The Health Reformer


April 1, 1871

Spring Has Come


April has come again. The sun shines gloriously, the grass is springing up everywhere, and the free little songsters of the wood and field contribute to the general joy. HR April 1, 1871, par. 1

Who can but be joyous in the glad sunshine, beholding the beauties of nature, and seeing the evidences of the goodness and love of God, in the lofty trees, and the earth covered with its green carpet, and adorned with beautiful flowers of every hue? Our wise Creator loves to see his children healthful and happy. Should we not remember God as we look upon these evidences of his love? Would we not be very ungrateful if we did not acknowledge him in his creative works? It was the design of Heaven that we should look through nature up to nature's God, and should adore our Heavenly Father for the tokens he has given us that he wants us to be healthful and happy. HR April 1, 1871, par. 2

Those who are old enough should every day that the weather will admit, have a portion of their work in the open air and sunshine. Children and women should not fail to spend some hours each day in exercise out of doors. This has proved a great blessing to me. When in very feeble health, I have occupied some time in my flower garden, and among the small fruits, doing light work, which has never failed to prove a success in recovering my health, and overcoming depression of spirits. HR April 1, 1871, par. 3

There are but few who realize that, in order to enjoy health and cheerfulness, they must have an abundance of sunlight, pure air, and physical exercise. We pity little children who are kept confined in-doors when the sun is shining gloriously without. If parents would dress their children for healthfulness, instead of according to fashion, they would thoroughly clothe the limbs of their girls as they do those of their boys, and then let them out-doors in spring, summer, and fall, to sport and play, as free as the lambs. HR April 1, 1871, par. 4

Do not close your blinds and have your windows draped with one or two curtains to shut out the beautiful sun that bears health and cheerfulness in its bright beams. Parents, do not close the pleasant rooms in your houses from your children, and open them merely to visitors. I have been in many houses where the best rooms were kept closed by blinds and curtains, so that not a ray of sunshine could brighten, gladden, and purify, the rooms, from the commencement of the week to the close. These choice, closed rooms, deprived of the health-giving rays of the sun, seemed like damp cellars. A chill seemed to penetrate me as I tarried even a short time in these beautiful rooms, held too precious from even the rays of the sun to be admitted. HR April 1, 1871, par. 5

No room in the house should be considered furnished and adorned without the cheering, enlivening light and sunshine, which are Heaven's own free gift to man. If rooms are closed even one day, excluding these precious blessings, be they bedrooms or parlors, no one should be invited to occupy them until they have been thoroughly ventilated, and the rays of the sun freely admitted. This is the only way rooms can be kept free from impurities. The air in unoccupied rooms may be cold; but this is evidence that it is pure. HR April 1, 1871, par. 6

I have visited in families where it would have been a pleasure for me to remain over night; but I could not do this without endangering my health. They did not feel the importance of ventilation and sunlight. The dread of being obliged to occupy a sleeping apartment that had been closed for days, not admitting these necessary blessings, has led me frequently to deprive myself of the privilege of remaining with dear friends any length of time. Windows and blinds have been closed, keeping out air and sunshine, until I have felt dizzy and faint, wholly unfitted to benefit the family, or to receive benefit. I have ventured to speak of the close, depressed air; but instead of opening a window and letting in the air, pure from the outside, a door has been opened leading to an unoccupied room, in which had been no fire, and which had not had the out-of-door air and sun, for weeks, and even months. This I considered a far greater evil than to have remained breathing the close air of the heated room. This cold, unpurified air contained more poisonous impurity than relief. HR April 1, 1871, par. 7

One of the most beautiful adornments our rooms can have, is the cheering sunlight, gilding and glorifying everything it rests upon. Our children can but have discontented, unhappy, and homesick feelings, shut in by walls, with windows darkened, excluding the glad sunshine. Some mothers are so anxious to exclude the sun and air from their rooms that they will not allow more than half a window exposed, free from shades, to let in the light and sun. They shut out these blessings as though they were enemies to health and life. Their rooms have a dismal, lonesome appearance that children feel, though they cannot explain why they feel discontented, languid, and irritable. If the windows should be freed from blinds and curtains, and the air and sun be permitted to freely enter their darkened rooms, there would be seen a change for the better in the mental and physical health of their children. The pure air would have an invigorating influence upon them. And the sun that carries healing in its beams, would soothe and cheer, and make them happy, joyous, and healthful. We inquire, What is the use of building houses with windows in them, when these windows are not used, but kept closed and draped, to exclude the light and air? Why are not rooms made with one small window, according to the ideas of those who regard air and light as enemies? They could then have darkness, and as little air and sun as would please them, and could also save expense. HR April 1, 1871, par. 8

When God had made our world, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, he said, Let there be light, and there was light. And God saw the light that it was good. Shall we close our houses, and exclude from them the light which God has pronounced good? Many deprive themselves of light and air, because they fear their picture frames or expensive furniture will be tarnished, and their lovely carpets faded. We may arrange our houses tastefully, and yet with simplicity, and have no fears of welcoming in the purifying air and glad sunshine. We had better dispense with costly furniture and expensive carpets, rather than with the sunlight, and the invigorating air of heaven. HR April 1, 1871, par. 9

We cannot afford to darken and close our most pleasant rooms to our children, and make no practical use of them ourselves, that we may keep them nicely arranged for callers and visitors to look upon. Our principal study should be, how we can secure health and happiness, that we may be successful in perfecting Christian characters, and be qualified to answer the end of our being. God did not place us in this world to be butterflies of fashion; but to accomplish good, and to glorify his name. HR April 1, 1871, par. 10

“Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” God would have us enjoy the blessings he has given us. If we have been prospered of him in the things of this life so that we can build fine, airy rooms, it is his pleasure that we should enjoy them, and give a cheerful invitation to the blessed sunlight and the invigorating air of heaven, to enter them. We should let cheerfulness and joy be welcomed to our houses and hearts. If we do this, our health will be improved, and our lives of usefulness will be prolonged. HR April 1, 1871, par. 11

The Herald of Health says: HR April 1, 1871, par. 12

“It would seem that the ladies have a particular dislike for the sunlight, for they remain most of the time shut in from its influence, with curtains closed to keep it from fading the carpets, while for the want of it they themselves fade and become weak and sickly, like the plants which grow in the shade, and are never kissed, and colored, and strengthened, by the life-giving rays of the sun. If perchance they venture out into the open air and sunlight, they dare not go without carrying a shade to keep the sun from tanning their ‘Lily-White’ cheeks, just as though pale and sickly looking countenances were more beautiful and desirable than those which are ever blooming with the fresh, clear, and sparkling hues of health. HR April 1, 1871, par. 13

“Ladies, if you wish to be strong and healthy, and desire to possess true beauty, and not the sentimental shadow of it, seek the glorious, God-given sunlight, and bask in the smiles of ‘the light and life of the world;’ let it enter freely into your dwellings, and occupy no room where it cannot and does not enter; be out of doors all that you can every day, and especially when the sun shines, and fear not to look ‘old king sol’ in the face, instead of cowardly skulking along under a parasol, as though ashamed to meet his keen and searching glance. Sunlight is one of the best tonics and beautifiers in the world; therefore, men, women, and children, one and all, should seek it as one of the great natural agencies which help to form the ‘elixir of life.’” HR April 1, 1871, par. 14

These are very good and wholesome words. HR April 1, 1871, par. 15

E. G. W.

Children's Dress


The most of us wear clothing enough, but many fail to give every part of the body its due proportion. We agree with the writer of the following, that while over the chest and heart are placed more coverings than are actually needed for warmth and healthfulness, the limbs are not properly and thoroughly clothed. If any part of the body should be favored with extra coverings, it should be the limbs and feet which are at a distance from the great wheel of life, which sends the blood through the system. The limbs should ever be clothed with a warm covering to protect them from a chill current of air. The straight, lined pants, meeting the instep of the shoe, do this. If the feet are clothed with good-sized, thick-soled, warm boots or shoes, for comfort rather than for fashion, the blood will be induced to circulate freely in the limbs and feet, as well as in other portions of the body. We would protest against people's squeezing their feet to make them look small, and compressing the waist, making it impossible for them to fill the lungs with pure air. If we give the lungs and feet ample room to do the work God designed they should, we shall be rewarded with better health and a clearer conscience. HR April 1, 1871, par. 16

We find the following sensible hints in relation to children's dress, in “Talks to my Patients,” by Mrs. Gleason: HR April 1, 1871, par. 17

E. G. W.

Such is the style of dress for both sexes during their early years, that there is an unhealthful exposure of the lower limbs. The skirts are short and full, standing out from the person, so as to afford little protection below the hips; and the limbs incased in but one thickness of cotton, that fine and thin, reaching but little below the knee; and from thence to the ankle only a stocking, that often of fine texture. A man or woman who should go abroad in midwinter dressed thus, would be thought to “dare death.” When fashion sanctions such a suit, even for those who are still in their tender years, can it be borne with impunity? Does not the fearful mortality among children show that there is “something wrong somewhere”? And may not the fault in part lie here? Colds, coughs, croup, and inflammation of the lungs, are frightfully frequent during childhood. These diseases do not come from want of clothing about the chest; for enough and more than enough is usually worn there; but from the extremities’ not being well clothed. Fashion furnishes to boys a firmer fabric for their limbs much earlier than to girls; They have no alternative till their entrance into “teens” demands the long skirts. HR April 1, 1871, par. 18

Children should be clad with drawers, as well as dresses, of a material suitable for the season. But I seem to hear one and another say that our little misses, clad thus, would all look like young squaws. Well, be it so; they had much better, in cold weather, wear flannel than muslin; for of wool it may in truth be said, “no matter if it is cold and wet, it is always warm and dry.” Of this material we have now such a variety of goods of different textures, shades, and colors, that it would seem that something might be selected suitable to clothe the lower limbs of young girls and little children every way better than the “thin stuff” they now wear. HR April 1, 1871, par. 19

We might as well send our girls forth in the winds of winter clad in thin dresses as thin drawers. If those of muslin are desired, then drawers of woolen or cotton flannel should be worn under, coming down inside the stockings. HR April 1, 1871, par. 20

To prevent pressure of blood to the head, congestion of the throat and lungs or other internal organs, the extremities must be kept warm. HR April 1, 1871, par. 21

Consistency in clothing is a jewel most precious because of its rarity as well as real worth. HR April 1, 1871, par. 22

Death In-doors


Multitudes of persons have a great horror of going out of doors for fear of taking cold; if it is a little damp or a little windy, or a little cold, they wait and wait; meanwhile, weeks and even months may pass away, and they never during that whole time breathe a single breath of pure air. The result is, they become so enfeebled that their constitutions have no power of resistance; the least thing in the world gives them a cold, even going from one room to another; and before they know it they have a cold all the time, and this is nothing more or less than consumption, whereas, if an opposite practice had been followed, of going out an hour or two each day regardless of the weather, a very different result would have taken place. The truth is, the more a person is out of doors the less easily does he take cold. It is a widely known fact that persons who camp out every night, or sleep under a tree for weeks together, seldom take cold at all. HR April 1, 1871, par. 23

The truth is, many of our ailments, and those of most fatal forms, are taken in the house, and not out of doors; taken by removing parts of clothing too soon after coming into the house, or by lying down on a bed or sofa when in a tired or exhausted condition from having engaged too vigorously in domestic employment. Many a pie has cost an industrious man a hundred dollars. A human life has many a time paid for an apple dumping. When our wives get through work, they find themselves in an utterly exhausted condition; their ambition to complete a thing, to do some work well, sustains them until it is completed. The mental and physical condition is one of exhaustion, when a breath of air will give a cold, to settle in the joints, to wake up next day with inflammatory rheumatism, or with a feeling of stiffness or soreness as if they had been pounded in a bag, or with a sore throat to trouble them for months, or with a lung fever to put them in the grave in less then a week. HR April 1, 1871, par. 24

Our wives should work by the day, if they must work at all, and not by the job; it is more economical in the end to see how little work they can do in an hour, instead of how much. It is slow, steady, and continuous labor which brings health and good digestion. Fitful labor is ruinous to all. HR April 1, 1871, par. 25

Hall's Journal of Health

As I read the above, I involuntarily exclaimed, Good. At camp-meetings, we have tented out for weeks in succession, sleeping with the ends of the tent open to the air, and we have not suffered with colds. We have had better health when enjoying tent life than when living in doors. It is close confinement in doors that makes women pale and feeble, resulting in premature death. HR April 1, 1871, par. 26

E. G. W.