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"The cultivation of health as a defense against disease is far more sensible
than the mad-house effort to immunize everyone with serums and vaccines."

  by Herbert Shelton, 1928

Germs are ubiquitous. They are in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink. We cannot escape them. We can destroy them only to a limited extent.

It is folly to attempt to escape disease by attempting to destroy or escape germs. Once they are in the body the physician has no means of destroying them that will not, at the same time, destroy the patient. We cannot avoid germs. We must be proof against them. We have to accept them as one of the joys of life, and if they are really causes of disease, we can avoid disease only by keeping ourselves in such a high state of health that they are powerless against us.

It is not yet definitely proven that germs are essential elements in the production of any disease. It seems probable that they are only incidental and perhaps beneficial factors. However, this much is certain; whatever part they perform in the production of disease, germs alone can no more produce disease than a seed alone can produce a tree. Just as a seed must have fertile soil, moisture, warmth, air and sunlight, if it is to grow into a tree, so the germ, if it is to produce disease, must find certain essential conditions existing in the bodies of those it enters before it can do the slightest harm. If the body is normal, if it has an abundance of nerve force, if its blood stream is pure, if there is prompt and vigorous action of all its essential organs, no germs coming in contact with it can grow and multiply. Good health is proof against germs of all kinds.

There is a class of individuals to which the medical profession and the bacteriologists have fastened the term "carrier." This is an individual who carries around on or in his person the germs of some disease. Every epidemic, we are told, develops a number of such cases. But these people, while they are accused of harboring so many of the deadly germs and of spreading the disease wherever they go, themselves do not have the disease. "Typhoid Mary" is still fresh in the memory of many of us. These "carriers" when found, are isolated, quarantined, kept away from family, friends and work and forced to undergo many hardships. Why do not these people develop the disease they are said to be spreading among others, if the mucous membranes are especially susceptible to such germs? Why if not for the reason that these membranes are susceptible to bacterial invasion only under certain conditions? Medical men say they are immune but upon what does this immunity depend?

All the standard works on bacteriology state that a person may have germs of diphtheria, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, pneumonia or any other disease within his body, that is, in his mouth, throat, air passages, stomach and intestines, without having the disease these germs are supposed to cause. Why do not these germs produce disease? Isn't it obvious, that, whatever their part in the production of disease, they alone cannot produce disease?

Medical men and bacteriologists are practically a unit in declaring that germs cannot secure a foothold in a healthy body, but that a "nidus" or "suitable soil" is essential to their genesis. They do no harm in a body that is in a normally healthy condition. If germs cause disease why don't they produce disease in a healthy body? Why must the body already be diseased and its resistance low before they can produce disease?

If there is a natural immunity to germs as the above facts and many more easily show, if germs are powerless against a healthy body, then, is not the logical preventive procedure that of finding out the factors upon which immunizing health depends and cultivate these? The cultivation of health as a defense against disease is far more sensible than the mad-house effort to immunize everyone with serums and vaccines.

The natural antiseptics of the body are found within the body itself when it is not impaired, and it is maintained in a normal state by the proper use of those eternal elements of hygiene -
  • sun,
  • air,
  • water,
  • proper food,
  • muscular exercise, etc.
Investigations in the bacteriological laboratory throw no light on the conditions in the body which permit the germs to grow or which prevent them from growing. They tell us of a few germs which, it is claimed, are the active agents in disease but they tell us nothing of the conditions which permit these agents to become active. They grow in those conditions and only in those conditions of life which give rise to such complaints as indigestion, catarrh, etc.

The view I would put before the reader is that disease is caused, not by the germ, but by the state of the body that allows the germ to flourish. And this condition of the organism or any part of it which renders possible the growth of the germ thercin is the much sought for "filterable virus." It is the outgrowth of violations of the laws of life and is no chance or haphazard condition.

We also favor the view so long stressed by Dr. Tilden, and now made feasible by the knowledge of the transmutability of the various forms of germs, that the disease condition present determines the morphology of the germ and not vice versa. The germ takes on a form and character in keeping with its environment; - environment does not change to conform to the germ.

It is admitted that the body is built to offer very powerful resistance to the entrance of germs.
  • The skin is, if unbroken, impermeable by them.
  • The internal skin, or mucous membrane lining all the cavities of the body which communicate either directly or indirectly with the outside world, if unbroken, is invulnerable to them.
  • The normal secretions of these membranes are germicidal.
  • There is no susceptibility on the part of any healthy organ, to bacterial injury.
    It is obvious that, living in a world swarming with microbes, if these cause disease, man must have powerful resistance to them, else he would have perished long ago.

    In Physical Culture for May 1919 is an article by John B. Fraser, M.D., G.M., entitled "Do Germs Cause Disease?" giving an account of some experiments in this connection carried out in Toronto during the period between 1911 and 1918. He says:

    "In an earnest endeavor to determine whether germs are dangerous, Toronto has taken an honorable part. In solving this question the first three years, 1911-12-13, was spent in studying a single point, viz. When does the germ appear?' The verdict was after the onset of disease; and this fact led to the supposition that germs were simply a by-product of disease, and possibly harmless.
    "In 1914 a small group of citizens undertook to prove the latter point by adopting Hunter's method of direct action, viz., incorporating fresh vigorous germs in food and drink and then using that food in the ordinary way. ...

    "The first experiment made was taking fifty thousand diphtheria germs in water, and after a few days suspense and no sign of the disease it was considered that the danger had passed. The reason for choosing diphtheria germs for the first experiment was that in aconite, we had an especially reliable remedy for aborting the disease, providing it showed signs of developing.
    In the second experiment, one hundred and fifty thousand diphtheria germs were used in milk, and again no signs of diphtheria appeared.
    In the third experiment, over one million diphtheria germs were used in food without producing any sign of the disease. ...

    "Another series of experiments were carried out with typhoid germs, especial care being taken to infect distilled water, natural milk (not pasturized); bread, meat, fish, potatoes, etc., etc., with millions of the most vigorous germs that could be incubated, and but for the knowledge that they had been taken, one would have known nothing about it.

    "Another series of tests were made with the dreaded meningitis germs, and as the germs are believed to develop mainly in the mucous membranes of the nostrils, especial pains were taken to swab millions of the germs over the floor and sides of the nostrils, into the turbinated sinuses, over the tonsils, under the tongue, and back of the throat. In addition to these tests other tests were made in food and drink—millions of germs in each case, and yet no trace of the disease appeared.

    "The experiments with the tuberculosis germs were carried out in a different way - more time was given between the experiments so as to allow the germs to develop; for clinical evidence has shown that this disease may remain latent, or imperfectly developed for months. Consequently it meant months of watching and waiting before one could be positive that the germs would not develop.

    "Here again millions of germs were used in water, milk, and food of various kinds; every facility was given for the germs to develop as far as time and virility, numbers, and variety of food and drink was concerned; and as almost five years have elapsed since the experiment with T. B. began and no evidence of the disease has appeared I think we are justified in the belief that the germs are harmless. In addition to those experiments combinations of germs were used, such as typhoid and pneumonia, meningitis and typhoid, pneumonia and diphtheria, etc., etc., but no evidence of disease followed.

    "During the years 1914-15-16-17-18 over one hundred and fifty experiments were carried out carefuly and scientifically and yet absolutely no signs of disease followed."

    from H.M. Shelton - Human Life Its Philosophies and Laws, 1928

    "Germs are ubiquitous. They are in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink. We cannot escape them."

      by Herbert Shelton, 1928

    If cells that are kept clean and properly nourished never grow old in the sense that they lose their vitality; and in the human body there are organs and functions that, when normal, completely rid the body of waste and toxins; and another process that, when normal, keeps the cells supplied with a fresh supply of nutrient material - what impairs these organs and functions so that the cells do grow old, do lose their vitality and die? It is assumed by some biologists, that this impairment is a necessary result of the community action of the cells of the body.

    Cells in the laboratory are killed by starvation and by poisoning. Why assume that their death in the body is due to other causes?
  • The uneliminated products of metabolism,
  • plus the breaking down of cells in disease,
  • plus toxins absorbed from without,
    are as capable of destroying cells in the body as in the scientist's test tube.

    Drugs, serums, vaccines, anti-toxins, etc., that are taken into the body, in any manner, for any purpose, kill cells and cripple organs.
    Starvation of the cells resulting from eating denatured food or from impaired digestion and assimilation is capable of killing cells in the body.

    In considering the causation of disease it is important that we keep in mind that the antecedents of every so-called disease are many and not just one. As an instance, it is asserted that irritation is the cause of tumors, but irritation alone will not produce a tumor while the number of sites or localities of man's or woman's bodies that are subject to constant irritation which do not develop tumors are as infinity to one, when compared with the seats of irritation which do become tumors. Irritation is a cause and not the cause. It contributes to the production of a tumor. It is but one of a number of correlated factors which collectively constitute cause. It is an erroneous practice which men indulge in when they single out one of these correlates and say that it is the cause of cancer,

    Headache is a symptom that may be produced by many different causes.
    A cold may be due to a simple indigestion, or to exposure, or to overwork, or to loss of sleep. But a simple indigestion is alone insufficient to produce a cold. Exposure, overwork, loss of sleep; neither of these alone can produce a cold. A cold is an evolution out of a number of correlated causes.

    It is said that a certain germ causes a certain disease. This theory will be discussed later. At this point I only desire to call your attention to the fact that if germs are a cause of disease, they do not constitute the cause of disease.
    There are a number of antecedent causes and their effects which must be present before the germs can enter into the cause. At most they are but secondary and never primary causes. If we grant them a place in the causation of disease we must recognize that they are but one of a number of correlated causes which collectively constitute the cause. It is a mistake to single out one particular correlate and hold it responsible for the disease.

    Disease is not a simple, but a complex effect, not of one antecedent but of many. It is, as Dr. Tilden declares, "the sum of a multitude of elements." Individuals differ, the combination of causes differ in each individual case of disease, and hence, each supposed specific disease differs—no two cases are alike.
    • Two men are out hunting and are caught in a cold rain-storm. They are drenched and are exposed to the rain and cold for hours. The following day one has pneumonia, the other arthritis.
    • A mother dies. Her children grieve deeply and long for thoir mother. One of them suffers a "nervous collapse;" the other develops Bright's disease.
    • A group of people have a feast. They eat and drink. One develops a diarrhea, one develops typhoid, another has pleurisy, still another has rheumatism and another is apparently unharmed.
    • One man indulges his sex appetite excessively and becomes extremely nervous. Another man worries over his business and becomes equally nervous.
    Consider these facts and hundreds more like them and you see that different causes acting on the body may produce the same result while the same causes acting on different bodies, or on the same body at different times may produce different results. Yet these things are true only because the correlates are different. If the correlated causes were identical in a thousand cases, then a heavy meal would, in conjunction with these correlates, cause the same difficulty in each of the thousand cases. These elemental factors in the causation of disease are legion. The idea that there are specific causes for specific diseases is purely fallacious. Every so-called disease is a river the waters of which are derived from many tributaries.

    This being true, what is to be thought of a mode of treatment which attempts to dry up the river ("cure" the disease) by destroying one of its tributaries (causal elements)? What are we to think of the effort to find a "unitary entity" which will immunize one against a multiplicity of causes? Is it not true, as Dr. Tilden says, that "a multiple causation must be met by an opposing treatment co-equal in elemental constituents?"

    With these few preliminary remarks we will address ourselves to a brief consideration of the causes of disease, making no apologies for the order in which they are treated.

    "Every so-called disease is a river, the waters of which are derived from many tributaries."


    Vigorous health and a sound constitution is the natural and normal condition of man. Anything below this represents a stage of degeneracy or impaired health.

    From the topmost peak of bodily soundness to the lowest depths of physical depravity is a long and progressive decline brought about by adequate degenerating causes. The lowest depths of physical rottenness are not reached quickly or suddenly. Over the whole decline there are a number of successive stages that have to be passed through in their natural order.

    The impairment of health is due to violation of the laws of life in our voluntary habits. To make this statement clear, let me first explain that the functions of the human organism are operated by and under control of a force which we call nerve force, because it resides in and is distributed by the nervous system.

    Without this force, organic function is impossible. When nerve force is abundant, bodily functions are vigorous; and when it is low they are impaired.

    We might compare the body to an automobile and the nervous system to its storage battery. If the storage battery is well charged and the wiring is in good order, the car has plenty of spark, bright lights and an efficient starter. But, if the battery is low and the spark is poor, the lights are dim and the starter weak. Indeed, the starter may not be able to turn the engine over, and the battery may be so low that the car cannot be run and the lights burned at the same time. The human body is not capable of generating an unlimited supply of nervous energy.

    Often in modern life we consume our energies faster than we recuperate them, so that our vital or nervous batteries run low Then, just as a low battery means poor spark, dim lights and a useless starter on our cars, so lack of nervous energies in the human body lower the functional efficiency of all its organs. Digestion is impaired, secretion and excretion are checked, elimination lags.

    This condition we call Enervation.

    from H.M. Shelton - Human Life Its Philosophies and Laws, 1928

    What are the causes of disease?

  • "It is folly to attempt to escape disease by attempting to destroy or escape germs."


    "With the type of lifestyle we live along with the continual ingestion of medications even though they may be considered as relatively harmless i.e. the proprietary drugs such as aspirin, along with which we have the social drugs of tobacco, tea, alcohol, coffee etc., we are continually depriving our bodies of sufficient energy to carry out normal and natural maintenance. Add to that the stress of daily life in today's society, life in the "fast" lane, and we have a scenario well placed requiring the help of our friends the bacteria, to which we could also add "virus".
    Given the above scenario it can readily be observed that the average person is bordering upon requiring to be healed (via acute disease) almost every day. That it requires only a very gentle push to bring this about. And this push is referred to as "contagion"

    John L Fielder,DO,DC,ND(Adel)
    Osteopath & Lifestyle Consultant
    Academy of Natural Living

    Natural Health & Energy
    INHS Hygienic Review

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