THIS is a mechanical age and an age of specialisation. All the arts have become mechanical. The theatre is replaced by the picture theatre, music executed by the individual is replaced by machines emitting sounds, by wireless, etc. Not unnaturally modern medicine also has become mechanical. Doctors of the past diagnosed with the help of their five senses. Some used the clinical thermometer, while others measured temperature with a sensitive hand and tool the pulse with sensitive fingers.
The modern doctor possesses a large collection of scientific tools and machines for making tracings of the heart beat or of the pulse, for taking blood pressure, for making physical and chemical tests of every kind. Besides, every doctor knows that patients are impressed by a bewildering array of tools and machines assembled in consulting rooms.
The modern doctor relies not so much on his five senses, as did all the great doctors of the past from Hippocrates of Hahnemann- Hahnemann did not possess a clinical thermometer, or a stethoscope as far as I am aware-but on complicated and very ingenious tools and machines which are often used very unintelligently. Moreover, the modern doctor is a laboratory product. He has not been taught the art of healing at the beside, apprenticed to an experienced doctor i the manner of the past, but he has been taught by laboratory men a vast number of things which have nothing to do with the art of healing.
The modern doctor, the scientific doctor, being a laboratory product, talks in laboratory language. The modern doctor uses his scientific instruments for diagnosing a case and it if there is any difficulty he sends the exertions and secretions of the patient to laboratory specialists, who not only make a diagnosis, but direct treatment by means of chemicals, serums, etc., although they have not seen the patient. Modern medicine, scientific medicine, has become mechanised and de humanised. The modern doctor has become a user of many tools and a middleman to the laboratories and to the great drug houses.
It most cases a so-called scientific diagnosis made with the ingenious methods of modern science is quit unnecessary. Simple cases which in the past were successfully treated by simple practitioners at small cost to the patient are now handed over to a number of specialists who only too often spoil the case. Innumerable mistakes made by foremost physicians and specialists have come to my notice.
These mistakes would have been avoided if the men called upon to make a diagnosis had used their common sense. After all, the five senses of observant men are instruments of wonderful perfection and compared with these the most elaborate instruments are pitifully unreliable. A highly trained brain is the most perfect and the most potent scientific tool.
Unfortunately the modern doctor, having been enslaved by the laboratory fails to treat his patients with common sense, but treats them through the brains of specialists on whom he relies. A physicians, in the meaning of the word, should be a student of Nature and, in treating patients, he should exercise the ingenuity of a detective. Innumerable intractable diseases are due to some simple fault which ingenuity will discover and eliminate. I would illustrate my meaning by a few examples.
Some time ago, travelling in a railway carriage, I chatted with a married couple. The husband explained to me that he suffered from very grave heart disease, that he had consulted all the highest authorities in Harley, Street, that he had just come back from a six months holiday, taken on medical advice, and that he was not much better. He was a city solicitor with a very large practice. All the most expensive and the most scientific tests had been made to arrive at a correct diagnosis.
It may opinion most disorders and diseases are either caused, or aggravated, by faulty living. I asked the man a few question regarding his diet, and it came out that he was passionately found of mustard. He ate mustard not only with all meat but with all fowl, fish, on bread and butter, etc., and he consumed about he did not suffer form heart disease, but from too much mustard. I spoke strongly and took him a solemn promise not to touch mustard for a month and then to write to me about the condition of his heart. After a month he wrote to me that his heart had vastly improved, that it was practically normal.
A lady came to me from Japan. She had been treated without success by leading physicians. She told me that she suffered from advanced tuberculosis of the lungs, had lost much weight, which she could not regain, felt very weak, icy cold, and she was terribly anaemic. She looked the picture of Natrum muriaticum, Her. eyes watered easily in the wind and she did not like sympathy.
I discovered that she took a small teaspoonful of salt with every egg and similarly prodigious quantities with salads, meat, etc. To her consternation I forbade absolutely salt, of which she was passionately found, and gave her Nat. Mur. 30 and a few other homoeopathic medicines. After two or three months she told me that she had put on thirty pounds, that she did not know that she possessed lungs, and she had acquired the figure and the strength of a Channel swimmer.
I have come across a number of cases of salt poisoning. A middle-aged man consulted me about Xanthoma, an excessively rare skin disease which, according to the textbooks, is associated with debates. He had been shown to numerous medical societies as a curiosity and had been treated by about forty skin specialists. None of them had asked him about his diet or had made any dietetic suggestions.
His skin trouble had been treated from the outside with ointments and washes. Besides he had been treated for diabetes. That man had an even greater longing for salt than the case from Japan. A prodigious salt consumption caused corresponding thirst and frequent urination, and the latter gave rise to the diagnosis of diabetes.
If one wishes to go thoroughly and conscientiously into a case, one has to study a patients diet with the utmost care. A very obese woman told me with tears in her eyes that she ate next to nothing and she described to me meals which seemed utterly insufficient. When I asked her what she drank she told me that she had ten cups to tea per day in which she put form three to four lumps of sugar.
She ate, or rather drank in solution, approximately a pound of sugar per day and then she confessed that between meals she had very rich ices made of cream and sugar. About the same time a lady came to met who suffered from mysteries vertigoes and fainting fits which no doctor had been able to diagnose or to cure. She also took ten or twelve cups of strong and boiling hot tea pet day with a huge quantity of sugar, I reduced tea consumption to the minimum, gave her a few doses of conium, because her vertigo was particularly marked when in bed, and she rapidly go well.
An enormous number of people, suffer form chronic poisoning in some form or other, which often is overlooked. A lady asked me to see her husband who could not move hand or foot. He was a young man, and his disease had been diagnosed ad osteo-arthritis, rheumatoid-arthritis, disseminated sclerosis, etc., and he had been declared incurable and pensioned. The bedroom reeked like a smoking compartment. It was strewn with cigarette ends and empty aspirin bottles.
My first question was: “How many cigarettes do you smoke per day?” “About fifty”. “And how many aspirins do you take per day?” “From forty to fifty.” I told him that he did not suffer from a scientific disease which can be described only in mongrel Latin or Greek, but from tobacco poisoning and aspirin poisoning. I suggested to him that he should reduce cigarettes and aspirins by one per day. He did so during a few days and improved, but then went back to the old deadly dopes.
Some years ago a Post Office clerk told me that he was suffering from creeping paralysis. Objects dropped from his hands, he could not keep his balance, occasionally he dropped on the floor, the Post Office doctor had sent him to a Harley Street specialist and the specialist had declared his case incurable, had given him no treatment and had told him to go home and make himself as comfortable as he could. Although the man could not take exercise he lived on a concentrated diet with plenty of meat and was terribly constipated. He looked to me poisoned and I discovered that many years age he had had an abscess on the leg and during eight years he had rubbed in Zinc ointment by doctors orders.
I happened to know that Zinc is a nerve poison which particularly affects the spinal cord and the great nerves connected with it. I forbade further use of Zinc ointment, regulated his bowel, cleared him up with homoeopathic doses of Sulphur, gave him Turkish baths and the man became practically normal. Shortly afterwards a lady came to me with a mysterious disease of the stomach which had defied diagnosis and treatment by many doctors. Her diet was quite unobjectionable, but I found that during twenty years she had every night douched with Sulphate of Zinc.
A very tall and totally emaciated financier told me that he had spent thousands of pounds, that no doctor had been able to put flesh on him and to cure his anaemia. A glance at his eyes caused me to say: “You eat too much fat.” immediately the reply came: “I never touch fat.” “But what about butter?” “Oh, I eat a lot of butter.” Endeavouring to get fat the man had consumed every day more than half a pound of butter for many years guided by the doctors. I recommended that he should not touch butter in any form during a month and during that month he gained eight or ten pounds in weight and lost his anaemia.
Wise old Hahnemann recommended in his Organon and in many other writings that the doctor should regulate the life of patients, their diet, etc., before using drugs, particularly if such regulation should urgently be required. Hahnemann was a great pioneer in making used of open air, sunshine, water, exercise, rest, etc., and I think I follow in Hahnemanns footsteps in acting as I have acted, and I think both doctors and laymen might with advantage study the common sense recommendations of Hahnemann and his methods of treatment. No one can be move firmly convinced of the advantages of homoeopathic treatment that I am.
However, I cannot help thinking that homoeopathic treatment by the most experienced homoeopathic physician or layman may fail if the patient continues taking salt or mustard by the tablespoonful, smokes twenty cigars per day or fifty cigarettes. Of course if takes some considerable time to “take the case” in accordance with Hahnemanns directions.
It takes about equally long to investigate the diet and other common sense factors which may be responsible for the disorder or disease complained of Investigation of these factors is particularly difficult because patients always believed that they lead a very sensible life. The tea fiend will assure you with emphasis: “I like tea hot and strong and plenty of it?. The cigarette fiend will make similar observations and the salt maniac will assure you that salt is exceedingly beneficial and so will the mustard maniac.
Some time ago two ladies asked my advice. One had a huge goitre and the other complained about terrible weakness and anaemia, treated in vain by numerous doctors. The goitre lady took practically no drink, terribly clogged in consequence. The other lady, wishing to keep her blood pure and wholesome, lived principally on salads, raw fruit and a little whole-meal bread. She shunned flesh, fish, fowl and eggs, did not take milk because “milk was meant for calves,” did not touch tea, but took prodigious quantities of water, thinning her blood. I told the goitre lady to take plenty of liquid of every kind, took away from the anaemic lady her salads and raw fruit, giving her a substantial diet instead, and both improved greatly.
Regulation of diet is a very important matter, but other things are equally important. A lady with a totally wasted frame told me that she took three hot baths every day ” as hot as possible,” staying in the hot water at least ten minutes, because that was the only way she could get warm. She did not perspire and therefore did not need hot baths at all. I explained to her that the little strength she had was wasted by these hot baths and she gave them up, much to her benefit. Other people take not enough hot baths. Often the substitution of slightly salted water for fresh water proves exceedingly beneficial, particularly to those who feel better at the seaside. Some people suffer from too much sleep and others from insufficient sleep and rest.
Some take too little or no exercise and others take too much exercise. Occasionally one can cure insomnia by changing the meal times, or by telling the sleepless to have something to eat in the middle of the night. They are kept awake by blood vigorously circulating in their heads. As soon as they have eaten something, the surplus blood goes from the head to the something, the surplus blood goes from the head to the stomach to help in the process of digestion and the patient falls asleep.
Occasionally one discovers that a mysterious disease is due to the use of carbolic tooth powder, carbolic or other strong gargles, carbolic smells throughout the house “to kill the germs,” faulty drains, the use of cooking utensils which may be injurious to health, badly constructed gas fires and ordinary fires, which fill the room with noxious emanations, a small leak in a gas pipe under the strangulation neckbands among women, etc. I saw a very stately old lady who suffered from a mysterious disease which caused her to fall frequently, causing numerous fractures. I saw her, a majestic figure, sitting very upright and very imposing in a high wheeled chair.
She told me of the innumerable treatment she had had by physicians, surgeons, osteopaths, etc., without result. She wore round the neck a black velvet band, covered with diamond brooches. It pressed severely on the important nerves and arteries of the neck. “How long have you had your trouble, madam?” “For eight years.” “I admire very much this beautiful and becoming neckband you wear, how long have you worn it?” For eight years”.
A man came to me telling me that his body was covered with huge tumours. The doctors had told him that only surgeons could deal with them and the surgeons had told him that there were too many tumours to operate upon. Upon my enquiry he told me, as do so many people who live faultily: “My diet is the healthiest imaginable.” He lived on white bread, butter, cheese and milk.
He took on an average per day, half a pound go butter, half a pound of cheese and from three to six pints of milk, which, after all, is only a temporary diet even for a calf. I explained to him that he lived on the diet of the calf. that the prodigious quantity of milk taken in the form of milk, butter and cheese contained probably far more lime than his system could make use of and that the surplus lime was excreted into the tissues, forming tumours, exactly as surplus salt is occasionally sent into the tissues where it is kept in solution, causing dropsy.
I think the physician should act as a detective and explore very carefully all the possibilities of disease, the way of living of the patient, his diet, his exercise, rest, sex matters, and so forth. Wise old Hahnemann taught that the most important symptoms are the symptoms of the mind. People will readily tell all about their eating and drinking, exercise, rest and so forth. They will not as readily discuss their sex life, their vices, their shortcomings, their mental symptoms. Drunkards have told me: “I take occasionally a glass of wine.” Syphilitics have assured me that they had never had a sex disease.
I have found that direct questions are injudicious. If one tells a man of a difficult case which proved incurable until the patient one day confessed that he drank, or that he had had an infection, or that he was furiously jealous, or terrified of ghosts and that that belated disclosure produced a cure in a case which otherwise would have been a failure, the patient will often say: And then all is plain sailing. Some people are excessively shy and reserved and modest. A lady whom I treated in vain for rheumatism during six months at last blushingly told me about her bladder trouble, a vital disclosure which pointed to Causticum as the remedy.
Acting as a detective one must look at peoples fingers for the evidence of too many cigarettes, take their breath for the evidence of alcoholism, study the shape of nails, fingers, shape of hands, etc., watch them at their meals and so forth. A doctor friend of mine was taking tea with me at the Club and complained bitterly that he was getting very stout, attributing it to his years. I noticed he out six pieces of sugar into a small teacup while I took one. “How many cups of tea do you take in the afternoon>” “Three or four.” “Do you always out six pieces of sugar into each cup?” “I do”.
In winter a miserably thin man came to me, complaining about emaciation and terrible chilliness. Through my mind went various homoeopathic remedies. His diet was not unreasonable. “What kind of underclothing do you wear?” “None, I wish to harden myself.” My prescription consisted of thick underclothing and no more cold baths, and the man was rapidly cured without homoeopathic remedies. It think Hahnemann would have treated the case in exactly the same way and would not even have suggested treatment by olfaction.
A while ago a heavily-built man, thirty years old, living in Sheffield, came to me complaining about epileptic attacks. His Sheffield doctor had treated him with the usual dopes, bromides and luminal. On his advice he had seen two great London specialists, one of them is one of the Kings doctors. The specialists listened to the man three minutes, charged him three guineas and prescribed likewise bromides and luminal. Obviously the whole profession was unanimous. As the man was steadily going downhill, notwithstanding the united wisdom of doctors and consultants, he came to me.
Enquiry into the past revealed the fact that at the age of fifteen he was shot over the handlebars of his bicycle, fell on the top of his head, lay stunned for a long time and that the attacks came on only afterwards. It was a clear case of Arnica. Further enquiry revealed the fact the man had a mania for salt and condiments. He was in the habit of taking about two tablespoonful of salt per day, prodigious quantities of pepper, poisonously strong tea, boiling hot, vinegar by the quart, pickles by the gallon, was consequently terribly thirsty, drank at least a gallon of water with his mid- day meal and consumed from six to sixteen glasses of beer at odd hours.
The eminent specialists had not thought it worth while to find out these ghastly facts by putting a few questions. The poor fellow would, in course of time have been driven to the lunatic asylum by bromide and luminal, and if he had died of these dopes there would have been a certificate of natural death on the part of the doper.