The following is excerpted from the book How to Always Be Well by William Howard Hay, M.D. The book was originally published in the 1920’s, but then became out of print for many years until FACT published an edition because it was felt that Dr. Hay’s work was too important and should be available to the cancer patient or, indeed, anyone interested in achieving optimum health. The book was, in FACT, a veritable “bible” to Hy Radin, a recovered cancer patient who enjoyed over 25 years of health after a diagnosis of cancer of the spine which had left him unable to sit or stand up. He progressed from a wheel chair to crutches, to a cane and finally to complete recovery.
Dr. Hay received his medical degree from New York University and for almost two decades practiced medicine and its correlated art of surgery in what he termed “the orthodox way.” It was only when his health started to deteriorate Bright’s disease, high blood pressure, and a dilated heart and was given “just a few more months to live!” that Dr. Hay began to investigate possible causes for his condition. He came to understand that disease was not a big mystery which pounced suddenly without reason. Rather he realized that the way one lives is the key: when we violate the fundamental laws of nature–balanced diet, good elimination, adequate rest , good water, etc .eventually our bodies break down. He discovered that making changes in our lifestyle can give the body, , endowed with amazing built-in healing capability, the opportunity to heal!
From the beginning of recorded time man has looked to physicians of some sort for the healing of his many afflictions; and always he has remained to a greater or less degree in ignorance of his own part, his own responsibilities, in the matter of health or disease.
It seems strange, yet it is true, that everyone seems to feel qualified to prescribe for the illnesses of his friends and acquaintances, yet remains very much in the dark about his own afflictions.
Let your friends know that you have a common cold, and they are prolific with directions for its proper treatment, even though they themselves may be suffering from the same affliction at the very same time.
Lay prescribing is not only common, it is well-nigh universal.
Medicine did not originate with Hippocrates, the so called father of medicine, by any means, though he is generally credited with the first attempt to set out in an orderly way what seemed to be a scientific observation of disease in its various phases, and a system of treatment that seemed the best course then extant.
Medicine was always practiced in some form, as each sufferer was led to apply for help to someone else, someone whom he believed to know more about what to do than he himself did.
This tendency gradually led to the setting aside of a class whose business it was to attend to the ills of the tribe or community physicians, in other words.
Superstition and fear have always ruled the consideration of disease from the standpoint of the sufferer himself. Fear has been the means of exploitation, always.
As wisdom has increased, so has sorrow, just as Solomon said; for while we have learned to understand much that was formerly unknown to us, yet at the same time the increased knowledge is too often used to add fright to our internal troubles.
Charms, incantations, exorcisms of supposedly unfriendly and harmful spirits–all these were the form of treatment followed before man became wise enough to understand that spirits had nothing to do with our maladies. But I am wondering if these ancient misunderstandings are not closely related to our present fear of germs.
As the anatomy of the body became better understood, the way was opened for the surgeon, who sought to rearrange the internal works to his satisfaction, and with the hope that this would in some way improve conditions.
Barbers and priests reigned during the dark ages, the barber being the surgeon because he knew how to cut; presumably, the priest was the one who corresponded to the present day internist, his intercessions being suppose,d to placate those spirits that could be reached in this way, or to exorcise those too unfriendly to listen to his intercession.
And man, the goat, always paid for these ministrations, for they could not be performed for nothing.
This tendency of man in illness to look to someone else who was supposed to know some means of vicarious relief from the ills from which he suffers, has always been the motive for service along the lines of treatment for disease, and still continues to be the prime motive for this whole system of treatment, not more so in the dark ages than today.
This tendency has come from man’s misunderstanding of his own body and its processes, a misunderstanding that has furnished opportunity for exploitation in all times. Even as in the so-called dark ages, today the case is no different, and man himself creates this seeming need for expert guidance in matters of health and disease.
It has been discovered that thousands of years ago in Egypt surgery had reached a certain degree of efficiency that permitted internal operations, opening of the skull, sectioning of the abdomen, and much that we today practice that we thought originated with the present civilization. Also, the administration of drug remedies had been practiced long before our present civilization was in existence, showing that even so long ago there was some sort of medical training and some form of recognized treatment for disease.
Galen brought us a fair understanding of anatomy, and his work, combined with that of Hippocrates, was the foundation of our present system of medical and surgical treatment.
This is built upon the supposition that all disease is the result of extraneous causes theory that appears less plausible as we progress in the understanding of the body processes, and in the knowledge of the relative value of nutrition with regard to body states. Disease is the expression of some condition below the standard set for health, and in the opinion of the writer, is often created by the body itself, though manufacture of the acid end-products of digestion and metabolism, ashes of the body itself and the oxidative processes by which it maintains its activities.
When these ashes or end-products are manufactured in an amount greater than can be fully eliminated, we suffer from retention of these, and a State develops that is variously called auto-intoxication, acid-intoxication, toxemia, self-poisoning. Whatever you wish to call it, this manufacture and retention of these irritating acid end-products is what sets the disease process in motion.
The science of medicine takes no cognizance of this accumulation unless disease that is, definite pathology has developed, and then the condition is submitted to the most intimate study. This is merely locking the stable door after the horse has been stolen, a rather feeble gesture, not in any sense constructive treatment. How, much better to prevent disease, when possible, through hygienic measures and correct diet!
Medicine has grown into a major science chiefly because humanity, due to the absence of practical knowledge, has continued to buildup an increasing toxic state that furnishes continually much clinical material.
Medicine is really a creation of a class set aside for treatment of human ills for the purpose of patching the machine that has been ruined by the mistreatment of the average human, either from misunderstanding of body needs or from a carelessness as to the results.
We need not blame medicine for this condition, as the cause is individual, chargeable to the victim himself.
Thus medicine has flourished in all times from the ignorance and inattention of the individual in matters of his own health and efficiency; and the continued need for repairing damage we do to our bodies will persist till we learn to accept our individual responsibilities in the matter of keeping ourselves as well as we should and as well as we can be, if we understand better the self-created causes of many of our ills.
As the medical fraternity has increased in numbers, so also has their training become more and more involved and diversified, till now to be a doctor of medicine requires eight years of preparation, after leaving the high school. This means two years of pre-medical work, four years of direct medical study, and two years of resident work as intern in a recognized hospital.
Medicine has ever been considered an honorable calling, and the profession is an honorable one, surely; but physicians and surgeons are merely humans especially trained to do certain things, and being human, are subject to all of the errors of judgment of any human being. When we add to this the fact that they are dealing largely with imponderable quantities, it is not difficult to see that errors may creep into their considerations of disease.
When humanity becomes wise enough to understand the origin of its own illnesses and sane enough to correct these causes, then the physician will gradually become the teacher and watch-dog of health, not the adjuster of the end-results of the many mistakes now committed daily against health by the average man or woman in every walk of life in every civilized country on the globe.
That such a time will come there is not doubt, but dissipated vitality, that it will be within the life of the present generation is extremely doubtful.
It is human nature to shrink from too close self-examination when habit is under consideration; and it is not human nature to assume any disagreeable responsibility, when a convenient belief persists that no matter how we behave personally, there always can be some vicarious substitute for self-government with its painful necessity for thought.
The word “doctor” means teacher, and a teacher he should be, if he would fulfil his obligations to those who look to him for help.
The writer seems to have grown up with the thought of medicine as a calling, for he is unable to remember when he considered any other vocation. He went to New York with the deep conviction that if one were smart enough, he could devise means for the control of all disease; but he graduated in medicine feeling that even the wisest physician still had much to learn.
It is an honorable thing, a splendid thing, to relieve the sufferings and illnesses of one’s fellows, but it is a far better thing to prevent these same sufferings, and this can be done with greatest effectiveness by instructing the individual in the essentials of an adequate dietary and in hygienic care, which principles he must apply to himself.
Throughout the entire history of medicine you will find that all energy and all teaching is directed against disease after it is developed; and only in the past few years has any great amount of attention been directed toward the beginnings of disease.
It is an evidence of progress when we have a national board that we call Public Health; and the Public Health Service (P.H.S.) is becoming a real FACTor nationally, though still confining too much of its attention to serum treatment, under the guise of prevention, for this is only one of the several means now generally recognized as useful in prevention of disease.
If the P.H.S. will devote itself to perfecting drainage, sewering, the safeguarding of foods sold to the public, the guarding of all foods and drinks against contamination, adulteration, and harmful preservatives, they will abundantly fulfil the mission their founders had in mind.
How we love to do what we want to do when we want to do it and how we love to delude ourselves into thinking that, however we have lived, there is always someone who can get us out of payment for the effects of our foolishness!
Instruction in the art of living to keep one hundred percent well at all times should begin in the early life of the school child. The principles can be easily grasped by the beginner in school, and often more easily than by older ones who have already formed rather fixed habits.
The taking of nourishment and the exercise of the sex function are both fundamental to perpetuation of the race, and both functions should be thoroughly understood early enough in life to avoid the awful consequences of an ignorance that has shortened the life of so many, has defeated every early ambition, brought misery, illness, unhappiness, and too often terminated in suicide, all because no one either cared or realized the necessity for special instruction in these two fundamental necessities of living.