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by Dr. Herbert Shelton –  Dr. Shelton had a Texas-based fasting retreat. He collected knowledge from the old hygienic masters as far back as the 1820’s, cleared out the junk, and made it into a basic intelligence system – Natural Hygiene or Orthopathy. He was a great genius, and published the best hygienic magazine ever.
“What does the average individual know about keeping well? Almost nothing. —– The people and their doctors are all in the same boat together with a blind man at the helm. They lack the chart and compass and drift aimlessly on a sea of ignorance and misinformation.” – Dr. Herbert Shelton –

“Most people spend most of their TIME in the
dark looking for a black cat that it isn’t there!” –

Dr. Herbert Shelton:

It is high time the people begin to learn something about the causes of disease and of the “complications” that so frequently develop under regular care.

Indeed, physicians and doctors of all schools should learn the causes of disease and “complications,” – and they should all learn to realize, that to mask symptoms with their drugs and treatments is to stand in their own light.

Behold what a muss! “Scientific medicine” is capable of making a very elaborate diagnosis; but, then, does not know what is really wrong with the patient nor what to do for him. Don’t take my word for it – consult Cabot, Mackenzie, Baldwin, and others who have dared slip their professional muzzles long enough to do a little effective thinking.


The paradox of all medical paradoxes is that physicians recognize pathology as its own cause. Etiology and diagnosis, according to the approved theories and practices of the “regulars,” starts with a developed pathology. The science of diagnosis, as practiced today, is merely the naming and classifying of established pathologies; all present and future symptoms being recognized and treated as pathognomic, all antecedent symptoms being ignored as not having any relationship to the existing pathology or so-called disease.

What is a system of diagnosis and treatment worth that is based on an etiology that starts with “causes” that are, in truth, but organized effects?
For example, when a surgeon removes a fibroid tumor, or extirpates a hyperplastic gland, or tonsil, or adenoid without a thought, or the slightest knowledge that these enlargements are but organized effects – neoplasms (new tissue growths) – that cannot possibly come into existence without cause, which cause is not touched by the operation – and, then, pronounces his – patient well (cured), does he not assume that the growth is its own cause? To remove a gall stone and pronounce the patient cured is tantamount to saying that the stone was its own cause. To remove the thyroid gland and pronounce the patient well of goitre (hyperthyroidism) is to imply that the goiter caused itself. Is it difficult to understand that all of these procedures leave the cause untouched – to result in the building of more pathology?


What is disease? Regular medical men freely confess that they do not know. Did they know its essential nature, they would cease their learned glibness about immunity. Theoretically, one “attack” of an infectious disease establishes immunity to future “attacks.” In practice, they seek to borrow the “acquired immunity” of an animal and transfer it to man. Or to produce a mild and modified form of the disease so that immunity may be established.
As I have so often pointed out, this is an effort to set aside the law of cause and effect.

Only some so-called infectious diseases are supposed to confer immunity. For example, Forel says: “One attack of gonorrhea in no way protects against a second infection, but rather predisposes to it, and when this disease becomes chronic exacerbations or relapses of the acute stage often occur without fresh infection.” Nobody thinks that one “attack” of a cold renders one immune to future “attacks.” It is well known that one may have pneumonia numerous times. The same is true of typhoid fever. The fact is that only a minority of the so-called infectious diseases are supposed to confer immunity. Of these, there is not one that people have not had two or more times. For example, there are records of men and women having had smallpox as many as five times.


Opposing truths cannot exist. Our medical, like our social and political state, is a stupendous frenzy. The former, like the latter, is built out of dualism, and shredded by multiple contradictory systems. The universal belief in dualism has evolved a chaotic medical state that is well named a “fool’s paradise” instead of medical science. Our very thinking on the subjects of health and disease is dualistic. We think of health and disease as antagonistic entities at war with each other. Disease is an “attack” from without. Hence, our conception of proper treatment is to go after the attacking force with hammer and tongs, or with shot and shell – a practice that all too often cripples or kills the patient.


Where law and order reign, why should man be left in a more helpless state than all life below him? To the logical mind, this is unthinkable. It should be recognized by all that man is as well fitted to live on the earth as are the lower orders of life. His environment is really more friendly to him than he is to it. It is certainly more friendly to him than he is to himself. A true health science will teach man how to use both himself and his environment constructively – healthfully.

What does the average individual know about keeping well? Almost nothing. What does the average doctor of all the schools of so-called healing know about keeping well? About as little as the average layman. The physician lives haphazardly and his patients live as near like he does as they know how, or as their means permit. The people and their doctors are all in the same boat together with a blind man at the helm. They lack the chart and compass and drift aimlessly on a sea of ignorance and misinformation.


When a man becomes ill, he calls a physician, takes the drugs the latter prescribes, and gets well or not, as the case may be, and neither he nor the physician knows why he did the one or the other. Certainly the prescription of the physician has nothing to do with his recovery. His prescription has been aimed at masking symptoms and not at cause. He hurls his shot and shell at the “attacking” force with due courage and vigor and the only thing he destroys is the patient.


The physician has no idea, previous to any one visit, how he will find his patient, and when he finds a change in symptoms, it has no meaning to him. When a physician prescribes for a patient and leaves him he has no more idea than the man in the moon in what condition he will find his patient upon his next call. The very best of them cannot tell whether or not “complications” will develop in a given case. They are never certain that their patient will improve and cannot be sure that he will not grow worse. When the physician finds a change of symptoms in his patient, he cannot tell whether this change is due to food, drugs, fear, excitement caused by visitors, improper nursing, or to something else. He is likely to conclude that it is a “peculiarity of the disease” or an “unusual development.” Every first-class physician knows that “modern medicine” cannot predict anything. Yet, if they had a true science, if they knew real causes and had a valid plan of care, they would be able to predict – prognose – with something like precision, the outcome of the diseases in the patients they treat. Their very masking of symptoms with drugs stand in their own light and prevents them from knowing the true conditions of their patients.


What is disease? We apply this term to a group of abnormal signs and symptoms. We group these symptoms into vaguely defined symptom complexes give the complexes names and then go after them with hammer and tongs. Stereotyped treatment is the rule under this way of regarding disease. Quinine for malaria anti-toxin for diphtheria, arsenic for “syphilis”, digitalis for the heart, operation for appendicitis, morphine for cancer, the anti histamines for colds. In not one instance do we seek to find, understand and remove cause.


Let us look at measles, which is defined as a “catarrhal fever, a typical enanthom,” (eruption on the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, throat, occasionally bronchus and gastro-intestinal mucous membrane). “The internal enanthema (eruption) is to be expected, or suspected, when the exanthema (external eruption) fails to show up.

All of the symptomatology of measles, carefully compiled by the makers of medical text-books, as well as of all other so-called diseases, has very little meaning for the physicians of the various schools of so-called healing. What does it mean? It means that all of the eruptive fevers – all of the so-called diseases of the mucous membranes, those of the nose and lips, those involving the throat and lungs, and ending with pneumonia, and all of those that involve the outer skin – are but different forms of elimination of pent-up by-products of metabolism. They are processes of vicarious or compensatory excretion.


Exaltation of function – rapid heart action, rapid breathing, diarrhea, increased temperature, etc., etc.- as seen in the various so-called acute diseases, represents efforts of the body to eliminate toxins and repair damages. In this respect, exaltation of function is desirable and beneficial under certain conditions. Such exalted function indicates a wrong somewhere and this wrong should be searched for and righted without depressing or weakening the sum of the vital energy.


A cold is a catarrhal disease, a “catarrhal fever,” and is a process of vicarious elimination. Contrary to popular belief, a cold is not something that we “catch,” but it represents a process of getting rid of something we have slowly accumulated. What does cold weather have to do with the cause of colds? People “catch” colds as often in warm weather as in cold weather. An increase in temperature may precipitate a cold as often as will a decrease in temperature. They have colds as often in dry as in wet weather. Men have colds as often as women, although they dress heavier. Indeed, men have more catarrh than women, because they dress more warmly, dissipate more and eat more.


Back of every catarrh is a toxemic state. Catarrh is impossible in the absence of toxemia. Toxemia is produced by anything and everything that enervates the body. Enervation inhibits (checks) excretion (elimination) permitting the accumulation of uneliminated waste. The accumulation of body waste – end-products of metabolism – produces toxemia.
Toxemia is the universal, basic cause of all so-called disease. Adventitious complicating causes may be super-added to toxemia. By checked elimination is not meant constipation, but checked excretion through all of the excretory organs of the body. Toxemia is not caused by constipation and is not removed by laxatives, enemas and colonic irrigations. Nor will the use of kidney medicines increase elimination through the kidneys. None of the so-called blood-purifiers can be of any value in remedying toxemia.
The ultimate cause of mankind’s many so-called diseases lies in the enervating habits of mind and body practiced almost universally. Because this is so, the ultimate remedy for our diseases is a correction of the habits of life.


Today, as in the past, when a man becomes ill – he takes a pill from a box, potion from a bottle, gets an injection of a poison from a hypodermic syringe, or has an organ removed. No attention is given to cause. His life is not changed, his habits are not corrected, and in a short time he is sick again. Neither the physician nor the patient is able to trace a connection between the two so-called diseases. So-called health is again restored and the incident passes from memory.
Again, within a short time, another illness (which is as much of a surprise as were the prior two illnesses) develops and still no thought is devoted to its connection with the two preceding illnesses. So long as the real nature of disease and real source of cause are not understood, this will continue to be true.


The medical axiom that “all diseases tend to recovery” is much overworked, and by no school more than by the old school or self-styled “regulars.” Why? Because the primary cause, the universal cause of disease – toxemia – is not known. The many diseases which the medical tongue so flippantly describes as functional derangements that “tend to recovery,” are simply crises in toxemic saturation. In their alleged “self-recovery” in spite of “cures”, palliations, and the “chief function of the physician to guard against complications,” there is no recovery at all.
Like the escape of excess steam through the safety-valve of an engine, the steam pressure is lowered for the time being; but unless the cause of toxemic saturation is removed, crises will recur time after time, as the toxemia continues to in-crease, and the “curing” has to be done over and over again.
This requires that the wisest of physicians must be constantly busying himself “guarding against complications” – complications that he is almost always responsible for building.


What is a self-limited disease? Disease is remedial effort. It is a process of purification and repair. When the process of compensatory elimination that is called disease, has reduced the toxemia to the toleration point, the symptoms subside spontaneously and the disease is said to be cured. But the patient is not well. He is still toxemic. The cause of the toxemia has not been removed.
The toxemia will again rise above the toleration point and another crisis will develop. Crisis will follow crisis until organic change takes place. Gastric ulcer, diabetes, Bright’s disease, heart disease, diseases of the arteries or nerves, cancer, etc., follow in the wake of recurring crises.


Instead of seeing in these changes a progressive pathological evolution of which cancer, diabetes, disease of the heart and arteries etc., are but end-points – the wisdom of all the ages of medical science is expended in a herculean effort to prove that established pathology is its own cause. On the day that medical savants succeed in lifting themselves by their own boot-straps, they will also succeed in proving that pathology is its own cause.


Here in this land of so-called self-limited diseases is where all the curing methods and systems shine. Just as anything and everything seems to cure a cold, so anything and everything that may be used with which to treat the patient suffering with measles or pneumonia or gonorrhea, etc., will appear to cure. Here in the realm of “self-limited” disease the regular and the irregular cults, the faddists and the mountebanks, every phase of the curing system from the erudite professor to the most stupid lout prove the virtues of their cures. In this every-doctor’s land grandma’s cataplasms cure, grand-pa’s brass-ring cure for rheumatism cures, the rabbit-foot charm and buckeye for piles cure, penicillin cures pneumonia and anti toxin cures diphtheria, the punch in the back cures measles and the herb tea cures gastritis All cures are successful in this grand jamboree of “self-limited” crises. Christian Science and prayer are as effective as the most scientific treatment. The prayer may be, as in Africa, directed to a petrified frog – no matter, it cures.


Our toxemic crises – so-called acute diseases – keep pace with the ebb and flow of toxemia as our habits of living hold this down within the limits of toleration or increase it above the established limits. Toleration is a state of chronic disease, a state, for example in which chronic catarrh, is continuously active throwing off toxins. Acute diseases are intermittent due to the fact that toxemia is pushed above the point of established toleration only intermittently. Chronic disease means chronic provocation. To point this differently: disease begins where cause begins and persists where cause persists.


Nothing so effectively hastens the elimination of toxemia and the recuperation of nerve energy as mental, physical and physiological rest. Only through rest can the enervated body muster sufficient nerve energy with which to increase its work of elimination. By physiological rest is meant fasting, or abstinence from all food except water. Once fasting and rest have enabled the body to eliminate its stored up toxins and recuperate its nerve energy, a physiological mode of living will enable the patient to grow into better and better health until full health is reached, and to maintain health thereafter.

Such a program of physiological living is not made up exclusively of a plan of eating. Proper diet is extremely important, but it does not constitute a complete way of life. All of man’s life must be live in harmony with simple, well-defined laws of nature. Exercise, fresh air, sun-shine, sufficient rest and sleep, a wholesome sex life, a cheerful and poised mental attitude, and consistent avoidance of all devitalizing habits are of equal importance with diet. One cannot maintain health, no matter what his diet, if he is practicing enervating habits and denying his body the benefits of sunshine, fresh air and exercise.
Coffee, tea, tobacco, alcohol, poisoned soft-drinks, and other poison-habits will wreck the strongest man, no matter what his diet


If toxemia is not eliminated, if nerve energy is not restored to normal, if the causes of enervation are not removed and corrected, there can be no genuine return to health. There can be only a recession of symptoms after these have reduced the accumulated toxemia to the toleration point, perhaps slightly below, and a state of comparative comfort is again established. This state represents a very low state of health, a state of chronic toxemic saturation. In this state, despite recurring crises, there is the slow, progressive development of the many and varied forms of chronic and degenerative pathologies, not the least of which is that condition of organismal enfeeblement, impairment and decline, which we call old age.


What about bacteria and epidemics? First, there must be a changed condition of the body’s fluids and tissues, giving rise to that systemic impairment that is designated “susceptibility” or ‘lowered resistance.”
Once you grasp the fact that all had habits lead to toxemia, it will not be difficult for you to grasp the idea that this perversion of the fluids and tissues must take place before it is possible for bacteria, which are nature’s reducing forces, to make any further changes in these materials. Assuming that the scavenger work done by bacteria under these conditions actually complicates the disease, they cannot be the primary cause of disease, nor of any epidemic.
Epidemics of any proportion follow in the wake of some mass prostrating influence – war, prolonged dry, hot weather; prolonged wet, cold weather; sudden changes of temperature, etc. – that further enervate an already a most prostrated and greatly toxemic part of the population. The sudden rise in toxemia thus occasioned necessitates the development of a crisis to throw it off. Mass sickness follows mass prostrating influences.


When crises have been repeated (and cured) until organic changes are established, medical delusions multiply like rats in the corn crib – the most deluded and fatuous draw their air-line decisions, fight their therapeutic battles, and, if they belong to the “regular” school, promise therapeutic perfection – if only the United States Army and Navy will beat down the cultists and quacks, while they demonstrate the glories and wonders of “medical science” on the dear people.


It is in this field that all of the cures and curing systems meet their Waterloo. The pathology which has been in the making since the development of the first of these “self-limited” crises reveals no tendency to spontaneous disappearance. Rather its tendency it to grow worse and more complicated with the passing of time. Organic change occurs in more and more tissues and organs and these “complications” defy the best efforts of the peddlers of cures. Cause has been present from the beginning (the first cold of infancy represents an established toxemia) and has never been removed.
The physicians are long on diagnosis at this terminal stage of the evolving pathology. They name exactly the pathological status quo and, although they do not hesitate to treat the patient and to accept money for their experiments, they freely confess that their treatments are ineffective. They have all been experts at curing the continuous series of recurring crises – the “self-limited” diseases – but they are all helpless before the end-point of the development of which the first crisis was the initiation. They cannot cure cancer, or diabetes, or Bright’s disease, or endocarditis, or arteriosclerosis.


Toxemic subjects who continually poison themselves with excessive carbohydrates and thus stress the pancreas, develop sugar in the urine. These are cured with insulin. Indeed, insulin cures them until they die of diabetes – go out, perhaps, in either an insulin or a sugar coma.
Insulin-cured diabetics, like pepsin-cured dyspeptics, are made to feel fine for a year or two – until the burden of cause so stresses other organs that they develop “complications.” They are also so filled with “reflex’ discomforts that they demand other forms of “relief.” When this stage is reached the curing must become a medley of palliating measures. Surgery, drugs, in fact, all kinds of cures, are now resorted to in keeping with the whims of the patient and the caprices of the physician. Because there are so many who refuse to die after being cured by all known cures, it is necessary to discover new cures all the time.


Every day we watch people getting fatter and fatter on “plenty of good nourishing food” that “keeps up their strength” until they die of fatty degeneration, cerebral hemorrhage (apoplexy), or paralysis. Nobody warns them of what is in store for them and they will not heed if they are warned. So disgracefully have we become habituated to associating health and even distinction with a most pampered state of the body, that we think it most natural or normal for a fat man to maintain at the highest pitch, the unholy “love affairs” of his unregulated body. Unfortunately, our standards are empty of all value except for measuring varying degrees of ill health. Even our “normal” or “healthy” individuals, as measured by these standards, represent only a slightly less degree of ill health than that seen in the sick.

A study made by the collaboration of forty-three American life insurance companies, using three numerically equal groups of people over forty-five years of age, showed the incidence of diabetes in these three groups as follows. In the group of very thin people there was one case; in the normal group there were five cases; in the fat group there were two hundred and twenty-seven cases. Similar figures are available for cancer and a few other so-called degenerative diseases of later life. Fat and the overeating that is back of it are serious dangers at all ages of life.


Our strong men do not live any longer than the run-of-the-mill specimens of humanity. Many explanations for this have been devised. Actually, there is very little excuse for these mental meanderings. Athletes and strong men are often toxemic to the point of collapse.
They are so vulnerable from the effects of self-poisoning that all they need to bring them down with a “fatal malady” is some slight unusual enervating influence, or some slightly unusual amount of an accustomed influence. As unreasonable as it may appear, the average medical man as well as the average layman, recognizes those – who are on the verge of apoplexy, “heart failure,” kidney disease, or other diseases resulting from the degeneration brought on from chronic toxemia, arterial tension and fat pressure – as ideal types of health.
They are commonly referred to as “pictures of health.” In the early days of the recent war a young man was called before his local board for examination. The physicians found him fit and told him to go home and await his call for induction. He dropped dead on the way out.


Many bankers and big business men die of operations for prostatic disease. These deaths are wholly unnecessary. Only the worst type of ignorance and commercialism causes physicians to resort to operations for prostatic enlargement and prostatic “infection.” Cutting out prostate gland is as non-sensical as cutting out uterine fibroids and breast tumors. This senseless desexing and mutilating of women goes on regularly, country-wide.


Chronic candy drunkenness kills many with coma brought on from acidosis; others develop rheumatism, hard arteries, organic heart disease, obesity and other symptom-complexes and the urge of the candy manufacturers is for us to consume more and more candy. Private profits are always paramount to human welfare.

Headaches are often blamed upon eye-strain, and the symptom is palliated with glasses. Eye-strain cause headaches! The animal body physiologically adjusts itself to all kinds of anatomical deformities and, when in full health, free from toxemia, functions smoothly in spite of such defects. In caring for “eye strain,” it is significant that when toxemia is removed, the headache ceases.

Anemia is frequently blamed upon food deficiency. But it is never recognized that the deficiency is secondary to the impairment of nutrition and will end when nutrition is restored to normal. Restoration of normal nutrition depends upon the removal of the impairing causes and not upon overcrowding an already impaired nutritive system with more food or with more food of a given kind. When once toxemia and its parent, enervation, are recognized as the real cause of anemia, we will direct our attention to the removal of these things and to the correction of their causes, and cease the present foolish effort to usurp nature’s prerogative of a cure.

Operations for appendicitis are rendered necessary by the officious gouging, boring and digging examinations made by physicians who have much more interest in the surgical fee than in the welfare of their patients. A surgeon who understands what appendicular inflammation is and then makes the regular examination, is a criminal protected by law. Such surgeons with their heavy-handed examinations are responsible for most of the ruptured appendices against which they so glibly warn us. They create most of the dangers in appendicitis and produce the apparent need for operation.


For those victims of their own and the physician’s ignorance who have developed truly irreparable organic conditions, the future is not as dark as it may seem, if they can be taught how to live. Nature tolerates a certain degree of irremediable pathology and permits us to live for an extended period – providing we lighten her burden. She cannot carry the double load of impaired function and bad habits. She cannot be expected to hold an impaired nervous system at par and at the same time take care of three times as much food as is needed to replace the ordinary wear and tear. Efficient metabolic activity cannot be maintained when enervating habits are regularly indulged. The hopelessness of chronic sufferers is not wholly due to the fact that physicians regularly commence their care of such patients at the wrong end of their diseases, but also to the fact that causes are ignored and mere palliation, this of a very doubtful character, is exclusively employed.


The man with a crippled pancreas must learn to live within his limitations. The same is true of the heart cripple, the renal (kidney) cripple and all other types of physiological cripples. A one-legged man would not think of trying to run, but a man whose heart is crippled does not hesitate to overtax it. The man with an impaired pancreas demands to be permitted to eat to his belly’s content of carbohydrates and then be given a shot of insulin.
“Science” is ever on the alert in its search for new crutches to be employed by the physiological cripples, who never seem to realize that – while the crutch may seem to give them impunity, they must pay for their bad mental and physical conduct with increased impairment of other organs, of the whole organism in fact. Neither insulin nor penicillin will ever enable man to live imprudently with impunity.


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