UNTIL the public realise once and for all that doctors are more interested in studying disease than health there will be little hope of a state of collective well-being, for the assumption will persist that to cure a given disease is necessarily to cure a given patient. Allopathic drugs prescribed by the orthodox may suppress or divert a particular ailment, but that is not the same thing as a permanent cure.
A real cure means not that the patient is liberated from a set of symptoms to which a technical name is given, but that he or she is restored to all-round health. And this is a desideratum which no doctor can accomplish, but only the patient him or herself by consistent right living. The truth is that orthodox doctors as a general rule are concerned with secondary causes and do not trouble prime causes. Sometime they even think to cure a disease without attacking the cause at all. This is often the with skin diseases.
Patients are merely given a salve to suppress the eruption and are told that food has nothing to do with the matter, and they may eat anything they like. Doctors who give this kind of advice are either grossly ignorant, lacking in commonsense, or merely dishonest. Nevertheless there are of course a few exceptions, who tower above the “crowd of orthodoxy,” and are wise and fearless enough to proclaim the unvarnished truth. One of these doctors is Sir William Arbuthnot Lane.
Personal experience is always more convincing than second-hand experience or mere theorising. This being so, I may perhaps be excused for being autobiographical in this chapter.
I was a very sickly child, and when an infant nearly died of pneumonia. After that for several years I suffered from nerves and acute depression. I was always in the hands of the doctors and remember having to swallow bottlefuls of ill-tasting medicine. The medical men experimented with me but could not cure me. Although I was forbidden to eat certain foods, looking back now I realise that I was never ordered to eat the type of food that would have nourished my impoverished body and nerves.
Fresh fruits, wholemeal bread, honey, vegetable soups, and such like ailments were never advocated, for in those days doctors knew nothing about vitamins and mineral salts. If one was ill, the treatment consisted merely in taking medicines or in being set away for a change of air. Thus, my parents took me to one place after another in the hope of curing me.
Not until my tenth year was I able to go to school, and even then it proved a torture because of the poor state of my nerves. Although I did my best to hide my feelings, I was frightened of the teachers and frightened of the other boys. And all this I now attribute largely to an improperly nourished nervous system.
In addition to my general feeling of malaise I suffered from frequent to my general attacks, bad cold, severe headaches, and on one occasion was laid up for some weeks with jaundice. My father preached the virtue of taking plenty of exercise (he himself always walked five miles a day), but, although I romped and played games with my school-friends, exercise did not cure my nerves.
Between the ages of fifteen and nineteen I was in moderately good health, although subject to headaches and depression. After this period I become a martyr to very severe attacks of neuralgia, in addition to which my fits of depression and headache became more frequent, and I felt continually tried and drowsy. Also I contracted influenza at least once or twice a year. Altogether my condition was the reverse of healthy, but I imagined it was merely the result of the artistic temperament, and could have nothing to do with my mode of feeding.
I came, however, to take a very different view after I had been to stay with a married couple who, as the result of ill-health, had been put on to a regime which turned out to be a modified from of the Nature-cure diet. For breakfast we had a dish consisting of grated (raw) dry Provost Oats and cream, followed by drown bread toasted, with butter and honey. (China tea was permitted.)
For lunch we had the same apples-and-oats dish, some cheese, brown bread, and salad, followed by bananas, dried figs, or any other uncooked fruit we fancied. In the evening we had the usual type of dinner. Thus two meals of the day were of the Nature-cure variety and the third consisted of a flesh-food course and a pudding.
The result of the reformed diet on my health and spirits surpassed all my expectations. After two days I felt an entirely different person and realised that hitherto I had never known the sensation of real health. Whereas formerly I had somehow contrived to drag myself out of door to take exercise, now for hours on end all feeling of fatigue left me, and I felt both light and lighthearted, and ready to walk miles. No longer did I suffer from Weltschmern; the whole world looked different and so did everybody in it; I had apparently hit on the simple secret of health at last.
And naturally after such an experience I resolved I would never resume my English breakfasts and lunches. If I took flesh food of any sort it would only be once a day. This was thirty-six years ago, since when I have never had reason to alter may opinion that in the consumption of a large percentage of natural unfired food is to be found the secret of good health, provided there is no osteopathic, psychological, or other reasons for the contrary.
And I add this proviso because in my own case there was an osteopathic lesion which proved a certain handicap, but would have proved a after greater one had I never resorted to a natural diet. Although I had cured myself of neuralgia, depression, “that tired feeling,” and my annual or biannual attacks of “flu,” there was still one symptom which puzzled me considerably.
During my years of ill-health I had felt the necessity of taking a siesta every afternoon to ease my headaches. These were so incapacitating that very often for days together I was unable to do any creative work, and even when I could work it was often only with the most painful effort. After reforming my diet, however, the headaches got much better, and I could work (with a short interval for lunch) until about three-thirty in the afternoon. Then my powers began to flag and I got a headache. Nevertheless after a siesta I usually felt fresh again and could resume work till dinner time.
Why this puzzling necessity for a doze? It was only twenty years later, when I first visited an osteopath, that I learnt the reason. The osteopath discovered that I had a slight deformity, or so-called osteopathic lesion, in my neck (which reacted on my head), and which a I attribute to a fall I had from a tree when a boy. Now it is interesting to note en passant that when I offered, as customary with an ordinary doctor, to tell him my symptoms he cut me short and said: “Please leave all that to me.
I will tell you your symptoms when I have run my fingers over your spine.” Indeed no sooner had he touched my neck than he said: “You suffer from an intractable from of headache.” He then went on to say that he had only come across one other neck with the same deformity as my own, and the patient suffered from the same symptom. His final verdict was: ” I can correct this lesion about sixty per cent, but no more. You have come too late.”.
This was at any rate both honest and illuminating. I had at last found a rational explanation of my debility. Since then I have studied the theory of osteopathy, and feel convinced that if people would have themselves and their children periodically examined by a competent osteopath they would be spared many an ailment that would yield to osteopathic treatment.
So effective is osteopathy in many cases that I now understand why many doctors try to bring discredit upon it.[In spite of my belief in osteopathy, I am not in favour of osteopaths who use violent methods, as some of them do. Such method may cause more harm than good and throw the whole system out of balance.] In fact I once asked a doctor why he did not send some of his patients to an osteopath instead of to a masseur, to which he had the frankness to reply: “I did send some of my patients at one time, with the result that they never came back to me. They got cured too soon. After all, one has to live.”.
True enough. But considering we pay doctors to cure us, and to give us the best advice, such a policy was more satisfactory for the doctor than for the patient. I know one man, for instance, who was laid up for a whole years with a bad knee. Two doctors treated him to no effect. Finally, he was persuaded by a friend to call in an osteopath, and was cured in one treatment. There are thousands of cases of this kind, which have not yielded to medicine, or even to diet, yet have yielded to osteopathy because the latter has removed the true cause of the complaint.
Psychoanalysts have done much to cure many complaints–also by removing the cause–but its success depends on raising a forgotten “something” out of the subconscious. There are, however, ailments caused by incidents or emotions which have not been forgotten, and in these circumstances another from of treatment is necessary.
Let me cite the case a man who was chased by a ball and only succeeded in escaping escaping injuries. Shortly after this frightening experience he developed a form of dysentery which failed to yield to medical treatment. He finally consulted a metaphysical healer, who inquired into hip past history and was told of the aforementioned incident. The healer then set to work to eradicate the impression left on the subconscious mind, his modus operandi being silently to deny that the man had ever been frightened by bull. The result was a complete cure.
Many years ago I myself treated a somewhat similar case. A middle-aged lady suffered from severe functional heart attacks. It transpired that in her teens she had been frightened by an over-severe governess, her fear of this woman having been so pronounced that it induced palpitation.
By dint of sitting with the” patient” while she read a book, and silently concentrating on the idea that she had never been frightened in this way, her heart complaint was cured. A case of severe neuralgia of the throat and also one of neuralgia of the face yielded to similar treatment. In both cases the patient had been sceptical, so that one cannot ascribe the cures to faith.
Sometimes a disease may be cases by grief. I may mention the case of a man suffered from diabetes for about thirty years. He finally consulted a homoeopath, who tried various remedies but with little result. One day the patient admitted that thirty years previously he had suffered a great loss which occasioned him profound grief. The homoeopath then prescribed Ignatia–a corrective to grief, and the man was cured.