OF THE NERVES Part 1 of 2 Parts
Part 1 of 2 Parts
The nervous system consists of two parts :
2. the autonomic or involuntary system of nerves, which acts without conscious thought or interference, and controls the working of the heart, stomach, and vital functions generally.
Both these systems are intimately connected with each other, and together motivate the whole body by means of what we call nerve force. What nerve force�the power of actuating nerve action�really is, no one can be quite sure of. Its origin is shrouded in mystery, that self-same mystery which enshrouds LIFE itself. But this we do know : nerve force is something at once fundamental and vital; something connected directly with, if not actually emanating from, the very life essence of our being, and directly proportional to it. That is why some people always seem to have a larger amount of nerve force (or energy) at their disposal than others; it simply means that they are endowed by Nature with a larger share of inherent vitality or vital power than others, as part of their birthright, and so have more nerve force (energy) with which to express it than others less well endowed. To say that energy is something we get through the food we eat � as the medical profession declares � is to give a purely materialistic conception to the term and to misunderstand completely the whole question. If it were just a matter of food (of stoking up with fuel), the people who ate most would have the most energy ; but we all know that those who eat most are the most sluggish in habits, thought, and action. No, nerve force. Energy is something which we cannot create for ourselves ; it is something vital and dynamic which is created for us.
That does not mean to say that we do not require food for our sustenance and for the building up and repair of tissue, but simply that we cannot create energy with it. Whether or no we have been blessed by Nature with a capacity for engendering more nerve force (or energy) at a time than others, that which we do possess is ours to use or squander daily as we think fit. But once used up (or squandered), the only way we can replenish it is by rest and sleep. In no other way can nerve force be restored to us. That is, indeed, the real reason for sleep. Everything we do requires the expenditure of nerve force (energy), and so it is something always in need of replenishing; and only during rest and sleep can a new store be furnished us, from out the ever-mysterious sources of our being. Thus replenished, we can go forward with zest and vigour with the carrying out of the activities and tasks which go to make up our day-to-day existence. In other words, nerve force is the electric current which makes it possible for our bodies to work ; it is something which is always being used up, and has to be re-charged daily from Nature's " re-charging dynamos" and this re-charging process only takes place during sleep and rest.
Over and above the nominal amount of nerve force which we use up daily, and which is replenished by sleep, we each of us have a reserve store, some more, some less, which we can call upon in emergency. Now, those people who fritter away or use up nerve force needlessly or excessively (through causes to be mentioned hereafter), and do not give Nature a chance adequately to replenish their store, keep on calling upon their reserves more and more, until, in time, there is no more available reserve to call on. It is then that what we call a " nervous breakdown " arises. It simply means that we have bankrupted ourselves temporarily of our supply of nervous energy, and can go no farther.
All nerve diseases and disorders do not necessarily imply a complete breakdown of nerve force ; nevertheless, nerve exhaustion is always present in a more or less pronounced degree, and it is because the medical profession seeks to restore the lack of nerve power by means of what they call nerve " tonics," and nerve "stimulants," and nerve "foods," of chemical origin, instead of seeking to rectify the conditions responsible for the setting up of the trouble in the first place, that diseases of nervous origin show such little sign of disappearing from our midst. Indeed, of all classes of disease which are on the " up grade " of recent years, those of nervous-origin are most to the front, thanks to medical inability to deal with the matter in a sane and practical manner.
Now, after these few preliminary and necessary remarks concerning the question, what are the actual causes responsible for the setting up of diseases of nervous origin ? It can be doubted by no one who has studied the matter carefully that modern living, with its artificiality, its late hours, its hurry, noise, many distractions and pleasures, is the chief criminal in the case, because of the tremendous using up of nerve force that ensues. Diseases such as neurasthenia, for instance, were quite unknown in the days before the " Machine Age." Such diseases are part of the price modern man pays for twentieth-century " efficiency " and " progress," with its motors, tubes, telephones, wireless, aero planes, bustle, scurry, and noise generally.
Another factor of prime importance in the setting up of nervous disorders, however, is wrong diet. The changes introduced into the dietary of the civilised individual of to-day in the shape of refined, tinned, processed, and preserved foods all have a very bad effect indeed upon the health of the system in general, and upon the nerves in particular. Foods " denatured " in this way are deprived to a very great extent of their invaluable mineral salts and vitamins, and it is for lack of these that nerve starvation occurs and nervous disorders grow, in a great many cases. Especially so if the unfortunate victim is also trying to live up to present-day " high-pressure " standards.
Modern artificial ways of living, modern errors in diet�those are the two great physical factors to be considered in trying to understand the real basic causes of diseases of the nervous system, and the reason for their remarkable increase during the past fifty years or so. But the nerves play a twofold part in the life of the body; they are the link between two worlds�the physical and the mental. Diseases of the nervous system can therefore originate in either mental or physical causes, or both. We must never lose sight of this fact in thinking of or dealing with nervous disorders of any kind.
Worry, overwork, fear, anxiety, destructive emotions or thoughts of every kind, all tend to use up nerve force unduly, and to react adversely upon the nervous system and reduce its capacity for effective work. Prolonged over a period years and combined with the two physical factors already named, and we have here the true cause and starting-ground for ninety-nine per cent, of the nervous disease so common to-day.
When over-indulgence in sex, self-abuse, excessive drinking, smoking, and " high living " in general come to complicate the foregoing, then the passage of the individual towards the more serious nerve disorders and nervous breakdowns, which form such a feature of present-day living, is very rapid indeed. As regards the treatment of conditions such as those we are here dealing with, Medical Science merely makes matters worse instead of better by virtue of the drugs it employs to " tone up " or " stimulate " a flagging nervous system or to deaden pain. Once the real underlying causes of nervous diseases are understood, the uselessness of attempting to build up a disorganised nervous system by means of highly dangerous medicinal drugs must be obvious to all capable of serious thought. It is only by a complete regeneration of the system, and the cessation of all habits and ways of living and thinking which have led to the setting up of the trouble in the first place, that a cure is possible. In no other way. Least of all through the agency of drugs.
Medical scientists have discovered that certain drugs affect the nervous system in certain different ways, some stimulating it into enforced activity (and so called nerve " stimulants " arid " tonics "), others paralysing or benumbing excessive nerve action (and so being called " sedatives," and " anodynes," or " pain-killers "). But the use of all such drugs is reprehensible in the highest degree. They stimulate or excite nerve action temporarily, only to depress it the more later on (in compliance with a definite law of Nature overlooked or ignored by our medical scientists) ; or if they suppress or benumb nerve action, it is only at the cost of permanently damaging the whole nervous mechanism of. the individual under treatment.
Drugs, such as arsenic and phosphorus, for instance, are very commonly prescribed in nerve disorders as " stimulants" and " tonics" by the medical profession, as also are bromides for " sedative " purposes. All of these are highly dangerous chemical elements to introduce into any human system, and although they may appear to palliate matters temporarily, and may even seem to be beneficial, their real effect is far from that expected by either the patient or his medical adviser.
Examination of the iris of the eye, as in Iridology � reveals at once the destructive effects upon the system of the introduction of drugs such as those we have mentioned. Arsenic is a dangerous poison at all times, and although the smallness of the dosage administered in medical treatment minimizes its effect somewhat, this does not alter the characteristics of the drug or its accumulative ill-effect upon nervous structure and nerve tissue generally (especially upon the spinal cord).
Phosphorus, although so essential to life in general and nervous tissue in particular, can only be dealt with and used by the human system if introduced through the medium of food, and in no other way. Organic phosphorus is what the body needs ; not inorganic or chemical phosphorus. And organic phosphorus can only be found in natural unspoilt foods, especially the whole-grain cereals, such as whole wheat, whole rye, etc., which go to make up real hundred per cent, whole-grain products. White bread and white-flour products are lamentably lacking in organic phosphorus. Instead of telling his nerve patients to obtain the phosphorus they need from natural sources, the medical practitioner gives them phosphorus direct from the laboratory and thinks it just as good ! What an error ! What ignorance of the body's needs is here displayed ! Inorganic or chemical phosphorus is a poison.
The same is true with regard to the use of bromides. These are most destructive in their effect upon the brain and nervous tissue ; yet medical science thinks nothing of using them, indeed, thinks them highly valuable simply because they tend to disguise or temporarily diminish the effects of nerve disorders by paralyzing nerve reactions and stupefying the unfortunate sufferer. When it is said that bromides are directly harmful to health, and that they first paralyse and then rot brain and nervous tissue, we are here saying nothing that is not strictly true ! Let the reader think this well over. So much, then, for nerve " tonics," " stimulants," etc. ! (It may be mentioned here, in passing, that the most terrible nervous and mental diseases, such as locomotor ataxy, general paralysis of the insane, etc., are the direct outcome of the use of mercury, arsenic, and such-like drugs in large doses in the treatment of venereal disease.)
Having dealt with the so-called nerve " tonic," etc., which is no tonic at all but a most insidious menace to life and health, we can turn our attention for a moment to the use of narcotic drugs and pain-killers in medical practice. Pain is a nerve symptom, and is one of Nature's signs that all is not well within the organism, and that something needs putting right. Merely to deaden the pain by temporarily suspending nerve action by means of drugs is not the way to set matters right. We have to get rid of the cause of the pain, not just the pain itself. Surely every reader can see that just killing or deadening pain is not the same as getting rid of the cause of the pain ? Yet the medical profession does not seem to be able to !
Aspirin is one of the most widely used of all drugs for the deadening of pain. It does this at the expense of the general health of the whole organism. Nothing is said on this point, though, either by those who advertise it or advise it. Aspirin, phenacetin, and all drugs of a similar nature have a most deleterious cumulative effect upon the heart (and kidneys too), and they merely succeed in deadening or killing pain by virtue of the fact that they have a numbing effect upon the nerve centres in the brain, from which source all feeling of pain originates, although the actual sensation may be felt in any part of the body. Morphia and other narcotic drugs are just as harmful in their after-effects as these former, or even worse in some ways, so all in all the use of medicinal drugs in the treatment of nerve diseases or disorders can truly be said to lead to a worse condition than the actual disease itself. The patient may appear to become temporarily better, but more serious trouble of some kind or other is bound to develop later. The drug way is not the way to health ; it is the way to further disease. (The same remarks apply to all patent nerve " tonics" and nerve " foods." None of them can bring health to a diseased system.)
Having shown the reader what the causes of disease of the nervous system are, and what effect the use of medicinal drugs has in such cases, we can now turn to the treatments for such diseases Natural Cure provides. That many thousands of nerve sufferers who had been previously given up as incurable by orthodox Medical Science have been restored to health thereby will be readily appreciated by the intelligent reader, as it is fundamental causes which Natural Cure deals with and removes, not superficial effects or such things.
Bell's Palsy (Facial Paralysis).� Facial paralysis is the commonest form of paralysis experienced by human beings. It means that the muscles of one or both sides of the face are unable to move because the nerves controlling their activity are out of action. (All muscular activity depends upon nerve activity primarily.) Facial paralysis may be slight or it may be serious, depending upon the underlying cause, but in any case Natural Treatment is helpful.
Treatment. � For facial paralysis the best treatment is undoubtedly manipulation and ray therapy. Manipulation of the spine increases nerve activity like nothing else does, and unless the nerves controlling the muscles of the face are completely incapable of further action, then much can be obtained from this form of treatment. Ray therapy is also most helpful in conjunction with the foregoing, and, of course, proper diet and massage. Indeed, the latter has much to its credit in the overcoming of facial paralysis, quite apart from any other treatment. Electrical usage of the high-frequency kind is not recommended. Treatment should always be in the hands of a competent Naturopath, but in any case the rules re diet and general health-building given in the Appendix should be carried out.
Disseminated Sclerosis.� See Sclerosis.
Epilepsy.� There are two kinds of epilepsy known as petit mal and grand mal respectively, the former being far less serious than the latter. Epilepsy is a most serious and alarming nervous disease because of the tremendous nervous upheaval that takes place during an attack. The whole nervous system becomes convulsed at such times, and nothing can be done to prevent the attack once it has given warning of its coming, by well-marked signs which are known as the " aura " of an attack. Medical treatment for epilepsy is, to say the least, ineffective. Dosing the patient with bromides or luminal not only never cures the condition, but it definitely makes matters worse as time goes on, turning slight forms of epilepsy into more serious and chronic manifestations of the disease.
It can be said here and now that Natural Cure holds out the one real hope for the epileptic ; but even so, only in some cases is a complete cure possible. Sufferers from epilepsy of the grand mal type can, at best, but hope for the alleviation of their condition under natural treatment, as definite disease of some portion of the brain-tissue is usually at the root of their trouble ; but in petit mal the chances of a complete cure are much more hopeful, as this condition arises less from definite disease of the grey matter of the brain than from periodic toxic disturbance of brain function, due to a highly toxic blood-stream.
Digestive disturbances or intestinal toxemia (plus a highly strung nervous condition) are very often the cause of petit mal � the less serious form of epilepsy ; but grand mal is usually the outcome of hereditary influences, serious shock or injury to the brain or nervous system, or suppressive medical treatment of previous acute disease, such as meningitis, typhoid, etc.
Treatment. � Although a very difficult disease to get results with, there is much more hope for the sufferer from epilepsy who follows out natural treatment than for one who continues all his life dosing himself with poisonous drugs under medical advice and supervision. Correct diet, in cleansing the blood-stream, does much to get down to the seat of the trouble, which lies right here in the majority of cases ; and even where the epilepsy is definitely the result of disease of the brain-tissue, such treatment will help considerably to lessen the severity and frequency of attacks.
The procedure to adopt is as follows : Begin with a fast for four or five days, as directed in the Appendix. Break the fast as directed therein, and then the restricted diet also outlined in the Appendix should be adopted for from seven to fourteen days. This restricted diet may be then discontinued, and the full weekly diet begun. The diet should be adhered to as strictly as possible. Meat should be deleted as far as may be from the future diet of the epileptic, whilst white bread, sugar, rich cakes, pastries, heavy puddings, pies, and all stodgy foods should be studiously avoided. No tea or coffee should be taken, and no condiments, sauces, seasonings, etc. The diet should be as light as possible. (Take no milk puddings either, or mushy foods of this nature.) Fresh fruits and salads � Nature's cleansing foods should form the major portion of the future daily dietary, supplemented by wholemeal bread, eggs, cheese, milk, etc. During the fast, and after if necessary, the bowels should be cleansed nightly with the warm-water enema or gravity douche ; and if constipation is habitual, the rules for its eradication should be put into operation forthwith.
The daily dry friction and sitz-bath or sponge, outlined in the Appendix, should be undertaken regularly in conjunction with the breathing and other exercises also given therein. Such measures, by toning up and strengthening the system, are in the highest degree valuable. The full Epsom-salts bath, twice weekly, is also to be recommended. A very good thing is the application of alternate hot and cold compresses to the base of the brain (at the back of the head). The patient sits with his feet in a bowl of hot water, and first a hot towel and then a cold one is applied to the base of the brain, then a further hot towel and a further cold one, etc. Each towel should be kept on for two or three minutes, and the whole process can be repeated two or three (or more) times daily, at intervals, according to the severity (or otherwise) of the case. The number of hot and cold applications may be anything from two of each to four or five of each, at each performance of the treatment, for the same reasons.
Spinal manipulation, where procurable, is highly recommended in all cases of epilepsy. It is very valuable indeed. Drinking, smoking, sexual excess, and " high-living" of any kind are much to be deprecated in the case of the epileptic. They will all hinder his recovery and retard progress. Quietness and abstemious living are the main lines of conduct for the epileptic who would get the best out of the treatment here devised for him. Above all things, excessive excitement should be avoided.
Depending upon the duration of the condition, the severity of the fits when present, age, etc., the treatment here given should be supplemented by further short fasts and periods on the restricted diet, at two- or three-monthly intervals, say. The progress being made in the meantime should be the guide as to the need for this.
SPECIAL NOTE RE DRUGS. � As many sufferers from epilepsy have taken strong drugs for many years, it would be unwise in these cases to leave them off entirely all at once. The dosage should be cut in half to begin with, then gradually reduced further and further, until it can be left off altogether, as possible.
Insomnia.� Insomnia has been included under the heading of nervous diseases, although as a matter of fact it is not a disease at all, but a condition of sleeplessness. Those suffering from insomnia may often find it difficult to place their finger on the seat of the trouble, but physical disease of some sort or mental stress or strain are its chief causes. In passing, it may be stated that indigestion and constipation are often the cause of insomnia, on the physical side ; whilst worry, overwork, prolonged excitement, and such-like conditions are its chief causes on the mental and emotional side.
To resort to the use of drugs for inducing sleep in those suffering from insomnia is worse than useless, as not only does it not get rid of the cause of the trouble, but it steadily lowers the tone of the whole organism by virtue of the deleterious and undermining effects of narcotic drugs upon the system. The only cure lies in the discovery of the cause of the trouble�mental or physical, or both�and the taking of steps for its eradication or removal.
Treatment. � Treatment for insomnia should be in the hands of a Naturopath where at all possible, and manipulative treatment is especially good for this condition. (The writer has known cases where people have been unable to sleep for days on end, but have had a really good night's rest after only one manipulative treatment.) A few days on the all-fruit diet, with the use of the enema nightly, followed by the full weekly diet given in the Appendix, is a good way to begin treatment in cases of insomnia, such treatment helping to cleanse the blood-stream and relieve possible digestive or intestinal disturbance.
The daily dry friction and sponge, and the breathing and other exercises given in the Appendix, should also be gone through daily as a means of further toning up the system. A fairly long walk every day is something which every sufferer from insomnia should undertake, if at all possible, as the more gentle exercise of this nature they have, the better. A warm bath before going to bed at night is also very good indeed for the sufferer from insomnia, as this helps to relax the mind and body generally. The temperature of the bath should be about 98 degrees Fahr., or body heat.
Eating of a late meal often predisposes towards sleeplessness, so the sufferer from insomnia should take care to eat his last meal at least three or four hours before going to bed. When in bed, it does not do to think too much about sleep or the inability to sleep, but the patient should lie in as relaxed a position as possible, and just think of whatever comes into his head. It is surprising how often sleep will suddenly come if this is done.
Correct diet, the building up of the system along the lines indicated herein, and the relaxation of mind and body are the necessary stepping-stones towards the eradication of insomnia. But, of course, if the seat of the trouble is neurosis or prolonged worry or mental depression, etc., there will be need for the attention of a skilled psycho-therapist in cases of an obstinate nature. However, even in these cases, the rules for treatment here given will be immensely valuable.
Where the cause of the trouble is definite physical disease, such as anaemia, kidney trouble, etc., etc., the treatment for that disease (given in the appropriate section) should be followed out by the sufferer from insomnia, as well as taking into account the general advice given above. Where the trouble is due to environmental causes, home troubles, etc., a change of scene is often all that is required.
SPECIAL NOTE RE DRUGS. � Where drugs have been taken over a long period to induce sleep, they should not be left off all at once, but gradually.
If you did not find what you were looking for try the site search box at the top right of the page or else peruse the self help section in the site library.