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Health, or, How to Live

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    VALUABLE EXTRACTS GATHERED FROM THE LAWS OF LIFE

    LET me be frank with you. Take women as you find them, as girls, sisters, marriageable daughters, wives or mothers. Begin the investigation at their girlhood and end it at their coffins, and tell me in what direction they, or men form any thing like just ideas in regard to the Laws of Health and Life as pertaining to their intellectual, physical, moral or spiritual development? Outside of the circle of Health Reformers, there is not a man who acts as if he ever thought his daughter is amenable to physical law in the same sense, or to any thing like the same degree that his son is. All his bearing and conduct go to show that he feels that it is of no consequence whether she is trained under the authority of the Laws of Health and Life or not.HHTL 312.1

    “Why, sir, as I write, can be seen from my window a group of children, boys and girls in equal numbers, playing out of doors in this wintry weather. The boys have upon their feet, heavy, thick-soled boots. They are dressed in pantaloons made of woolen cloth, lined, and coming to their ankles. The upper part of their bodies are covered with thick cotton shirting, vesting over that, and over these a woolen coat, with long sleeves, lined, and heavy woolen mittens upon their hands. Some of them have over all these an overcoat. The girls in this group are dressed as follows: Upon the upper part of their bodies is a cotton chemise, with short sleeves; over this is a calico dress with long sleeves, unlined, and thin mittens upon their hands. Over their hips they have a calico skirt, a petticoat, and a pair of drawers, the legs of which come just below the knee. On the feet are thin shoes and woolen stockings, the upper parts of which come within two inches of the lower part of the pantalettes, leaving the legs unclad between the knees and the bulge of the calves of the legs. Almost every one of these girls is at school from six to eight hours during the day, studying in a hot room, is of a nervous temperament, and of course, predisposed to large development of brain, and feeble nutritive energy, resulting in deficiency of muscles. Of ten girls that I can now count of the group at play, I have no hesitation in saying that at least three-fourths of them will not grow to womanhood. They must inevitably succumb to the infringement of the laws upon which their very existence depends, and growing out of their careless habits, or want of proper training on the part of their parents. This falseness begun in childhood in the training of girls, is almost universally carried on to adult age, so that so far as respects the Laws of Health and Life, the women in this country dress as defiantly and as disregardful of them as they dress their daughters when children, or as they themselves when children were dressed by their parents.”HHTL 312.2

    “IMPROPER DRESS. — Sick headache may also be produced by improper dress. It is notorious that women suffer more from it than men. A great variety of causes I admit conduces to this result, but among them there can be no question, but that the style of dress which woman wears has more or less of significance. The fashion of her dress is such as to produce ligation around the body just at the point of separation between the nutritive and respiratory structures. Now, at this point, Nature demands that there be the freest circulation, and all ligatures, no matter how they are brought to bear, that disturb, in slight degree only, the circulation at this point, are calculated to produce just such nervous conditions as culminate in this disease. I can take a strong man and girt him about the waist, not where men are usually girt, but higher (just about the short ribs,) directly over the upper portions of the liver, spleen, and stomach, and the back just above the upper portions of the kidneys, and subject him to that process for sixteen hours, and unless he is constitutionally predisposed to show reactions as against any outrage to which his body has been subjected, I can induce sick headache, — that is, I will induce nausea or sickness at the stomach with such conjestion of brain, and such fullness, or pain, over the eyes, as, without violation of language, to be denominated sick headache.”HHTL 313.1

    “HANDS. — A lady placed her hand in mine. It was small, soft, white, and delicate, and wore numerous rings set with costly jewels. I compared it with my own, which was large, brown, and ringless. As I looked at the two I thought to myself that out of a hundred persons who should see them together, ninety-nine would think that hers was far the prettier. And yet I would not exchange my hand for hers, for in either case, the hand was the representative of the whole body, and its conditions, and relations to life. Her hand looked pretty, but it was cold and clammy, and sought mine for the genial warmth which circulated to my finger tips. I thought of the question or proposition of our Saviour. ‘Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? ’HHTL 314.1

    “The lady’s care was for meat; mine was for life. Her care was for raiment; mine was for the body. Her care was for appearance; mine for reality. She would put on fine externals. She would have a fine complexion; hence she would not let the sunlight touch her face. — She would have her head fashionably dressed; hence she must have her long, heavy hair, combed and knotted behind. She would have a fashionable bust; hence she would have her dress girted so tightly as to press her ribs in upon her lungs. She would have her dress ‘fit beautifully’ about her shoulders; hence she would prevent all freedom of motion there. — She would represent in her dress, long, graceful, flowing lines; hence she wore her dress trailing upon the ground. She would wear costly shining silks; hence she would place herself in such conditions as to preserve such fabrics. She would have a small, genteel foot; hence she would wear tightly fitting shoes. She would have a beautiful hand; hence she would keep it from all but the most delicate uses. And it is her privilege to have all these; but with them she must take their belongings — a body deranged in all its functions, and unfitted for the uses of a healthy, well developed mind — a body full of vile impurities — a whited sepulcher, fair without, but within filled with all uncleanliness.HHTL 314.2

    “I like a fair appearance, but will have health; hence I will comply with the conditions on which health depends. I will have vigorous circulation, good eyesight, good hearing, acute smell, a nice sense of taste, keen appetite, refreshing sleep, clearness of brain.”HHTL 315.1

    “THE FEET. — The feet hold important physiological and pathological relations. A wiser maxim for the preservation of health was never given than that which enjoins upon persons the necessity of keeping the head cool and the feet warm. The latter is quite as important as the former. Indeed the circulation of the brain cannot be healthful, and perfectly carried on, unless the feet are kept warm. It may be truly said that if the feet are kept entirely healthy, no organ in the body can be unhealthy. For so intimate is the sympathy between all parts of the body that no organ can be deranged without disturbing the circulation in the feet. If there is indigestion after a hearty dinner the feet suffer; if the liver is disturbed the feet suffer; if there is pressure upon the lungs, or if the bowels are inactive, or if the kidneys do not perform their office properly, the feet are sure to feel the reactionary influence unhealthfully. So if one will be sure to keep his feet in an entire state of health, he may be certain that he cannot be sick in any department of his system.HHTL 315.2

    “But the feet of almost every grown person in this country suffer from abuse put directly upon them. Health Reformers generally, give no such care to the feet as they deserve. They should be kept clean. They perspire more readily and freely than most other portions of the body, and the excreted matter ought to be removed by frequent washing. The stockings should be often changed. Everybody knows how much warmer clean stockings are than those which have been worn for some days. Where the feet perspire considerably, persons should have two pairs of stockings in wearing all the time, changing at midday, and allowing those which have been worn in the morning to become dry. All persons on removing their stockings at night, if they are to be resumed by the next morning, should hang them up where they may become perfectly dry, and the perspired matters lodged in them, may be, partially at least, removed by the air circulating through them. Cotton is the best material for stockings, worn next the feet, except it be in very warm weather, when linen may be more comfortable. In cool or cold weather, thick warm woolen stockings should be worn, but there should be between them and the skin, thin cotton ones. People of sedentary habits particularly, do not take half pains enough to dress the feet warmly. The practice of sitting, either in sewing, knitting, writing, reading or studying, with the feet cold, is a fruitful cause of ill health. The more efficient means of producing cold feet could scarcely be contrived than that of wearing shoes made after the common fashion, and especially those worn by women. Not one woman in a hundred, wears shoes large enough for her feet, and not one person in a thousand wears shoes the shape of which is at all fitted to a naturally shaped foot. Nobody in this country has ever attempted to make shoes to fit human feet. Shoemakers can not be induced to make shoes which will allow the foot to take its natural form and position. The use of the shoe is simply to protect the foot against unpleasant or injurious contact with the ground or other substances, and to retain its heat, preventing its passing off too rapidly. It is not at all to give shape to the foot. The shape of the foot in the shoe should be precisely what it would be if no shoe were worn. That is the shape in which God made it, and it is infinitely more desirable, so far as beauty or use is concerned, than the form into which it is crowded by “civilized” shoes. The time will come when some man or woman will invent a shoe which will be fitted to the shape of the foot, and it will be very much better looking than the shoes which are now worn. Till then Health Reformers should insist, in giving their orders for boots or shoes, upon having them made so wide in the sole, as well as in the upper leather, as to give the foot ample room. Have a sole so wide that the entire foot will rest upon it, even if you have to carry back half a dozen pairs before you can get one to suit — and most shoemakers will have to try at least half a dozen times before they can believe that you mean what you say. A tight shoe cannot be warm. Women are greatly at fault in this direction. Even in our Institution we find it exceedingly difficult to induce our feeble ladies to dress their feet at all properly. In the cool, chilly autumn days they will persist in wearing thin cotton stockings, and thin cloth shoes, so tight as to materially interfere with capillary circulation — so falsely educated in regard to physical life are women everywhere.HHTL 315.3

    “Garters do not come precisely under the head of clothing for the feet, but they are frequently so much concerned in the poor circulation of the feet, that they should be introduced here. By their pressure upon the blood vessels, particularly the veins as they pass up the leg, they intercept the free and natural flow of the blood, and so are in a very large degree productive of coldness of the feet. The return of blood from the feet to the heart has to be performed in opposition to the law of gravitation, which makes all substances tend downward. Blood flows down hill as naturally as water; hence there is a special contrivance to carry it from the feet back into the trunk of the body. There are valves in nearly all of the veins of the body, but an unusual number in the veins of the legs, which open upward, or toward the heart, allowing the blood to pass freely in that direction, but shutting, if it sets backward, and thus preventing its return. But these valves are exceedingly delicate, and can be broken down. Many a woman has worn her garters so tight as to retard the movement of the blood upward through the veins of the legs, to that degree that it has set back and overcome the resistance of the valves, thus destroying them, and causing that troublesome and painful difficulty, varicose veins. But where the extreme effect is not produced, almost universally the circulation is retarded so far as to disturb materially the healthful condition of the feet.HHTL 317.1

    “Let the student, the professional man, the seamstress, the teacher, see that their feet are kept in healthful conditions, and above all let the mother see to it that the feet of her children are kept warm, and they will have very greatly added securities for the preservation of their general health.”HHTL 318.1

    “Look at the upper part of her dress. No woman has it so fitted as to allow her to raise her arms straight from the shoulder above her head. That part of it which we country people call the waist, is oftener than otherwise cut so that it is impossible for her to breathe as nature intends she should. I would like to offer a dollar apiece for each woman in the State of New York, of whom a committee of physicians should affirm that she breathed physiologically, provided I could have one cent paid to me for each woman in the State of whom it should be decided by said committee that she breathed unphysiologically. There is not one woman in five thousand, in the State of New York, who breathes naturally. The lungs play unhealthfully at every respiration. The diaphragm and intercostal muscles have double labor, in fact do pretty much all the labor of breathing, while the abdominal muscles, which are particularly intended to aid efficiently in this most vital process, are nearly useless.HHTL 318.2

    “If a man stands upon his feet, with his clothing about him, so that he can breathe freely, you will generally find the most essential movement at the bulge of the abdomen. There is where you see the clearest indication of full respiration, but if a woman is clad in her usual mode, and you watch her respiration, you shall generally find it restricted to the upper part of the chest. The reason why, in order to fill her lungs she is to show motion at this particular point, is because of the girted condition of her clothing just at the line of separation between the lungs and the stomach.HHTL 318.3

    “Here, then are two very important considerations connected with dress. One is, that a woman’s dress should be fitted so that she can have the free use of her arms, the other, that she should have the free use of her respiratory organs.”HHTL 319.1

    I assure you, my friend, the reason why children die by scores in every little hamlet and village every year, is not because God has so organized them that they cannot live, not because parents have not enough natural affection to take care of them; but because parents are ignorant and stupidly heedless as to the care they need. If the calves, or the pigs, or the lambs, or even the cats, in a section of country, were to have so great mortality prevail among them as has prevailed among the children in thousands of neighborhoods in our country during the past five years, there would immediately be a scientific investigation as to the cause of such frequent deaths in the case of these animals. The men would gather together in public meetings to discuss and to devise means for the alleviation of such a state of affairs; and as interesting discussions would be held by the women in private circles. There would not be simple regret that the creatures were dying; there would be active measures taken to arrest the devastation. Not so when children die. There is discussion enough, and excitement and interest without stint. There is speculation as to the comparative merits of the different physicians employed, and opinions expressed that if such a child had been attended by such a physician, or had not had such a doctor, the result would have been different. But there is no intelligent inquiry into the causes why sickness prevails. Parents rise up in fear every morning, and lie down in dread every night, and yet go on from day to day, treating their children in such a manner that it is almost a miracle if they escape being sick.HHTL 319.2

    “My friend, perhaps you have a little daughter. If she is dressed in the style in which little girls are usually clad, you cannot find if you will travel through the length and breadth of the United States, an honest and intelligent physician, physiologist, or other person, who understands the structure and function of the human organism, who will not tell you that the manner of your child’s dress is such as is directly and very powerfully calculated to produce disease. Look at her now, in this fall weather, with her lower limbs from the hips downward covered only with, at most, one or two thicknesses of cotton! The hoops outside of these hold all the other clothing out from the body, so that there is a complete reservoir for cold air underneath. Perhaps she is kept in the house most of the time; but she cannot go from one room to another, she cannot even play about the floor of the sitting-room, without passing through currents of cold air, and having the circulation of the blood in her feet and legs disturbed. How would you get along, let me ask you, with your legs no better covered than hers? You would be in a perfect shiver all the time. Then think how much more feeble is her circulation, how much more delicate are all her structures, than yours, and answer to yourself whether, in the sight of Heaven you are justifiable of permitting her to go one more day dressed in such a style.HHTL 319.3

    “I appeal to you, rather than the mother, because men are supposed to be less under the control of fashion than women, and because certainly men can appreciate the value and comfort of being warmly clad better than women can do who dress after the common fashion. And now, having had your attention directed to this matter, if you should allow any consideration to prevent you from immediately seeing that your daughter is comfortably and healthfully clad, and under such neglect she should die by disease before another spring has come, may you not expect to hear the voice of conscience saying to you, down to the latest day of your life, ‘You were the murderer of your child!’HHTL 320.1

    “For the coldest weather, there should be worn next to the body a garment, comprising drawers, waist, and sleeves reaching to the wrist, of cotton flannel. Over this a similar garment of woolen flannel, and over this, a waist with sleeves, to which are buttoned firmly the trowsers. At least a child needs as much clothing as this, in the severest weather in our latitude. The stockings and shoes should correspond in warmth. Then the little girl should have a good pair of leather boots, sufficiently large to admit of an extra pair of stockings being worn, without interfering in the least with the circulation of the blood in the feet, a pair of good thick cloth trowsers, to be put on outside, a thick warm coat (or cloak) and a pair of warm mittens. Then, every day from November to June, she should spend at least two or three hours in the open air. If you will see to it that your little daughter is treated in this way, and lives on simple food, eating nothing between meals — not even fruit, nuts, or a bit of candy — and that her suppers, if she takes any at all, are very light, and will have her regular in her habits, you will have furnished to her a security for life and health immeasurably greater than that which she has now.”HHTL 320.2

    BOOTS FOR WOMEN. The Princess Royal of England had as a part of her out-fit twelve pairs of Boots. Some of these intended for rough walking were provided with treble soles.HHTL 321.1

    “English women dress their feet much more healthfully than American women. One great cause of ill-health and in fact of premature death of the women in the United States, is the imperfect and improper way in which women clothe their lower limbs. One has but to go into our schools to see how early, parents begin to murder their daughters. Little girls with light skirts descending two-thirds of the way from the knees to the feet, while the legs are cased in thin stockings and the feet in thin boot-ees, thus contriving the most efficient way to disturb and derange the circulation, and produce congestion of the lungs. In the Autumn, the Winter, and the Spring, all persons who have to be out of doors should wear boots, made with long legs and thick soles. I trust our fashionable women will consent to take care of their healths, now they know that the Princess Royal looks after hers and wears boots.”HHTL 321.2

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