Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 21 (1906)


Lt 204, 1906

Burden, J. A.

“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

June 17, 1906

Portions of this letter are published in SpM 389-391.

Dear Brother Burden:

For several days I have thought of writing to you, but could not because so many things demanding immediate attention have come in. I may have written to you regarding the equipment of your treatment rooms, but fearing that I have not I will come right to the point. 21LtMs, Lt 204, 1906, par. 1

When we were at the Paradise Valley Sanitarium, we were conducted through the new treatment rooms. One rooms was elaborately fitted up with electrical appliances for giving the patients treatment. That night I was instructed that some connected with the institution were introducing things for the treatment of the sick that were not safe. The application of some of these electrical treatments would involve the patient in serious difficulties, imperilling life. 21LtMs, Lt 204, 1906, par. 2

One was conversing with the doctors, and with great earnestness was saying, “Never, never carry out your wonderful plans. There have been various mechanical devices brought into the treatment rooms that are expensive, and the men who make a specialty of treating certain cases are liable to make grave mistakes.” 21LtMs, Lt 204, 1906, par. 3

There are men who make a specialty of treating the rectum, and some feel that they have been greatly benefited. But I have been instructed that this treatment, as well as many surgical operations, leaves with many a serious weakness. 21LtMs, Lt 204, 1906, par. 4

Several things were mentioned that have been brought in to the Paradise Valley Sanitarium, which were not necessary, and which should not have been purchased without consultation with other physicians. The amount of money which some of these machines cost, and the salary which must be paid to the one who operates them, should be taken into consideration. I felt impelled to talk with Brother Robinson in reference to these matters, although we were driving with a number of people, and it was not a favorable place to converse about such matters. 21LtMs, Lt 204, 1906, par. 5

Now I am certain that great care should be taken in purchasing electrical instruments and costly mechanical fixtures. Move slowly, Brother Burden, and do not trust to men who suppose that they understand what is essential, and who launch out in spending money for many things that require experts to handle them. 21LtMs, Lt 204, 1906, par. 6

Several times I have been instructed that much of the elaborate, costly machinery used in giving treatments did not help in the work as much as is supposed. With it we do not get so good results as with the simple appliances we used in our earlier experiences. The application of water in various simple ways is a great blessing. 21LtMs, Lt 204, 1906, par. 7

I have been instructed that the X-ray is not the great blessing that some suppose it to be. If used unwisely it may do much harm. The results of some of the electrical treatments are similar to the results of using stimulants. There is a weakness that follows. 21LtMs, Lt 204, 1906, par. 8

I shall have more to say about these matters later, but I wish now to say that all patients should keep out of doors as much as possible, and many will be benefited by sleeping in the open air. My lady workers have slept out on the veranda all winter and have been free from coughs and colds. 21LtMs, Lt 204, 1906, par. 9

Keep the patients out of doors as much as possible, and give them cheering, happy talks in the parlor, with simple reading and Bible lessons easy to be understood, which will be an encouragement to the soul. Talk on health reform, and do not you, my brother, become burden-bearer in so many lines that you cannot teach the simple lessons of health reform. Those who go from the sanitarium should go so well instructed that they can teach others the methods of treating their families. 21LtMs, Lt 204, 1906, par. 10

There is danger of spending far too much money on machinery and appliances which the patients can never use in their home lessons. They should rather be taught how to regulate the diet, so that the living machinery of the whole being will work in harmony. Let them become intelligent in regard to the importance of laying aside corsets and shortening their skirts. Such lessons will be to the women more valuable than they can estimate. 21LtMs, Lt 204, 1906, par. 11