The Health Reformer


June 1, 1872



Genuine, or False, and its Bearing on Invalids

Experience is said to be the best teacher. Genuine experience is indeed valuable. But habits and customs gird men and women as with iron bands, and these false habits and customs are generally justified by experience, according to the common understanding of the word. Very many have abused precious experience. They have clung to their injurious habits, which are decidedly enfeebling to physical, mental, and moral health, and when you seek to instruct them, they sanction their course by referring to their experience. But true experience is in harmony with natural law and science. HR June 1, 1872, par. 1

Here is where we have met with the greatest difficulties on religious subjects. The plainest facts may be presented, the clearest truths brought before the mind, sustained by the word of God; but the ear and heart are closed, and the all convincing argument is, my experience. Some will say, The Lord has blessed me in believing and doing as I have, therefore I cannot be in error. The experience is clung to, and the most elevating, sanctifying truths of the Bible are rejected for what they are pleased to style experience. Many of the grossest habits are cherished, with the plea of experience. HR June 1, 1872, par. 2

Many fail to reach that physical, intellectual, and moral improvement it is their privilege and duty to attain, because they will contend for the reliability and safety of their experience, although that misjudged experience is opposed to the plainest revealed facts. But that which they term experience is not experience at all, but a course of habit, or mere indulgence, blindly, and frequently ignorantly, followed, with a firm, set determination, without intelligent thought or inquiry relative to the laws and causes at work in the accomplishment of the object and the result. HR June 1, 1872, par. 3

Genuine experience is a variety of experiments entered into carefully, with the mind freed from prejudice and uncontrolled by previously established opinions and habits; marking the results with careful solicitude, anxious to learn, improve, and reform, on every or any habit, if that habit is not in harmony with physical and moral law. With some, the idea of others gainsaying that which they have learned by experience seems to them to be folly, and even cruelty itself. But there are more errors received, and firmly retained, under the false idea of experience, than from any other cause; for this reason, that which is generally termed experience is no experience at all, because there has never been a fair trial by actual experiment and thorough investigation, with a knowledge of the principle involved in the action. Men and women, with constitution and health gone, because of their wrong habits and customs, will be found recommending their experience, which has robbed them of vitality and health, as safe for others to follow. Very many examples might be given to show how men and women have been deceived in relying upon their experience. HR June 1, 1872, par. 4

Persons who have been a long time feeble are in danger of imagining their cases far worse than they really are. Their fears are easily aroused. They have so long made their own cases subjects of thought that they really think they fully understand their own cases. If the counsel and judgment of physicians do not agree with their views of themselves they are set aside as of no account. “They do not understand my case” is often repeated. “They did not manage my case right.” Invalids are generally poor judges of what they need. If they understand how to manage their own infirmities why have they not made a success of treating themselves so that they need no physician. HR June 1, 1872, par. 5

There are men and women of peculiar traits of character who have determined wills, who are suffering from disease, which has had a tendency to make them notional. They form habits which become as second nature to them. Others can discern their peculiarities, and their dangers, when they may be blind to them, and think their peculiar habits are a necessity, and that they cannot change and live. Persons of this stamp of mind will be very slow to recover health. And they will frequently exhaust the patience and courage of their physicians who may be doing all in their power to help the invalid to health. HR June 1, 1872, par. 6

But before it is possible to do this, their false habits must be broken up. But as the physicians try cautiously to do this, they have the strong, set will of the patient to meet, and he feels injured, thinking he is misjudged. He becomes vexed with his best friends, who are doing all they can to bring him back to health again. They want to get well, but desire to give especial information to the physicians just how their case must be treated. When they thus take the case into their own hands they show that they have not confidence in the physician. HR June 1, 1872, par. 7

This class have diseased imaginations, which frequently lead them to the conclusion that they cannot exercise. It tires them to exercise, and they cease employment, and become restless. They will study their peculiar symptoms, which become greatly aggravated to their imagination by dwelling upon them, which frequently leads them to say and do many things which, should they see another do, they would at once see the inconsistency of such a course. HR June 1, 1872, par. 8

Many invalids give up to inaction, which gives all the chance possible for the imagination to chase after symptoms. The worst thing the sick can do is to suspend all physical labor, supposing this the way to regain health. In thus doing, the will, which energizes the nerves and muscles, becomes dormant, and the blood circulates through the system sluggishly, and becomes more and more impure. And still the imagination takes the lead, and makes out the case worse than it really is. Indolence is helping on the matter, and produces the most unhappy results. HR June 1, 1872, par. 9

Well-regulated labor gives the invalid the idea that he is not wholly useless in the world. This will afford him satisfaction, give him courage, and impart to him vigor which nothing else can. Some have received the idea that it is dangerous to exercise, because they are sick. Such ones cannot get well without exercise. God made man a moving, working machine. He designed that the muscles, and every organ of the body, should be put to use. But some, guided by their feelings, will tell you that they cannot walk, or exercise in labor. They will relate their experience, that when they have attempted to exercise it has greatly wearied them. Yet all the works of the human machinery were there. No organ was missing. Why, then, could they not be set in motion? The motive will-power was wanting. HR June 1, 1872, par. 10

A diseased imagination, under the control of a strong will, held the machinery from action. These mistaken souls rely upon what they are pleased to term experience, which is nothing more nor less than pet notions, plans, and schemes of their own, which are not in harmony with physical law, but agree with their perverted judgment. These view their cases from the standpoint of diseased imagination. They will relate that they have tried this and that course to their entire satisfaction. Feelings have been their standard. HR June 1, 1872, par. 11

Feelings are a poor criterion at any time, but especially when under the control of a diseased imagination and strong will. Invalids of this class are almost sure to continue to be invalids. They generally have some fault to find with the course of all who try to help them. They are seldom willing to be guided by the judgment of those who understand the human system and who have long experience in treating disease. Physicians cannot, by their counsel, or treatment, help the sick unless the invalids give them their confidence. If they take their cases into their own hands, and do not recover health, they should not charge the failure upon the physicians. HR June 1, 1872, par. 12

Genuine experience is in harmony with the unchangeable principles of nature. Superstition, caused by diseased imagination, is frequently in conflict with science and principle. And yet the unanswerable argument is urged, “I must be correct, for this is my experience.” There are many invalids today who will ever remain so, because they cannot be convinced that their experience is not reliable. The brain is the capital of the body, the seat of all the nervous forces, and of mental action. The nerves proceeding from the brain control the body. By the brain nerves, mental impressions are conveyed to all the nerves of the body, as by telegraphic wires, and they control the vital action of every part of the system. All the organs of motion are governed by the communication they receive from the brain. HR June 1, 1872, par. 13

If invalids receive the idea that a bath will injure them, the mental impression is communicated to all the nerves of the body. The nerves control the circulation of the blood; therefore the blood is, through the impression of the mind, confined to the blood-vessels, and the good effect of the bath lost, because the blood is prevented by the mind and will from flowing readily, and from coming to the surface and stimulating, arousing, and promoting circulation. HR June 1, 1872, par. 14

Invalids have frequently used water injudiciously, especially if they are extremists. They may not have a correct knowledge of the use of water. They may have used the water too warm, and not reduced the bath sufficiently with cold, to tone up the pores of the skin, which has a debilitating influence upon the system, or they may have used the water too cold, and driven the blood from the surface to the internal organs, producing congestion. They may have exposed themselves to cold air immediately after bathing. I have known persons to take cold, from which they have never recovered, by sitting in a room without a fire and becoming thoroughly chilled immediately after taking a bath. Many are not benefited by taking baths, because they do not practice lying down after a bath and giving nature time to react. If they cannot rest at least half an hour after a bath, they should exercise by walking or working to keep from a sense of chilliness, in order for reaction. Those who have taken baths carelessly, and have suffered in consequence, receive the impression that it was the bath which injured them, when it was their own injudicious management that produced the bad results. HR June 1, 1872, par. 15

And when the physician prescribes baths for this class their will frequently rises against it. They think the bath will injure them. The brain sends this intelligence to the nerves of the body, and the blood-vessels, held in obedience to their will, cannot perform their office and react after a bath. There is no reason in science or philosophy why an occasional bath, taken with studious care, should do any one anything but real good. Especially is this the case where there is but little exercise to keep the muscles in action, and to aid the circulation of the blood through the system. Bathing frees the skin from accumulation of impurities which are constantly collecting, keeps the skin soft and supple, thereby increasing and equalizing the circulation. HR June 1, 1872, par. 16

Persons in health should on no account neglect bathing. They should by all means bathe as often as twice a week. Those who are not in health have impurities of the blood, and the skin is not in a healthy condition. The multitude of pores, or little mouths, through which the body breathes, become closed and filled with waste matter. The skin needs to be carefully and thoroughly cleansed, that the pores may do their work in freeing the body from impurities; therefore, feeble persons who are diseased, surely need the advantages and blessings of bathing as often as twice a week, and frequently even more than this is positively necessary. Respiration is more free and easy if bathing is practiced, whether sick or well. HR June 1, 1872, par. 17

By bathing, the muscles become more flexible, the mind and body are alike invigorated, the intellect is clearer, and every faculty is livelier. The bath is a soother of the nerves. It promotes general perspiration, quickens the circulation, overcomes obstructions in the system, and acts beneficially on the kidneys. Bathing helps the bowels, stomach, and liver, giving energy and new life. Digestion is promoted by bathing, and instead of the system being weakened, it is strengthened. Instead of increasing liabilities to cold, a bath properly taken fortifies against a cold, because the circulation is improved. The blood is brought to the surface, and a more easy and regular flow through all the blood vessels is obtained. HR June 1, 1872, par. 18

The Lord made man upright in the beginning. He was created with a perfectly balanced mind. The size and strength of the organs of the mind were perfectly developed. Adam was a perfect type of man. Every quality of mind was well proportioned, each having a distinctive office, and yet dependent one upon another for the full and proper use of any one of them. Adam and Eve were permitted to eat of all the trees in the garden, save one. The Lord said to the holy pair, In the day that ye eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, ye shall surely die. HR June 1, 1872, par. 19

Eve was beguiled by the serpent to believe that God would not do as he said he would. Ye shall not surely die, said the serpent. Eve ate, and imagined that she felt the sensations of a new and more exalted life. She bore the fruit to her husband, and that which had an overpowering influence upon him was her experience. The serpent had said that she should not die and she felt no ill effects from the fruit which could be interpreted to mean death, but just as the serpent had said, a pleasurable sensation, which she imagined was as the angels felt. Her experience stood arrayed against the positive command of Jehovah, and Adam suffered himself to be ruined by his wife's experience. HR June 1, 1872, par. 20