By The DUCHESS OF HAMILTON.
From Progress To-day.
THE art of healing the human body through manipulation has been known and practiced in the East throughout the ages. Those who have experienced the skill of these gifted Indians are full of praise for them.
At one time many people in the West, in order to keep fit, lifted heavily weighted dumb-bells. If these exercises were overdone it was found that a distressing, condition known as being “muscle bound” arose, to the detriment of the strength of the patient. A great improvement was made by the Swede, P. H. Ling. He devised a system of exercises and massage, founded on the scientific study of anatomy and physiology. Out of the Ling system the Kellgren system arose.
Jonas Henrik Kellgren was born on the 24th November, 1837. He trained as an officer in the Swedish army and, after passing out of the Gymnastic Central Institute of Stockholm, started as teacher of gymnastics and eventually developed his own special line of treatment.
Kellgren was a genius who, through his power of observation and intuitive perception, worked out a new method for the treatment and cure of diseases, based to a great extent on the principles followed by Ling. This system Kellgren developed and extended, chiefly by an altogether new principle and technique of nerve treatment, described later on in this article.
Many institutes were founded in various countries, modelled after Kellgrens first one. In 1909 his grateful British patients collected money for a hospital in South Kensington, named after him the Kellgren Hospital. The Hospital worked successfully for some years until the War broke out with its devastating results for so many good works.
Kellgren did not believe in drugs, neither had he anything but contempt for the array of sera and vaccines which have now grown so fashionable. He saw that the introduction of poisons and pus, derived from animals, into the human blood stream as is done in inoculation and vaccination could not ultimately be of benefit to the human body.
He considered that a disordered body a diseased body should be helped back to order and harmony through judicious exercises, through rectifying movements, and particularly through healing vibrations, sent by the fingers of the healer through the nerves to the different organs.
Kellgren considered the sympathetic nervous system, of which orthodox medicine knows little and takes but little heed, as being the most important factor for health or disease, regulating, as it does, the functions of the various organs and their blood supply.
If, he reasoned, you could influence the sympathetic plexuses and ganglia, you could really, in a direct way, regulate the functions of the body to a very great extent; you could thus relieve the congestion of organs and tissues, which in so many cases is the beginning of disease.
This vision of a genius and a seer became practically possible. For, through long study and thought, kellgren found and established that by a certain kind of vibrations and frictions, aided by exercises and ordinary massage, most of the body structures can be reached directly or reflexly, either by the sympathetic system or by the so-called “Rami Communicantes” from the spinal nerves.
He discovered that there are various nervous centres of the human body, that the vibratory touch of the human finger can awaken to life and through vibration bring ease, where there had been disease. Those who desire to follow in his footsteps can experience in themselves the fact that one who has been trained in the Kellgren system which involves a complete anatomical and physiological training in many cases can feel and sense the state of nerves and organs.
Certain inflammations may feel to the fingers as if they were touching a red-hot stove Other conditions bring numbness, others again may transfer the pain from the patient to the healer.
For one who, like myself, has experienced this particular treatment since the age of 14 some forty years ago it is impossible to speak too highly of its results. One needs to know the agony of suffering to know its blessed relief. Through this truly marvellous treatment I have been cured of such serious ailments as pneumonia, pleurisy, influenza, measles, rheumatism, etc.
In 1906 the prejudice of orthodox doctors against any other form of treatment was even more hidebound than nowadays. Early that year, after the birth of my third child, I had a bad attack of pleurisy. The doctor who had attended me wished for another opinion.
I requested that the late Dr. Widegren, a follower of Kellgren, be called in. The orthodox doctor refused to meet him and decided to call in another man. I had had three days and nights of agony. So, despite medical etiquette, Dr. Widegren was sent for. Fortunately for myself, my husband and those about me were all sympathetic to the Kellgren treatment.
Dr. Widegren came, in spite of etiquette being more engrossed in the business of healing and had to be introduced into my room when neither the doctors nor their night nurse were present. Under the skilful hands of Dr. Widegren I rapidly recovered. The other doctors marvelled that the fluid round the lung should have disappeared so quickly without tapping !.
Not only have I personally experienced many times the benefit of the Kellgren treatment, but I have had the joy of knowing of the recovery of those near and dear to me through its means.
The present Duke of Hamilton (subsequently my husband), was taken ill with a stroke of paralysis in March, 1895. For six weeks he lay unconscious. The late Duke of Hamilton called in the man who was supposed to be the greatest nerve specialist of the day, Dr. David Ferrier, later Sir David Ferrier. Ferrier was a notorious vivisector, who had conducted some particularly cruel experiments upon dogs on the plea of investigation of pain.
He, therefore, presumably, based his diagnosis and the treatment he prescribed for his human patients upon his experiences with his vivisected animals. He considered the Dukes case hopeless.
There came a night when the patient lay, to all appearances still, totally unconscious, and Ferrier spoke aloud his opinion that the patient could not live until the morning. But the patient was not so unconscious as was supposed. He heard, and, as he tells the story himself, he describes how, hearing Ferriers words gave him the determination to exert himself and prove the doctor in the wrong.
He began to recover strength and to move about, but Ferrier had no hope and gave him six weeks and then six months. His sisters, fortunately, thought the risk was one worth taking. He accordingly started having treatment from Baron von Duben. The Kellgren treatment necessitates, as a rule, the taking of no drugs, but such strong drugs had been given the Duke, especially bromide, that they could not be dropped at once, but had to be reduced gradually; indeed Baron von Dubens opinion was that he would certainly have succumbed in six months owing to the strength of these drugs if for no other reason.
The Duke continued to improve as the years went by. We married in 1901, and our children have been well and strong. In spite of his left side remaining paralyzed, he has been able to take long walks daily sometimes even accomplishing as much as nine miles in the day. For some years he even rode a quiet pony over the moors and downs. He is now over seventy, and is still hale and hearty, in spite of a severe burn some two years ago.
The subsequent history is that the vivisectionist doctor died and the patient, whom he doomed to an early grave, lives and thrives.
Another patient who was cured by the Kellgren treatment was my mother. In 1890 she became very ill indeed with phlebitis while in Germany; she was brought back to London to a nursing home in an ambulance, and though she rallied, orthodox medical opinion said that she would have to lie on a sofa for the rest of her life.
My godmother, one of her greatest friends, the charming Mrs. Percy Wyndham, came to her rescue, and advised her strongly to try the Kellgren treatment. My mother went to Dr. Widegren, with the result that health and vigour came back; she was able to live a normal life, and even to take long walks; she lived to the age of eighty-two, active almost to the last.
My father, the late Major R. M. Poore (8th Hussars) at the age of eighty-two had pneumonia, and was given up by his doctor. Dr. Widegren came down, and by the Kellgren treatment pulled him through and he lived several years afterward.
One of my brothers in 1897 was very ill indeed with peritonitis, and was cured by Dr. Widegren. He was so dangerously ill when Dr. Widegren first came to attend him that he had to begin by vibrating a few inches away from the area of congestion, gradually getting nearer and nearer; ultimately he was able to remove all inflammation.
Another brother in the Spring of 1896, shortly before an examination, was very ill with suppressed measles and pneumonia. One night his temperature was up to 105, and Dr. Widegren brought it down to normal within an hour, and the temperature, though it rose slightly the next day, never became so high again. He recovered speedily, and was able to pass his examination.
During the grave influenza epidemic of 1918, all our seven children caught the disease, and we re cured by Dr. Harry Kellgren, a worthy son and follower of his father, Jonas Henrik Kellgren. Dr. Harry Kellgren never spared himself for others, and, alas, in 1919, the world was deprived of his great healing ability by his early death from heart failure.
The drawback to the Kellgren method of healing is no doubt the time and exertion it takes. Moreover, it is not everybody who is fit to learn such a treatment. It requires, in addition to the ordinary curriculum of knowledge of all parts of the body and their interrelation, very sensitive fingers and perception.
The Kellgren doctor must feel, through his fingers tips, where and how, and in what way the sick patient is ill; there must be contact between the life-force (akin to electricity) of the manipulator and his patient, and finally he must comprehend what the whole body needs in order to let the affected parts regain their normal health.
Perhaps one of the most remarkable cures personally known to me was that of a friend whose eye-ball was severely damaged by the impact of a tennis ball as she stood watching the game, and she lost the sight of that eye. The years went by, and the great eye specialist who attended her warned her that unless the injured eye was removed she would go blind in the other eye as well.
She went under the Kellgren treatment in the hope that the conditions would be soothed, and that the operation would not be necessary. But the unexpected happened. Not only was she able to avoid an operation, but she became able to see with the eye that had been blind since her injury.