HYGIENIC ACCESSORIES OF THE FAST
BREATHING.--Nature has provided in the air that surrounds the earth a plentiful supply of oxygen, a gas that is essential to the maintenance of human life. Its function within the human body lies in replacing carbonic acid, a poisonous gas developed by the breaking down of tissue, and delivered to the lungs in venous blood. The interchange of carbonic acid and oxygen occurs in the lungs, since in the process of breathing, as carbonic acid is exhaled, oxygen is inhaled. The act of respiration exposes the blood, held within the thin walls of the pulmonary capillaries, to the air, and by mutual diffusion the two operations of oxygenation and of decarbonization are accomplished at one and the same time. The muscular movements made in breathing are not dependent upon the will, as this process goes in in sleep and in other unconscious states. The rate of respiration in health varies from fourteen to eighteen breaths per minute, and, besides carbonic acid, watery vapor and a small amount of organic matter are exhaled.
In order to furnish oxygen to the system, from three hundred to four hundred cubic feet of air are drawn into the lungs in twenty-four hours. Each hour an adult inhales about five hundred grains of oxygen and emits about six hundred grains of carbonic acid, with a much larger amount of watery vapor. Deprived of air, the body quickly perishes from asphyxiation.
Not only is a continued supply of pure air essential to life, but constant care is necessary to insure its purity at the moment of intake. The natural passages that carry air to the lungs begin at the nostrils, and these are furnished with short, fine hairs and with mucus secretion, preventives of the inhalation of dust and light material. If obstruction of the nasal tract occurs, it is possible for breathing to take place through the mouth, but so harmful is the latter method to general health that attention is here directed to its results.
A child that is overfed invariably develops a cold with accompanying nasal discharge and consequent obstruction of the natural air passages. A prolonged cold, or a series of colds, compels the use of the mouth for the act of breathing, a method that, if not corrected, eventually becomes habitual. Constant irritation and inflammation of the mucus membrane of the nostrils and of the vault of the pharynx cause the much discussed adenoid growths to form, and complete or partial obstruction of the air canal is thereafter permanent until removal of the obstacles is accomplished. In the ordinary manner this is done by the knife of the surgeon, but the shock to the organism of the child, both of the anesthetic and of the operation, is often productive of sequelae that persist through life, and this method for the removal of adenoid growth, so prevalent in recent years, is to be disparaged. In infancy and adolescence these annoying gland-like enlargements may not only be prevented in formation but may be removed through natural absorptive means, if proper attention is given to diet, and if short fasts are intermittently performed. In training the child in the care of his body, it is quite important that he be taught to free the nasal passages from gathered mucus at the least sensation of obstructive fullness. This is usually effectively accomplished by blowing the nose.
Children who are affected with nasal obstruction are more or less stupid and sluggish, and they oftentimes exhibit a facial expression approaching that of imbecility. In fact, when the habit of mouth breathing has been contracted, even when no obstacle is present in the naso-pharyngeal vault, not only do the nasal passages, through lack of exercise, fail of normal development, but the open mouth and dull eyes denote a serious deficiency in intellectual advance and capability.
We cannot know the exact source whence is received the influx of energy, the expression of which in the human body is life; nor are we yet aware of the manner in which vital force penetrates the organism and governs its movements and its thought. But life is evidently not inherent in the body, and, whatever its source, vital power must reach its vehicle of expression through surrounding atmosphere, through the air that the body breathes. Transference to the brain directly through the bony structure lying immediately above and back of the nasal passages is conceivable; and, while the purity of the atmospheric constituents that furnish the lungs with blood-regenerating matter may well be vitiated by transmission through paths not naturally intended, the lack of intellectuality of most mouth breathers cannot be accounted for on this basis. And yet it exists. Hence the theory here presented--that vital force enters the body from without through the natural air passages, passing to the brain through the bony cavities immediately above and in their rear. Whatever the attitude of the reader in respect to this thought, which holds place only as theory in the mind of the author, there can be no question of the importance to be attached to the cultivation of a nasal breathing habit, a habit that is at once preventive of disease and preservative of health.
In the fast correct respiratory methods must be pursued, and deep breathing is also recommended. Every portion of the lung surface should be exposed at all times to the general purifying process resultant from oxygenation of the blood, and to insure this contact, in addition to lung exercise, the body should be surrounded by fresh pure air day and night. Well ventilated living and sleeping rooms are important to the highest degree in illness and in health.
© COPYRIGHT 2003 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED http://www.scientificfasting.com