Page images

all vitality, is essential to health, and is often lacking in the system because woman knows nothing of the elements required to produce health, it supplies vitality, brain, nerves and bone. The food in which the nitrates predominate supply the muscles with strength. The carbonates supply the heat and make fat. As this is not an age of relish, the use of candies, rich sauces, pastries and made dishes, all of which impart no strength, but destroy much of that obtained from other food, should be omitted.

Clothing should be equally distributed over the body. While it is a protection, it should never restrict motion. During the transition from girlhood to womanhood marked attention to clothing is necessary. To add additional weight to the skirts and to induce severe constriction at the waist by tight clothing is contrary to hygiene. The pelvic circulation is dependent upon the free movement of the diaphragm. Tight corsets induce costal respiration which is no more natural to women than it is to men; and high-heeled shoes tilt the pelvis and spine, thus irritating the pelvic nerves. Clothing should be varied to suit conditions. As the early morning temperature differs from that of the middle forenoon; as the latter differs from that of high noon; that from the middle afternoon; that from early evening, and that again from the night, and as conditions of dampness and dryness are ever changing, it is the part of good judgment to meet such variations with properly adapted clothing. It is not generally convenient to do so, however, but it is this question of convenience that has destroyed more lives and made more untimely graves than all else combined. If a woman is determined to neglect health, then methods, treatments and skill are to be discarded at the start, disease and invalidism have the right of way.

The feet should be well shod. It is well known that life is electrical, and that all vitality is subject to all the conditions of electricity. Good conductors cause its loss through escape. One of the best conductors is dampness, add to this cold-one of the principle causes of diseases of women-and you will have the attraction of heat outwardly from within and a loss which will bring on dangerous conditions. Thick shoes are necessary, and they have been required in all ages by all grades of human life, the thicker the sole of the shoe the more it will protect the vitality. When this escapes, the life principles run so low that any assault upon it is sure to result in disease.

Pure air is one of the most essential elements of growth, development and health. Chlorosis is induced by impure air and inaction of the respiratory organs in early life, and since chlorotics are prone to

degenerative diseases and cancer, the effects of impure air are often far-reaching in their evil influences. Respiration is an exact guage of health. It stands for the whole scope of life. When the child is born it must begin breathing at once or it cannot live; the lusty cry, all out of proportion to its size, is a necessary exercise. The practice is good for the lungs, if not excessive. Not until the last breath is taken, whether in a day or a year or a century, can life leave the body. As a woman breathes, so is her health. Perfect health is indicated by large, tense inhalations, followed by a brief second of holding and a slow exhalation. The deeper down in the lungs the action goes, the greater is the vitality. The practice of deep breathing is the best of all means of gaining better health and when coupled with other treatments given, is certain to bring about whatever cure is possible.

Respiration reflects the mental feeling. It is a well established law of nature that the moods, emotions or feelings of the mind are absolute masters of the body and of the health. How is it that worry kills? The mind during the period of worry shuts off the action of breathing, This is readily seen and proved in every instance where one chooses to observe. The deeper down in the lungs the action goes the greater is the vitality. Vitality is a subtle force that defies all chemical analysis. It comes and goes by laws. It is a well known fact that the habits of breathing are exact measures of the vitality within the body, and this fact has been more over-looked and slighted than anything else in the course of study. A person in buoyant health inspires deeply, and in long, slow movements. A person who is weak respires in short, quick movements. An individual who is of a happy disposition has a style of breathing quite different from one who is gloomy and morose. Hope and expectancy employ methods that are akin to health, while sorrow and disappointment are expressed in a style of respiration that indicates sickness and disease. While it is true that health imparts the better forms of respiration as an involuntary action, it is also true that the imitation of these better forms tends quickly to arouse the same vitality that would make them natural and involuntary.

In a general way woman's physical trouble commences by an allaround misplacement of every organ in her body. Let weakness come and the chest will drop, the lungs will drop, the neck will crane forward, the head will drop, the heart will drop, the diaphragm, stomach, liver and abdomen, each and all will drop. No wonder, then, that the pelvic organs drop down also. Weak and flabby muscles cannot maintain themselves, but when a tremendous load of other organs come tumbling down upon it, we are not surprised that it drops low, and as long as the habits of woman permits this error she must suffer. The muscles are irritated by a chronic strain upon them, the cavity is congested, the lining of the passages becomes inflamed, the ovaries are tormented, their tubes are distended, and a multitude of disorders, maladies and diseases set in, so many in fact that volumes have been written on this theme. Nevertheless, there is one fact that can be verified in the life of women by the adoption of hygienic activity-activity in connection with science and skill at her command and the proper elevation of the chest-frame-not the shoulders—which should be maintained in a fixed, full position up and forward, this makes room for the lungs. The mind can quickly get hold of the muscles by which the lungs and heart are suspended, and these can be made strong as they are contracted, until the organs are pulled up in place. It will be found that the heavy liver and all the abdominal contents that had been deadweights on the pelvic organs are now released and elevated. Nature steps in and begins her work of relief. She demands two things more to make perfect blood and body in all details, food and activity. The latter is to be recommended with the avoidance of gymnastics and similar practices. As muscular development to a high degree saps the lungs and overtaxes the heart, the vitality it takes from the nervous system impoverishes the brain, but walking, methodical calisthenics, Swedish movements and fencing are helpful. Fencing is said to be a grand exercise for the peritoneal floor, the motions of thrust and recovery are very strengthening to the pelvic ligaments and attachments, in fact many cases of flexions and versions have been cured thereby.

Hygienic physical culture exercises are necessary in order to strengthen the organic muscles throughout the body and thus hold them in place. This effort will soon pass into fixed habits and make the work of sustaining second nature. Continued massage is one of the most effective of all means of exercises, and does much toward establishing such conditions in the nutritive strength of the muscles as will restore the functions to their proper use. The secret of massage applied to the surface of the body is that it affects each and every particle of the body from surface to center. It is now well known that massage imparts to the body a wave-like motion which moves onward, affecting flesh, bone and muscle, and drawing life, nutrition and vitality into all the parts affected. Flesh vibration invites nutrition and eliminates waste. Waste includes diseased tissue, dead life, inflammation and everything in the body that should be out of it. Massage properly performed will remove fat, will throw into the circulation of the blood the surplus matter that we call waste. In inflammations, soreness and bruises medicines are slow, but massage scatters the injured matter to the blood to be carred off, and at the same time distributes new nutrition,so gently and evenly through the affected flesh that it speedily heals. It would take too much time to describe fully the changes and benefits produced in the tissues, fibres and blood vessels by the natural act of stretching. It reaches all the inner muscles, fibres and veins, and reaches every organ and thread of flesh however remote from the surface. It is claimed that nervous irritability is due to a certain physical excitement of the nerve fibres which terminate under the skin. As nervousness is an outflow of vitality the movements are directed so as to throw this escape back upon the centres. The special movements always proceed toward the heart.

A woman in reasonably good health is one whose functions are normal in every respect, nothing is excessive, nothing is suppressed. Although less strength is given her muscles she is man's superior in nerve force, in endurance, in keen intuition and in force of physical character, therefore she cannot afford to devote herself to leisure, for this means disease. The less she exercises, the more she will suffer whenever she attempts to obey the laws of her body. The more she is on her feet, the less she will have to endure the maladies known as women's diseases. Under therapeutic hygiene the importance of frequent pelvic examination should be emphasized, especially after thirty years of age. Woman, not as she is, but as she was intended to be, possesses the ultimate power through her temperament and native character of laying the foundation of a new race. By habit and custom she is more prone to disease than is man. Wherever she has adopted the mode of living prescribed for her by nature she is not only superior to man in her general health, but the illnesses due to her sex are lessened to such an extent that they do not appear to exist.

Woman has no right to be an invalid, and admitting that the woman of to-day is prostrated in nerves and is wrecked in her bodily health, we say that these are not of her heritage. Woman in out-ofdoor life does the hard work, the patient work, wherever her condition is degraded. This condition is seen in all tribal existence. Woman in out-door life in her slave state knows absolutely nothing of the pains of her sex, she is hardly conscious of inconvenience in her usual illness, never heard of the trouble we call prolapsus, and gives birth to a child so easily that in a few hours she is able to resume her work. This lesson for modern woman tells her plainly that she must become possessed of her fullness of physical life without the toil and drudgery and the slavery of the less favored tribal wife. Her health is almost universally bad because of her customs, her early training and her false ideas of life. If the statement were made that not one woman in

the freedom of modern life is well to-day, no one would deny it, because the customs of her sex enthrall her.

She needs a new inspiration to attain a change of condition in which she can reach her intended level. If she is entitled to a rank superior to that now her fate, if Nature has designed her for a higher pedestal, if her physiology bears the indelible impress of a far different being from the sickly, pain-tortured woman of foolish whims, why should she not consider a proposition that must bring her into health by bringing her up to her natural rank? Of course the physical woman of to-day is a flat failure, but as she is intended to be a possibility of the near future, she needs the strength, symmetry and physique that are obtainable only in some method of hygienic physical training and she will develop an energy and activity that shall make the phrase “weaker sex,” obsolete. Muscles unused relax, muscles over-strained relax, relaxed muscles become soft and flabby. The organs that should be held in position become displaced, the dead tissues are soon collected into a soil for disease and disorders follow. The revolution of the sex must come through the physician.


Dr. Biggar.-I feel embarrassed because I am requested to open the discussion on this paper, which is so complete, so scholarly, so masterful, and was so thoroughly well delivered. I have nothing to criticise in the paper at all. The paper sets forth a lot of new ideas of which we should take cognizance. There is no doubt in my mind, that to effect cures we need not only medicine, but advice with regard to diet, care of the body, and hygiene. If I should take exception it would be just this—that if physicians followed the advice given by Dr. Gillard there would be little left to us who practice diseases of women.

There was a time in my memory when there was only one surgeon in northern Ohio, then afterwards there were two in the city of Cleveland, and now we have surgeons just as competent everywhere. I wish to compliment the profession, and congratulate the patients in this part of the country on having such skillful operators. I am glad that we are going to do away with so much of what may be called “unnecessary” surgery. Society calls it method of living, but I call it method of taking care of themselves. I have an old gentleman living in Salineville, and I sent him a book written by a man 102 years old. He said, “I wish I had known it before.” The secret of his long life was that he was temperate in all things. What we need in the treatment of disease, and particularly diseases of women, is rest. Rest is

« PreviousContinue »