The Practical Magnetic
G. M. Brown
CONDITIONS OF HEALTH
The reader may wonder why health is supposed to
exist, and be possessed by man conditionally. There is just one straight
and narrow path, and as long as we are in this path all is well.
Everything will be in perfect harmony. But the very first deviation
develops a discord; the machinery is out of balance, and it begins to show
signs of weakness. The engineer must thoroughly understand his engine.
When there seem to be parts needing his attention, and a readjustment sets
aright the unbalanced part, the machinery moves off again in perfect harmony.
It is often asked what is meant by the term “health.” By its observance
a vast number of diseases may be averted, if not the whole category
of ailment to which humanity is heir. The diagnosis of one’s own
case is where the whole trouble rests. Symptoms of perfect health
in some persons are mistaken for indications of disease, and the mind accepts
it as a fact. Finally, it works into the body these expressions,
and the condition so much to be avoided is developed into a reality.
The real ideal of health is a sound mind in a sound body. A man’s
mind or soul must be right and his body must be right or he is not a healthy
man. Our bodies are made up of certain substances which, under the
different functions, are constantly worn out, so that being during our
whole lives in a constant waste there must be a regular supply of food
to replace this waste. Men do not eat simply to satisfy appetite.
The object in taking food is to keep up the original size, etc., of the
body, and to replace those worn out parts. The human body is a warm
body, and is constantly emitting heat. The heat so emitted must be
replaced. The animal body has often been compared to a locomotive
in which by food, air and water, heat is generated. Food may be considered
as the fuel, but it does not serve to generate heat only as in the locomotive,
but to form new particles for growth of the body, and to replace those
worn out. Whilst in the engine the machinery is constantly wearing
out, the body, up to a certain time, by means of its fuel, is constantly
replacing the waste, and even serving for the increase of the body.
All the different articles of food may be reduced
to two great groups. 1st, flesh-forming substances, and 2nd, heat
forming substances. The flesh of men and animals showed a third class
of nutritive substances known as nutritive salts. These salts have
only begun to be recognized during the last few years. The salts
may be seen in the form of ashes when any food is burned--such as salt,
phosphoric acid, potash, etc. The flesh-forming substances are required
to form the flesh and muscles; the heat forming substances to supply fat,
which may be considered the storehouse of heat, and the salts of the bones.
Good food must contain a certain amount of flesh forming substances, heat
substances, and nutritive salts. It was popularly stated that a certain
weight of eggs was equal to the same weight of flesh-meat, but it has long
been known that eggs are not equal to meat. With flesh-meat a carniverous
animal may support life, but it is not so with eggs. A dog may eat
eggs but can not digest them. If it can digest them it can not live
upon them. This is because the parts of the egg eaten do not contain
a particle of nutritive salts. If we must eat eggs for the full nutriment
we must eat the shells also.
The contewnts of the egg when being hatched have
not one atom of salts in them, yet, when the chick comes forth, it comes
with the due portion of phosphate of lime, as in men. This is due
to the fact that the contents of the shell are able to dissolve the inner
portion of the shell and build it up into bones, and thus at the same time
get the shell ready to break. There was a great argument a few years
ago as to how the chick got out of the shell. True, the beak is so
arranged at a certain point as to be ready to break the shell, but with
all its power the chick can not break its shell but for the removal of
the inner portion of the shell to build up its bones. It is much
the same with meat -- if soaked in water it becomes useless; hence the
value of salt. In salting meat 15 per cent of the nutritive parts
are taken up with the brine, and salted pork is far more nutritive than
raw or boiled ham. It is well known that a man dying of starvation
can not satisfy himself with boiled ham. It can not be eaten and
enjoyed, except when other things are taken along with it. Raw meats,
especially pork, should not be eaten, because they contain germs which
become tape worms. Pork, if eaten raw, is often positively poisonous.
By the judicious mixing of the nutritive salts, different kinds of food
which want them are good. It is this mixing of food which make porridge
and milk furnish perfect nutriment even for an adult. It is a pity
the custom of eating porridge and milk is dying out, for it is as good
a food for keeping up the substance, the animal heat, and strength as anything
that could be eaten.
It is also an ascertained fact that a dog fed upon
white bread, dies, whereas his health does not suffer at all if fed on
brown bread. The reason of this is that in dressing the white bread
a certain necessary portion is taken away. What is true of the dog
is true also of the man. In dressing white flour, the bran is taken
away. How many more men can be fed upon brown bread than if fed upon
white at present in this country? At least a million. We are
wasting the produce of the earth to the extent of at least one-thirtieth
by not using the bran in the bread. There is not a child who, if
it had taken brown bread for a time, but would prefer it.
This is a natural instinct, and these instincts are
given for a wise purpose. The appetite is so constructed as to select
such foods as is essential to the maintenance and reconstruction of the
body. The appetite dictates as to kind and quantity necessary, and
should be catered to, to a certain extent, and not be left to have full
sway, but should be under the limited influence of reason at all times.
Milk contains, out of 100 parts, 4 ½ parts
of flesh-forming substances, 8 parts of heat- giving substances, and the
rest is a little mineral and water. Milk is a natural type of food,
but only for children. Butchers meat contains 22 parts of flesh-forming
substances, 14 of the heat giving principle, ½ of mineral and the
rest water. Bacon contains only 8 of the flesh-forming substances,
and 62 of the heat-giving principle. The relative portions of fish
are respectively 14 flesh-forming, 7 heat-giving, 1 mineral salts, 78 water;
flour, 17 flesh-forming and 66 heat-giving, it consisting mainly
of starch, which is an essential to the heat giving principle; oat-meal,
13 flesh-forming, 70 heat-giving, 3 mineral salts; potatoes, 1 flesh-forming,
22 heat-giving, as it consists, like flour, mainly of starch and water.
Sugar has not a particle of flesh-forming ingredient, but consists entirely
of the heat-giving principle. Bread has 6 flesh-forming, 38 heat-giving,
1 ½ mineral salts, and 48 water; cheese 31 flesh-forming, 25 heat-giving,
4 mineral salts. In beer there is not actually one part of flesh-forming
principle, and only 9 of the heat-giving out of one hundred parts.
It is almost entirely water. The flesh-forming foods are characterized
by containing nitrogen, and the heat-giving by containing carbon.
From these facts we can easily estimate the relative value of different
kinds of foods for sustaining the body. In a case of illness these
facts guide the operator. If a man is suffering from inflammation,
and has been a great eater, they do not give him flesh-forming foods, but
the other kind to let him burn it off. Milk is the standard, and
to every hundred parts of nitrogen in human milk, cow’s milk contains 237
parts. Milk is intended for the nourishment for persons only in a
state of quietude, such as babies. The practice of letting babies
sit up before they well do so and having something of everything on the
table, is not a wise one, but a very ruinous one. Milk should be given--and
that alone--to a child until it gets its teeth. Another question
regarding food is if, when taken, it can be digested. One kind
might be very nutritious, but might be inferior to another with not quite
so much nourishment in it. Suppose a man were to take some highly
nourishing food, but after taking it, could not digest it. It is
of less value than others which were not so nourishing, but which could
be digested. Indeed, it is worse, if they made the stomach do twice
the work for half the value. There is great difference in the digestibility
of food. Rice boiled soft, digested in an hour; apples, sweet and
ripe, in 1 ½ hours; sago, 1 3/4 to 2 hours; milk in 2 hours; cabbage,
2 hours; parsnips, 2 ½ hours; boiled potatoes, 3 ½ hours;
carrots, 3 ½ hours; butter and bread, 3 ½ hours; venison,
1 ½ hours; oysters, 2 hours, raw eggs the same; soft-boiled, 3 hours;
hard boiled, 3 ½ hours; salt beef, 5 ½ hours; mutton, 3 hours;
pork 3 ½ hours; salt pork, 4 hours and 38 minutes, etc. Not
only must food be of proper quality and such as could be digested, but
care must be taken that it is cooked in the proper manner. Many articles
are spoiled by improper cooking; and many a good cook will improve an inferior
article. The French peasant lives on an amount of food that would
astonish many, for the way he dresses it up and fixes it makes it go a
long way. We actually use more food than we need, and it is wasted
in the system, for it is given to the stomach in such a way that the stomach
cannot use it. Another point is to see that no part of the strength
of the meat is wasted in cooking. Not one person in five hundred
knows how to make a cup of beef tea or boil a leg of mutton. If they
put beef for beef tea in boiling water they are sure to leave a great deal
of the nutriment in the meat and of course so much the less in the tea.
When people want to get all the strength out of the beef, they should take
a piece of lean meat, mince it fine, put it into cold water, and afterwards
gradually heat the water to a boiling pitch. But by no means do this
quickly. If they want boiled mutton to be juicy, they must put it
into boiling water, which will have the effect of coagulating the albumen,
thus retaining the juices. Another important matter is the amount
of food taken. This ought to be considered by the amount of work
a man has to perform. The amount of food must vary according to the
climate. Foods containing fat are required for winter, and containing
starch for summer. In India it is almost necessary to live on rice;
in Lapland the people have to eat an enormous amount of fat to keep up
the heat of the body. People should always remember that they ought
to eat to live, and not live to eat, as too many seem to do. More than
half of the inhabitants of this country do not remember this maxim.
It is, therefore, better to get up from the table with an appetite than
to feel that you can not take any more. Some systems need more than
others, but common sense must guide a man in this matter. There is
almost as much intemperance in eating as there is in drinking. Food
taken into the stomach when not needed is an incubus, and the system in
trying to get rid of it is often diseased. It is an old saying that
good eating requires good rest, and it is true - here the importance of
not taking active exercise of body or mind after the principle meal of
the day. Food, when taken into the stomach, requires an extra amount
of blood to digest it. If we indulge in reading the blood is taken
away. There should be a good breakfast, a little taken in the middle
of the day, and a full meal when the day’s work is done. There is
much truth in the saying:
After dinner sit awhile;
After supper walk a mile.
The supper should be light. Long fasting is
objectionable. The food should be well-masticated, and for this purpose
teeth were given to us. Food imperfectly mast icated takes a long
time to digest, and putrifies in the stomach, tainting the breath.
Hence the importance of having artificial teeth when our natural ones are
gone, for there can be no doubt that modern dentistry has lengthened the
average duration of life in this country, than as to suitable drinks.
It is evident from the natural constitution of our bodies, and the very
abundant supply, that God intended that our drink should consist mainly
of water. Everybody is agreed as to the suitability of water as a
drink, but everyone is not agreed as to whether it should be taken alone
or with something in it. In all nations yet discovered, some kind
of artificial stimulants are used. Some are less than others, but
all or any of them taken to excess are injurious to both mind and body.
In moderation at least some of them are useful, such as tea after a hard
day’s work. A cup of tea is far more refreshing than a glass of spirits
or wine. Perhaps a safe rule is for persons to take those articles
which do not intoxicate at their own discretion, such as tea or coffee,
etc., whilst those which are intoxicating should not be taken except under
judicious advice. It must not be forgotten that good wholesome food
is the power, whilst stimulants are only the whip. Another condition
of health is plenty of fresh air.
Air is as necessary to existence as food, and its
total deprivation is still more rapidly fatal. But the quality of
air is also of nearly equal importance, though this is not so readily proved.
Nevertheless, it is an admitted fact that pure air, uncontaminated either
by decomposing animal, vegetable, or mineral products, is of the greatest
consequence to the human race. Whatever renders the blood impure
tends to originate consumption. Whatever makes the air impure makes
the blood impure. It is the air we breathe which purifies the blood.
And as, if the water we use to wash our clothing is dirty, it is impossible
to wash the clothing clean, so if the air we breathe is impure, it is impossible
to abstract the impurities from the blood.
What, then, are some of the more important things
which render the air impure? It is the nature of still water to become
impure. Running water purifies itself. Air in motion, draughts
of air, are self-purifiers. Thus it is that the air of a close room
becomes inevitably impure. Thus it is that close rooms cause consumption,
or most anything that may be suggested. Hence, all rooms should be
constructed as to have a constant draught of air passing through them.
A man of ordinary size renders a hogshead of air
unfit for breathing and consumes its blood purifying qualities every hour.
Hence sleeping in close rooms, even though alone, is perfectly corrupting
to the blood. Close bedrooms prepare the graves for thousands.
The simple fact set forth by Dr. Arnott, long ago, that a canary bird suspended
near the top of a curtained bedstead, in which people are sleeping will
generally be found dead in the morning, should be sufficient to show the
danger of breathing a vitiated medium, and the necessity of providing a
constant supply of fresh air in our dwellings. Impure air, however,
cannot be seen. Its effects are not immediate; and so it is allowed
to kill its thousands annually.
A healthy full-grown man respires about twenty times
per minute, and inhales in that time about 700 cubic inches of air.
Fresh air contains twenty-three per cent of oxygen;
by the process of respiration the oxygen is reduced to eleven per cent,
and the carbonic acid is increased to rather more than eight per cent.
Three and a half per cent of this gas renders air unfit to sustain life.
This will give some notion of the large quantity of air required for the
healthful occupation of a building by a number of persons, especially of
It is very important upon taking a house to consider
beforehand all the advantages and disadvantages connected with the proposed
residence. For not only the physical comfort of a family, but all
its mental and mental well being is materially affected by its selection.
The primary advantage every home should possess is
healthiness. Do not choose your house in low, damp situations, however
cheap it may apparently be. Houses in such situations cannot be well-drained,
and the consequence is that fever and cholera often prevail in such a locality.
A house built on dry, gravelly soil, or on rising ground, and where the
drains are in good order, should be selected as being that in which healthy
may be preserved The signs of damp are the molding of the walls, paper
hanging mouldy and peeling off, and moist floors. High and dry situations,
with a free circulation of air, whether in towns or in the country, are
proverbially healthy, whilst those which are low and damp or surrounded
by confined air are the opposite.
A plentiful supply of pure water is indispensable
both for drinking and cleansing. Good health cannot be expected if
impure water is drank, and you cannot have comfort in a dirty house or
in dirty linen. Therefore, let “cleanliness be next to godliness.”
The signs of good water are that it easily becomes
hot or cold, that in summer it is cool, and in winter it is slightly lukewarm
- that a drop dried on a clean cloth leaves no stain behind. It has
likewise no taste nor smell.
Another sign is that pure water, when boiled, becomes
hot and afterwards grows cold sooner than water impregnated with impure
substances. Standing pools and wells are not unfrequently impure.
The selection of temporary residence is a matter
of great importance. For one class an elevated situation, and a dry
bracing air, will be most proper. A sheltered residence, with a milder
air, will be suitable for another, whilst the sea-side may be preferable
for a third.
Besides what has been said on the necessity of change
of climate for those afflicted with organic diseases, a change of residence
and scene may have a beneficial effect on health. Those persons accustomed
to sedentary habits or pursuits in town, frequently derive adequate beneficial
results by a short resort to a suburban district on the sea-side.
The nervous system is braced by the change, and all the functions are brought
into more vigorous play.
Exercise comes next to air and food in its bearing
upon the healthy development of the human frame, but its effects depend
upon a different chain of laws. Respiration, circulation, digestion,
secretion, and all the bodily functions are assisted by it. The evil
results of the want or deficiency of exercise are seen in persons of indolent
life or sedentary habits. Indigestion, costiveness, and a multitude
of chronic maladies are produced, besides the general derangements and
discomforts of the whole system under which nervous and hypochondriacal
Without exercise the frame becomes contracted and
enfeebled, the internal functions of the body deranged, and the brain incapable
of any great mental effort. With it the machinery of life goes on
with vigor and regularity, and the mind is stimulated to healthy action.
The benefits of exercise therefore to those whose occupation does not require
any physical exertion, cannot be too highly estimated. The body must
undergo a certain amount of fatigue to preserve its natural strength, and
maintain all the muscles and organs in proper vigor. The activity
equalizes the circulation, and distributes the blood more effectually through
Cold feet, or chill anywhere, shows that the circulation
is languid there. The muscles during exercise press on the veins,
and help on the currents by quickening every vessel to activity.
When exercise is neglected, the blood gathers too
much at the central regions and the impression about the heart, difficulty
of breathing, lowness of spirits, anxiety and heaviness, numerous aches
and stitches, and evidence of stagnation.
The exact amount of exercise depends in a great measure
upon the person’s strength, but under ordinary circumstances every person
should pass at least two hours daily in open-air exercise. The delicate
may take exercise within doors, selecting the largest room with the window
open, and walking to and fro for an hour or more.
Exercise is therefore necessary as an ordinary excitant
to be brought into daily operation that vigor of the functions of the body
may be preserved. It is the merciful provision by which the decree
“that man should earn his bread by the sweat of his brow” has been converted
into a blessing. It is that which gives the laborer sound sleep and
a good appetite.
Cleanliness has a powerful influence on the health
and preservation of the body. Cleanliness in our garments and persons
prevents the pernicious effects of dampness, bad smells, and contagious
vapors, arising from putrescent substances. Cleanliness keeps up
a free perspiration, renews the air, refreshes the blood, and even animates
and enlivens the mind.
Frequent evolutions of the body in water is not only
necessary to cleanliness and comfort, but it is also necessary to the preservation
The explanation of this is that the pores of the
skin act as agents for removing from the body useless and superfluous matter,
which is constantly being generated. If this refuse is suffered to
accumulate, it forms a thick, hard crust, which obstructs the pores and
impedes their functions.
To obviate these evil effects, the whole body should
be subjected daily to an ablution in cold water, or to friction with a
As we have above stated, when it is considered that
the well being of the whole frame depends in a great measure on the healthy
condition of the skin, the importance of bathing is obvious. For
this purpose, either the cold or tepid bath may be employed. Besides
being necessary to cleanliness, the cold bath, when used by persons in
health, increases the tone of the stomach, strengthens the digestive organs,
and by diminishing the sensibility of the whole system, particularly of
the skin, renders the whole body less susceptible to atmospheric impressions
from cold, wet, and sudden changes of temperature. The interval for
a person to remain in a cold bath should not at any time exceed ten or
fifteen minutes, and in winter not more than five minutes. In the
morning, before breakfast, is the most strengthening time for those in
health to indulge in the bath; but those of less vigorous frame should
bathe about two hours after breakfast.
The use of the tepid bath is more important for the purpose
of cleanliness, and the general preservaiton of the health, than as a remedy
for disease, although in the latter case it is generally valuable. The
range of temperature extends from 85 to 92 degrees. It is sometimes employed
previously to the cold bath, the bather lowering the heat gradually each time
until he arrives at that of the cold bath; for the mere purposes of ablution,
the tepid water is the best, choosing the particular degree that is the most
desirable. It is very refreshing after fatigue and traveling, and is equally
serviceable, occasionally, to persons of sedentary habits.