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Dr. Felix Oswald – Excerpts


Shelton, Herbert. (1931). The Hygienic Care of Children. Youngstown, OH. National Health Association. 

Pg 14

“The hygienic principles and practices herein have been developed during the past one hundred and fifty years and have been thoroughly tested in practice. The names of Jennings, Trall, Graham, Taylor, Shew, Page, Dewey, Walter, Oswald, Densmore, and Tilden in America, Combe in England, Rikili and Lahmann in Germany, Berg in Sweden, and Bircher-Benner in Switzerland, are deserving of special mention in connection with the development of these principles and practices.”

“Mother’s Hygienic Hand-book, Trall 1874; How to Feed the Baby, Page, 1882; Natural Hygiene, Lahmann, 1898; Physical Education, Oswald, 1901; The Care of Children, Tilden, 1916; and Children, Their Health and Happiness, Tilden, 1928; are the best books that have appeared which deal with the care of children. All of these are now out of print.”

Pg 21

“Dr. Oswald declares: “Infancy should be a period of exceptional health; the young of other creatures are healthier, as well as prettier, purer, and merrier, than the adults, yet the childhood years of the human animal are the years of sorest sickliness; statistics show that among the Caucasian races, men of thirty have more hope to reach a good old age than a new born child has to reach the end of its second year.”

Pg 22

“Many thousands of women die in childbirth in this country every year. Many more die from conditions associated with pregnancy and birth. These facts indicate a deplorable physical condition of our women. How can such women give birth to healthy offspring? Dr. Oswald’s observation that “each new birth is a hygienic regeneration,” is very true and we are often amazed at the fine physical condition of infants born of ill-conditioned mothers, but the fact still remains that the best physical specimens can be produced only by women of the highest physiological excellence.”

Pg 57

“Primitives who do not even have diapers for their babies do not swaddle them nor put binders on them. Dr. Oswald said: “Indian babies never cry; they are neither “swaddled nor cradled, but crawl around freely, and sleep in the dry grass or on the fur covered floor of the wigwam. Continued rocking would make the toughest sailor sea-sick. Tight swaddling is downright torture; it would try the patience of a Stoic to keep all his limbs in a constrained position for such a length of time; a young ape subjected to the same treatment would scream from morning till night.”

Pg 99

“Fat Babies

A farmer once remarked to Dr. Page, in discussing the tenderness of his pig-pork which he had raised himself, “why, even the bones are so tender, they are almost as soft as the flesh itself.” Farmers and stockmen fatten hogs, poultry and cattle for the market, because the more they weigh, the more money they bring, but these animals are saved from disease and suffering by being butchered ahead of the development of cholera, hoof-and-mouth disease, etc. As we do not, except in war, send fat human animals to the butcher, they die prematurely of kidney disease, heart disease, apoplexy, and, like the fat animals of the ranch and farm, are reproductively impotent, so far as transmitting the potentials of vigor, viability and virility to their offspring. A fertile woman becomes fat and ceases forthwith to be fertile. The same thing is seen in animals.”

“Fat, rachitic children present about the same condition as the farmer’s fat hogs. But mothers, nurses and physicians all, as a rule, answer well to Dr. Felix Oswald’s description in the following words from his Physical Education (P.202): “The representative nurse believes in cramming; babies like prize-pigs, are most admired when they are ready to die with fatty degeneration. The child is coaxed to suckle almost every half-hour, day after day, till habit begets a morbid appetite, analogous to the dyspeptic’s stomach distress which no food can relieve till overrepletion brings on a sort of gastric lethargy.”

Pg 107

“It is my position that nature has provided for the needs of the human infant during this period of life as well as she has provided for the needs of the young of other mammals and that it is the absence of perversion rather than the absence of soft food or of animal milk that causes these mothers to nurse their babies and children for prolonged periods. Dr. Felix Oswald held a similar view. On page 29 of his Physical Education he says that “the appearance of the eye-teeth (cuspids) and lesser molars mark the end of the second year as the period when healthy children may be gradually accustomed to semi-fluid vegetable substances. Till then, milk should form their only sustenance. But mothers whose employment does not interfere with their inclination in this respect may safely nurse their children for a much longer period.” In support of this he says: “The wives of the sturdy Argyll peasants rarely wean a bairn before its claim is disputed by the next youngster and the stoutest urchin of five years I ever saw was the son of a Servian widow, who still took him to her breast like a baby.” Supporting this position, Dr. Chas. E. Page says: “In the absence of particular circumstances compelling premature weaning, I believe that the mother’s milk providing the mother be in fair health and the babe evidently thriving on her milk, is the best food for the infant during the first eighteen months, and even until the end of the second year.”

Excerpt From

The Hygienic Care of Children

Herbert M. Shelton

This material may be protected by copyright.

Trop, Jack. (1961). You Don’t Have to Be Sick. New York: Julian Press. 

Pg 17-18

“This little I have learned, and for this I am grateful to Graham, Jennings, Trall, Alcott, Nichols, Lewis, Oswald, and the many other literate natural hygienists, including at the top of the list the great modern interpreter, Herbert M. Shelton. Natural hygiene is solidly founded on the building stones of the great pioneers who laid down the basic principles of this art of normal living. It teaches that good health is a composite of many factors, including beauty, grace, strength, and vitality. Good health is “wholeness,” and we have it only when all parts of the body, mind, and soul are “at ease.” The temptation here at this early stage of our studying together is to quote extensively in support of this natural hygienic doctrine. At this juncture I will permit myself only one, from Paracelsus: “The physician who wants to know man must look upon him as a whole, and not as a piece of patched-up work. If he finds a part of the human body diseased, he must look for the cause which produced the disease, and not merely the external effects.”

“What natural hygiene enables us to do is to keep this body of ours at the peak of efficiency, in a state of vigorous and vibrant health so that until our last breath we may carry on the search for truth.”

Pg 94

“In Cincinnati, Ohio, in the year 1881, Felix Oswald, M.D., wrote an introduction to his book, Physical Education. He said in part: “The science of health is still a barren tree. Our wealthy minds dwell in poor tabernacles; the right method of promoting man’s physical welfare seems to be one of the utterly lost arts. The machinery of our printing-presses, locomotives, and power-looms has been brought to a wonderful degree of perfection, while the mechanisms of our own bodies is getting more and more out of joint.”

Excerpt From

You Don’t Have to Be Sick

Jack Dunn Trop

This material may be protected by copyright.

Lennon, J., Taylor, S. (1996). The Natural Hygiene Handbook. National Health Association, Youngstown, OH.

Pg 20-21

“History of Natural Hygiene

Natural Hygiene has a long and impressive history. Much of the health and nutrition advice being touted today as “new” and “revolutionary”—such as the advantages of a vegetarian diet, the incredible self-healing powers of the body, the role of fasting in the recovery of health, and the importance of avoiding unnecessary drugs and surgery—were promoted by Natural Hygienists as far back as 150 years ago.

Beginning in the 1830s, the Hygiene Movement has been led by an unbroken line of physicians who rejected orthodox medical practice and dedicated themselves to teaching people how to live disease-free lives. These men and women were startlingly ahead of their times.

Pioneers of Natural Hygiene”

“Some of the most prominent among these physicians were: Isaac Jennings, M.D. (1788-1874); William Alcott, M.D. (1798-1859) (cousin of Louisa May Alcott); James Caleb Jackson, M.D. (1811-1895); Russell Thacker Trall, M.D.(1812-1877); Thomas Low Nichols, M.D. (1815-1901); George H. Taylor, M.D. (1821-1896); Harriet Austin, M.D. (1826-1891); Susanna Way Dodds, M.D. (1830-1911); Emmett Densmore, M.D. (1837-1911); Robert Walter, M.D. (1841-1921); Felix Oswald, M.D. (1845-1906); John Tilden, M.D. (1851-1940); George S. Weger, M.D. (1874-1935); and Herbert M. Shelton, N.D. (1895-1985).”

Excerpt From

The Natural Hygiene Handbook

James Michael Lennon and Susan Taylor

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Shelton, Herbert. (1974). Fasting For Renewal of Life. Youngstown. National Health Association

Pg 28

“Man tends to abstain from food when under great emotional distress, and rejection of food is frequent among the insane. Although it is common to force feed these mentally ill subjects, it is doubtful if this enforced feeding is proper. Man instinctively fasts under certain conditions, as do the lower animals, and this is probably an instinctive abstinence that will, if not interrupted, prove very beneficial. Indeed, my experience with such invalids has convinced me that it is beneficial.

Felix Oswald, M.D., says: “The fasting-cure instinct is not limited to our dumb fellow creatures. It is a common experience that pain, fevers, gastric congestions, and even mental afflictions ‘take away the appetite’ and only unwise nurses will try to thwart the purpose of nature in this respect.”

Pg 36

“An individual with normal nutrition can omit a meal or more at any time without ill-feeling or loss of strength. If discomfort follows missing a meal, this is the surest evidence that the individual is in need of a fast and a change of eating practices. Genuine hunger (a normal demand for food) is never accompanied by any disagreeable feelings whatever. There is no pain, no distress, no weakness—real or simulated—no gnawing in the stomach. The demand for food is not felt in the stomach, and we are not aware that we have a stomach. An awareness of organs is a sure sign of disease.”

“In my experiments with the fasting cure,” wrote Dr. Oswald, “I have noticed the curious fact that for the first day or two the clamors of the stomach are restricted to certain hours, and can be induced to waive a disregarded claim,” He also said, “Convalescents who have already reduced the morning lunch to the standard of a Spartan breakfast, a ‘heathen fig and a thrice accursed biscuit,’ can beguile the dinner-hour by diverting pastimes, and upon their return home will find that the craving for food has yielded to sleepiness, and the sweetness of the night’s rest will be worth seven meals. It is during such periods of undisturbed rest that the work of repair makes its surest progress, and for the first three or four months it would be a good plan to imitate the example of the Ebonite heretics, who observed a weekly fast-day in the Ugoline sense of the word.”

With a normal demand for food (hunger) a sense of comfort and well-being always follows a moderate meal. The individual feels fine, he is strong and, if necessary, he easily waits an hour or longer for his meal. Waiting causes no discomfort.”

Pg 83

“In any flux, issue, diarrhea, bronchorrea, dropsy; flow of fluid into the pleura, pericardium, peritoneum; water on the brain, flow of pus from any chronic suppuration; polyuria, and other flowings from the body or into any of its cavities, a fast will favorably affect the subject and hasten recovery. Water may also be profitably abstained from in these cases. Thereafter a proper diet fitted to the need and capacities of the body will assist in preventing a recurrence. If rest is given and the habits of life corrected so that normal nerve energy is restored, the invalid will get well.”

“In any flux, issue, diarrhea, bronchorrea, dropsy; flow of fluid into the pleura, pericardium, peritoneum; water on the brain, flow of pus from any chronic suppuration; polyuria, and other flowings from the body or into any of its cavities, a fast will favorably affect the subject and hasten recovery. Water may also be profitably abstained from in these cases. Thereafter a proper diet fitted to the need and capacities of the body will assist in preventing a recurrence. If rest is given and the habits of life corrected so that normal nerve energy is restored, the invalid will get well.”  

“In chronic disease, fasting, by creating a nutritional scarcity, forces the body to surrender superfluities and to eliminate encumbrances, which it cannot achieve in a state of surfeit. The surrender of surplus material is compatible with increasing powers and with processes of physiological and biological readjustment. The point I wish to impress upon the mind of my readers is that in a fast, the body tears down its defective parts and then builds anew when eating is resumed. As Dr. Felix Oswald so aptly expressed it, “nature employs the long desired leisure for general housecleaning purposes; the accumulations of superfluous tissues are overhauled and analyzed; the usable components are employed with which to sustain the functioning tissues, the refuse is thoroughly and permanently removed—eliminated.” Although the digestive system has no work to do during a fast, there is no reduction of the work the excretory system has to do. Indeed, at first, at least, the liver and kidneys do more work. “As the body’s fingers feel among its nutritive reserves for the nutrients needed to sustain its functioning tissues, stored toxins are released into the circulation. I do not agree, however, with the theory that the increased elimination seen in fasting is wholly incidental to the body’s search for nutriment. Nutrition and excretion are each equally basic processes of life. They are coexistent, coeval, and interdependent. The increase of excretion is too immediate upon the beginning of the fast to be considered as resulting wholly from the release of stored toxins. The increase begins while the body is still absorbing nutriment from the digestive tract. The amount excreted is far greater than can be reasonably expected to result from the autolytic digestion of food reserves. It frequently continues to be great after the weight losses have fallen to a quarter of a pound a day or less. We consider that the reduction in the work of digestion liberates energy that is used to step up the process of elimination.”

Pg 86


Chaos will continue to reign as long as the world believes that disease is an entity and that there are hundreds and thousands of them. Before we can begin to establish anything like a reliable means of care of the sick organism, we must have a clear and intelligent conception of the needs of the healthy organism, and we must have an equally clear and intelligent conception of the nature of disease. Lacking this knowledge, we can only grope in the dark and continue to go astray, as has been done in the past. For this reason the following delineations are of the utmost importance, for only if the cause of a disease is known, can it be removed and health restored.

“Rightly interpreted,” says Dr. Felix Oswald, “the external symptoms of disease constitute a restorative process that cannot be brought to a satisfactory issue till the cause of the evil is removed.” This premise is not an invention of Hygienists. We have watched the organism struggling under handicaps and have interpreted our observations.”

“Acute so-called diseases are crises in toxemia. Before so-called chronic diseases are established many such crises develop. People should know the causes of crises; they should know that if enervating habits are persisted in, repeated crises will evolve and that, finally, chronic disease will be established. When the function of an organ is stressed habitually by the way of life, its function becomes impaired. If the abuse is continued organic change occurs. All organic change must be cared for early, else it reaches a stage at which it is impossible for vital redemption to take place. Those who suffer radical organic change never get well.

Fever, by which we mean the rise in temperature, is part and only part of a general systemic activity designed to resist and expel an inimical substance or to repair damages. It is an expression of the body’s inherent power of healing.”

Pg 101

“Too frequent eating is as great a source of gastric irritation as the habit of overfilling the stomach at each meal. There may be occasional exceptions (although this may well be doubted), but eating three times a day is too often. This is especially true when each meal is a banquet. Most men and women can eat a breakfast of fruit, a light lunch and a heavy evening meal, but when they eat a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs, toast, cereal and milk, fruit and other foods, a big meal at noon and another big meal in the evening, they are sure to overeat. Such eating does not permit the stomach sufficient rest from one meal to the next. Sure, they eat anything; nothing hurts them; but when they keep this up until they cannot eat any more, everything hurts them. Then they try to have the consequences of their folly cut out by a surgeon. How stupid can we get!”

“While perhaps overeating and eating food combinations that impede normal digestion may be regarded as the chief causes of chronic irritation of the stomach, the habit of eating in a hurry, failure to masticate the food properly, eating hot and cold foods, and the practice of eating a hearty meal and returning to work immediately also hinder the digestive process. All such abuses help to lay the groundwork for disease of the stomach.

“Daily alcohol-fevers, combined with pepper and mustard inflammations would ruin the stomach of an ostrich,” says Dr. Oswald, “but in favor of the unfeathered biped, nature accepts such vicarious atonements as gout and dropsy. Thousands of Bavarian beer-swillers who are hardly able to walk are still able to digest their food.”

“While taking such stimulants as tea, coffee, and cocoa, and such narcotics as tobacco and alcohol, contributes to the causation of gastric impairment, the habit of using condiments is often worse. Acrid sauces, burning peppers, pungent spices, stinging mustard, mordant vinegar, biting alcohol, irritation-occasioning salt—when, how, why did man begin the practice of abusing his digestive system with these piercing, caustic substances? Curry and cayenne, mustard and horse radish, chili and tabasco sauce, whiskey and gin—what unfit substances to introduce into the human stomach! They have no food value, are indigestible and retard the digestion of the real foods. When taken regularly, they keep the stomach in a state of chronic inflammation. They damage the intestines and liver also. They lack a single redeeming feature and none of the defenses of their “use” is valid.

It should be understood that any act, habit or indulgence that lowers functioning power, this is to say, anything that causes enervation, will lessen digestive function and pave the way for the evolution of chronic gastritis. Overwork, loss of sleep, lack of rest, stimulation, food deficiencies, emotional stresses, etc., by lowering the power of the nerves to maintain normal function, produce indigestion.”

Excerpt From

Fasting For Renewal of Life

Herbert M. Shelton

This material may be protected by copyright.

Shelton, Herbert. (1974). Exercise! Youngstown, OH. National Health Association.

Pg 22

“Dr. Oswald says: “Ninety per cent of our children are so puny and scrofulous that the Spartan Gerontes would have drowned them in the Eurotas to put them out of their misery.” Yet “the constant supervision of our children could hardly go farther. We guard their health with“ all the care of a Grecian Systarchus—only not with the same success.”

Comparatively few children are born with irretrievably bad organizations. Even a delicate, puny infant, the offspring of scrofulous parents, may by means of careful, judicious and persevering physical training, become healthy, robust and beautiful. Many of our strong men, like Eugene Sandow, were weaklings in their early life. It is also true that vigorous, healthy children of healthy parents, often become, as a result of injudicious feeding, bad air, lack of exercise and sunshine and indulgences of various kinds, miserable, rickety, scrofulous children. Body culture is essential to secure vigorous youth, well developed manhood and womanhood and general physical efficiency.”

Pg 23

“In order to secure the highest possible excellence in the quality of the tissues of their children; wise parents will supply them with adequate nutrition, sunshine, sleep, vigorous exercise, fresh air and all other conditions essential to their growth and development. “The advantages of a hardy education in all such things are quite incalculable; the word hardiness sums up the chief characteristics that distinguish the moral and physical life of “the ante-Christian ages from the scrofulous effeminacy of our stoveroom civilization,” says Dr. Oswald.

Activity is as normal for the child as breathing. When unrestrained, all normal or near healthy children are distinguished for restless activity. Nature bids them exercise and they obey the urge, often in spite of ignorant parents, nurses, and teachers who scold and punish them for their restlessness. Children should be permitted to run, jump and romp with all their might from infancy onward. Like the lamb that skips and plays and the colt that rears and races, they should be permitted to obey the “law of exercise” which is inwrought in every muscle and function of their organization.”

Pg 27

“Dr. Skarstrom rightly says: “the values in social and moral ideas and habits of thought associated with and accruing from this kind of training are, of course, of overshadowing importance and would alone justify giving such activities a prominent place in any thorough-going scheme of education.” It is certain that in mental, moral and social training, games or athletics are far superior to gymnastic work. Play is especially important in the physical, emotional and social life of children. Dr. Oswald says, “nine-tenths of our children are literally starving for a lack of recreation, *** they would be healthier if they were happier. I would undertake to cure a sick child with fun and rye-bread sooner than with tidbits and tedium. “Thousands of our children do not know the meaning and the joys of play. They are denied its wholesome, mental, moral, physical, social, and spiritual influences in order that the lords of this world may coin their life-blood into gold. Long hours of weary toil, at poor pay, under the worst of conditions, stunts the minds and bodies of mere babies, while cold water is thrown into their faces to keep them awake. Child labor is the foulest blotch on the foul face of capitalism.

“The sweat-shops and cotton mills of our land where children in their teens toil in foul air, when they should be on the play grounds and in the schools, will be changed when we forever destroy the present system of exploitation of man by man for the private gain of a few. Their lives have been robbed as a day of its morning or a year of its spring time. They have been defrauded of their birthright to happiness, and not only their opportunity but their capacity for enjoyment is ebbing away. Their haggard faces and weary eyes mean that they feel unsatisfied hunger in a hundred forms, while their stunted bodies and dwarfted brains reveal the depths to which men will go in their greed for gain in a competitive world.”

“Dr. Oswald protested that “we shudder at the barbarity of the Cæsers, who permitted the combat of men with wild beasts, to cater to the amusement of the Roman populace; but we contemplate with great equanimity the misery of millions of our fellow-citizens, wearing away their lives in workshops and factories; millions of children of our nation and country, who have no recreation but sleep, no hope but oblivion, to whom the morning sun brings the summons of a task-master and the summer season nothing but lengthened hours of weary toil.”

Pg 45

“Civilization—life on the cooperative plan—exempts many from the necessity of supplying their daily wants by physical labor, while overworking many others. “Wealth removes,” says Dr. Oswald, “the objective necessity of physical exercise, but the subjective necessity remains; millions of city dwellers, in their pursuit of artificial luxuries, stunt their bodies in the natural means of happiness; they increase their stock of creature-comforts and decrease their capacity for enjoying them; religious and social dogmas pervert their natural instincts; their children are crammed with metaphysics till they forget the laws of God.”

“Man was once forced by stern necessity to secure plenty of physical exercise, but with the increasing development of civilization a large class of sedentary workers has grown up whose duties do not call for physical exertion. Like the well-fed dog, these become fat and lazy and develop a dignified look. Labor has been rather unequally divided so that many men are forced to overwork their bodies thus injuring them. On the other hand, specialism in work results in the over use of some parts of the body and neglect of other parts.”

Pg 46

“Exercise Versus Work

Dr. Oswald says: “Unless, we invent a labor-saving contrivance for every muscle of the human organism, there is not a day in the year nor an hour in the day when the practical business of life cannot be performed more easily and more pleasantly with the aid of a vigorous body, not to mention the moral disadvantages which never fail to attend the loss of manly self-reliance.”

“The physical worker, no less than the office worker, is in need of exercise. Nearly all modern occupations develop a stooping position, round shoulders, a drooping head and exercise one side of the body more than the other. The carpenter, the brick mason, the farmer, the wood cutter—these all work almost wholly in a stooped position. Hammering, sawing, pushing a plane, wielding an axe all tend to develop the muscles of the front of the chest and pull the shoulders forward. Some occupations place most strain upon the arms, others on the back. Some of them involve almost no exercise of the body. Most of those engaged in pursuits which call for considerable physical exertion are generally well-developed and strong only in particular parts.”

Pg 74

“The amount of exercise necessary depends largely upon the endurance and strength of the subject. It is a safe general rule to discontinue the exercise as soon as the muscles have become too tired to perform it vigorously. A few minutes of rest may be followed by more exercise.

Exercise should not be indulged in for at least an hour after eating. Dr. Oswald observes: “Animals rest after repletion and some of them never sleep till they have a good meal to digest.” Digestion is best during rest and sleep. Physical activity impedes it.”

Pg 79

“Developing the Body

In his Physical Education, Dr. Oswald says: “Physical vigor is the basis of all moral and bodily welfare, and a chief condition of permanent health. Like manly strength and female purity, gymnastics and temperance should go hand in hand. An effeminate man is half sick; without the stimulus of physical exercise, the complex organism of the human body is liable to disorders which abstinence and chastity can only partly counteract. The idea that the supremacy of the mind could be enforced by debilitating penances is a fatal mistake; an enervated body, instead of ministering to the needs of the mind, becomes a tyrant, a querulous capricious and exorbitant master.”

Pg 138

“In his Physical Education, Dr. Oswald says that in some parts of England, the title of the “strongest man in the neighborhood” was given to the man who could take the heaviest weight on his shoulder and walk with it the greatest distance with the firmest step. This is a real test of body strength. Suppose a man tries this who has strong arms but a weak back, what would happen? He probably would not be able to get the weight to his shoulder. If his leg and thigh muscles are weak he will “buckle” at the knees and “shamble” along for a short distance and then collapse. If he possesses weak side muscles, his hips will be thrust out to one side and it will be impossible to walk with a firm tread. If his trapezius muscle, which lifts and sustains the shoulder, is weak, the shoulder will slump“nd the weight will tend to fall off. Mr. Calvert says this “is a concrete example of what I mean by bodily strength; and I again want to emphasize the fact that super-strength is immense bodily strength, and not just arm-strength.”

Excerpt From


Herbert M. Shelton

This material may be protected by copyright.

Shelton, Herbert. (1968). Health for the Millions. Youngstown, OH. National Health Association.

Pg 147

“History testifies that the one-meal-a-day and two-meals-a-day systems were generally practiced among ancient peoples. One meal and two meals a day seem to have been the practice among all the so-called primitive tribes. The Tuareg of today eats his meal in the evening, often having but one meal a day. In Scotland, a hundred and seventy-five years ago, the practice was to take only two meals a day, at about nine in the morning and five or six in the evening. Both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible recognize but two meals a day. Herodotus tells us that the ancient Tyrrhenians (Etruscans) had two meals a day.”

“Dr. Felix L. Oswald said: “For more than a thousand years the one-meal system was the rule in two countries that could raise armies of men, every one of whom would have made his fortune as a modern athlete—men who marched for days under a load of iron (besides clothes and provisions) that would stagger a modern porter. Even here, abstinence is easier than temperance; for twenty-three hours of each day it is far easier to abstain from food (though, of course, not from water) than to begin eating and stop in time.”

“The truth of Dr. Oswald’s last statement is well borne out by the eating practices of present-day Americans. We find it difficult to stop eating once we have started.”

“The two countries to which Dr. Oswald referred were Greece and Rome. Greek meals were frugal and they ate two meals a day, with the chief meal eaten in the evening just before sunset. This practice was very ancient and was not the result of any advice given by physicians. In Homer, on one day we find Odysseus eating three dinners, a feat that Americans habitually perform day after day; but this was not common among the Greeks.”

“At the height of the Empire, most Romans, even those of the upper and middle classes, ate but two meals a day. For breakfast they had a glass of water; at midday they took some fruit and some cold meat; the biggest meal of the day was eaten in the evening, after the day’s work was completed. Among the wealthier classes this evening meal was likely to be a sumptuous affair with wine and pickled sow’s udder, oysters, roasted dormice sprinkled with honey and poppy seed, and dried fruits. What the working classes and slaves ate we do not know in detail, but it may be taken for granted that their meals were very simple and never sumptuous. Perhaps they did not have the midday meal.”

Pg 168

“Dr. Oswald wrote these significant words: “The walls of the stomach are lined with a nerve-interwoven, delicate membrane, which suffers from scalding fluids as much as any other tegumental tissues of the body, and by daily torrefactions becomes either calloused or chronically inflamed, and in either case, less fit for the performance of its important functions.”

“Eating when not hungry is a common cause of indigestion. Food is but one of the means of living and should not be permitted to dominate our thoughts and lives. Vague, undefinable “cravings” that so commonly lead people to eat, should not be our criteria of meal time. Genuine hunger alone is the body’s signal that food is needed and only when this is present should food be eaten. Then it should be eaten in tranquility and with self-control. Bolting food, eating hurriedly, eating with a neurotic compulsion that seems to say, “If I don’t get this food down in a hurry, I’ll not get to eat,”—such eating is extremely unhealthful and leads to much gastric distress.”

Pg 171

“Even as late as our grandfathers’ time, in spite of the mighty work accomplished by Graham, Trall, Jackson, Page, Oswald and a host of other crusaders for fresh air and ventilated bedrooms, most people slept with their bedrooms closed to exclude the “night air.” They seem not to have realized that “night air” and “day air” are the same air and that the air in the room at night is as much “night air” as the air outside, except that it is more foul.”

“But, to make sure that no “night air,” damp air and cold air ever touched them to give them colds, La Grippe, bronchitis, pneumonia and rheumatism, they closed windows and doors, used curtains, screens, night caps and other means of excluding the air. Night air was simply bad and it did not have to be either damp or cold, as they excluded the air in summer and during droughts.

“Indian scouts and fledgling birds might sleep outdoors and brave the terrors of night air, cold air, damp air, droughts, etc., but no really civilized person could afford to be caught with fresh air in his bedroom. Physicians did not insist upon fresh air in the sick room, but rather excluded it. Even today, they prefer to use the oxygen tent to opening the windows. The warning of Trall that the “defective oxygenation of the body is in itself a state of potential disease, and the site of the ultimate trouble and its nature are, as a rule, secondary and determined by factors which are additional to and less important than the original cause,” went unheeded by the profession.”

Pg 187

“The influences of the sun on human thought and actions are only less appreciable than those upon the growth of the melon vine, because it affects man through many media. In the more complex organism of man glow the same solar fires as burn brightly in the melon vine and its luscious fruit. Some forms of life require more light than other forms, but all require it in some form.”

“There would seem to be a very intimate relation between the sun and digestion. Digestion and assimilation become weak and imperfect if either man or animal is denied sunshine for a lengthy period. Indeed, these processes are carried out with the highest efficiency only if sunshine is secured daily. The body should be exposed to the direct rays of the sun every day. This should be an integral part of the way of life. Truly did Oswald declare: “Life is a sun-child.”

“When beginning sunbathing, certain precautionary measures are essential. The untanned (etiolated) skin is easily burned by exposure to the sun. For this reason, the initial exposure periods should be short. As a rule, it is safe to begin with five minutes exposure on the front surface of the body and five minutes exposure on the back surface. This time of exposure may be increased by one minute on each side each day until a total exposure time of thirty minutes on each side is reached.

Some blonds and redheads will find it necessary to increase exposure less rapidly. Blonds and redheads burn more easily and tan less rapidly than do brunettes. Proper caution, until a coat of tan is achieved, will prevent burning in all cases.”

Pg 206

“In the tropics, where it is hot all year, both animal and man observe the noonday rest at all times. In his Days and Nights in the Tropics (1887) Dr. Oswald says: “A sunrise in the tropics often repays the traveller for weeks of fatigue. When the first rays guild the treetops of the primeval forests, indescribable colors shine among the flowering shrubs, and gleam and glitter on the dewdrops of the evergreen foliage.”

“Chirping locusts, humming beetles, and whirling dragonflies dart to and fro; countless birds on the wing mingle their melodies with the noise of chattering monkeys and screaming palmcats; strange calls, the voices of unknown creatures, come from the inner depths of the woods, but every sound is a cry of exultation; all living things seem to salute the sun. In the recesses of a deep tropical forest the atmosphere is rather sultry, though its fragrance would sweeten the glow of our warmest midsummer days. In the open glades the air is cooler, and how the birds in the treetops must enjoy the morning hour can be appreciated only by the traveller.”

“That is a picture of sunrise and the activities of the day that begin at that time. Let us contrast the early morning hours and the hot portions of midday. Oswald says: “The evergreen hill-forests that cover the border states of southern Mexico harbor an amazing number of noisy birds and quadrupeds. All night long the jungles resound with the scream of the tree-panther and the plaintive cry of the mono espectro, or ghost-monkey, trumpet-voiced cranes call to each other from the canebrakes, and the deep-mouthed cave-owl booms from the upland thickets. At the first glimmering of dawn the jungle-pheasant sounds his reveille, and long before sunrise the woods burst into a universal chorus of bird-voices, often accompanied by the drumming croak of the tamandua or the flute-signals of the gregarious spider-monkey.”

Pg 207

“When one experiences a strong propensity to sleep after dinner, one should certainly indulge it, as digestion proceeds better during sleep. Dyspeptics will find that sleep after eating provides for more comfort and better digestion. Many people live long and enjoy average health under circumstances unfavorable to life, but they can have better health and longer life if they relax and sleep after their noonday meal.”

“Not many decades ago farmers drove their sons from the farm into city life by denying them the instinct-craved boon of rest after dinner. Dr. Oswald quotes one refugee from farm-life as saying: “I could stand hoeing and plowing. I don’t mind getting up before daybreak to feed the horses, or chop wood in a driving snow storm; but all the devils of revolt stirred in my soul when I had just settled down for an afternoon nap in the shade of an elm tree and the old man waked me to start mowing in the hot sun again.”

“igestion proceeds more effectively during sleep, when neither physical nor mental activities interfere with the process. A half hour of sleep during the first half of the period of digestion will prove to be of great benefit. This is especially true if one is fatigued or in a state of debility. If, after the noontide meal, the “poppies of repletion” exert their influence upon the eyelids, we should indulge nature’s kind hint. A quiet slumber in a comfort “ble, warm room or, even as the farmer or Indian do, under the shade of a friendly tree, favors good digestion.

I have repeatedly observed Indians reposing on the ground under a tree. They seem not to be disturbed by the roughness or the hardness of the earth, but sleep as comfortably as if in an expensive bed and awake from their noontide slumber refreshed and ready for the activities of the afternoon.”

“Gone With the Wind portrays for us the practice among young women of the pre-Civil War South, of taking a rest and nap after the noon meal. Every young woman (and young man, too) of the present could profit by a revival of this practice. Sleep for babies and children at this time of day is vitally important. Great numbers of parents have abandoned the practice of having their children sleep after noon, much to the detriment of the children.

Fortunately for the children, they do not attend school during the summer months, so that a daily nooning during the hot months is entirely possible. Those children who are unfortunate enough to attend summer school should get their schooling in the morning and their regular sleep after the noon meal.

Today, when school children get from fifteen to twenty minutes for lunch, and rush through their noonday eating, good digestion is as rare among them as among workers who get half an hour. The school lunches served to children in the school cafeterias of the nation indicate how little regard we have for the welfare of our children. It is doubtful that an intelligent farmer would feed his[…]”

Excerpt From

Health for the Millions

Herbert M. Shelton

This material may be protected by copyright.

Shelton, Herbert. (1934). The Science and Fine Art Fasting – The Hygienic System: Volume III National Health Association, Youngstown, OH.

Pg 21

“I can testify from my own ‘experiments’ as well as those of Doct. Beaumont, that any person having a ‘bad cold’ may find entire relief by abstaining from food, one, two, three, or perhaps five or six meals if the case is a bad one, and that too without taking a particle of medicine” (1837, p. 187).

It is worthy of note that Graham and the Grahamites attempted to form their practices in conformity with what was known in physiology while the medical profession, though studying physiology in college, were then as now, forgetting it as soon as they got into practice and followed the time-honored practice of drugging which bears no normal relation to physiology and violates every physiological principle.”

“Dr. Oswald, who was a contemporary of Dewey, refers to fasting as “the Graham starvation cure.” It is quite probable also that Doctors Page, Oswald, and Walter preceded Dewey and Tanner in the employment of fasting. Dr. Page’s book, published in 1883, recounts recoveries while fasting and urges fasting in many cases. Mr. Macfadden’s and Dr. Oswald’s Fasting Hydropathy and Exercise was published in 1900. These three men were all acquainted with the works of Dr. Jennings and were influenced much by him, frequently quoting him. I feel safe in assuming that they also received much from Trall and Graham.”

“Laboratory confirmation of the benefits of fasting is not lacking; but it is not needed. Science is not confined to the laboratory and human observation is often as reliable in the field of practice as in that of experiment. Much experimental work with fasting, both in men and animals, has been done by approved laboratory men. Little attention has been given by these men to the value of fasting in “disease” conditions, but their work is of value to us in a general study of the subject before us.”

“In 1915 much credit was given to Frederick M. Allen, A.B., M.D., of the Rockefeller Institute Hospital for “discovering” the “starvation treatment” of diabetes. However, others can be named who preceded him. Dr. Dewey successfully employed fasting in diabetes as far back as 1878. Dr. Hazzard employed fasting in diabetes prior to 1906. In 1910 Dr. Guelpa, of Paris, wrote a book based on his experience with short fasts in the treatment of diabetes and other chronic “diseases.” The English translation was published in 1912 under the title Autointoxication and Disintoxication: An Account of a New Fasting Treatment in Diabetes and other Chronic Diseases. The so-called “Allen” treatment has been described by several authors (See Allen, 1914; 1915; Joslin, 1915; 1916; Hill & Eckman, 1915; and Stern, 1916).

In 1923 Fasting and Undernutrition by Sergius Morgulis, Professor of Biochemistry in the University of Nebraska College of Medicine, was published. It is a most thorough study of fasting, starvation and under-nutrition as far as these subjects have been worked out in the laboratory.”

Pg 49

“Macfadden and Oswald (1900) say: “Serious sickness prompts all animals to fast. Wounded deer will retire to some secluded glen and starve for weeks together” (p. 40). Dr. Erwin Lick endorses fasting and observes that “small children and animals, guided by an infallible instinct limit to the utmost their intake of food if they are sick or injured.”

Pg 52

“Macfadden and Oswald (1900) say: “Reptiles, with their small expenditure of vital energy, can easily survive dietetic deprivations, but bears and badgers, with an organization essentially analogous to that of the human species, and with a circulation of blood active enough to maintain the temperature of their bodies more than a hundred degrees above that of the winter storms, dispense with food for periods varying from three to five months, and at the termination of their ordeal emerge from their dens in the full possession of their physical and mental energies” (p. 60). The condor, like all other vultures, is able to fast for days. It usually gorges itself, however, when it does get food.”

Pg 64


Fasting above all other measures can lay claim to being a strictly natural method. There can be no doubt that it is the oldest of all measures of meeting those crises in the organism called “disease.” It is much older than the human race itself, since it is resorted to instinctively by sick and wounded animals.

“The fasting-cure instinct,” say Macfadden and Oswald (1900), “is not limited to our dumb fellow-creatures. It is a common experience that pain, fevers, gastric congestions, and even mental afflictions ‘take away the appetite,’ and only unwise nurses will try to thwart the purpose of Nature in that respect” (p. 44).”

“The doctrine of total depravity taught men to distrust the promptings of their natural instincts, and while the doctrine is slowly fading from religion, it is as strong as ever in medicine. The promptings of instinct are ignored and the sick are stuffed with “good nourishing food” to “keep up their strength.”

“There is a very general concurrence of opinion,” says Jennings, “that the aversion to food that characterizes all cases of acute disease, which is fully in proportion to the severity of the symptoms, is one of Nature’s blunders that require the intervention of art and hence enforced feeding regardless of aversion.” Dr. Shew declared: “Abstinence is by far too much feared in the treatment of disease generally. We have good reason for believing that many a life has been destroyed by the indiscriminate feeding which is so often practiced among the sick.”

Pg 80

“If the adipose tissue and other reserves are abundantly present, one may fast thirty to ninety or more days without consuming one cell of the essential tissues of the body.

“With no digestive drudgery on hand,” says Oswald, “Nature employs the long-desired leisure for general house-cleaning purposes. The accumulations of superfluous tissues are overhauled and analyzed; the available component parts are turned over to the department of nutrition, the refuse to be thoroughly and permanently removed.”

“Organisms capitalize the results of the joint work of their several organs both in the form of increased capacities and valuable stored substances and are able to use their stored capital as though to some extent independent of immediate external supply. This stored capital, or biological raw material, is woven into the inner fabric of organisms by the reciprocal labors of their various parts and is ready for instant utilization when need arises.

The aggregate tissues of the organism may be regarded as a reservoir of nutriment capable of being called in any direction or to any point, as needed. The ability of the body to nourish its vital tissues off its food reserves and its less vital tissues, is of extreme importance to the sick man who is unable to digest and absorb food. Except for this ability, the acutely ill would perish of starvation.”

Pg 120

“Cases of repair of wounds, broken bones and healing of open sores during a fast are too numerous for us to doubt for one instant that even during a fast there is still constructive work going on. Aron reports that the brain and the bones actually grow during a fast (Child, 1915). Dr. Oswald reported a case of a young dog which fell from a high barn loft onto the pavement below and broke two legs and three ribs and apparently injured its lungs. It refused all food except water for twenty days, at the end of which time it took some milk. Not until the twenty-sixth day would it take flesh. The bones knit, the lungs healed and the dog was able to run and bark as lustily as before. Cases of knitting of bones in the absence of food are very common in the animal kingdom and numerous cases are on record as occurring in man. This shows unmistakably that the body utilizes the less important tissues to support the most essential ones. “I saw in human bodies,” says Dr. Dewey, “a vast reserve of predigested food, with the brain in possession of power so to absorb as to maintain structural integrity in the absence of food or power to digest it. This eliminated the brain entirely as an organ that needs to be fed from light diet” “kitchens in times of acute sickness. Only in this self-feeding power of the brain is found the explanation of its functional clearness where bodies have become skeletons” (1921, pp. 32-33).

My observations show that the hair growth is slow during a fast and that the beard is much softer than at other times, the body sacrificing the hair in the interest of the more important structures, although fasting frequently stops the falling-out of hair. Pashutin records that in cases of hibernating animals the growth of granulation tissue in wounds goes on during the deepest slumber, even when all functions seem almost to have ceased and the heart may beat as slow as 1 beat in 5 to 8 minutes, the blood circulation being so slow that cuts made in the flesh bleed very slightly.”

Pg 159

“Bowel Action During Fasting


After the digestion of the last meal prior to the fast, the bowels practically cease to function. They take a rest. Dr. Oswald says: “The colon contracts, and the smaller intestines retain all but the most irritating ingesta” (1883b, p. 201). Sometimes they will continue to move regularly for the first three or four days of the fast. In rare cases a diarrhea will develop even after fifteen or more days of fasting. Twain (1899) describes cases of starving shipwrecked men whose bowels had not moved for twenty and thirty days. For this reason most advocates of fasting insist upon the daily use of the enema. I think that the enema is a distinct evil and should not be employed.”

“The stomach, intestines and colon are given a complete rest by the fast and are enabled to repair damaged structures. Piles, proctitis, colitis, appendicitis, enteritis, enteric fever (typhoid), gastritis, etc., speedily recover under the fast. The alimentary tract becomes practically free of bacteria during a fast. The small intestines become sterile. But a week of fasting is required to result in a complete disappearance of all germs from the stomach. The quickest means of remedying bacterial decomposition in the digestive tract is fasting. Dr. Tilden says: “The fact that the hibernating bear loses its colon bacilli is not acted upon, and a fast recommended when disease results from overeating, bacterial decomposition and toxin poisoning.”

Pg 228

“Dr. Joel Shew (1854) explained that “the principle on which the Hunger-Cure acts is one on which all physiologists are agreed, and one which is readily explained and understood. We know that in animal bodies the law of nature is for the effete, worn-out, and least vitalized matter first to be cast off. We see this upon the cuticle, nails, hair, and in the snake casting off his old skin. Now in wasting or famishing from the want of food, this process of elimination and purification goes on in a much more rapid manner than ordinarily, and the vital force which would otherwise be expended in digesting the food taken, acts now in expelling from the vital domain whatever morbific matters it may contain.”

“This, then, is a beautiful idea in regard to the Hunger-Cure—that whenever a meal of food is omitted, the body purifies itself thus much from its disease, and this becomes apparent in the subsequent amendment, both as regards bodily feeling and strength. It is proved, also, in the fact that during the prevalence of epidemics, those who have been obliged to live almost in a state of starvation, have gone free from an attack, while the well fed have been cut off in numbers by the merciless disease” (p. 797).”

“Macfadden and Oswald (1900) say: “A germ disease, as virulent as syphilis, and long considered too persistent for any but palliative methods of treatment (by mercury, etc.), was radically cured by the fasting cures, prescribed in the Arabian hospitals of Egypt, at the time of the French occupation. Avicena already alludes to the efficacy of that specific, which he seems to have employed “with similar success against smallpox, and Dr. Robert Bartholow, a stickler for the faith in drugs, admits that ‘it is certainly an eminently rational expedient to relieve the organism of a virus by a continuous and gradual process of molecular destruction and a renewal of the anatomical elements.’ Such is the hunger-cure of syphilis, an Oriental method of treating that disease. Very satisfactory results have been attained by this means’ “ (pp. 55-56). The point here is that the body tears down the defective parts and eliminates them during the fast, and then builds anew after the fast. With no digestive drudgery on hand, as Dr. Oswald expressed it, nature employs the long desired leisure for general house cleaning purposes. The accumulations of superfluous tissues are overhauled and analyzed; the available component parts are turned over to the department of nutrition, while the refuse is thoroughly and permanently removed. That this is true will become very apparent as we progress with our study of fasting.”

“The organism, stinted in the supply of its vital resources,” says Dr. Oswald, “soon begins to curtail its current expenditure. The movements of the respiratory process decrease; … and before long the retrenchments of the assimilative process react on the functions of the intestinal organs; the colon contracts, and the smaller intestines retain all but the most irritating ingesta” (1883b, p. 201).


In these cases, is it the food or the drug that is taken with the food that “relieves” the ache? So long as we refuse to separate our foods from our drugs, how can we know whether we are suffering the symptoms of the disease called hunger or the withdrawal symptoms of a poison disease—addiction? Why shall we continue to define a normal sensation of the living organism in terms of symptoms of pathology?”

“Carrington referred to these symptoms as “habit hunger,” Dewey as “hunger of disease,” Oswald as “poison hunger.” As they do not represent hunger at all, I see no reason to describe such sensations as hunger of any kind. As they are always abnormal, just as much so as are the alleged cravings of the morphine addict for his customary narcotic, and are most marked in those individuals whose stomach has been habitually subjected to the excitement and irritation occasioned by condiments, spices, etc., they should be recognized for what they are—symptoms of disease. The stomach, suddenly deprived of its regular occasions for excitement, by the fast, manifests the same signs of distress as do the nerves of the tobacco addict when these are deprived of their accustomed narcotic.”

“It is true that eating will allay these sensations, just as a shot of morphine will “relieve” the morphine addict, and there is just as much sense in taking food in the first instance as there is in taking the morphine in the last. Page (1883b) says: “The fact that the meal affords immediate relief argues nothing against this position; it is the seventy-five or eighty per cent of water taken with the meal that relieves the congestion. It forms a poultice, so to say, for the congested mucous membrane of the stomach; but unfortunately it cannot, as when applied externally upon a throbbing sore thumb, for example, be removed when it becomes dry” (p. 202).”

“Why should morbid appetites be indulged? Is there any more reason for indulging a morbid appetite for food than there is for indulging a morbid appetite for clay or filth? If we refuse to indulge the morbid “craving” for glass, stones, bullets, pins, earth, etc., why shall we not restrain the morbid appetite for bread, beef, candy, fruits, etc.? In many of these cases several large meals a day are eaten and still the possessors of such appetites are not satisfied.

“False hunger,” “habit hunger,” “poison hunger” and similar phrases are misnomers. The term hunger should be reserved for the normal demand for food and other and more appropriate terms should be employed to designate those abnormal sensations that are commonly mistaken for hunger and for those sensations of discomfort and unease that are mistaken for a call for some poison that one is accustomed to taking. It should be known that there is no such thing as a poison hunger or a craving for poison.”

“Dr. Cannon is wrong again in asserting that the hungry person gulps his food, or that he seeks for quantity rather than quality. Evidently he carried out his researches on a group of neurotics, dyspeptics and food drunkards. He never permitted any of them to go without food long enough for full adjustment to follow. The hungry person, at the completion of a long fast, commonly finds that half a glass of fruit juice is all that he wants. If he is given this quantity of juice every hour during the day, he may find that by about four o’clock in the afternoon, he has had all the food he desires. He is content to wait until the next day to take more. Dr. Oswald wrote: “Only natural (normal) appetites have natural (normal) limits,” and nowhere is this more true than in the truly hungry person.

“Hunger has been said to be selective rather than indiscriminate, frequently demanding a specific food or a specific type of food. This, it seems to me, better describes the characteristic of hunger, than Cannon’s description. On the other hand, unlike appetite, hunger is not finicky, but is satisfied with plain fare and readily accepts another food if the one desired is not available.”

Pg 248

“As everyone who has had an extensive experience with fasting knows, true hunger is felt in the mouth and throat and nose and is related to the senses of taste and smell. It is indicated by a watering of the mouth for plain food—even for a crust of dry bread. Also, almost everybody knows from personal experience the gnawing sensation or other sensation that is commonly thought of as hunger usually comes on at meal time, or when the stomach is empty, and subsides after an hour or two, if no food is taken. As we see in thousands of cases of fasting, these morbid sensations subside and completely cease after two or three days of fasting, not to recur after the fast is broken.”

“For over a hundred years Shew, Graham, Trall, Page, Dewey, Oswald, Haskell, Macfadden, Carrington, Eales, Tilden, Weger, Claunch, Shelton and hundreds of others, who have had extensive experience with fasting, have been calling attention to the fact that hunger is a mouth and throat sensaton rather than a stomach sensaton, but the professional physiologists have persisted in ignoring their work and their testimony and have accepted popular superstitions about the sensation of hunger and have “confirmed” these by limited experiments on sick men and women. Cannon, Pavlov, Carlson, etc., have all based their conclusions on inadequate data and on experiments that are too short to be conclusive.”

“Certainly if one is ever hungry, he is so at the conclusion of a long fast. Fasting experts insist that hunger is invariably manifested at the conclusion of a long fast, like thirst, in the mouth and throat. We employ this fact as a complete and satisfactory test of the sensations observed during a fast—it reveals whether it is true hunger or morbid sensations. Never under any circumstances following a fast, is hunger felt in the stomach. Always it is manifested in the mouth and throat and always there is an entire absence of distress or of morbid sensations associated with the stomach.”

Pg 253


I take the position that the time to fast is when it is needed. I am of the decided opinion that delay pays no dividends; that, due to the fact that the progressive development of pathological changes in the structures of the body with the consequent impairment of its functions does not cease until its cause has been completely and thoroughly removed, putting off the time for a fast only invites added troubles and makes a longer fast necessary, if indeed, it does not make the fast futile. I do not believe that any condition of impaired health should be tolerated and permitted to become greater. Now is the time to begin the work of restoring good health; not next week, next summer, or next year.”

“There has been much discussion of what time of year is best in which to fast. Purinton (1906) advises all prospective fasters to “choose summer or spring for the conquest fast” (p. 104), but while I agree with him that warm weather is, on the whole, the best time for a fast, I advise that no sufferer delay a needed fast until spring or summer, but to take it when needed. As Macfadden and Oswald (1900) say: “Winter is not the worst time for a fast, it may even be the best, to judge from the phenomena of hibernation” (p. 65). Louis Kuhne called attention to the fact that many animals eat far less in winter than in summer. Theoretically, at least, less food is required to maintain body heat in summer than in winter; but the winter faster who is kept warm may fast with the greatest of ease.”

“I agree with Carrington that it is easier to fast in summer than in winter. The sense of chilliness that the faster experiences is greater in winter than it is in the warm months. Although this sense of chilliness does not correspond with the real cold of the outside or room temperature and, curiously enough, a thermometer will often show that the temperature of the faster is one or more degrees higher than before he undertook the fast, in spite of the fact that he has the feeling of being cold. This, in my opinion, should not deter the man or woman who needs a fast from taking one at any season of the year. A fast should not be delayed because of some slight discomfort. If the faster is kept in bed, as he should be, with a hot jug to his feet, the feeling of coldness is easily controlled.”

Pg 255

“When the overfed child has become sick nature indicates in every possible manner that food is not desired. The pain, fever, dry mouth and tongue, coated tongue, foul breath, lack of desire for food, nausea, vomiting, and other evidences that digestion is impossible, indicate in the strongest possible manner that no food should be urged upon the baby or child. Infants and children recover more rapidly while fasting than do adults and do not require to fast so long. There should be no hesitancy in withholding food until they are again ready to take it. To feed them under conditions of acute disease is not to nourish them.”

“In childhood,” says Dr. Oswald, “chronic dyspepsia is nearly always the effect of chronic medication. Indigestion is not an hereditary complaint. A dietetic sin per excessum, a quantitative surfeit with sweetmeats and pastry, may derange the digestive process for a few hours or so, but the trouble passes by with the holiday. Lock up the short-cakes, administer a glass of cold water, and, my life for yours, that on Monday morning the little glutton will be ready to climb the steepest hill in the county. But stuff him with liver-pills, drench him with cough-syrup, and paregoric, and in a month or two he will not be able to satisfy the cravings of the inner boy without ‘assisting Nature’ with a patent stimulant” (1883a, pp. 307-308).”

Pg 261

“Great emaciation is due to impairment of health and the degree of emaciation is commonly proprotionate to the degree of impairment. Such cases frequently make no gains in weight until after a fast. “Starvation from overfeeding” is a common, but rarely recognized phenomenon. Large numbers of habitually over-fed individuals have long since lost their power of digesting food at all, or they do it in a very imperfect manner. Oswald said of this: “The overfed organism is under-nourished to a degree that reveals itself in the rapid emaciation of the patient” (1883a, p. 306).”

“The objection is frequently made in the case of emaciated patients that they are already weak and under-nourished and need “building up,” rather than a fast. “Plenty of good, nourishing food” is thought to be the great need in these cases. But “plenty of good, nourishing food” is precisely what these emaciated individuals have been taking in the majority of instances. Instead of fasting being suicidal and criminal, as the average physician contends in such instances, the results of taking “plenty of good, nourishing food” has proved to be suicidal.”

“The fact is that, we rarely see a man or woman who is emaciated from taking too little food. Most of them are heavy eaters, even eating excessively in an effort to gain weight. Their emaciation is due, not to a lack of food ingested, but to failure to digest, absorb and assimilate the food eaten. In order for these individuals to gain weight, they must be given, not more food, but added capacity to utilize food. This can be acquired only by remedying the functional and structural impairments that have crippled their nutritive powers. Too often this cannot be done while the patient is taking “plenty of good nourishing food.” It is a curious fact that in great numbers of cases of emaciation, we must supply them with less food in order to nourish them more.”

“Emaciation may be so extreme that only a short fast is possible; but we are often surprised at how well the emaciated person holds up under a fast that goes much beyond the time we think is possible. Dr. Oswald once remarked; “Energy and emaciation seem to go hand in hand.”


As knowledge of the causes of “disease” increases, it becomes increasingly evident that there are certain forms of “disease” which are in part due to food deficiencies—beri-beri, scurvy, rickets, etc. What these cases need is better nutrition, better food. Yet one can not always arbitrarily rule out the fast in “deficiency diseases.” For, sometimes they are due to a lack of assimilating power on the part of the body and this is remedied by the fast. Dr. Weger, who has had much experience with fasting says: “If the body, because of its crowded nutrition, cannot assimilate vitamin-bearing food, it can be brought into the condition to do this by a purifying fast.”

“The value of the fast in rickets and certain “diseases” of childhood is well established. Its value in anemia has been discussed elsewhere. There is no reason why fasting cannot be employed in dietary deficiencies with great benefit. Indeed the loss of appetite seen in men and animals fed on greatly deficient diets indicates strongly that a fast is called for. The experienced practitioner need not hesitate to place his patients upon a fast although some of them will require careful watching. If he lacks experience, some of his patients may be handled without the fast.”

Pg 268

“In fasting steers, as in man, the so-called “hunger feeling” ceases after the second day. This feeling is believed to be caused by the physical contraction of the alimentary tract in adjusting itself to the diminished bulk of its contents. We do not accept this explanation of hunger. These animal experiences coincide exactly with human experiences in fasting. The so-called “hunger contractions” of the stomach increase in vigor in both man and animals during a fast, but do not give rise to hunger. Dr. Trall observed that vegetarians can “bear fasting for a time much better than the flesh eater; and they usually suffer but little in comparison with those who enjoy a mixed diet, from craving sensations of the stomach, on the approach of the dinner or supper hour. To this rule I have never known an exception.”

“Dr. Oswald says: “In my experiments on the operation of the fasting-cure, I have noticed the curious fact that for the first day or two the clamors of the stomach are restricted to certain hours, and can be induced to waive a disregarded claim” (1883a, p. 316).

Appetite is often accompanied with various feelings of discomfort, even actual pain. There may be a general feeling of weakness or there may be mental depression. Frequent complaints of gnawing in the stomach, an “all gone” sensation in the stomach, rumblings in the abdomen, actual abdominal pain, nausea, headache, “weakness and other morbid sensations accompanying appetite are made by Mr. Average Citizen. Indeed, I meet many who refer to distress in the stomach as hunger. These symptoms are identical with those experienced by the drug addict who is deprived of his accustomed drug. The symptoms of drug addiction are usually more intense. Food drunkenness (gluttony) produces its symptoms and these symptoms are mistaken for hunger. The symptoms are temporarily relieved by eating, just as a cup of coffee temporarily relieves the coffee-induced headache, and this leads to the idea that food was needed. Such symptoms pass away if their owner will refrain from eating for a few days. Indeed, in many cases, they will pass away within an hour after the accustomed meal time has passed if no food is eaten.”

“True hunger is accompanied by no symptoms. In true hunger one is not aware that he has a stomach. There is no headache, or other discomfort. There is merely a consciousness of a need for food, which, like thirst, registers itself in the mouth and throat. Dr. Claunch thus differentiates between appetite and hunger: “The difference between true hunger and false craving may be determined as follows: When hungry and comfortable it is true hunger. When ‘hungry’ and uncomfortable it is false craving. When a sick person misses a customary meal, he gets weak before he gets hungry. When a healthy person misses a customary meal he gets hungry before he gets weak.”

Pg 288

“When one undertakes to fast, one reasonably desires to obtain the greatest possible good in the shortest possible time. To accomplish this requires that the fast be conducted in strict accordance with a few simple and easily understood principles. These few principles must be known and observed in abstaining from food, by either the well or the sick. Tilden says: “Fasting as a remedy requires great knowledge and experience, and should not be assumed by laymen, nor by professional men who have given the subject no thought from a fundamental point of view.” Fasting must be fully understood, rightly applied, it must be conducted with skilled hands, if full results are to be expected. There are many factors that must be considered while the patient is abstaining from food. If the sick person’s condition represents years of abuse by bad habits and treatment, great skill is required to take him through a fast to perfect health. Many of the “evils ascribed to fasting have resulted from the attempts of unskilled and inexperienced men to conduct fasts.

No greater truth was ever uttered than that contained in Oswald’s statement that, “Fasting is a great system-renovator. Ten fast-days a year will purify the blood and eradicate the poison diathesis more effectively than a hundred bottles of expurgative bitters.” But to achieve ideal results the fast must be properly conducted. The Hygiene of the fast does not differ from the hygiene of “disease.” Indeed, we must learn to regard fasting as a Hygienic, not as a therapeutic measure. I do not like the terms “fasting cure” and “therapeutic fasting,” or “curative fasting.”

Pg 347


Vomiting, restlessness, diarrhea and gross fatness are some of the symptoms of the surfeit disease and its proper care is, not soothing syrups, but fasting. Imagine feeding a patient who is having twenty to thirty bowel movements in twenty-four hours; or one that is vomiting frequently! Dysentery medicines may be entirely dispensed with if the sufferer will resort to fasting. Fasting in diarrhea is certainly better than the employment of astringents and narcotics, such as opium.

“Oswald says: “For the incipient stages of the disorder the great specific is fasting. Denutrition, or the temporary deprivation of food, exercises an astringent influence, as part of its general conservative effect. The organism, stinted in the supply of its vital resources, soon begins to curtail its current expenditure. The movements of the respiratory process decrease; the temperature of the body sinks, the secretion of bile and uric acid is diminished, and before long the retrenchments of the assimilative process react on the functions of the intestinal organs; the colon contracts, and the smaller intestines retain all but the most irritating ingesta” (1883b, p. 201).”

Excerpt From

The Science and Fine Art of Fasting

Herbert M. Shelton

This material may be protected by copyright.

Shelton, Herbert. (1935). The Science and Fine Art of Food and Nutrition – The Hygienic System: Volume II. National Health Association, Youngstown, OH.

Pg 18

“Within recent years laboratory workers have attacked the subject of diet and these have added to our detailed knowledge of foods if not to our practical knowledge. These experiments have now been carried on long enough that we feel safe in asserting, on the strength of their results, that foods are really good to eat and that they do actually nourish the body. We feel safe in going even further and asserting that we must have foods to grow.”

“These “biochemists” discovered that cabbage, lettuce, celery, tomatoes, apples, oranges, etc., are really valuable foods. Their discovery so shocked and surprised the medical world that it completely forgot that the “faddists” had been eating these foods for a long time and had declared them to be superior to white flour, salt bacon, pigs knuckles, sausage, lard pies and coffee. It was really a remarkable discovery – all they now need to do is to become “faddists” with the rest of us and make use of the things Graham, Trall, Alcott, Densmore, Page, Oswald, Kuhne, Lahmann, Berg, etc., had long taught.”

Pg 111

“The soft, delicious pulp of the peach, pear, plum, apple, orange, etc., constitute fine food and is prepared by the plant especially for export purposes. Primarily, seeds are produced for reproduction. Secondarily, they are produced in great over abundance, that some of these may be used as export products. Some fruits, such as the banana, pineapple and the seedless orange, do not surround a seed. Other fruits, like the pomegranate, are largely seed, with but little edible pulp.”

“Edible fruits exist in greater variety than any other form of foodstuffs; over 300 different edible varieties are known. The tropics are especially abundant in them. Long before Bichat proved, by comparative anatomy, that man is naturally frugivorous, the race had recorded this fact in a thousand ways. The very word frugal refers to fruit. Dr. Oswald tells us of the Romans of the Republican age that, “in their application of the word, a frugal diet meant quite literally a diet of tree-fruits.”

Pg 121


The great nutritional value of fruits is unquestioned by the well-informed. Supplemented with nuts, they form the ideal diet of man. All fruits are rich in vitamins and mineral salts and are especially valuable in preventing or remedying deficiency “diseases.” Dr. Oswald says: “From May to September fresh fruit ought to form the staple of our diet.”

A few years ago, in one of his articles in The New York Evening Graphic, Milo Hastings wrote: “ ‘A daily reader’ without name,.

Pg 159

“Mineral Waters: “According to the theory of the anti-Naturalists,” says Dr. Oswald, “a man’s instincts conspire for his ruin; whatever is pleasant to our senses must be injurious; repulsiveness and healthfulness are synonymous terms. To every poison known to chemistry or botany they attribute remedial virtues; to sweet-meats, fruits, fresh air, and cold spring-water all possible morbific qualities. But for consistency’s sake, they make an exception in favor of mineral springs. Spas impregnated with a sufficient quantity of iron or sulphur to be shockingly nauseous, must therefore be highly salubrious. Solitary mountain regions afflicted with such spas become the favorite resort of invalids; dyspeptics travel thousands of miles to reach a spring that tastes like a mixture of rotten eggs and turpentine.”

“Saline and sulphur spring waters are purgative, since the alvine canal hastens to rid itself of these injurious waters. A stay at the watering place teaches the colon to rely upon the mineral excitant, hence the chronic constipation that so often follows upon the return from the spa; the excitant being withdrawn, the tired organs lie down for a rest. “From a hygienic standpoint,” says Dr. Oswald, “a sanitorium without a spa is therefore by no means a Hamlet-drama minus the Prince.”

Pg 164

“If there is a real need for food no condiments are essential to the production of desire for food. The artificially produced simulation of desire for food serves no useful purpose. If there is a natural desire for food condiments are not needed to enable us to enjoy eating.

While I have said condiments do increase appetite, it is perhaps best to say that this occurs only in the habitual condiment user and that the increased demand is less for food, than for the accustomed excitant, itself. Upon this very point Dr. Oswald says, in Physical Education, p. 58:”

“By avoiding pungent condiments we also obviate the principal cause of gluttony. It is well-known that the admirers of lager-beer do not drink it for the sake of its nutritive properties, but as a medium of stimulation, and I hold that nine out of ten gluttons swallow their peppered ragouts for the same purpose. Only natural appetites have natural limits. Two quarts of water will satisfy the normal thirst of a giant, two pounds of dates, his hunger after a two day’s fast. But the beer-drinker swills till he runs over, and the glutton stuffs himself till the oppression of his chest threatens him with suffocation. Their unnatural appetite has no limits but those of their abdominal capacity. Poison-hunger would be a better word than appetite. What they really want is alcohol and hot spices, and, being unable to swallow them ‘straight,” the one takes a bucketful of swill, the other a potful of grease into the bargain.”

Pg 165

“The three defenses of condiment using add up to the contentions that their use increases the joys of eating and improves digestion, thus improving nutrition. I have previously showed that contrary to increasing the joys of eating, condiments rob us of these very joys. It is here necessary to consider only the contention that their use improves digestion.

“It is a fallacy,” says Dr. Oswald, “to suppose that hot spices aid the process of digestion; they irritate the stomach and cause it to discharge the ingesta as rapidly as possible, as it would hasten to rid itself of tartarized antimony or any other poison; but this very precipitation of the gastric functions prevents the formation of healthy chyle. There is an important difference between rapid and thorough digestion.” It is evident he is here contrasting rapid (and premature) emptying of the stomach with thorough digestion.”

Pg 168

“Granting that some of these things are not as bad as some of the things they displace, they still disguse the natural flavors of food, act as irritants and induce overeating.

There is no sound reason why we should imitate the customary dietary habits around us. Our efforts at dietary reform and revolution should not lead to the susbtitution of one form of food exploitation for another, but to a return to the simplicity of a natural diet.

Dr. Oswald says, in Physical Education, p. 53: “The carnivora digest their meat without salt; our next relatives, the frugivorous four-handers, detest it. Not one of the countless tonics, cordials, stimulants, pickles and spices, which have become household necessities of modern civilization, is ever touched by animals in a state of nature. A famished wolf would shrink away from a ‘deviled gizzard.’ To children and frugivorous animals our pickles and pepper sauces are, on the whole, more offensive than meat, and therefore, probably more injurious.”

Pg 228


Major Austin says: “Truly, popular tastes and prejudices are rooted more in social habits than in basic physiological demands.” It should be known that the three-meals-a-day custom is really a modern one, and is not universally practiced even today. So far as history records none of the nations of antiquity practiced it. At the period of their greatest power, the Greeks and Romans ate only one meal a day. Dr. Oswald says: “For more than a thousand years the one-meal system was the rule in two countries that could raise armies of men every one of whom would have made his fortune as a modern athlete – men who marched for days under a load of iron (besides clothes and provisions) that would stagger a modern porter.” He also says, “The Romans of the Republican age broke their fast with a biscuit and a fig or two, and took their principle meal in the cool of the evening.” Among the many things that have been offered as an explanation for their physical, mental and moral decline has been their sensuous indulgence in food which “came with power and riches. Whatever other factors may have contributed to bring about their decline (and certain it is there were many factors) there can be no doubt that their excessive indulgence in the pleasures of the palate contributed its fair share.”

“The Jews from Moses until Jesus ate but one meal a day. They sometimes added a lunch of fruit. We recall reading once in the Hebrew scriptures these words (quoting from memory): “Woe unto the nation whose princes eat in the morning.” If this has any reference to dietetic practices it would indicate that the Jews were not addicted to what Dr. Dewey called the “vulgar habit” of eating breakfast. In the oriental world today extreme moderation, as compared to the American standard, is practiced.”

“Dr. Felix Oswald says that “during the zenith period of Grecian and Roman civilization monogamy was not as firmly established as the rule that a health-loving man should content himself with one meal a day, and never eat till he had leasure to digest, i.e., not till the day’s work was wholly done. For more than a thousand years the one meal plan was the established rule among the civilized nations inhabiting the coast-lands of the “Mediterranean. The evening repast – call it supper or dinner – was a kind of domestic festival, the reward of the day’s toil, an enjoyment which rich and poor refrained from marring by premature gratifications of their appetites.”

A sixteenth century proverb says, “To rise at six, dine at ten, sup at six and go to bed at ten, makes a man live ten times ten.”

“Katherine Anthony informs us that the average English family adopted the habit of eating three meals a day during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Andrew Borde, a physician who lived during the reign of Henry VIII, wrote that: “Two meals a day is sufficient for a rest man; and a laborer may eat three times a day; and he that doth eate ofter lyveth a Beestly lyfe.” Salzman’s English Life in the Middle Ages, tells us that: “Breakfast as a regular meal is little heard of, though probably most men started the day with a draught of ale and some bread.”

Pg 229

“A former patient of mine, who spent two years among a tribe of Indians in South America, informed me that these people ate their first meal of the day, after the hunters returned from the hunt. They would leave for the hunt about nine o’clock in the morning and return when they had secured enough game for the tribe. If the hunt failed, as it sometimes did, they had no meal in the morning. Dr. Oswald quotes a Rev. Moffat as saying that the Gonaque Hottentots are nowadays incommoded by a five day’s fast, and get along on an average of four meals a week.

Major Austin says: “Experience has shown that in the past, two meals a day met the demands of appetite in all fully grown individuals – men and women, including expectant mothers.”

Pg 244


“Rule 2. Never eat when in pain, mental and physical discomfort, or when feverish.”

“Rule 3. Never eat during or immediately before or after work or heavy mental and physical effort.

The ancient Roman proverb, “a full stomach does not like to think,” may be expanded by adding, “nor to plough.” Leisure time for digestion is important. Dr. Oswald well says: “Every hour you steal from digestion is reclaimed by indigestion.”

As a mere matter of habit, the mind will stray to the dining room when the wonted meal-time comes around even if genuine hunger does not return with that hour, but if the hour is permitted to slip by without eating the matter is soon forgotten and the supposed desire for food ceases.”

“Rule 4. Do not drink with Meals.”

“Rule 5. Thoroughly masticate and insalivate all food.”

Pg 346


Our food tends to become more and more a matter of taste and appetite, the latter trained and perverted by the cook and the chef. We eat what we like, or what has been prepared so that we will like it, or what we have cultivated a taste for, rather than what we need. We force ourselves to acquire a taste for things that are not good for us, but, which, are often positively harmful to us.

There may be intuitive dislikes or aversions to foods which should not be disregarded. But most of our likes and dislikes are so conditioned by habits that our dislike for fruit may and frequently is due simply to our habit of using tobacco. But an innate repugnance to a special dish, or even a special class of foods, may be safely indulged, so long as other foods are adequate. Abnormal antipathies may indicate constitutional abnormalities or else emotional complexes.”

“Whatever may be true of our dislikes, our likes are not always to be respected. As Dr. Oswald says, “a child’s whimsical desire to treat innutritious or injurious substances as comestibles should certainly not be encouraged ****. For, it is a curious fact that all unnatural practices – the eating of undigestible matter as well as “poisons – are apt to excite a morbid appentency akin to the stimulant habit. The human stomach can be accustomed to the most preposterous things–Physical Education, p. 61.”

Pg 412

“Apes nurse their young from five to seven months. Their first teeth are complete by the third month. Young camels nurse for a year, although they begin to eat with their mothers a few weeks after they are born. A similar fact is seen with cow and horse.

“Primitive” people and animals nurse their young for some time after the complete eruption of the first set of teeth. Dr. Felix Oswald (Physical Education, page 29) declares that “the appearance of the eye-teeth (cuspids) and lesser molars mark the end of the second year as the period when healthy children may be gradually accustomed to semi-fluid vegetable substance. Till then, milk should form their only sustenance. But mothers whose employment does not interfere with their inclination in this respect may safely nurse their children for a much longer period.”


“The chief cause of digestive disorders and of all those other complaints that grow out of these is everfeeding. The habit of feeding babies every two hours during the day and every time it wakes up and cries at night is a ruinous one. Such feeding overworks the baby’s digestive organs and introduces an excess of food into the alimentary tract to ferment and poison the child. It weakens and sickens the child producing diarrhea, colic, skin eruptions and more serious disorders.

“Dr. Oswald considers “involuntary cramming” among the chief causes of gluttony. “Fond mothers,” he says, “often surfeit their babies till they sputter and spew, and it is not less wrong to force a child to eat any particular kind of food against his grain–in disregard of a natural antipathy. Such aversions are allied to the feeling of repletion by which Nature warns the eater to desist, and if this warning is persistently disregarded, the monitory instinct finally suspends its function; overeating becomes a morbid habit our system has adapted itself to the abnormal condition, and every deviation from the new routine produces the same feeling of distress which shackles the rum-drinker to his unnatural practice. Avoid pungent spices, do not cram your children against their will, and never fear that natural aliments will tempt them to excess. But I should add here that of absoultely innocuous food–ripe fruit and simple farinaceous preparations–a larger quantity than is commonly imagined can be habitually taken with perfect freedom from injurious consequences.” –Physical Education, p. 58-59.”

Excerpt From

The Science and Fine Art of Food and Nutrition

Herbert M. Shelton

This material may be protected by copyright.

Shelton, Herbert. (1934). The Science and Fine Art of Natural Hygiene – The Hygienic System: Volume I. National Health Association, Youngstown, OH.

Pg 6

“EVERY birth is an hygienic regeneration. The constitutional defects which degenerate parents transmit to their offspring are modified by the inalienable bequests of an elder world–the redeeming instincts which our All-mother grants to every child of earth. Individuals may deprave these instincts till their functions are entirely usurped by the cravings of a vicious appetency, but this perversion is never hereditary; Nature has ordained that all her children should begin the pilgrimage of life far beyond the point where the roads of misery and happiness diverge. As the golden age, the happy childhood of the human race returns to the morning of every life, the normal type of our primogenitor asserts itself athwart the morbid influences of all intermediate generations; the regenesis of every new birth brings mankind back from vice to innocence; from mysticism to realism; from ghost-land to earth. “For a time those better instincts thwart the influence of miseducation as persistently as confirmed vices afterwards thwart the success of reformatory measures; but if the work of correct physical culture were begun in time, our innate propensities would conspire to further its purposes and bar the boundary between virtue and vice which conscience often guards in vain. The temptations that beset the adult convert do not exist for the wards of Nature. To the palate of a normal child, alcohol is as unattractive as corrosive sublimate; the enforced inactivity of our limbs, which afterwards becomes dyspeptic indolence, is as irksome to a healthy boy as to a wild animal, and a young Indian would prefer the open air of the stormiest winter night to the hot miasma of our tenement-houses. Few smokers can forget the effects of the diffident first attempt–the revolt of the system against the incipience of a virulent habit. The same with other abuses of our domestic and social life. If we would preserve the purity of our physical conscience, we might refer all hygienic problems to an unerring oracle of nature.


Pg 63

“Whether the excitation is that of the hot or cold bath, the percussion douche, electricity, massage, vibration, drugs or other excitants and “tonics,” the power which is expended goes out of the patient and not out of these things. The so-called stimulation is excitement, the excitement of irritation and consequent vital resistance. The body resists cold and heat or coffee and strychnine. It does not resist food or air.

“Stimulating” or “toning up” the body, by the drugs of the physician is, from first to last, of a piece with those means that are responsible for the break down of the system and that produce the disturbance. Drugs or “medicines” are acted on by the system on the same general principle as it acts on tea, coffee, cocoa, pepper, spices, mustard, horse-radish, tobacco, alcohol, opium, etc., and this results in the same general and particular effects as when these are used. “The effect upon the animal economy, of every (drug) stimulant,” says Dr. Oswald, “is strictly that of a poison, and every poison may become a stimulant.”

“The constitutional tendency of the living organism is from first to last, upwards; the tendency of excitation downwards. The more sound and vigorous is the organism, the more it can sustain the downward pressure of excitants, while the less sound and vigorous is the body the less able it is to withstand the influence of these. These break in upon the wonderful harmony of the very complicated vital operations, whose only tendency is towards the standard of perfect health, and disconcert life’s healthy movements. But they do more than just occasion an increase in activity. They do further mischief by inflicting a positive injury upon the tissues and organs which they contact. They wound these parts and time is required to heal the wound. Indeed it is by this goading, pricking, wounding process which irritants inflict upon the cells and tissues of an organ that the organ is excited to increased action or defense. “Stimulants” and “tonics” keep the vital machinery constantly goaded up to the height of its power.”

“In discussing “stimulants” for the digestive organs Dr. Oswald says: “Now, what such ‘tonics’ can really do for them is this: they goad the system into the transient and abnormal activity incident to the necessity of expelling a virulent poison. With the accomplishment of that purpose the exertion ceases, the ensuing exhaustion is worse than the first by just as much as the poison-fever has robbed the system of a larger or smaller share of its little remaining strength. The stimulant has wasted the organic energy which it seemed to revive. ‘But,’ says the invalid, ‘if a repetition of the dose can relieve the second reaction, would the result not be preferable to the languor of the unstimulated system? Wouldn’t it be the best plan to let me support my strength by sticking to my patent tonic?

Pg 67

“The pure stimulants, therefore, which of themselves afford no nourishment to the system, and only serve to increase the expenditure of vital properties and waste organized substances by increasing vital action, cause, while their stimulation lasts, a sense of increased strength and vigor; and thus we are led by our feeling to believe that the pure stimulants are really strengthening and in the same manner we are deceived by even those pernicious stimulants which not only exhaust by stimulation, but irritate, debilitate, and impair by their deleterious qualities.

“The feeling of strength produced by stimulation, therefore, is no proof either that the stimulating substance is nourishing, or that it is salutary, nor even that it is not decidedly baneful.”–Science of Human Life, p. 353-54.”

“It is by such processes that physicians seek to sustain the sick. Processes that exhaust the well and build disease in the vigorous are thought to be of value in restoring health and vigor to the sick and weak. The apparent increase in vigor after administration of the excitant deceives and deludes the ignorant, however well educated they may be. Dr. Oswald rightly observes: “In sickness stimulants cannot further the actual recovery by a single hour. There is a strong progressive tendency in our physical constitution; Nature needs no prompter; as soon as the remedial process is finished, the normal functions of the organism will resume their work as spontaneously as the current of a stream resumes its course after the removal of an obstruction.”–Physical Education, p. 248.”

“This strong upward tendency in the living body and the naturalness of the healthy condition is our guarantee that, where health is possible, it will be restored as quickly as is consistent with the welfare of the body. Excitants can but delay the ultimate recovery of the sick. Pathology, when once established in the system, can only be removed by the constitutional economy of the living body, that is, by the natural functioning of its several organs. Every move of the body, in disease, as in health, is toward the preservation and improvement of life. Every possible means of conserving energy is resorted to in “disease.” The whole of the existing practice is opposed to this conservation.”

“Innumerable are the lives that have been snuffed out by the efforts to “sustain” the patient, or “sustain” the heart, with excitants. Alcohol, strychnine, digitalis and other such excitants have many deaths to their credit because of their use to “sustain” life. Health is not to be restored or life preserved by measures that impair health and destroy life. How much longer must the Heteropathic professions continue their vast experiment before they find this out?”

“Eight hours of sleep,” says Dr. Oswald, “are sufficient to restore the energy expended in an ordinary day’s work. Extra-ordinary efforts, emotional excitement, sensual excesses, or malnutrition (either by insufficient food or dyspeptic habits), induce a general lassitude–a warning that the organism is being overtaxed. Repose and a healthier or more liberal diet will soon restore the functional vigor of the system. But during such periods of their diminished activity the vital powers can be rallied by drastic drugs or tonic beverages–in other words, by poisons. The prostrate vitality rises against a deadly foe, as a weary sleeper would start at the touch of a serpent; and, as danger will momentarily overcome the feeling of fatigue, the organism labors with restless energy till the poison is expelled. This feverish reaction dram-drinkers (patent dram-drinkers especially) mistake for a sign of returning vigor, persistently ignoring the circumstance that the excitement is every time followed by a prostration worse than that preceding it. 

“Feeling the approach of a relapse the stimulator then resorts to his old remedy, thus inducing another sham revival, followed by an increased prostration, and so on; but before long the dose of the stimulant, too, has to be increased, the stimulator becomes a slave to his poison, and passes his life in a round of morbid excitements and morbid exhaustion–the former at last nothing but a feeble flickering up of the flame, the latter soon aggravated by sick headaches, ‘vapors,’ and hypochondria.”–Physical Education, p. 247.”

“Would you, then never “stimulate?” (excite); you ask. If the principles here laid down are correct, and who will dispute them, there is never a time when excitation is not hurtful. In the human constitution the sum of unrepaired injuries by excitation, though small and insignificant in their separate capacity, in a number of years amount to serious injuries, greatly crippling the vital operations, thus keeping them constantly depressed to a level far below what should be the normal so that they are easily thrown into “derangement” by fatigue, an unusual meal, exposure, etc. After repeated excitation has brought the functions of the body to this low state it is worse than folly to attempt to sustain or restore these functions on more excitation–irritation. “The vital forces have no element of laziness in their composition,” declared Jennings, “and, of course, do not need even ‘a little jogging’ to remind them of their duty.*** “There can be no hazard in extreme cases, in leaving the disposition of natural force to natural law, for whatever may be the extremity, all that can be done to save life, within the ability of organic power, will be done to the last particle of vitality.”–Philosophy of Human Life, p. 94-5.

An enervated body needs rest, not the goad. Recuperation of power, not the dissipation of its energies, is its greatest need. It is capable of regulating its own internal affairs and conducting these in the manner that best serves its present needs. But the physicians will not permit. If it isn’t functioning to suit them they force it to do so–not by correcting the causes of its “abnormal” action, but by exciting and inhibiting its functions.”

Pg 85

“The following brief outline of correct living may serve as a guide.”

“1.–Cultivate poise and cheer”

2.–Exercise Daily.

3. “Secure plenty of rest and sleep each day:”

4.–Keep Clean

“5.–Breathe fresh, pure air”

“6.–Secure as much sunshine as possible:”

“7.–Eat moderately of wholesome foods”

“8.–Be moderate in wearing clothes:”

“9.–Have an interest in life”

“A purposeless life is marked for early dissolution. A purposeless life is not worthy of preservation. That man or woman who has no purpose in life is driven about from place to place; from discontent to despair. Idle people are the unhappiest people in the world. Only those who have something interesting or something constructive to do are happy and content. Dr. Oswald tells us that “Horace Greely was killed by the election returns.” “Bedtime,” “my children,” whispers mother nature, “when the sun of hope has set.”

“10.–Avoid all poison habits”

“11.–Avoid sexual excess:”

“12.–Avoid All Excess:”

Pg 95

“Enervation, nervous prostration, melancholia, and other forms of insanity are always close at hand. “For years,” says Dr. Felix Oswald, “the infinite patience of Nature labors every night to undo the mischief of every day,” but when people spend half their nights in feverish activity, nature cannot fully succeed in her recuperative work. The functions of the body begin to lag. It is, of course, a natural sequence that the decadence of an entire organism must follow the waning functions of the individual organs.

All such exhaustions are so many forms of feebleness and require time and rest to be recovered from. The amount of rest that will be required in any given case will be determined by the degree of exhaustion and the amount of organic repair that must be made. We divide rest into four classes–mental, physical, sensory and physiological. This classification is more or less arbitrary and only serves as a convenience. Let us briefly glance at each form.”

“Mental rest is secured by poising the mind, and removing all sources of disturbance and annoyance–noises, talk, fears, anxieties, worries, etc. People in civilized life have lost that poise and mental and emotional relaxation and repose that characterize the animal and so-called savage world. They must be taught to recultivate poise and self-control. Mental rest is best secured by change of scenes from the haunts of business or pleasure in the gas-laden atmosphere of the towns and cities, with their incessant noise and hubbub, to the delights of a country retreat in some picturesque district abounding in pleasant, varied surroundings with fresh breezes of health playing about him and over-head from morning to night; where he may enjoy the quiet repose of nature and bask in her healthful sunshine.

Physical rest is secured by ceasing physical activities and going to bed. In bed one must lie quiet. Relaxation and repose are essential. A tensed, contracted condition of the body is incompatible with rest. Rolling and tossing on the bed prevents rest. A hard, comfortable bed, a comfortable temperature, with not too much cover, are essential to rest.”

“Sensory rest: We expend much energy in seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling, smelling and in the thrills of sense. Quiet and a suspension, more or less complete, of sensory activity means a great saving of energy. Sensory rest is obtained daily by everyone in sleep, but the sick individual, to whom, often the light of day hurts his eyes, needs to get away from sense activities for a longer period in order to restore normal nerve energy.

Physiological rest is secured partly as a result of the above three forms of rest, partly as a result of stopping the food intake. Food works the stomach, intestines, liver, lungs, kidneys, glands, heart, etc., and when the amount of food consumed is reduced, the amount of work these organs must do is decreased. If all food is abstained from, their work is reduced still more. All “stimulants” overwork the organs of the body and when these are abandoned these organs are allowed to rest.”

“No greater or better condition or combination of conditions can be brought together to promote recuperation and, through this, invigorate and increase the efficiency of all the organs and functions of the body, than that of mental, sensory, physical and physiological rest. Nothing will promote elimination as these do; nothing else so effectively hastens repair of tissue and restoration of health.

Rest requires quiet and relaxation. Noise and tenseness hinder rest. Over heating and chilling also interfere with rest. Night is the period par excellence for rest; however, it will be noted that animals have a habit of retiring to the shade during the hot mid-day hours and resting. Savage tribes do likewise. Andrew Combe tells us that a little over a century ago the tradesmen of Edinburg used to indulge in a “nooning,” a general suspension of business for two hours, in the middle of the day. Hispanic America indulges in its afternoon nap or siesta. With the coming of a civilization based on the welfare of man rather than the private profit of the few, we will adopt this practice universally. It should be adopted at once in the Southern United States.”

Pg 98

“Many thousands of the wretched troglodytes (cave-dwellers) who live in the penetralia of the slums of our larger cities seem actually to have become fond of the foul air and terrible stenches of these foul burrows. Many in-door laborers and sedentary workers also seem to enjoy foul and tobacco fume-laden air. This love for foul air is the product of long continued neglect of nature’s demand for fresh air.”

“The sleeping quarters of the olds ships, where the sailors slept, are described by Dr. Oswald as reeking with “an atmosphere a little better than that of the Calcutta Black Hole and a little worse than that of a sewer tunnel.” Samuel Johnson expressed surprise that men would go to sea if they had an option of going to jail. “The discomfort,” he said, “is not worse, and the risk of sudden death less.” Thousands died of suffocation in the swelter hospitals of the period. On Captain Cook’s first South Sea voyage a swarm of friendly islanders came aboard, and had a picnic on the forecastle, but nothing would satisfy them short of a peep at the nightquarters of their hosts. Down they clambered with the agility of monkeys, but came back even faster, sneezing and clutching their noses as if they had inhaled spirits of ammonia. That plunge into the accumulated stench of a hundred nights was too much for their sensitive nasal and lung membranes. The next day every one of them suffered with lung congestion.

“After his Siberian experiences, Marshal Munich had not the slightest doubt that he could get acclimatized to the atmosphere of Hell. “Even my seasoned head reeled in the foul reek of that den,” said the author of the Cachelot Cruise. Only by what Dr. Oswald called “that marvelous faculty of adaptation that enables human beings to endure blue pills and blue laws,” were men enabled to endure such foul and unhealthful conditions. That the foulness existed in the hospitals and no breath of fresh air was permitted in the sick room until the coming of the Hygienic movement is one of the seven most astounding evils of the past.”

“The opium habit may be acquired in a few weeks and the natural repugnance to tobacco and alcohol overcome after a few trials; but it requires years of continual struggle against the physical conscience, before the voice of instinct is finally silenced, and the painful longing for the out-of-doors and the free air of the fields, woods and mountains gives way to that anaesthesia by which nature palliates evils for which she has no remedy, and one may settle down to enjoy the effluvia of our “prisons.”

Pg 99

“How different this to the experience of General Sam Houston, liberator of Texas, who had spent most of his life among the Cherokee Indians, and who was ever afterwards unable to prolong his presence in a crowded hall or ill-ventilated room more than ten or twelve minutes. He described his sensations on entering such a place as one of “uneasiness, increasing to positive alarm, such as a mouse might be supposed to feel under an air-pump.”

“Dr. Oswald says: “These narrow cells, the dungeons of the Inquisition, the churches whose painted windows excluded not only the air but the very light of heaven, the prison-like convent-schools, and the general control exercised by the Christian priests over the domestic life of their parishioners, laid the foundation of a habit which, under the name of ‘salutary precautions,’ inspires us with fear of the night air, of ‘cold draughts,’ of morning dews, and of March winds.” He suggested that mistrust of our instincts has been the source of more misery in modern times than all the sensual excesses and ferocious passions of our forefathers taken together. For more than eighteen hundred years our “spiritual guides” have taught us to consider Nature and everything natural as wholly evil, and to substitute, therefor the super-natural and the artificial, in physical as well as in moral life.

“They substituted dogma for science, suppressed investigation to foster belief, “substituted love of death for the love of life, celibacy for marriage, the twilight of their gloomy vaults for the sunshine of the Chaldean Mountains, and their dull religious ‘exercises’ for the joyous games of the Paloestra.”

“Beware of the night-wind; be sure and close your windows after dark”–thus ran the old advice. “In other words,” said Dr. Oswald, “Beware of God’s free air; be sure and infect your lungs with the stagnant, azotized, and offensive atmosphere of your bedroom. In other words, beware of the rock spring; stick to sewerage.”

“Fear of night-air, like the fear of cool water, raw fruit, etc., is founded on that mistrust of our natural instincts which we owe to our anti-natural religion. The night-air superstition is a theological spawn. Night air is not injurious. Since the day of creation “night air,” which is the same as “day air” and the only kind of air that exists at night, has been lived in and breathed by millions of different animals–tender, delicate creatures, some of them–fawns, lambs, and young birds. Man, too, has spent his life out-doors, day and night, through most of his existence on earth, even on the coldest and stormiest nights.

When Graham began his crusade, homes were simply not ventilated at night. Thanks to his work and to that of Trall, Densmore, Page, Oswald and others, most people of today open their bedroom windows, even in winter. Not so our fathers and grandfathers. Even on sweltering summer nights the victims of aerophobia excluded the “sweet south wind, blessed by all creatures that draw the breath of life,” from their rooms. Night-air was a deadly foe to life and health.”

“What a dismal ignorance of the symbolic language by which Nature expresses her will,” says Dr. Oswald, “is implied by the idea that the sweet breath of the summer night which addresses itself to our senses like a blessing from heaven could be injurious. Yet nine of the ten guests in an overheated ball-room or travelers in a crowded stage-coach will protest if one of their number ventures to open a window after sun down, no matter how glorious the night or how oppressive the effluvia of the closed apartment.”

“Millions of homes are still afflicted with the curse of the night-air superstition. The intelligent reader who may think that the night-air superstition is dead needs but do a little investigation to disillusion himself. It exists in every community in America and Europe. In certain parts of Pennsylvania the windows and shutters are both closed, both day and night, thus cutting out both the air and the light. People are still advised not to go out into “night air,” if they have a cold, a “sore throat” or are otherwise ill. Arnold Rikli says, “The worst outside air is preferable to the best inside air.”

“The influence of anti-naturalism,” says Dr. Oswald, “is most strikingly illustrated in our superstitious dread of fresh air. The air of the out-of-door world, of the woods and hills is par excellence, a product of Nature–of wild, free, and untamable Nature–and therefore the presumptive source of innumerable evils. Cold air is the general scape-goat of all sinners against Nature. When the kneejoints of the young debauchee begin to weaken, he suspects he has ‘taken cold.’ If an old glutton has a cramp in his stomach, he ascribes it to an incautious exposure on coming home from a late supper. Toothache is supposed to result from ‘draughts,’ croup, neuralgia, mumps, etc., from the ‘raw March wind.’ When children have been forced to sleep in unventilated bedrooms till their lungs putrefy with their own exhalations, the materfamilias reproaches herself with the most sensible thing she has been doing for the last hundred nights–‘opening the windows last August when the air was so stifling hot.’ “The old dyspeptic, with his cupboards full of patent nostrums, can honestly acquit himself of having yielded to any natural impulse; after sweltering all summer behind hermetically closed windows, wearing flannel in the dog-days abstaining from cold water when his stomach craved it, swallowing drugs till his appetite has given way to chronic nausea, his conscience bears witness that he has done what he could to suppress the original depravity of Nature; only once the enemy got a chance at him: in rummaging his garret for a warming-pan he stood half a minute before a broken window–to that half-minute, accordingly, he attributes his rheumatism. For catarrh there is a stereotyped explanation: ‘Catched cold.’ That settles it. The invalid is quite sure that her cough came on an hour after returning from that sleigh-ride. She felt pain in the chest the moment her brother opened that window. There is no doubt of it–it’s all the night-air’s fault.”

“There still exists an unreasoning fear of draughts, and a few years ago “no-draught ventilation” was put into many automobiles. What is a draught? Only air in motion. “Have you ever seen boys skating in the teeth of a snow-storm at the rate of fifteen miles an hour?” asks Dr. Oswald. To the retort that “they counteract the effect of the cold air by vigorous exercise,” he replied: ‘“Does the north wind damage the fine lady sitting motionless in her sleigh, or the pilot and helmsman of a storm-tossed vessel?” Draughts are simply not the cause of “disease.”

“Cold air and March winds are no more the causes of “disease” than are night-air and draughts. Every plant and flower and animal thrives well in March wind. “Catarrhs (colds),” says Dr. Oswald, “are not taken by any creature of the open air, not by the fisherman’s boy paddling around in the surf and sitting barefooted in a wet canoe or bareheaded on the windward cliffs, but by the cachetic cadets of the tenement-barracks, where the same air is breathed and rebreathed by the diseased lungs of a regiment of voluntary prisoners.” Benjamin Franklin, Essays, p. 216, says: “I shall not attempt to explain why ‘damp clothes’ occasion colds rather than wet ones, because I doubt the fact. I imagine that neither the one nor the other contributes to this effect, and that the causes of colds are totally independent of wet and even of cold.”

Pg 108

“A quick dip in a tub of hot water or in a tub of cold water, or the same icy blast under a shower is no simple matter. The shock is such that much nerve energy is expended in meeting it, so that the regular practice of such bathing is enervating. In people who have bad hearts, such bathing is often enough to prove disastrous. Cases of apoplexy have also been precipitated by such bathing, particularly when taken soon after a meal.”

“Dr. Oswald says of the cold bathing practice. “The end of the day is the best time for a sponge bath; a sponge and a coarse towel have often cured insomnia when diacodium failed. A bucketful of tepid water will do for ordinary purposes; daily cold shower-baths in winter are as preposterous as hot drinks in the dog-days. Russian baths and ice water owe their repute to the same popular delusion that ascribes miraculous virtues to nauseating drugs–the mistrust of our natural instincts, culminating in the idea that all natural things must be injurious to man, and that the efficacy of a remedy depends on the degree of its repulsiveness. Ninety-nine boys in a hundred would rather take the bitterest medicine than a cold bath in midwinter. If we leave children and animals to the guidance of their instincts they will become amphibious in the dog-days, and quench their thirst at the coldest spring without fear of injurious consequences; but in winter time even wild beasts avoid immersion with an instinctive dread. 

“A Canadian bear will make a wide circuit or pick his way over the floes, rather than swim a lake in cold weather. Baptist missionaries do not report many revivals before June. Warm springs, on the other hand, attract all birds and beasts that stay with us in winter time; the hot spas of Rockport, Arkansas, are visited nightly by racoons and foxes in spite of all torch-light hunts; and Haxthausen tells us in hard winters the thermae of Paetigorsh, in eastern Caucasus, attracts deer and wild hogs, from the distant Rerek Valley. I know the claims of the hydropathic school, and the arguments pro and con, but the main points of the controversy still hinge upon the issue between Nature’s testimony and Dr. Preissnitz’s”–Physical Education, p. 100.”

“Hot Bathing: This practice owes its origin to the same fallacies out of which cold bathing originated. It is an effort to make bathing serve some other purpose (therapeutic) than that of cleansing the body. The short hot bath is a powerful thermal “stimulant”–excitant. The prolonged hot bath is a powerful depressant and has been known to result in death from heat stroke. The death a couple of years ago of movie actress Maria Montez in a too hot bath is a case in point.

It is contended in certain quarters that excessively hot baths produce sterility. It is said that the sterility thus produced lasts for forty-eight hours. If this is true, daily hot baths of this nature would be sufficient to maintain the sterility. Although daily hot bathing does not seem to have sterilized the Japanese, it would be interesting to know just how many childless marriages are due to this foolish habit of stewing in hot water.”

 Pg 112

“As a health impairing agent dress and clothing easily take a place in the front ranks. Man is naturally a nude animal and his body needs and should have the daily contact with the sun and air that it received before man learned to cover himself. The air alone, when playing upon the body, occasions increased metabolism. Let us briefly state the greater evils of clothing:

1.They exclude the sun and air from the body.

2.They bind the excretions of the body upon it and necessitate too frequent bathing. Clothing causes us to literally wallow in our own excretions.

3.They weaken the powers of the skin and cripple its power to quickly adapt itself to weather changes. Trall, Rausse, Oswald, Page, Kuhne, Just, Macfadden and others have proclaimed, for the past hundred years, that exposure of the nude body to the weather, during both winter and summer, does not cause colds. The medical profession has long scoffed at this “extremist” view of things, but will be forced, by experience, to accept it as true.”

“4.They interfere more or less with freedom of movement and hamper body development.

5.Tight bands, garters, corsets, etc., interfere both with movement and with circulation and, also, cramp the internal organs. Corsets crowd the internal organs out of place and deform the chest, abdomen and hips; brassiers cramp and injure the breasts compressing them and producing a flabbiness in them that is wholly unnatural.

6.Shoes are the cause of about ninety percent of our foot troubles. Ill-fitting stockings contribute to these troubles also. Shoes are more properly designated sweat boxes. High heels, narrow, pointed toes, curved inner lines, etc., are especially injurious. They also interfere with freedom in walking.”

Pg 145

“We have been taught that tooth decay is due to germs and that if our teeth are properly scrubbed and cleansed and are looked over periodically by the dentist, they will not decay. We have been told that the child’s teeth must be brushed and brushed until we wear all the enamel away, if we would preserve its teeth. We have tried these methods faithfully for years now, we have bought tooth brushes of all kinds and worn them out on the teeth of our children. We have bought and used the tooth-pastes and tooth-powders. We have washed their little mouths with antiseptics. We have carried them to the dentists regularly for examinations.”

“So faithfully have we carried out this program, that our teeth and those of our children have polished horizontal grooves in them, these grooves often reaching down to and exposing the deeper layers of the dentin even the “secondary dentin.” The gums have receded and are hypertrophied and hyperemic; their gingival borders have been ploughed away, and the teeth are sensitive. In spite of all this abuse so lavishly heaped upon their teeth, or is it partly because of it, our children’s teeth are decayed and they suffer with caries, pyorrhea and trench mouth.

“We have seen the manufacturers of tooth-pastes and tooth brushes grow rich; we have seen the dentists multiply like rabbits; we have seen the dental profession multiply itself into a number of professions or specialties. But the teeth of our children are worse than ever and their condition grows worse year by year.

At the present time no one dares question the value of this silly practice. Everyone advises and endorses the tooth brush and the soaps that are used on the teeth. It is rank heresy to dispute their value.”

“Dr. Oswald says, Physical Education, p. 233; “I never could get myself to believe in the natural necessity of a tooth-brush. The African nations, the Hindoos, the natives of Southern Europe, the South-Sea Islanders, the Arabs, the South American Vegetarians, in short, three-fourths of our fellow-men, besides our next relatives, the frugivorous animals, have splendid teeth without sozodont. I really believe that ours decay from sheer disuse, the boarding-house homo lives chiefly on pap.*** An artificial dentrifice will certainly keep the teeth white, but that does not prevent their premature decay; disuse gradually softens their substances. I do not say that a soft tooth-brush and such dentrifices as oatmeal or burned arrow-root can do any harm, but, for sanitary purposes, such precautions must be supplemented by dental exercise.”

“The tooth-brushing fad was the logical outgrowth of the absurdities and vagaries of the germ theory. Tooth decay was attributed to the action of bacteria and their acid products upon the teeth. In recounting his experiments on monkeys, in which dental caries was produced by a deficient diet and incidentally referring to the lactic acid theory of tooth decay, Dr. Howe says: “Before we examine the effects of vitamin C deficiencies upon the teeth of monkeys, let me remind you that all of our efforts to affect these teeth by fermentation in the mouth for long periods of time by the feeding and injection of micro-organisms associated with caries have been unavailing so long as the diet was normal.”

Pg 158

 “Dr. Oswald says: “A list of ‘staple medicines’ is a list of staple poisons. With a large class of medical practitioners alcohol still ranks as a remedial agent, and even as an article of food. It is well known that children and animals detest the smell of tobacco and the taste of brandy, coffee, tea and pungent spices, but the significance of that aversion still remains unheeded. Our day of leisure is still the dreariest day in the week; the welfare of the soul is still supposed to be incompatible with earthly pleasures. We have a thousand mythology-schools for one gymnasium; the importance of physical culture, the interdependence of soul and body, and the moral influence of health, have hardly begun to be realized.”

The stimulation (excitement) resulting from the use of such things is the expenditure of vital reserve forces in an effort of the organism to resist and eliminate life-endangering poisons and influences. “Any high flush of energy apparently imparted to us from any source other than fresh air, pure water, sunshine, exercise, rest and natural, unfermented foods, is a forced draft of precious vital reserves and means an inevitable and serious loss to the constitution. If it becomes habitual, a premature mental and physical breakdown is also inevitable.”

“The health of the stoutest man is no safeguard against the ravages of alcohol. How, then, shall we believe that the sick, with their vital strength at low ebb, can encounter this poisonous bane with impunity? Tea, coffee, cocoa, poisonous soda fountain slops, opium and other drugs, whether administered by the physician or indulged in habitually–and many drug addicts were made so by their physicians–poison and injure the sick as they do the well. The only safety lies in abstinence.”

Pg 159

“To the palate of a child, narcotic “stimulants” are bitter; alcohol is burning-acrid; tobacco nauseous; mineral poisons either bitter or insipid; the taste of rum, lager beer, hasheesh and opium are violently repulsive. In the mouth of a healthy child, rum is liquid fire; beer an emetic; tea and coffee, bitter decoctions; tobacco fumes revolt the stomach of the non-habitue. “Few smokers can forget the effects of the diffident first attempt–the revolt of the system against the incipience of a virulent habit.” Dr. Oswald says: “Only blind deference to the example of his elders will induce a boy to accustom himself to such abominations; if he were left to the guidance of his natural instincts, intoxication would be anything but an insidious vice.”–Physical Education, p. 51.”

“2.The persistent use of the poison changes the aversion into a specific craving.

Swallowing virulent drugs–even arsenic or prussic acid–again and again, over the protests of the system, finally establishes what is called a “state of tolerance.” The direct protests of the body cease. An abnormal change has been brought about so that if the user now seeks to discontinue the use of the poison he is likely to find that the poison has become his master. The old resistance has been supplanted by an abnormal craving–he seems to need his “stimulant.” While I have used the popular term craving, I should explain that I do not think the body ever craves any hurtful and non-usable substance. What is mistaken for a craving for tobacco, coffee, morphine, alcohol, etc., is the intolerable depression, unease, even actual pain that the user experiences when deprived of his accustomed narcotic or stimulant.” “Finding that another dose of morphine will provide him with another period of narcosis, in which he is not conscious of his misery, or that another cup of coffee will temporarily “relieve” her coffee-induced headache, the drug victim returns again and again to the sources of the misery for the fictional relief experienced. It is the distress cry of outraged nerves that is mistaken for a craving.”

“Water and food substances never beget a specific craving. If we cannot get one food, the body will always be perfectly satisfied with a substitute. Not so the dram-drinker. His “thirst” cannot be assauged with water or fruit juice. His enslaved body “craves” his accustomed alcoholic or even a stronger drink. The poison-habit begets a “craving” uncompromisingly directed towards a special, once repulsive substance; a craving defying the limiting instincts which indicate the proper quantity of wholesome foods and drinks; a craving which each gratification makes more irresistable, though each indulgence is always followed by a depressing reaction. We should learn to distinguish between natural appetites and unnatural appetencies and guide ourselves accordingly. No acquired craving should be allowed to deceive us.”

“What amounts almost to a law is the fact that the violence of the unnatural craving for a poison is proportioned to the virulence of each poison and to the degree of the original repugnance. The “ugliest stimulant fiends take the firmest hold.” Morphine is all in all about the most offensive drug in the vegetable kingdom, yet its grip on the addict is most difficult to break. Opium holds its victims in a stronger grip than coffee; hasheesh is a more powerful master than tobacco; arsenic holds its victims in a more powerful grip than Coca Cola; tobacco is a more imperious master than tea.

The taste of the first drink, smoke, snuff or chew betrayed the poison. “They scratch and bite when we first hug them,” says Dr. Oswald, “but their strangling embrace is hard to break. It tightens till it threatens to choke out the vital spark, together with the resisting strength of their victims.” An old Spanish proverb tells us that it is easier to keep the devil out than to turn him out–abstinence is easier than so-called temperance.”

“Dr. Oswald says: “There is no bane in the South American swamps, no virulent compound in the North American drug-stores–chemistry knows no deadliest poison–whose gradual and persistent obtrusion on the human organism will not create an unnatural craving after a repetition of the lethal dose, a morbid appetency in every way analogous to the hankering of the toper after his favorite tipple. Swallow a tablespoonful of laudanum or a few grains of arsenious acid every night; at first your physical conscience protests by every means in its power; nausea, gripes, gastric spasms, and nervous headaches warn you again and again; the struggle of the digestive organs “against the fell intruder convulses your whole system. But you continue the dose, and nature, true to her highest law to preserve life at any price, finally adapts herself to an abnormal condition–adapts your system to the poison at whatever cost to health, strength and happiness. Your body becomes an opium-machine, an arsenic-mill, a physiological engine moved by poisons and performing its vital functions only under the spur of the unnatural stimulus. But by-and-by the jaded system fails to respond to the spur, your strength gives away and, alarmed at the symptoms of rapid deliquium, you resolve to remedy the evil by removing the cause. You try to renounce stimulation, and rely once more on the unaided strength of the Vis Vitae. But that strength is almost exhausted. The oil that should have fed the flame of life has been wasted on a health-consuming fire. “Before you can regain strength and happiness your system must re-adapt itself to the normal condition, and the difficulty of that rearrangement will be proportioned to the degree of the present disarrangement; the further you have strayed from nature, the longer it will take you to retrace your steps. Still, it is always the best plan to make your way somehow or other, for, if you resign yourself to your fate, it will soon confront you with another and greater difficulty. Before long the poison-fiend will demand a larger fee; you have to increase the dose. The ‘delightful and exhilirating stimulant’ has palled, the quantum has now to be doubled to pay the blue-devils off, and to the majority of their distracted victims that seems the best, because the shortest road to peace. Restimulation really seems to alleviate the effects of the poison-habit for a time. The anguish always returns, and always with increased strength, as a fire, smothered for a moment with fuel, will break forth again with a fiercer flame.”–Physical Education, p. 49, 50, 51.”

“3.The more or less pleasurable excitement induced by a gratification of that craving is always followed by a depressing reaction. The legitimate exercise of every normal function is associated with pleasurable sensations instead of agonizing actions. A feast of wholesome food is followed by a state of considerable physical comfort and ultimate reinvigoration. But no length of practice saves the poison-slave from the painful consequences of his indulgences. Each full indulgence is followed by a full measure of woeful retribution, while a half indulgence results in a half depression. The victims of the poison-habit mistake a process of irritation for a process of invigoration. But, as Dr. Oswald expresses it, “by-and-by the jaded system fails to respond to the spur; the poison-slave has to resort to stronger stimulants or else to larger and ever larger doses.  “The gathering night can thus be made to give way to an occasional flickering-up of the vital flame; but the progressive nervous exhaustion at last defies every remedy; the worshiper of the poison-demon must consumate his self-sacrifice; the shadow of his doom has settled on his soul, and all the strongest stimulants can now do for him is to recall a momentary glimmering of the light that filled the unclouded heaven of his childhood.”

“Poisons are deceptive in that they seem to remedy the very pain and depression which their use produces. Dr. Oswald says that, “By these symptoms the disease of the poison-habit may be identified in all its disguises, for the self-deception of the poor old lady who seeks relief in a cup of the same strong tea that has caused her sick headache is absolutely analogous to that of the pot-house sot who hopes to drown his care in the source of his misery, or the frenzied opium-eater who tries to exorcise the legion of fiends with the aid of Beelzebub.”–Physical Education, p. 51.

“4.Every poison-vice is progressive and soon after the beginning of a new poison-habit the majority of users find that the habit “grows on them.” There is no such thing as a harmless “stimulant,” or “tonic”–poison. The incipience of every unnatural appetite is the first stage in a progressive “disease.” The use of poisons induces a growing depression of vital energy and this leads to a constant demand for means of “stimulation.” This demand is met in two ways:

a.By a direct increase of the quantity or strength of the special “stimulant.”

We start with a cup of mild coffee once a day; we end by drinking several cups a day of strong coffee. We begin with one mild cigarette or cigar a day, we end by smoking many cigarettes or cigars of strong brands a day; we start with three percent beer and end with rum or whiskey.”

“b.By the progress from a milder to more virulent poison of a different kind.

The road to the rum-shop is paved with “mild stimulants.” Cider and mild ale lead to strong ale, to lager beer and, finally, to rum. A penchant for any kind of “tonic” drug–nicotine, narcotic infusions, hasheesh, the milder opiates, etc.–may initiate a “poison-habit with an unlimited capacity for development. Dr. Jennings said that men who drink, “become drunkards by law–fixed immutable law.”

“Dr. Oswald says, an important and frequently overlooked feature of every poison habit, is its progressiveness. “The original moderate quantum soon palls, and it is this craving of the system for the same degree of stimulation which leads to Johnsonian excesses or the adoption of a stronger stimulant. Men generally prefer the latter alternative. Coffee, tea and tobacco pave the way to opium in the East and to alcohol in the West. The same holds true of pungent spices.”–Physical Education, p. 52.”

Pg 173

“Crying: Dr. Oswald said: “Indian babies never cry; they are neither swaddled or cradled, but crawl around freely, and sleep in the dry grass or on the fur covered floor of the wigwam. Continued rocking would make the toughest sailor sea-sick. Tight swaddling is downright torture; it would try the patience of a Stoic to keep all his limbs in a constrained position for such a length of time; a young ape subjected to the same treatment would scream from morning till night.”

Healthy babies do not cry except from cold, heat, pain and discomfort (as from pins, wet diapers, folds in the clothing, tight bands, etc.) or from hunger. The baby that cries persistently is usually a sick baby. If baby cries, attend to his real needs, see that he is clean, comfortable, warm or cool, fed and dry, and let him alone. If he persists in crying for a time, let him cry; it will help to develop his lungs and hurt nothing.”

Pg 186

“In 1822 in the state of Connecticut, a physician abandoned the practice of medicine and adopted a Hygienic practice. This was in the days before Graham had launched his crusade for hygienic living, before Trall had entered practice. Dr. Isaac Jennings had practiced regular medicine for twenty years, growing more skeptical of its alleged virtues all the while, until in that year, he discontinued giving drugs and began to rely upon hygiene. Dr. Oswald said of him that, he “goes into first principles much deeper than Trall or Alcott,” but thought that he made a mistake when he wrote his first book in permitting his indignation to get the better of his judgement. Oswald says that some of the chapters in the book “seem to be written with boiling ink.”

“Born at Fairfield, Conn., November 7, 1788, Isaac Jennings worked on his father’s farm until he was twenty. Having long had an ambition to become a physician, at this age he received an opportunity to enter the office of Eli Ives, M.D., and “read medicine,” as was the custom of the time. Educated in medicine under the celebrated Prof. Ives of Yale, he made his debut in medicine under the flag of Cullen. Entering upon practice with great enthusiasm, but with an observing and inquiring mind, he soon found that the older physicians used fewer drugs than the younger ones. In fact some of the older men expressed great lack of confidence in their drugs. Experiences in his own practice cast doubts upon their efficacy. He learned to rely more and more upon regimen and less and less upon drugs and the lancet.”

“In that fateful year, 1822, “solitary and alone,” and unaided, except by his own reasonings, observations and experiences, he came to the firm and settled conviction that “medicine was a gross delusion from beginning to end.” In a letter written in 1863, he says of this time: “The universal belief was that disease was hostile to life, tended downwards in all its forms, and of course should be counteracted. It was at such a time, under such circumstances, I took practically and decidedly, the position that disease was in no wise antagonistic to life, and that it was merely impaired health; deranged condition and action from deficiency of force, through violation of the laws and conditions of life; that these laws were fixed and immutable, and tending, under all circumstances, toward the summit head of perfect soundness; that when power was ample, health was perfect and stable; that when the sustaining energies were deficient, health would be impaired and action deranged.”

“The view here expressed is that enervation is disease and, while he refers to “deranged action” in disease, he still regarded all action in disease as being as lawful and orderly as the actions seen in health, and as tending towards recovery. This is what is meant by the term Orthopathy, which he coined to express his conception of the essential nature of disease.

Trall escaped from the drugging plan of treating the sick by way of hydropathy; Jennings made his escape by way of placeboes. For twenty years he satisfied the faith of his patients in the power of potions to cure them by giving them bread pills, starch powders and colored water. Prof. James Munroe used to describe how Jennings would dispense a box of bread pills with explicit directions as to when and how they should be taken, at the same time giving much good advice as to diet and hygiene. His success was phenomenal. Indeed, so great was his success, no other physician could exist in the same region.”

“Finally, his conscience got the better of him and he confessed that he had no faith in drugs and would no longer make any pretense of giving them. This cost him much of his practice and after a few years (1837) he visited the perfectionist colony at Oberlin, Ohio, where he moved in 1839. He was a trustee of Oberlin College and served the city once as mayor. His drugless practice did not meet with much response from the people of Oberlin, and several years before his death, in pneumonia, March 13, 1874, he retired from practice.”

“Among professional men of his time, Dr. Jennings made, so far as I can find any record, but one convert. Dr. William Alcott, of Boston, became an advocate of the Jennings theories and practices and rejected those of the hydropaths. His work did greatly influence Trall, Jackson and such successors as Walter, Page, Oswald, and a few other men. Dr. Jennings was not a crusader, a fact that was very unfortunate for the early days of the Hygienic movement. If he had promulgated his views and practices with greater ardor and attacked the water cure system with more force, many mistakes of the early Hygienists may conceivably have been avoided. For, it must be said in all candor, that among the early Hygienists Jennings was the only one whose practice was strictly Hygienic, unless that of Alcott became so. In fact many of Trall’s graduates used “a little medicine,” being unable to get completely away from the drugging practice.”

“I have discussed the three men who played the largest roles in the evolution of the Hygienic System. Certain of their contemporaries and immediate successors added greatly to our knowledge and assisted in eliminating some of the early mistakes.” “Although I shall devote less space to these men, it is thought necessary to include information about them, in order that the reader may have a comprehensive grasp of the development of Hygiene.”

Pg 192

“Dr. Felix Oswald came to this country from Belgium, where he was born in 1845. He graduated from the University of Brussels in 1865. He had traveled extensively and was widely acquainted with the world’s literature. Though trained in medicine, he became a Hygienist of the first rank. His life was cut short by a train in Syracuse, N.Y., September 29, 1906.

Other men and women of the past, deserving of mention, but who cannot be considered in detail at this place, are Harriet Austin, M.D., long associated with Dr. Jackson; Augusta Fairchild, M.D., a graduate of Trall’s college; Russell Trall, Jr. M.D., who practiced in Philadelphia; his sister, Rebecca Trall, M.D., who practiced in Brooklyn, and Helen and Emmet Densmore, M.D., Edward Hooker Dewey, M.D., who greatly added to our knowledge of fasting, although he was not a Hygienist. Dr. Dodds says of him: “ “He was certainly not a Hygienist.” She enumerates the following practices of his that excluded him from Hygienic ranks: he “drank coffee, ate meat, white bread … indulged in hearty suppers … and some of his ideas on bathing seem to be very extreme … he discarded fruits, especially the acid varieties, almost entirely.” I may add that he never entirely discarded drugs.

Pg 197
“About the close of the century, Albert Turner, a friend of Trall, started Health Culture magazine, which, for years was a Hygienic publication. About this time, also, Bernarr Macfadden started Physical Culture, which, at first, was largely Hygienic and was regularly contributed to by several of Trall’s graduates, by Dr. Chas. E. Page and Dr. Felix Oswald. At this time also, Dr. Tilden started his Stuffed Club the name of which was later changed to Philosophy of Health. Selling this magazine to Dr. Arthur “Vos about 1923, he later started Dr. Tilden’s Health Review and Critique, which he continued to issue monthly until his death. Mrs. Tilden completed the 1940 vol. of this magazine with material Dr. Tilden had left behind, and suspended its publication at the end of the year 1940. At the present time the only Hygienic magazine published in America is Dr. Shelton’s Hygienic Review, which has been published monthly since its first issue in September 1939. The movement has not been without a publication since the founding of the Graham Journal, during the more than a hundred and twenty years since it was launched. Although there was an extended period of near inactivity, there was never a time, from its origin to the present, when there was not activity in the ranks of Hygiene.”

“An extensive bibliography of Hygiene is given in the text of these volumes and it is not deemed necessary to reproduce it here. The most prolific Hygienic writers have been Graham, Alcott, Trall, Nichols, Walter, Tilden and, if I may be permitted to place my own name in this list, Shelton. Jennings, Page, Dodds, Oswald, Densmore, Carrington and Weger, have contributed valuable volumes to the literature of Hygiene. Of this list, Carrington and the present author are the only ones now living. Valuable contributions to Hygiene have been made by men and women who have never been associated with the Hygienic movement and have not been Hygienists. Among these are Dewey, Tanner, Hazzard and Moras of this country, Rabagliatti (England), Berg (Sweden), Lahmann (Germany), and Reinheimer (England). It must be added that Hygiene is confirmed by every genuine discovery in physiology and biology.”

Pg 198

“What if a new truth does smash all of our venerated traditions; it still is the truth. We should not be interested so much in upholding traditions, however hoary and universal these may be, as in discovering the truth. Truth has a habit of getting itself accepted sooner or later, even though it may be forced to run the unsympathetic gauntlet of incredulity and unbelief.

Dr. Oswald says: “The mere announcement of a new truth has thus more than once led to its general recognition. It was in vain to legislate against the spread of the Copernican theory; the heavens refused to ratify the veto of the Inquisition. Newton’s principles and the doctrines of evolution could dispense with the favor of critics. They prevailed by ‘solving many riddles,’ nature, logic, and experience, conspired to insure their triumph; in their theorems friend and foe found the solution of mysteries which other keys failed to unlock. The gospel of Natural Hygiene, too, can appeal to the evidence of that crucial test.”–Nature’s Household Remedies, p. 1-2.”

“The dawn is at hand,” as Oswald remarked; the number of hygienic practitioners is increasing. Some of these are recruited from the ranks of materia medica, others from the various drugless schools. For, no man can study the Hygienic System, even with hostile intent, without having the truth of its principles and the worth of its practices forced upon him. It was inevitable that the deep-flowing popular current that is flowing towards Natural Methods should sooner or later splash over the sides into these systems.

However, we must not expect much in the way of reform from medicine. It is eaten up by the dry-rot of a soulless commercialism. Medical practitioners are all but lost in the mephitic vapors which ascend out of the stygian pool of the profit system; hence a profession which should have lighted the way for the world, is so filled with stygian darkness that it is quite unable to afford any light or leading to a sick world that is earnestly desirous of knowing the truth.”

“Medicine does not progress. The forms may wax old and pass away, but the spirit which dwelt therein is given a new, often a more showy, embodiment and goes on making the same old mistakes in the same old ways. They tell us by implication, if not in so many words, that after many millions of years of trial and error, and of evolution, we have little better than unregulated chaos, and a life waiting for the knife and the serum. This cannot be accepted.

It is impossible for the informed man, who makes use of his reasoning faculties, to hold the old beliefs and conform to the old practices, and still retain his self-respect. Hygiene, therefore, is the open and declared enemy of Medicine and the annihilation of this vast structure of fallacy is one of the most important tasks of contemporary civilization.”

Excerpt From

The Science and Fine Art of Natural Hygiene

Herbert M. Shelton

This material may be protected by copyright.

Shelton, Herbert. (1964). Fasting Can Save Your Life. Youngstown. National Health Association.

Pg 18

“In mankind fasting has been practised in various parts of the world over centuries for religious reasons, for self-discipline, for political purposes and as a means of restoring health. Only in recent centuries has the concept that we must eat to keep up our strength become a deeply entrenched idea. Dr. Felix Oswald, a Dutch physician who came to America before the turn of the century, declares: “The fast cure method is not limited to our dumb fellow creatures. It is a common experience that pain, fever, gastric congestion and even mental afflictions take away the appetite and only unwise nurses will try to thwart the purposes of Nature in this respect.”

“Fasting is centuries old; we read of it in the Bible and in Homer. It was employed in the care of the sick in ancient temples in Egypt, Greece and throughout the Mediterranean world. The use of the fast in acute disease dates back to remote times.

It was prescribed by Arabian physicians during the long dark night of Europe’s Medieval Age. In Italy, Neapolitan physicians as long ago as one hundred and fifty years, employed fasts that sometimes lasted for forty days in the case of fever patients.”

Pg 27

“In his Zoological Sketches, Dr. Felix L. Oswald writes: “In a sparsely settled country, animal refugees soon accustom themselves to the vicissitudes of their wild life. The ten months’ drought back in 1877, which almost exterminated the domestic cattle of southern Brazil, was braved by the pampas cows, whom experience had taught to derive their water supply from bulbous roots, cactus leaves, and excavations in the moist river-sand. Solid food is only a secondary requirement.”

Pg 36

“The fourth reason is the all important matter of elimination. J.H. Tilden, M.D., who was founder of the famous Dr. Tilden’s Health School in Denver, Colorado, and edited and published two magazines and wrote several books, said: “After fifty-five years of sojourning in the wilderness of medical therapeutics. I am forced to declare, without fear of successful contradiction, that fasting is the only reliable, specific, therapeutic eliminant known to man.”

Felix L. Oswald. M.D. agrees with him, saying: “Fasting is the great system renovator. Three fast-days a year will purify the blood and eradicate the poison-diathesis more effectively than a hundred bottles of expurgative bitters.”

“Nothing known to man equals the fast as a means of increasing the elimination of waste from the blood and tissues. Only a brief period elapses after food is withheld until the organs of elimination increase their activities and a real physiological house-cleaning is instituted.”

“As the fast progresses pent-up secretions or, more properly, retained waste, are thrown out of the body and the system becomes purified. Relief of irritations occurs; the body becomes rested. In a vital sense the individual is “made over.” Perhaps but a few days are required to free the blood and lymph of their toxic excess, but the fast goes deeper than this and occasions the excretion of toxins that have long been stored in the less vital tissues.”

“The nutritive stringency created by the fast causes the body to break down (by autolysis) all superfluous tissues “and nutritional stores and to make use of these in sustaining the functioning tissues of the body. In this process, stored toxins are released into the circulation to be carried to the organs of excretion and eliminated.

Dr. Oswald declares: “With no digestive drudgery on hand, Nature employs the long-desired leisure for general house-cleaning purposes. The accumulations of superfluous tissues are overhauled and analyzed; the available component parts are turned over to the department of nutrition, the refuse to be thoroughly and permanently removed.” Elimination of superfluities and encumbrances, neither of which can be achieved in a state of surfeit, is compatible with increasing powers and with processes of physiological and even biological readjustment during a fast.”

“Excretion is a fundamental function of life and it is as essential to the continued existence of the organism as nutrition. More than a hundred years ago, Sylvester Graham who wrote Science of Human Life, and who launched the world’s first health crusade in 1831 (Graham flour and Graham bread are named after him) pointed out that in all living bodies there is an economy of disassimilation and excretion co-equal with that of nutrition. So long as an organism is alive, assimilation and growth on one side, and excretion on the other are in constant operation.”

Pg 49

“The problem of when to fast for example, involves not only the matter of climatic conditions—which may become extremely important—but also the question of how quickly it may be considered essential for the individual to begin the fast.

Because fasting lowers one’s resistance to cold and the faster is easily chilled, fasting is more pleasant generally in warm weather than in cold. For this reason, there are those who advocate fasting in summer. On the other hand, Dr. Oswald considered winter entirely suitable for fasting and pointed to the example of hibernating animals to support his view. Moreover, waiting for summer could involve procrastination during which the condition of the patient might deteriorate. Chronic disease tends to evolve into more serious stages with the passage of time.”

“I believe that a fast should be entered into at any time of the year it may be needed, without reference to the climate. No impairment of health should be risked awaiting changes in climate. If one stays indoors and keeps warm, it is as easy and safe to fast in winter as in summer. Fasting is equally as beneficial at one time of year as at another, and the logical rule should be: Fast when there is a need for it.”

Pg 82

“In childhood,” wrote Dr. Oswald, “chronic dyspepsia is in nearly all cases the effect of chronic medication. Indigestion is not an hereditary complaint. A dietetic sin per excessum, a quantitative surfeit with sweet meats and pastry, may derange the digestive process for a few hours or so but the trouble passes by with the holidays. Lock up the short-cakes, administer a glass of cold water, and, my life for yours, that on Monday morning the little glutton will be ready to climb the steepest hill in the country. But stuff him with liver pills, drench him with cough syrup, and paregoric, and in a month or two he will not be able t“o satisfy the cravings of the inner boy without ‘assisting nature’ with a patent stimulant.”

Babies and young children are prone to develop spasms as a consequence of severe indigestion. Each paroxysm scares the wits out of the parents, although it is usual for the youngster to be as well as ever the following day. As soon as the child recovers from the acute indigestion the spasms cease. The child with indigestion should not be fed.”

Excerpt From

Fasting Can Save Your Life

Herbert M. Shelton

This material may be protected by copyright.

Graham, S., Trall. R., Shelton, H. (2009) The Greatest Health Discovery. Youngstown, OH. National Health Association. 


“FELIX OSWALD, M.D.(1845-1906)

In sickness, stimulation cannot further the actual recovery by a single hour. There is a strong progressive tendency in our physical constitution; Nature needs no prompter; as soon as the remedial process is finished, the normal functions of the organism will resume their work as spontaneously as the current of a stream resumes its course after the removal of an obstruction.”

Excerpt From

The Greatest Health Discovery

Sylvester Graham, Russell T. Trall, and Herbert M. Shelton

Pg 32

“Among professional men of his time, Dr. Jennings seems to have made but one convert. Dr. William Alcott of Boston became an advocate of the Jennings’ theories and practices and rejected those of the hydropaths. Jennings’ work did greatly influence such professional men as Drs. Trall, James Jackson and successors in the field of natural hygiene such as Robert Walter, Charles Page, Felix Oswald. Dr. Jennings, unfortunately, was not a crusader, a fact that was very harmful to the early days of the Hygienic Movement. Had he promulgated his views and practices with greater ardor and attacked the water cure system with more force, many mistakes of the early Hygienists may have conceivably been avoided.

Pg 57

“Dr. Felix Oswald came to this country from Belgium where he was born in 1845. He graduated from the University of Brussels in 1865. Though trained in medicine, he became a Hygienist of the first rank. Among the books he authored are Nature’s Household Remedies (1890), Physical Education (1882), Vaccination and Crime (1901), The Poison Habit (1887), Fasting, Hydrotherapy and Exercise (1901). Unfortunately, his life was cut short by a train accident in Syracuse, N. Y. September 29, 1906.”

Pg 67

“Frequent references to fasting were carried by the Graham Journal of Health and Longevity during the three years of its publication (1837-39), and much benefit was described as flowing from the practice. There is no specific evidence that Graham’s advocacy of fasting was based upon the findings of Beaumont, but there are frequent references to these findings in support of their fasting practices. For example, a writer in the Graham Journal September 19, 1837, points out that Beaumont found that when his experimental subject suffered with fever, little or no gastric juice was secreted and that food only served as a source of irritation to that organ and, consequently, to the whole organism. No solvent (digestive juice), said Beaumont, can be secreted under these circumstances; hence, food is as insoluble in the stomach as would be lead under ordinary circumstances.”

“Beaumont declared that food would lay in the stomach of Alexis St. Martin when he was ill for periods ranging from six to thirty two or forty hours, unchanged except for fermentation and putrefaction. Beaumont’s findings have since been repeatedly verified by physiologists. Such facts indicate the importance of withholding food in acute diseases, but Graham refers to fasting in cases of tumor and other chronic conditions, thus indicating that in what Dr. Felix Oswald called the Graham starvation cure, the fasting practice was not confined to acute illness. Graham’s statements regarding fasting and its employment in various conditions indicate a wide familiarity with the “fast and observations and experiences that reach far beyond what would seem at first glance to have been his.

Discussing the fast that an acutely ill child was undergoing, Dr. Jennings said: “There is now little action of the system generally, and consequently, there is but little wear and tear of machinery and like the doormouse, it might subsist for months on its own internal resources if that were necessary, and everything else favored. The bowels, too, have been quiet for a number of days, and they might remain as they are for weeks and months to come without change, if this were essential to the prolongation of life. The muscles of voluntary motion are at rest and cost nothing for their maintenance, save a slight expenditure of safekeeping forces to hold them in readiness for action at any further time if their services are needed. So of all the other parts and departments, the most perfect economy is everywhere exercised in the appropriation and use of the vital energies.”

Shelton, Herbert. (1968). Natural Hygiene: The Pristine Way of Life Youngstown, OH. National Health Association.

Pg 24

“We who regard disease as the result of violated law cannot fail to view our duty in a different light from that which has hitherto been regarded as the legitimate way of caring for the sick. Generally regarded as an enemy, disease has been thought to attack the living organism and it was the duty of the practitioner of the healing art to array himself and his arsenal against it. Physicians often say that they administer their poisons to aid the vis medicatrix naturae in expelling the disease. What a fatal error! The disease is itself the vis medicatrix naturae. Although the physician imagines that he is “aiding and assisting nature,” he is, in fact, simply wasting and destroying her reconstructive and recuperative powers. Dr. Oswald rightly said that diseases plead for desistance, rather than for assistance and the discovery of the cause is the discovery of the remedy.”

“The Hygienist recognizes the principle that the remedy for all impairments of health is to ascertain and remove its cause or causes. Believing these conclusions are true, we cannot reconcile ourselves to any mode of care that is directed exclusively at the symptoms. It is our firm conviction that cause is the most important factor in our equation. To find causes he is justified in trying to find out all about the habits of life and the conditions of living of all those who consult him for advice. All is wrong. All is a muddle from beginning to end. With individuals as with society, we are all victims of false and vicious habits, customs, practices and doctrines and lack both the knowledge and the independence to live in ways that are right and good for us. We are slaves to fashions, folly and pride.”

Pg 119

“Beaumont declared that food would lay in the stomach of Alexis St. Martin when he was ill for periods ranging from six to 32 or 40 hours, unchanged except for fermentation and putrefaction. Beaumont’s findings have since been repeatedly verified by physiologists. Such facts indicate the importance of withholding food in acute disease; but Graham refers to fasting in cases of tumor and other chronic conditions, thus indicating that in what Dr. Felix Oswald called the “Graham starvation cure,” the fasting practice was not confined to acute illnesses. Graham’s statements regarding fasting and its employment in various conditions indicate a wide familiarity with the fast and observations and experiences that reach far beyond what would seem at first glance to have been his.

Writing September 16, 1859, a physician living in upstate New York accused Hygienists of starving their patients to death. This accusation indicates that the use of the fast, while general among Hygienists, was as little understood by physicians of the period as by those of today. The fear of starvation has been instilled into us by the medical profession for a long time.”

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