The Difference Between Functional and Organic Disease
Much confusion concerning the curability
of chronic diseases by the various methods of treatment arises
because people do not understand the difference between functional
and organic chronic disease.
For instance, there is a close resemblance
between pseudo- and true locomotor ataxy. Often it is difficult
to distinguish functional lung trouble from the organic type of
the disease. In our practice, several cases of mental derangement
which had been diagnosed as true paresis proved to be of the functional
type and under natural treatment recovered rapidly.
Functional diseases may
present a very serious appearance and may be labeled with awe-inspiring
Greek or Latin names, and yet yield readily to natural methods
of living and treatment.
In diseases of an organic
nature, however, right living and self-treatment are usually not
sufficient to obtain satisfactory results. In such cases all forms
of active and passive treatment must be applied, and even then
it is frequently difficult and sometimes impossible to produce
Chronic diseases of a functional nature
develop when an otherwise healthy organism becomes saturated and
clogged with food and drug poisons to such an extent that these
encumbrances interfere with the free circuation of the blood and
nerve currents, and with the normal functions of the cells, organs
and tissues of the body.
Such cases resemble a watch which is losing
time because its works are filled with dust. All that such a waste-encumbered
watch or body needs, in order to restore normal functions, is
a good cleaning. Pure food diet, fasting, systematic exercise,
deep breathing, cold bathing and the right mental attitude are
usually sufficient to perform this physical housecleaning and
to restore perfect health.
Functional disorders yield readily to
the various forms of metaphysical treatment. Remove such patients
from the weakening and destructive effects of poisonous drugs
and of surgical operations, supplant fear and worry by courage
and faith, and the results often seem miraculous to those who
do not understand the power of the purifying and stimulating influence
of clean living and of the right mental attitude.
In diseases of the organic type,
however, good results are not so easily achieved. A body affected
by organic disease resembles a watch whose mechanism has been
injured and partly destroyed by rust and corrosive acids. If such
be the case, cleaning and oiling alone will not be sufficient
to put the timepiece in good working order. The watchmaker has
to replace the damaged parts.
This is easy enough in the case of the
watch, but it is not so easily accomplished in the human body.
Besides, in many instances the corroding acids are the very medicines
which were given to cure the disease and the injury and destruction
of vital parts and organs is only too often the direct or indirect
result of surgical operations.
The watchmaker may remove those parts
of the watch which are suffering from organic trouble, and replace
them by new ones. This the surgeon cannot do. He can extirpate,
but he cannot replace. Operative treatment leaves the organism
forever after in a mutilated and therefore unbalanced condition,
and often prevents and frustrates Nature's cleansing and healing
The Limitations of Metaphysical Healing
In the writings of metaphysical healers
we often meet the assertion that they can cure organic diseases
as easily and quickly as functional ailments. If they understood
better the difference between functional and organic disorders
as explained in the foregoing pages, they would not make such
deceptive and extravagant claims. They would then realize the
natural limitations of meta-physical healing.
°I do not underestimate the great
value of mental, metaphysical and spiritual healing methods. Of
these I shall speak more fully in subsequent chapters. But I do
claim that we can and should aid Nature's healing efforts not
only by the right mental attitude and the prayer of faith, but
also by natural living and many different methods of physical
Mental attitude alone will not clean the
watch. To concentrate on the work of housecleaning without using
broom, soap and water is not sufficient. Reason and common sense
teach us that the removal of physical, material encumbrances can
be, to say the least, accelerated by the use of physical or physiological
agents. Anyone who has observed or himself experienced the efficacy
of natural diet, cold-water treatment, massage and osteopathy
in dealing with the morbid accumulations in the system will never
again underestimate the practical value of these "brooms."
In our study of the nature and purpose
of acute diseases we have found that Nature tries to purify the
system from its morbid encumbrances through inflammatory, febrile
processes (acute diseases) and that these cleansing efforts of
Nature are generally prevented, checked and suppressed by allopathic
methods of medical and surgical treatment, and thus changed into
chronic disease conditions.
The metaphysical healers do away with
these suppressive methods of treatment and allow Nature's acute
cleansing and healing efforts to run their natural course. Thus
they profit by the fundamental laws of cure without understanding
them. The acute disease, whose very existence they deny,
is in reality the cure.
Furthermore, rational mental and metaphysical
treatment supports Nature's efforts actively
by supplanting the weakening and paralyzing fear vibrations with
relaxing and invigorating vibrations of hope, confidence and faith
in the supremacy of Nature's healing forces. Under these favorable
conditions, the organism will arouse itself to the purifying and
constructive healing crises (the chemicalizations of Christian
Science) and through these eliminate the morbid encumbrances and
restore normal structure and functions.
°While functional disorders, in nearly
every case, yield readily enough to the natural methods of living
and of treatment and to the right mental attitude, it is different
with organic diseases.
When waste matter, ptomaines or poisonous
alkaloids and acids produced in the body as a result of wrong
diet and other violations of Nature's laws have brought about
destruction and corrosion in vital parts and organs--when dislocations
and subluxations of bony structures, or new growths and accumulations
in the forms of tumors, stones or gravel obstruct the blood vessels
and nerve currents, shut off the supply of the vital fluids and
thus cause malnutrition and gradual decay of the tissues--when,
in addition to this, the organism has been poisoned or mutilated
by drugs and surgical operations, then its purification and repair
becomes a tedious and difficult task.
Not only must the mechanism of the body
be cleansed and freed from obstructive and destructive materials,
but the injured parts must be repaired, morbid growths and abnormal
formations dissolved and eliminated and lesions in the bony structures
corrected by manipulative treatment.
In organic diseases, the vitality is usually
so low and destruction so great that the organism cannot arouse
itself to self-help. Even the cessation of suppressive treatment
and the stimulating influence of mental and metaphysical therapeutics
are not sufficient to bring about the reconstructive healing crises.
This can only be accomplished by the combined influences
of all the natural methods of living and of treatment.
It is in cases like these that metaphysical
healing and hygienic living find their limitations. Such organic
defects require systematic treatment by all the methods, active
and passive, which the best Nature Cure sanitariums can furnish.
It may be slow and laborious work to obtain satisfactory results,
and if the vitality is too low or the destruction of vital parts
and organs has too far advanced, even the best and most complete
combination of natural methods of treatment may fail to produce
However, this can be determined only by
a fair trial of the natural methods. The forces of Nature are
ever ready to react to persistent, systematic effort in the right
direction and when there is enough vitality to keep alive there
is likely to be enough to purify and reconstruct the organism
and in time to bring about improvement and cure.
This, then, explains why, in the organic
types of diseases, metaphysical methods of treatment alone are
insufficient. At least one-half of the patients that come to the
Nature Cure physician have faithfully tried these methods without
avail, but the failures are easily excused by lack of faith, wrong
mental attitude or something wrong with the patient or his surroundings.
In our experience with patients who had
formerly tried metaphysical methods of healing faithfully, but
without results, we sometimes come face to face with a curious
and amusing phase of human nature. As our patients improve under
the natural regimen and treatment, they gradually return to their
first love and ascribe the good effects of natural treatment to
a better understanding of "the Science." As health and
strength return, they say: "Formerly I did not know just
how to apply the Science, but now I know, and that is why I am
I suppose this form of self-deception
which we have frequently observed is due to the fact that people
feel flattered by the idea that Providence has taken a special
interest in their case and cured them by miraculous intervention.
It is so much more interesting to be cured by some occult principle
than by diet and cold water.
Undoubtedly it is this miracle-loving
element in human nature that makes metaphysical healing so much
more popular than plain, commonsense Nature Cure.
Not long ago Professor Münsterberg
investigated the claims of Christian Scientists that they were
constantly curing diseases of the organic type. He reported his
findings in a series of articles in McClure's Magazine (1908),
stating that he inquired personally into one hundred cases said
to have been cured by Christian Science and found that ninety-two
of them had been of the functional type, while eight were claimed
to have been organic, but that in no instance could this be proved