Chapter Four, we named, as the first of the primary causes of disease,
can we do to increase vitality? "Old School" physicians
and people in general seem to think that this can be done by consuming
large quantities of nourishing food and drink and by the use of
stimulants and tonics.
constant cry of patients is: "Doctor, if you could only prescribe
some good tonic or some food that will give me strength, then I
should be all right! I am sure that is all I need to be cured."
fully agree with the patient that he needs more vitality to overcome
disease, but unfortunately this cannot be obtained from food and
drink, from stimulants and tonics.
life, life force, whatever we may call it or whatever its aspect,
is not something we can eat and drink. It is independent of the
physical body and of material food. If the body should "fall
dead," as we call it, the life force would continue to act
just as vigorously in the spiritual body, which is the exact counterpart
of the physical organism.
physical-material body as well as the spiritual-material body are
only the instruments for the manifestation of the life force. They
are no more life itself than the violin is the artist.
just as the violin must be kept in good condition in order to enable
the artist to draw from it the harmonies of sound, so food and drink
are necessary to keep the physical body in the best possible condition
for the manifestation of vital force. The more normal our physical
and spiritual bodies are in structure and function, the more harmonious
our thought life and emotional life, the more abundant will be the
influx of vital force into the twofold organism.
important subject has been treated more fully in Chapter IV.
of these simple truths leads to the most serious mistakes. Physicians
and people in general do not stop to think that excessive eating
and drinking tend to rob the body of vitality instead
of supplying it.
processes of digestion, assimilation and elimination of food and
drink in themselves require a considerable expenditure of vital
force. Therefore all food taken in excess of the actual needs of
the body consumes life force that should be available for other
purposes, for the execution of physical and mental work.
Romans had a proverb: "Plenus venter non studet libenter"--"A
full stomach does not like to study." The most wholesome food,
if taken in excess, will clog the system with waste matter just
as too much coal will dampen and extinguish the fire in the furnace.
the morbid materials and systemic poisons produced by impure, unsuitable
or wrongly combined foods will clog the cells and tissues of the
body, cause unnecessary friction and obstruct the inflow and the
operations of the vital energies, just as dust in a watch will clog
and impede the movements of its mechanism.
greatest artist living cannot draw harmonious sounds from the strings
of the finest Stradivarius if the body of the violin is filled with
dust and rubbish. Likewise, the life force cannot act perfectly
in a body filled with morbid encumbrances.
human organism is capable of liberating and manifesting daily a
limited quantity of vital force, just as a certain amount of capital
in the bank will yield a specified sum of interest in a given time.
If more than the available interest be withdrawn, the capital in
the bank will be decreased and gradually exhausted.
if we spend more than our daily allowance of vital force, "nervous
bankruptcy," that is, nervous prostration or neurasthenia will
be the result.
is the duty of the physician to regulate the expenditure of vital
force according to the income. He must stop all leaks and guard
Stimulation by Paralysis
heading may seem paradoxical, but it is borne out by fact. Stimulants
are poison to the system. Few people realize that their exhilarating
and apparently tonic effects are produced by the paralysis of an
important part of the nervous system.
as we have learned, wholesome food and drink in
themselves do not contain and therefore cannot convey life
force to the human body, much less can this be accomplished by stimulants.
human body has many correspondences with a watch. Both have a motor
or driving mechanism and an inhibitory or restraining apparatus.
it were not for the inhibiting balances, the wound watchspring would
run off and spend its force in a few moments. The expenditure of
the latent force in the wound spring must be regulated by the inhibitory
and balancing mechanism of the timepiece.
the nervous system in the animal and human organism consists of
two main divisions: the motor or driving and the inhibitory or restraining
driving power is furnished by the sympathetic nerves and the motor
nerves. They convey the vital energies and nerve impulses
to the cells and organs of the body, thus initiating and regulating
found that the human body is capable of liberating in a given time,
say, in twenty-four hours, only a certain limited amount of vital
energy, just as the wound spring of the watch is capable of liberating
in a given time only a certain amount of kinetic energy.
in the watch the force of the spring is controlled by the regulating
balances (the anchor), so in the body the expenditure of
vital energy must be regulated in such a manner that it
is evenly distributed over the entire running time. This
is accomplished by the inhibitory nervous system [the parasympathetics].
motor nerve must be balanced by an inhibitory nerve. The one furnishes
the driving force, the other applies the brake. For instance, the
heart muscle is supplied with motor force through the spinal nerves
from the upper dorsal region, while the pneumogastric [vagus] nerve
retards the action of the heart and in that way acts as a brake.
brake is supplied by the waste products of metabolism in the system,
the uric acid, carbonic acid, oxalic acid, etc., and the many forms
of xanthines, alkaloids, and ptomaines. As these accumulate in the
organism during the hours of wakeful activity, they gradually clog
the capillary circulation, benumb brain and nerves, and thus produce
a feeling of exhaustion and tiredness and a craving for rest and
this way, by means of the inhibitory nervous system and of the accumulating
fatigue products in the body, Nature forces the organism to rest
and recuperate when the available supply of vital force runs low.
The lower the level of vital force, the more powerful will become
the inhibitory influences.
we can understand why stimulation is produced by paralysis. Stimulants
precipitate the fatigue products from the circulation into the tissues
of the body. They do this by overcoming and paralyzing
the power of the blood to dissolve and carry in solution uric acid
and other acids and alkaloids that should be eliminated from the
organism.Thus will be explained more fully in the volume on "Natural
stimulants temporarily benumb and paralyze the inhibitory
nervous system. In other words, they lift the brakes from
the motor nervous system, and allow the driving powers to run wild
when Nature wanted them to slow up or stop.
illustrate: A man has been working hard all day. Toward night his
available supply of vitality has run low, his system is filled with
uric acid, carbonic acid and other benumbing fatigue products, and
he feels tired and sleepy, At this juncture he receives word that
he must sit up all night with a sick relative. In order to brace
himself for the extraordinary demand upon his vitality, our friend
takes a cup of strong coffee, or a drink of whisky, or whatever
his favorite stimulant may be.
effect is marvelous. The tired feeling disappears, and he feels
as though he could remain awake all night without effort.
has produced this apparent renewal and increase of vital energy?
Has the stimulant added to his system one iota of vitality? This
cannot be, because stimulants do not contain anything that could
impart vital force to the organism. What, then, has produced the
seemingly strengthening effect?
caffeine, alcohol or whatever the stimulating poison may have been
has precipitated the fatigue products from the blood and deposited
them in the tissues and organs of the body. Furthermore, the stimulant
has benumbed the inhibitory nerves; in other words, it has lifted
the brakes from the driving part of the organism, so that the wheels
are running wild.
this means drawing upon the reserve supplies of nerve fats and of
the vital energy stored in them, which Nature wants to save for
extraordinary demands upon the system in times of illness
or extreme exertion. Therefore this procedure is contrary to Natureís
intent. Nature tried to force the tired body to rest and sleep,
so that it could store up a new supply of vital force.
the paralyzing influence of the stimulant upon the inhibitory nerves,
the organism now draws upon the reserve stores of nerve fats and
vital energies for the necessary strength to accomplish the extra
the same time, the organism remains awake and active during the
time it should be replenishing energy for the next day's
work, which means that the latter also has to be done at
the expense of the reserve supply of life force.
sleep only do we replenish our reserve stores of vitality.
The expenditure of vital energies ceases, but their liberation in
the system continues.
sleep is the "sweet restorer." Nothing can take its place.
No amount of food and drink, no tonics or stimulants can make up
for the loss of sleep. Continued complete deprivation of sleep is
bound to end in a short time in physical and mental exhaustion,
in insanity and death.
the body, during sleep, acts as a storage battery for vital energy
is proved by the fact that in deep, sound sleep the aura
disappears entirely from around the body.
aura is to the organism what the exhaust steam is to the engine.
It is formed by the electromagnetic fluids which have performed
their work in the body and then escape from it, giving the appearance
of a many-colored halo.
the first awakening of conscious mental activity after sleep, the
aura appears, indicating that the expenditure of vital force has
the above diagram we have an illustration of the true effect of
stimulants upon the system. The heavy line A-B represents the normal
level of available vital energy in a certain body for a given time,
say, for twenty-four hours. At point C a stimulant is taken. This
paralyzes the inhibitory nerves and temporarily precipitates the
fatigue products from the blood.
we have seen, this allows an increased, unnatural expenditure of
vital energy, which raises the latter to point D. But when the effect
of the stimulant has been spent, the vital energy drops from the
artificially attained high point not only back to the normal level,
but below it to point E.
increased expenditure of vital energy was made possible at the expense
of the reserve supply of vitality; therefore the depression following
it is in proportion to the preceding stimulation. This is in accordance
with the law: "Action and reaction are equal, but opposite."
falling of the vital energy below the normal to
point E is accompanied by a feeling of exhaustion and depression
which creates a desire to repeat the pleasurable experience of an
abundant supply of vitality, and thus leads to a repetition of the
artificial stimulation. As a result of this, the expenditure of
vitality is again raised above the normal to point F, only to fall
again below the normal, to G, etc.
this way the person who resorts to stimulants to keep up his strength
or to increase it, is never normal, never on the level, never at
his best. He is either overstimulated or abnormally depressed. His
efforts are bound to be fitful and his work uneven in quality. Furthermore,
it will be only a matter of time until he exhausts his reserve supply
of nerve fats and vital energy and then suffers nervous bankruptcy
in the forms of nervous prostration, neurasthenia or insanity.
a person is acting like the spendthrift whose capital in the bank
allows him to expend ten dollars a day, but who, instead, draws
several times the amount of his legitimate daily interest. There
can be but one outcome to this: in due time the cashier will inform
him that his account is overdrawn.
same principles hold true with regard to stimulants given at the
of the arguments I constantly hear from students and physicians
of the "Old School" of medicine is: "Some of your
methods may be all right, but what would you do at the sickbed of
a patient who is so weak and low that he may die at any moment?
Would you just let him die? Would you not give him something to
keep him alive?"
certainly would, if I could. But I do not believe that poisons can
give life. If there is enough vitality in that dying body to react
to the poisonous stimulant by a temporary increase of vital activity,
then that same amount of vitality will keep the heart beating and
the respiration going a little longer at the slower pace. Nature
regulates the heartbeat and the other functions according to the
amount and availability of vital force. If the heart beats slow,
it is because Nature is trying to economize vitality.
the inevitable depression following the artificial whipping up of
the vital energies, many times the flame is snuffed out entirely
when otherwise it might have continued to burn at the slower rate
for some time longer.
I do not deny the advisability of administering stimulants in cases
of shock. When a shock has caused the stopping of the wheels of
life, another shock by a stimulant may set them in motion again.
The Effects of Stimulants upon the Mind
mental and emotional exhilaration accompanying the indulgence in
alcohol or other poisonous stimulants is produced in a similar manner
as the apparent increase of physical strength under the influence
of these agents. Here, also, the temporary stimulation and
seeming increase of power are effected by paralysis of the governing
and restraining faculties of mind and soul: of reason,
modesty, reserve, caution, reverence, etc.
moral, mental and emotional capacities and powers of the human entity
are governed by the same principle of dual action that controls
physical activity. We have on the one hand the motor or driving
impulses, and on the other hand the restraining and inhibiting influences.
these higher realms appetite, passion, imagination and desire correspond
to the motor nervous system in the physical organism, and the power
of the will and the reasoning faculties represent the inhibitory
exhilarating and stimulating influence of alcohol and narcotics
such as opiates or hashish upon the animal spirits and the emotional
and imaginative faculties is caused by the benumbing and paralyzing
effect of these stimulants upon the powers of will, reason and self-control,
the brakes on the lower appetites, passions and desires which fire
the emotional nature and the imagination. However, what is gained
in feeling and imagination, is lost in judgment and logic.
nicotine, caffein, theobromine, lupulin (the bitter principle of
hops), opium, cocaine, morphine, etc., when given in certain doses,
all affect the human organism in a similar manner.
small quantities they seemingly stimulate and animate; in
larger amounts they depress and stupefy. In reality, they
are paralyzers from the beginning in every instance, and their apparent,
temporary tonic effect is deceptive. They benumb and paralyze not
only the physical organism, but also the higher and highest mental
and moral qualities, capacities and powers.
higher and finer qualities are located in the front part of the
brain. In the evolution of the species from lower to higher, the
brain gradually developed and enlarged in a forward direction. Thus
we find in the lowest order of fishes that all they possess of brain
matter is a small protuberance at the end of the spinal cord. As
the species and families rose in the scale of evolution, the brain
developed proportionately from behind forward and became differentiated
into three distinct divisions: the medulla oblongata, the
cerebellum, and the cerebrum.
medulla oblongata, situated at the base of the brain where it joins
the spinal cord, contains those brain centers that control the purely
vegetative, vital functions: the circulation of the blood, the respiration,
regulation of animal heat, etc.
cerebellum, in front of and above the medulla, is the seat of the
centers for the coordination of muscular activities and for maintaining
the equilibrium of the body.
frontal brain or cerebrum contains the centers for the sensory organs,
also the motor centers which supply the driving impulses for the
muscular activities of the body, and in the occipital and frontal
lobes, the centers for the higher and highest qualities of mind
and soul, which constitute the governing and restraining faculties
on which depend the powers of self-control.
we see that the development of the brain has been in a forward direction,
from the upper extremity of the spinal cord to the frontal lobes
of the cerebrum, from the low, vegetative qualities of the animal
and the savage to the complex and refined activities of the highly
civilized and trained mind.
is an interesting and most significant fact that paralysis
of brain centers caused by alcohol and other stimulants, or by hypnotics
and narcotics, proceeds reversely to the order of their development
during the processes of evolution.
first to succumb are the brain centers in the frontal lobes of the
cerebrum, which control the latest-developed and most-refined human
attributes. These are: modesty, caution, reserve, reverence,
altruism. Then follow in the order given: memory,
reason, logic, intelligence, will power, self-control,
the control of muscular coordination and equilibrium and
finally consciousness and the vital activities of heart action and
the conscious activities of the soul have been put to sleep, the
paralysis extends to the subconscious activities of life or vital
force. Respiration and heart action become weak and labored, and
may finally cease entirely.
order to verify this, let us study the effects of alcohol,
the best-known and most-used of stimulants. Many people believe
that alcohol increases not only physical strength, but mental energy
also. Regular medical science considers it a valuable tonic in all
cases of physical and mental depression. It is often administered
in surgical operations and in accidents with the idea of prolonging
life. I have frequently found the whisky or brandy bottle at the
bedside of infants and on it the directions of the attending physician.
the effect of this tonic on a group of convivial spirits at a banquet.
Full honor is done to the art of the chef, and the wine flows freely.
The flow of animal spirits increases proportionately; conviviality,
wit and humor rise by leaps and bounds. But the apparent joy and
happiness are in reality nothing but the play of the lower animal
impulses, unrestrained by the higher powers of mind and soul.
words of the afterdinner speaker who, when sober, is a sedate and
earnest gentleman, flow with unusual ease. The close and unprejudiced
observer notices, however, that what the speaker has gained in eloquence,
loquacity and exuberance of style and expres-sion, he has lost in
logic, clearness and good sense.
King Alcohol tightens his grasp on the merry company, the toasters
and speakers lose more and more their control over speech and actions.
What was at first mischievous abandon and merry jest, gradually
degenerates into loquaciousness, coarseness and querulous brawls.
Here and there one of the maudlin crowd drops off in the stupor
the liquor is strong enough and if the debauch is continued long
enough, it may end in complete paralysis of the vital functions
or in death.
Hypnotism and Obsession
we find the seeming paradox of stimulation by paralysis exemplified
in the phenomena of hypnotism and obsession. The abnormally
exaggerated sensation, feeling and imagination of the subject under
hypnotic control are made possible because the higher, critical
and restraining faculties and powers of will, reason and self-control
are temporarily or permanently benumbed and paralyzed by
the stronger will of the hypnotist or of the obsessing intelligence.
is a most interesting resemblance between the effects of stimulants,
narcotics or hypnotic control and blind, unreasoning faith. The
latter also benumbs and paralyzes judgment and reason. It gives
full sway to the powers of imagination and thus may produce seemingly
explains the modus operandi of faith cures as well as the fitful
strength of the intoxicated and the insane, or the beautiful dreams
and delusions of grandeur of the drug addict.
close resemblance and relationship between hypnotic control and
faith became vividly apparent to me while witnessing the performance
of a professional hypnotist. His subject on the stage was a young
woman who, under his control, performed extraordinary feats of strength
and resistance. Several strong men could not lift or move her in
was the reason? In the ordinary, waking condition her judgment and
common sense would tell her: "I cannot resist the combined
strength of these men. Of course, they can lift me and pull me here
and there." As a result of this doubting state of mind, she
would not have the strength to resist.
the control of the hypnotist had paralyzed her reasoning faculties
and therewith her capacity for judging, doubting and not believing.
Her subconscious mind accepted without question or the shadow of
a doubt the suggestion of the hypnotist that she did possess the
strength to resist the combined efforts of the men and as a result
she actually manifested the necessary powers of resistance.
is an established fact that the impressions (records) made upon
the subconscious mind under certain conditions as, for instance,
under hypnotic influence absolutely control the activities of the
not this throw an interesting light on the power of absolute faith,
on the saying: "Everything is possible to him who believeth?"
Blind, unreasoning faith benumbs and paralyzes judgment and reason
in similar manner as hypnotic control or stimulants and in that
way gives free and full sway to the powers of imagination and autosuggestion
for good or ill, for white magic or black magic, according to the
purpose for which faith is exerted.
also becomes apparent that such blind, unreasoning faith cannot
be constructive in its influence upon the higher mental, moral and
spiritual faculties. These can be developed only by the
conscious and voluntary exercise of will, reason and self-control.
the foregoing it will have become evident that we cannot increase
vital force in the body through any artificial means or methods
from without, by food, drink or stimulant. What we can and should
do, however, is to put the organism into the best possible condition
for the liberation and manifestation of life force or vital energy.
more normal the chemical composition of the blood, and the more
free the tissues are from clogging impurities, poisons and mechanical
obstructions, such as lesions of the spinal column, the more abundant
will be the liberation and the available supply of vital energy.
perfect, buoyant health, which ensures the greatest possible efficiency
and enjoyment of life, can be attained and maintained only by strict
adherence to the natural ways of living and, when necessary, by
the natural treatment of diseases.