APPLIED TO CASES OF INFLAMMATORY
THE CASES dealt with in this chapter are typical but not exhaustive. They are selected from a large number solely because of their representative character, and as evidence that, since the fast is the most effective of all eliminative agents, it reaches indiscriminately but in like manner every phase of functional disability and all organic disease that is not beyond repair. Properly administered, the fast with its accessories insures in all such cases full systemic purification, which is the basis of health.
The first case selected is that of the disease symptom known as inflammatory rheumatism. When first seen the patient, a boy seventeen years of age, was in a precarious state. His condition had been declared by the medical adviser as hopeless, and a limit of twenty-four hours was set within which death must occur. The resources of the physician had been exhausted, and in his opinion all that could be done was to alleviate the excruciating pain with opiates, thus permitting dissolution to take place while the youth was under their influence, and this was the course pursued. The distracted family as a last resort turned to the fast. After examining the case, the writer accepted the responsibility, and a description of the condition of the young man will perhaps throw stronger light upon the contrast that is always displayed between the methods followed by man in disease and those which nature employs.
The boy had been in bed for five weeks; his body showed all of the evidences of the ravages of disease and of those of the remedies that had been applied. The left arm, wrist, and hand were greatly swollen and painful, as were also both knees and ankles. The face was flushed, the breathing stertorous, the pulse very irregular, while the body temperature was 105 degrees. In all respects the working foundation for favorable outcome was most insecure. For two weeks immediately preceding the change in treatment heart action had been stimulated with digitalis and with strychnine; food had been forced upon a protesting stomach as many times daily as the patient could be induced to swallow; and, when the pain had become too severe to be borne, or when delirium occurred, codein and other opiates had been used unsparingly. In addition, within the preceding seven days two quarts of brandy had been poured into the youth. As the result of disease and of drugs the patient could neither lie down nor sit up, and his position was a painful compromise.
Death seemed imminent, but food was at once withheld, and a gentle massage treatment was administered in order to equalize circulation as much as was possible in the circumstances. A half hour after this, an enema of warm water brought away a large amount of fecal matter, all of which resulted in pulse and temperature showing decided downward tendencies, while the patient rested more quietly and easily than for many days.
In acute crises, such as this, drastic measures are imperative, and, on the second day, application of more vigorous massage and of more copious enemata brought temperature and pulse to still lower register; consciousness, which had been intermittent, fully returned; the swelling in the arm was reduced; and pain had abated. In a week the young man was able to lie at full length, and the swelling, excepting in the ankles was scarcely perceptible. Before this, natural sleep had returned, while temperature and pulse were but slightly above normal. During this interval two enemas daily had been administered, and masses of feces more or less hardened had been removed on each occasion. Sponge baths twice each day had also aided in relieving discomfort while assisting elimination, and at the end of the first week of fasting tub-baths were begun.
The fast was broken on the eleventh day with a small amount of tomato broth fed morning and night, the supply being increased as the patient showed increasing ability to digest his food. Five weeks from the beginning of treatment the youth was enjoying a daily walk of several miles, and thereafter, adhering strictly to the dietetic regimen prescribed, he rapidly developed to a condition of normal health and eventually to a robust physique.
The second case, a man sixty-one years of age, was stricken with paralysis of the entire right side, and, receiving no help from medicine, he determined upon an absolute fast. The preparatory period covered but ten days, a time too short to permit of wholly satisfactory approach to total abstinence, but nevertheless at its completion a fast of forty days, which proved eminently successful in outcome, was undertaken. Paralysis of this nature, known as hemiplegia, is usually caused directly by hemorrhage in some portion of brain tissue. For its relief but one course can be followed--to permit natural processes to absorb the formed blood clot, thus removing inflammation and pressure, releasing nerve force, and allowing connective tissue again to form by natural processes of healing. Constant ingestion of food in the circumstances serves to aggravate and to prolong recovery, since to facilitate the process of absorption the blood should be relieved as rapidly as possible of the burden of waste it has been carrying, waste that in all probability was directly the cause of the brain hemorrhage. The fast by compelling the dominance of elimination at once reduces the density of the blood through removal of circulating refuse, and gives the natural assistance necessary for the disposal of obstructions to the passage of nerve force through nerve channels--thus restoring sensation and motion the loss of which constitutes paralysis.
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