of this art chiefly as a recreation, with no thought of ever publicly using any ability I might acquire, though I might mention that the additional vocal strength obtained as a result of this training assisted me greatly in public speaking. While giving my attention to this particular study, I was greatly impressed by the extreme importance of maintaining an erect spine, holding the chin down, inward and backward, and keeping the shoulders back and the chest expanded. I found, however, like many others who become "slack" in bodily posture, that a considerable effort was required to maintain a proper position at all times. I therefore began a series of special exercises intended really to force myself to assume a properly erect position. While experimenting with these exercises for the purpose mentioned, I noted a marked effect upon my general vital vigor. Not only was this made apparent by an increase in physical strength and stamina, but it was marked in an equal degree by additional mental energy and capacity. My mind was clearer, and I could surmount difficulties presented in business enterprises in which I was interested with far more ease than before. I could make decisions more easily and quickly. In addition, a decided gain in weight was noted-not by any means in the form of mere fatty tissue, but of firm, substantial flesh. These very pleasing results induced me to go more carefully into the causes underlying this remarkable improvement. I carried on an elaborate series of careful experiments with a view to proving the conclusions to which I had come in the course of these exercises. It was quite apparent that a full development of the back part of the upper spine was necessary in order to maintain the strength essential to extreme vigor and vitality. And it became quite plain to me that this development could not be achieved without stimulating to an unusual degree the thyroid gland. Reasoning along this line, I called to mind the appearance of various animals noted for their great strength and there I found my conclusions verified with remarkable emphasis. The arched neck of the stallion, the huge development of the back of the neck of the domestic bull, the same character in even more pronounced form in the case of the bull buffalo and the musk-ox, and in varying degrees in other animals conspicuous for their vitality and energy-all this seemed to indicate that I was on the verge of a remarkable discovery. When you think of a fiery steed, in every instance you bring to mind the arched appearance of the neck. The tight reins that are sometimes used to give a horse a pleasing appearance, are based upon the same ideal, showing a more or less subconscious recognition of the idea that this particular development is associated with tremendous animal vigor.
After giving consideration to various methods that could be used for the purpose of stimulating this little organ, the thyroid gland, I finally concluded as the result of prolonged experimentation that the exercises illustrated in this chapter can most thoroughly be depended upon for producing results. All movements here described have proved effective in imparting to the neck a full, arched, well developed appearance, but I have given especial attention to the active use of the muscles on the back of the neck. Nearly every movement which to a certain extent develops these muscles is inclined to stimulate the thyroid gland. The more special movements for this purpose are indicated in the various illustrations accompanying this chapter. This development of the back of the neck always indicates great vitality, because definite proof is thereby given that the spine is unusually strong and is maintained in a position favorable to the functioning of all the organs of the body. Many of the movements illustrated are but slight in character, but they are the more adaptable because of this. No matter where you may be, whether walking along the street, conversing with a friend, or sitting at a desk, they can be practiced quietly without attracting attention. Furthermore, it is absolutely essential that an erect position of the spine be kept in mind continually. You should begin every morning to hold the spine straight and erect, and each day should represent an increment of success in the struggle finally to maintain involuntarily this position of the body. On arising in the morning, practice some of the exercises illustrated in this chapter for stimulating the thyroid gland, being careful to perform them just as instructed in each illustration. Whenever you are unoccupied during the day, it is a good plan to practice these movements occasionally, as they will assist you materially in maintaining the spine in that erect position which I found so important at the beginning of my vocal studies. The most important movement is to bring the chin downward, inward, and backward as far as possible, endeavoring to arch as much as you can the back of the neck. You may have to practice a long while before you notice an outline that will in any way resemble an arch in the back of your neck, but all this work you can be assured will be of decided benefit to you. And, whether or not you attain the desired arch, you can be assured of benefits that will be worth all your efforts. When you make these movements properly, there is no necessity for trying to bring the chest out or the shoulders far back. The simple movements of the neck alone as described, if properly performed, will fulfill all requirements. For these movements tend mechanically to raise and arch the chest and to throw the shoulders far backward. Remember also the necessity, when taking these movements, of keeping the abdominal region expanded as fully as possible. Do not draw in the waist line. The importance of this admonition cannot be too strongly emphasized. If you maintain a full abdomen, thyroid-stimulating movements seem to tone up, increase in size, and strengthen all the vital organs lying in the gastric region.
In further proof of the value of the exercises described in this work as a means of building unusual vital vigor, note the remarkable stamina and virility of men possessing an unusual development of the neck. Where the neck is broad and well filled out at the back, you can depend absolutely upon the possession of great vital vigor. It is quite plain, therefore, that by merely adopting some method of developing this part of the spine you will have accomplished a great deal towards obtaining a high degree of vital stamina. Some of the strongest men in the world can be found among professional wrestlers. Many of those following this profession retain their athletic ability a great many years beyond the athletic life of men in other branches of sport. In fact, champion wrestlers sometimes retain their championship honors for a score of years beyond the age at which champion boxers and runners retire. It is a well known fact that wrestling requires extraordinary strength of the upper spine. Some of the most strenuous wrestling holds use the muscles of the upper back and neck in a very vigorous and violent manner. Consequently wrestlers are noted for what are often termed bull necks, thus plainly indicating the exceptional degree of vital vigor which they possess.
Accordingly it is well to remember in connection with these exercises that many movements which assist in the development of the neck muscles also serve to stimulate the activities of the thyroid gland. You cannot go through the process of training for a wrestling match without stimulating this organ to an exceptional degree. Therefore, in following the suggestions which are given in this chapter, you are securing the full benefit of a vitality-stimulating process that ordinarily can be obtained only by going through a prolonged course of wrestling. There is no necessity for you to develop a "bull neck," but you should make the most strenuous efforts to acquire a sufficient development of the back of the neck to give it an arched appearance. The more nearly you can approximate a development of this character, the more vital will you become. And along with this superior power will come a similar improvement in every other capacity, mental as well as physical.
That there may be no mistake, let me reiterate: That the spine must be held erect at all times when sitting or standing. That frequently during the day when sitting or standing the chin should be brought down and in with a backward movement, the head being turned at times far either to the right or left side, with a vigorous twist of the strongly tensed muscles.
That on every occasion when this movement is made, the abdomen must be fully expanded-not held in or drawn upward.
That great emphasis must be given to the importance of bringing the chin slowly but vigorously downward against the chest before the inward and backward movement is begun. This insures a proper stimulation of the thyroid gland.
CHAPTER V: Stimulating, Straightening and Strengthening the Spine
The human spine bears the same relation to the body as a whole as the trunk of a tree does to the rest of the tree. If the trunk is strong the entire tree is sturdy and vigorous. If the spine is strong the body as a whole possesses a similar degree of strength. Therefore, the necessity for a strong spine is readily apparent.
This strength is necessary not only because the spine is what may be termed the foundation for our entire physical structure but also because therein are located the nerves that radiate to each organ and every minute part of the body. These spinal nerves control the functional processes of all our bodily tissues and structures. If the spine possesses a proper degree of strength, if the bony structure is properly proportioned, and if the alignment of all the vertebrae is everything that can be desired, you are then practically assured of the pulsating vitality which is a part of superb health.
It is an interesting fact that the spine is the central and fundamental structure of all the higher organisms on this earth. In the course of the evolution of life on this planet there developed from the very simplest forms of animal organisms two different higher forms of life—on the one hand the vertebrate animals, possessing an internal skeleton, and on the other hand the insects, clams, crustaceans and other creatures that have their skeletons on the outside, as one may say, in the form of shells. The legs of an insect, for instance, are small tubes with the muscles inside. The limbs of vertebrate animals, on the other hand, have the muscle outside the bone. Invertebrates commonly have the main nerve trunk in front, or underneath, instead of at the back, and likewise often have their brains in their abdomens. Some of them, such as the grasshopper, even hear with their abdomens. But all vertebrata have the great nerve trunk at the back, contained in the spine and with a bulb on the front or upper end constituting the brain. In fact, a vertebrate animal is primarily a living spine, and all other parts of the body are in the nature of appendages. The limbs, for instance, and in the higher animals the ribs and other parts of the skeleton, are simply attached to the spine, or are offshoots from it. In the fishes these limbs take the shape of fins. In the higher developments of life they assume the form of legs.
All the higher animals, as we know, have evolved from the fishes and reptiles, and all in common possess a spine which in its fundamental characteristics is very much the same now as when it was first evolved. In other words, the spine is a bodily structure as old as the rock-ribbed hills. It has stood the test of time, and therefore must be regarded as the most highly perfected mechanical structure in the body. Its strength combined with its flexibility and its perfect adjustment as a container for the central nervous system, makes it perhaps the most wonderful structure in the body outside of the brain and the spinal cord itself. While other organs and features of the body have been changed and modified to such an extent in the various species which have been evolved that they can hardly be recognized as having a common origin, yet the spine has remained substantially the same. It is true that the spine has been shortened in many species as the result of the loss of the tail, but this means only the dropping off of a part of it and does not greatly alter its fundamental character.
The human spine, however, differs from that of other animals in respect to its suitability for the erect posture. Man is the only animal in the world who can straighten his body and stand perfectly erect. Even the anthropoid apes when standing on their feet assume a somewhat oblique position. The vertebral column in animal life was first developed on the horizontal plane, and so, naturally, when man was evolved and adopted the erect position, certain modifications of the spine were necessary. A new strain developed on the vertebral column which was due to the new position, and so there came about certain changes in its structure. For one thing the spine became less flexible and gained in stability, especially in the lower sections. The sacrum, for instance, is created by the fusing together of several vertebrae into one bone for the sake of greater strength and stability. The sacrum in man is much broader than in animals, for it must supply solidity and strength to the lower part of the spine, thus adapting it to the vertical position, and in the same way the lower vertebrae generally are comparatively broader and heavier, gradually decreasing in size and tapering toward the top of the spine like the trunk of a tree.
This particular feature of the human backbone is worthy of special consideration because it is the upper section of the spine, in which the vertebrae are smaller and tapering, that weakness is most likely to exist. It is in this upper section of the spine that strength is most needed in order to preserve it in perfect alignment, and keep the body properly erect. And it is for this reason, as the reader will see, that exercises affecting the upper parts of the spine are most important. Therefore I have given them special attention.
The curves in the human spine are characteristic, illustrating in another way the modification of the vertebral column that has been made necessary by the erect position. The new-born baby has a backbone that is almost straight, and in this respect it bears a strong resemblance to that of many of the lower animals. The typical human curves, however, begin to take form as soon as the child learns to sit up, and they become more marked as he learns to walk and run. These curves are essential to maintaining the balance of the body in the erect position.
There are really three curves in the human backbone, the cervical curve being convex, the dorsal concave, and the lumbar convex, when each is regarded from the forward aspect. If we consider the sacrum and coccyx, there is really a fourth curve, this being concave, although in animals generally the coccyx curves backwards and is extended to form the tail. In some of the lower animals the spine is nearly straight, while in some cases it virtually forms a complete arch from one end to the other.
These curves of the spine are generally more marked in the civilized white races than among the black and savage races, and as a rule they are more pronounced among women than among men. For instance, in comparing the sexes we find that in a woman the lumbar curve is more marked and extends slightly higher than in a man, and that the broad sacrum characteristic of the human race is even wider, being thus adapted to the broader hips and wider pelvic cavity of the child- bearing sex.
Now, the maintenance of a strong and erect spine, and especially of the normal curves of youth is most important. With the weakness of advancing age the curves, particularly in the upper part of the spine, tend to become more pronounced. The more accentuated these curves are the greater is the weakness of the spine and of the muscles of the back that is indicated. It is said that a man is as old as his spine, since the deterioration of the spine means the loss of elasticity and supporting power in the disk-like cartilages between the vertebrae, and also the loss of strength in the muscles and ligaments of the back which tend to hold the spinal vertebrae in place. It is usually found that vigorous old men who are mentally and physically active at eighty or ninety years are those who have maintained an erect bearing until late in life, who have kept their spines straight and strong instead of allowing them to bend over and double up. In other words, the deterioration of the spine means a general loss of bodily vigor and a decline in the nervous energy or vitality.
With the flattening down of the cushiony disks or cartilages between the vertebrae, and also with the dislocation even in the slightest degree of these vertebrae, there is brought about more or less interference with the free action of the spinal cord itself and of the spinal nerves. The pinching of these nerves naturally interferes with the supply of energy to the organs controlled by them, and causes more or less serious derangement of the bodily functions. If one can keep his spine straight and strong the central nervous system will likewise be healthy and vigorous, and all organs will be supplied with a normal amount of energy and vitality.
The special exercises for the spine which I have recommended for years have the general effect not only of maintaining the proper alignment of the vertebrae and thus promoting the health and welfare of the central nervous system, but also of strongly stimulating the nervous system, and thus toning up the entire bodily organism. All movements of the spine, whether of a twisting or bending character, naturally influence the spinal cord and the spinal nerves in a mechanical way. The result is something akin to a massage of these nerve structures, and in this way, as I have long contended, it is possible directly to stimulate the source of energy and vitality. I am convinced for this reason that muscular exercise for the back is infinitely more important than for any other part of the body, important as it is for all parts. If one has only very little time each day to devote to exercise, then it would pay him best to give that time to movements which will strengthen and stimulate the spine.
The various movements that I am presenting in this chapter have been devised especially to accompany the hot-water regimen that will be described in the following chapter. They are intended not only to add to the strength of the backbone itself, but have been devised with a view to stimulating to an unusual degree the nerve centers located in the spine. As I have already said, the spinal nerves control the functions of all the vital organs, and when the activity of these organs is stimulated not only through increased nerve force but also by the increased supply of blood that will result from the hot water- drinking regimen referred to, then indeed will we have a combination of stimulating forces which will bring about vital changes, in very many cases, little short of astounding in character.
Each of these exercises should be taken until a feeling of fatigue has been noticed, after which you may rest a few moments, breathing fully and deeply with expanded abdomen. You should then be ready to begin the next exercise. There is little danger of soreness from taking these movements when they are combined with hot water-drinking, as recommended in Chapter VI, The water seems to cleanse the tissues of the waste products which ordinarily cause soreness when one begins the practice of exercises to which one is not accustomed. If one possesses unusual vigor, then to the exercises illustrated in this chapter may be added those movements appearing in the following chapter. All of the exercises given in this chapter are designed exclusively for the stimulation of the spine and nerve centers. Those illustrated in the next chapter are intended chiefly to accelerate the circulation throughout the chest, arms, legs and body as a whole, for when going through a treatment of this character it is naturally advisable for one to arouse the activity of all the functions associated with tissue changes throughout all parts of the body.
Although these exercises have not been devised especially for corrective purposes in cases of spinal curvature, yet they will be of exceptional value in all such cases, or at least, where there is no radical mechanical deformity of the vertebral column. Curvatures may be prevented in all cases, or may be decreased, or even reduced entirely by exercise of this type. Incidentally the practice of exercises for improving the spine and giving one the proper erect carriage has a very marked effect upon the chest. An erect position always means expanded chest walls, with plenty of room for the free activity of the heart and lungs.
CHAPTER VI: Cleansing and Stimulating the Alimentary Canal
The alimentary canal has been rightly termed the human fire-box. It is there that the energy is created which runs the human machine. The importance of cleanliness in this part of the physical organism cannot be too greatly emphasized. Nearly all diseases have their beginning in the stomach or some other part of the alimentary canal. Defective digestion and imperfect assimilation represent the beginning of many incurable and deadly diseases.
In seeking methods for building unusual vigor and vitality, one of the first requirements is definite information on the care of the alimentary canal. Mere regularity of the bowels does not in all cases indicate a healthy condition of the stomach and bowels. A movement in order to be of the right sort should be so thorough that it leaves one with a feeling of emptiness and cleanliness. In other words, you should feel that the colon has been evacuated thoroughly. Many who have regular bowel movements do not have this satisfying sensation afterwards. When the movement is satisfactory in every way little or no straining is necessary. The colon simply empties itself thoroughly, and the evacuation is then complete. However, few have movements of the bowels that are satisfactory to this extent. There should be at least one bowel movement of this kind each day. Two movements of this character would be better, but one is sufficient if thorough.
Do not acquire the idea that the bowels must move at a certain time each day with unintermitted regularity, for they are subject to the same extent as the appetite to what might be termed idiosyncrasies, according to environment and other influences. For instance, you are not always hungry at meal-time. Occasionally you eat very little or skip one or more meals, and it would be a serious mistake to goad your appetite with some stimulant or to eat a meal without an appetite. One can hardly say that to force a bowel movement when its necessity is not naturally indicated is as harmful as to eat a meal when it is not craved, but unquestionably it is of advantage to have the bowels move of their own accord, as the result of a natural impulse. Movements that do not come through the call of an instinct for relief are rarely satisfactory, and, though we strongly emphasize the necessity of regularity of the bowels, it is not absolutely necessary that this call should come at a certain time during each day; and though it is undoubtedly of some advantage if such is the case, yet so long as there is one evacuation each day of the satisfactory sort described, you can be assured that your alimentary canal is in a normal and healthy condition.
However, should the bowels fail to move at the regular time this need not cause concern if you are feeling "up to the mark," and there are no other symptoms that would indicate possible trouble. I mention this alimentary peculiarity to enable my readers to avoid the slavish idea that it is impossible to be in health unless the bowels move at certain times with clock-like regularity.
Naturally when the contents of the alimentary canal are allowed to accumulate for a considerable period and there is sluggishness throughout the various parts of the small and large intestines, poisons of all kinds are generated and absorbed into the circulation, thus creating conditions ranging all the way from a feeling of lethargy to a condition of weakness and disease that confines one to an invalid's bed. Regardless of the attention that you may give to the other information in this book, it is extremely important that you should realize the necessity for active elimination.
It is necessary in the maintenance of alimentary health to avoid a slavish adherence to the theory of definitely regular movements of the bowels and still not to make the mistake of allowing them to become chronically sluggish or irregular. As a rule you should depend upon having regular movements each day, though if occasionally a day is missed you should not allow this deviation to worry you.
Recognizing as I do the great importance of a healthy alimentary canal I have given a vast amount of attention to the various methods which have been suggested from time to time by students of natural healing for assisting to regulate the functional processes of this important part of our organism. The flushing of the lower bowel for instance has been widely recommended, and it is unquestionably of value in some cases. However, it cleanses only the lower part of the alimentary canal, that is to say, the colon. It assists the small intestines no doubt by giving their contents free access to the colon, but yet this aid cannot directly affect them. If you have in view the cleansing of the entire alimentary canal from stomach to rectum, the enema is often of indifferent value. The use of various laxative foods can be recommended in most instances, though even these sometimes fail to bring about satisfying results, and then again there are cases where they provide a remedy for only a short period, after which the bowels resume their old state of chronic torpidity. Naturally we cannot consider cathartics of any kind, notwithstanding their power to produce temporary results. In all cases the after effects of their use are seriously destructive to the delicate nerves controlling the alimentary canal and its functions in general. Cathartics invariably make the real condition more obstinate and serious.
It is well to remember that the real cause of constipation in virtually every instance, is the want of vital vigor of the structures and tissues involved. Digestion, though to a certain extent a chemical process, is very largely mechanical. The muscles of the stomach "churn" the food in the beginning of the digestive process, after which the circulatory muscle fibers of the small intestines continue the work. If these muscles are lacking in tone, if they are relaxed, prolapsed and weak, then they cannot properly perform their functions. In attempting to strengthen this important part of the bodily organism the necessity for increasing the vigor of the muscular tissues must invariably be definitely recognized. Strong muscles for carrying on the work required of these blood-making organs are of far more importance than strength of the external muscles. For this reason when the system is toned up by any means a beneficial change in the alimentary functions and excretions will always be noted.
During a careful study extending over at least a quarter of a century of all health-building methods, I have acquainted myself with numerous theories and remedies which have been applied in accelerating alimentary activity. I am, in this chapter, presenting a new system or combination of means for strengthening and stimulating the alimentary functions which experience has proved to be of extraordinary value. This method has the advantage of directly affecting the organs involved, and results can be obtained speedily in virtually every instance.
This system of alimentary stimulation can be roughly described as a combination of hot-water-drinking and a nerve-center-stimulating process. The best time for giving this method a thorough trial is immediately upon arising in the morning. It should not be attempted at any other time of the day, for it is especially important that the stomach should be free of any recently ingested food.
All that is required to carry out this treatment is one or two quarts of boiling water, a minute quantity of salt, and a cup that will hold from one-half a pint to one pint of water. The second phase of this treatment is exercise and comprises the series of movements illustrated in this work. Wherever possible these nerve-stimulating exercises should be taken out-of-doors or before an open window. If the weather is cold, you should wear enough clothing to maintain a satisfactory degree of warmth; if the weather is warm, the less clothing worn the better. If the skin is especially inactive, or if it is suffering from a disease in which the eliminating process ordinarily accelerated by a Russian or Turkish bath is of value, then wear heavy warm clothing while taking the treatment. A thick sweater is advantageous under such circumstances. A profuse perspiration will result, indicating a purifying process that is of special value when the system needs to be cleansed of the accumulated poisons which are the direct cause of nearly all diseases.
If you are capable of taking about two quarts of water in the course of the exercise then each cup should contain nearly a pint, but if you cannot drink over one quart each cup should contain not more than half a pint.
Before beginning the nerve-stimulating exercise drink the first cup of hot water, putting a pinch of salt in the bottom of the cup to take away the flat taste of the hot water. Pour the cup half full of boiling water and then add cold water until it is sufficiently cool to be rapidly swallowed. Drink the water as hot as possible without sipping it. Now take exercises 11, 12 and 14. Continue each one of these movements until a feeling of fatigue is noticed, after which you are ready for a second cup of hot water.
Don't hurry. Don't continue any movement to exhaustion, though a feeling of local fatigue in the particular muscles concerned is desirable. This feeling, however, should entirely disappear after a rest of one or two minutes.
After the second cup of hot water you are ready for exercises 13, 7 and 8, whereupon you may take a third cup of hot water. You may then take exercises 15, 16 and 9, followed by another cup of hot water, and then exercises 17, 6 and 10, and so on. While this is suggested as a general plan, it is not imperative that this order be followed strictly, for your individual requirements might be better suited by minor variations; for instance, by two or four exercises between the intervals of hot-water-drinking.
If you find your capacity is unequal to the quantity of hot water suggested, then simply take as much as you can without inconvenience or discomfort. Each day, however, while following this method you will find your hot-water-drinking capacity will increase, though as a rule, a person of average weight and height can take from one to two quarts without serious inconvenience. The hot-water- drinking together with the exercise will naturally very greatly increase the pulse, and where there is heart disease or any weakness of the heart this treatment must be taken with unusual care. In virtually every case this method will materially increase the strength of a weak heart, though there is naturally the possibility of strain, and the treatment should be adapted to your strength in the beginning and very gradually increased week by week.
Temporary attacks of constipation, where severe enough to need attention, can usually be ready for exercises 13, 7 and 8, whereupon you may take a third cup of hot water. You may then take exercises 15, 16 and 9, followed by another cup of hot water, and then exercises 17, 6 and 10, and so on.
While this is suggested as a general plan, it is not imperative that this order be followed strictly, for your individual requirements might be better suited by minor variations; for instance, by two or four exercises between the intervals of hot-water-drinking.
Temporary attacks of constipation, where severe enough to need attention, can usually be quickly remedied by this hot-water- drinking, nerve-stimulating method. Usually, if there is need for a movement of the bowels an instinctive and compelling desire will appear while taking the treatment or very shortly thereafter. If, however, you feel there is a necessity for such a movement and it does not appear, you can rest assured that the treatment has brought about sufficient benefit to excite the activity of the organs involved and that the desire will come later. In some very obstinate cases of constipation, or in serious temporary attacks of this difficulty, where a movement of the bowels is desired quickly, from one-quarter to one-half a level teaspoonful of salt can be added to each cup of hot water. This will in nearly all cases insure a speedy and satisfactory bowel movement. This, however, is not advised unless absolutely necessary.
It is well to point out that this treatment in its extreme form can hardly be used with complete satisfaction by those who are below average strength. In any case, however, the drinking of a small amount of hot water can be attempted and the exercises illustrated can be used, if one is careful not to make his efforts too severe. The hot-water- drinking process as well as the exercise must, however, be adapted to the requirements of each individual, and it may be well in most cases to experiment two or three times before following all of these suggestions in detail.
Where one is lacking in vital strength a beginning can be made by taking only two cups of hot water, using exercises 7, 8 and 9, which can be taken in a reclining position.
One may continue in this way for a week or two, after which a third cup of hot water might be added. In this way one can gradually increase the amount of water consumed and the vigor and the amount of the exercise taken.
Where there is a tendency toward rheumatism, gout, neuritis, neuralgia, or where there are any other symptoms indicating the accumulation of poisons or impurities in the system, it is advisable to use distilled water, though if this cannot be secured ordinary boiled water will be satisfactory. At least be sure to boil your water before using if it is heavily charged with mineral matter, since boiling tends to precipitate lime salts. In other words, hard water is not desirable in such cases.
The hot-water-drinking regimen in itself has a decidedly beneficial effect upon the stomach and intestines. But much better results, especially in the case of constipation, are secured when the special nerve-stimulating exercises recommended are taken in connection with it. By this combination we obtain results that cannot be secured in any other way. In fact, stiffness, soreness and rheumatic "twinges" in various parts of the body are often removed with astounding rapidity through the help of this particular treatment. The cleansing and eliminating functions are stimulated to an extraordinary extent by combining these two blood-purifying forces: hot-water-drinking and the stimulation of the nerve centers.
This regimen is also a splendid means of increasing the weight in cases of defective assimilation. It seems to tone up the entire vital and functional system, in addition to directly influencing the digestive organs. The hot water alone tends to cleanse and empty very thoroughly the stomach and intestines, also to stimulate the secretion of the digestive juices. Those who are below normal weight chiefly because of poor assimilative powers are especially advised to give this method a thorough trial for a period of a few weeks.
Again, if your complexion is sallow, dull, and "muddy," a remarkable improvement will speedily appear as a result of this treatment. In a recent case I observed a surprising change at the end of one week in a complexion that had been sallow and lifeless. The complexion in this instance not only assumed an improved color, but the tissues of the face were also filled out considerably, and when improvement is thus manifested on the surface you can well realize that the internal changes are even more pronounced.
The devitalized condition of the various glands and structures in this part of the body is gradually remedied by the improvement in the circulation that comes with what might be termed a stimulating supply of liquids, and the same good result is accomplished, so far as the general circulation is concerned, in the welfare of the body as a whole. Those suffering from high blood pressure will find this treatment of unusual value, though great care should, of course, be taken to avoid any movements that are in any way exhausting or violent. When the blood is in a thick or viscous condition the use of the hot water adds to its fluidity, and it can then be forced more easily through the capillaries, thus greatly lessening the blood pressure. It is well known that a low blood pressure is conducive to endurance and to general health. And when these exercises especially advised for stimulating the nerve centers and for strengthening and vitalizing the spine are combined with a liberal use of hot water, the blood is forced through all the tissues, with the general effect of thoroughly cleansing all parts, in addition to immediately cleansing the alimentary canal.
It is customary among athletes to use massage, or what is commonly called a "rub down," following their exercise. The purpose of this is to increase the circulation and thereby to carry out of the muscles the fatigue-poisons that have accumulated therein during the exercise. Now if a large amount of hot water is used in connection with movements such as we are illustrating, this purpose will be even more thoroughly accomplished during the exercise itself, as the muscular and other tissues are virtually flushed out owing to the more fluid character of the blood and its more ready and perfect circulation through all parts. One who feels stiff from severe exercise, or finds his tissues sore for other reasons, should be able to overcome this stiffness and gain a sense of refreshment through this method.
Referring to the subject of elimination in the case of fatigue, I might say that some students have ascribed the feeling of fatigue at the end of the day's work to an accumulation of deposits within the walls of the arteries and veins, which deposits are ordinarily carried off during sleep. If this theory is true I can think of no simpler or more satisfactory method of removing this waste matter in the blood-vessels than this system of flushing them. For producing immediate results of any kind there is no other method so far as I know which is so effective as this if one has sufficient strength properly to use it. I have known cases in which a headache has been cured in a few minutes by sprinting or other violent exercise, and cases in which neuralgic toothaches and other pains have yielded to vigorous exercise continued for a prolonged period. I have also known the same relief to be obtained by drinking a liberal quantity of hot water, but in all such instances results would be more quickly and certainly secured through a combination of these stimulating forces.
To repeat for clearness and emphasis, the method outlined consists of the following:
A combination of hot-water-drinking and specially adapted movements for stimulating the nerve centers.
Half a pint to a pint of hot water-as hot as can be drunk-to be taken on beginning the treatment immediately on arising in the morning. An additional quantity of hot water to be taken each five to ten minutes thereafter until from one to two quarts have been consumed.
A large amount of clothing to be worn if profuse perspiration is desired, though where an increase of weight is of advantage and no actual disease exists in the system, no more clothing should be worn than is necessary to maintain warmth.
When a bowel movement is definitely needed, a complete and perfectly satisfactory evacuation is often brought about while taking this treatment. The cleansing process, however, will result in a clearer brain and an improved physical as well as mental capacity, whether or not the bowels act immediately, and one can nearly always depend upon a satisfactory movement later.
When there is suffering from temporary attacks of constipation and immediate relief is desired, add from one-quarter to one-half a level teaspoonful of salt to each cup of hot water. Speedy results can be depended upon in virtually every case. Another method of accomplishing the same thing is to continue the hot-water-drinking even beyond the two quarts suggested, adding no more than a small pinch of salt to each cup, as previously suggested. No harm will come from this excessive water-drinking if one is possessed of a normal amount of vigor.
If one is athletic, jumping one to two hundred times, as when jumping a rope, just previous to moving the bowels is often of value in inducing a natural desire that in nearly all cases brings satisfactory results. Where it is difficult to take the amount of water prescribed, take as much as you conveniently can, gradually increasing the quantity each day.
This hot-water-drinking regimen is not necessarily recommended as a permanent measure to be continued every day for an indefinite period. When you feel that your physical status is satisfactory in every way, you can drop the method for a few days, after which it can be resumed as desired, though it would be of advantage to continue taking the exercises each day, and if even one or two glasses of hot water are taken beneficial results would accrue.
CHAPTER VII: Exercise for Vitality Building
Inactivity is non-existence. It means death. Our bodily powers and organs were given to us for a definite purpose. Failure to use them brings serious penalties. There can be no real health with physical stagnation. To be sure, we may point to some men possessing extraordinary vitality who, apparently, have lived without exercise. But a study of their habits of life will usually bring to light some form of muscular activity, even if it be nothing more than a moderate amount of walking. In some cases, such extraordinary vitality may be possessed that health laws can be broken with apparent impunity, but it will usually be found that a vigorous constitution was developed in early youth from plenty of exercise. However, the failure to observe these important bodily requirements invariably means trouble before reaching the period at which old age begins.
Though the average of human life has been greatly increased through the decline in infant mortality, the death rate among men of middle age has more than doubled in the past thirty years. And even if those of exceptional vitality can neglect their physical requirements without suffering, the man of limited energy, who is trying to build vitality, certainly cannot afford to do so.