The Story of our Health Message


Dr. Jackson’s Success

Of the phenomenal success of Dr. Jackson and his associates at Dansville, some of the believers had already received practical evidence. Especially notable was the case of Charles, the only son of Elder J. N. Andrews. At nine years of age this lad had become a cripple, seemingly incurable. One hip and leg were withered, and the ankle joint of the same limb was unduly enlarged and so ossified as to be nearly rigid. “To see this brilliant little fellow literally dragging his leg after him, was enough to touch a heart of stone.” How to Live 1:17. He was placed under the care of the physicians at Our Home, and after fifteen weeks had sufficiently improved to be returned to his home. Soon after he left the institution, he was able to “run and skip about the yard as nimbly as other boys”; and his recovery proved to be permanent, for the limb returned to its normal size, and no trace of lameness was left. SHM 100.1

At this time the buildings at Dansville were able to furnish accommodations for between three and four hundred patients. The main building, four stories in height, was furnished with bath and dressing rooms. To the north, it was connected by an enclosed corridor three hundred feet long, with Liberty Hall, a commodious room used as a gymnasium, lecture room, and chapel. SHM 100.2

In behalf of Our Home, and its forerunner at Glen Haven, New York, Dr. Jackson laid claim to its being the pioneer, and that for some time it was the only institution “where all things which in their nature are health-producing and disease-curing are combined and used upon the largest possible plan, and are made to exercise not an isolated or individual influence, but a collective force.” Laws of Life, February, 1862. Of the objectives of the institution and the methods of treatment followed, he said: SHM 100.3

“Its object is to restore the sick to health by means of the agencies provided by God for the preservation of health, such as pure air, pure water, sunlight, sleep, proper clothing, healthful food, pleasant social influences, etc., excluding all poisonous drugs, and all other means and agencies, which in their nature tend to injure persons in health; and also to so instruct them in regard to the laws of life, and health, as that they may not be again liable to take on the diseases which are everywhere so prevalent, and which to a very great degree, are the result of false habits of living.”—Ibid., March, 1862. SHM 101.1

Various forms of water therapy were used, but the “heroic” treatment, involving the use of extremely cold water, which had caused much prejudice against hydrotherapy, had been discarded by Dr. Jackson and his associates. There were general baths, such as the “half bath,” the full bath or “plunge,” the “dripping sheet,” the “pail douche,” and the “pack,” also local applications of water, including the “sitz bath,” the “shallow bath,” and the “foot bath.” (“How to Take Baths,” a tract, Dansville, N.Y., quoted in How to Live 2:14-24.) Compresses and fomentations were also listed among the methods of therapy. SHM 101.2