CAUSES OF CONSTIPATION
IT should be generally understood that there are several types of constipation coming under the head of lost functioning of the bowels. One is where there is a movement daily, leaving a full colon, the movement being from the rectum; a type where there can be no movement without forcing measures; and a type marked by periodic attacks of diarrhea. Catarrh is found in all types, and mucus can be found in the stools. Constipation is always accompanied by proctitis or colitis, if indeed it is not the exciting cause. In all long-standing cases there is a gastro-intestinal catarrh, and this should be looked upon as the genesis of most of man's discomforts.
The organic derangements that must develop sooner or later as sequels of constipation are chronic kidney, heart and lung diseases, also gout and arteriosclerosis.
When constipation is developed, adding toxemia to toxemia, the victim is in line for any disease his heredity, occupation and environment favor.
Constipation, like all other so-called diseases, is an affection--a symptom--not a disease; hence, whatever the cause of perverted health--perverted secretions and excretions--it must be sought out and removed. Where enervation and toxemia are established, there is always a lowering of all organic functioning. Constipation means lowered bowel functioning--lack of secretions and excretionsand to restore lost tone to the bowels, the nervous system must be brought back to the normal. To cure constipation then means to restore the nervous system and blood to the normal, and that means correcting or removing any influence that uses up nerve energy, lowering the health standard. How is one to know when energy is being used beyond normal supply? The blanket term discomfort may be used. Health means comfort. By a flagging of organic functioning--by pain and various discomforts: sluggish bowels--symptoms of indigestion-gas distention--malnutrition--headache--short breath-palpitation -tired feeling--bad taste in mouth--bad breath--coated tongue--under weight-over weight--an unpoised state of the emotions--mental dullness and inefficiency, etc. Suppose there are no symptoms such as these named, yet common sense and observation declare habits are like those of people who are suffering. Then one must be governed by reason. It is rational to believe that bad habits will in time break the strongest constitution; then the prudent will not wait until compelled to reform, for it may be too late.
In constipation there is always more or less gastro-intestinal decomposition with the developing of toxins which are absorbed. The blood is charged with these toxins, which in time lower the functional activity of all the organs of the body. Enervation (lost nerve power) is developing all the time, and when brought below the point of organic resistance or below the point where an inherited or acquired tendency to take on disease can not be resisted longer, then disease will develop. Or it may be that enervating habits will be indulged to such an extent that organic resistance is brought so low that general enervation does not need to drop so very low to allow a diathetic organ to develop the disease for which it is inclined. For example: Cancer of the stomach or breast will develop in those predisposed to the disease before there is very great constitutional enervation. Those predisposed to tuberculosis will develop the disease before constitutional enervation has been developed very far.
Enervation is a veritable Proteus, for its causes are multitudinous. They are worry, fear, envy, jealousy, anger, grouchiness. There is a lack of success; also misanthropy and even dishonesty. Excess of work or pleasure may lead to enervation. A consuming passion leads to excess of venery and more enervation. Overeating, imprudent eating, the use of alcohol or other drugs, tobacco, coffee, tea, sugar, starch, wrong combinations of food, excessive use of water, over- or under-use of clothing, sitting too much and lack of exercise, all tend to enervation; everything that uses energy lowers energy. All must be corrected before a cure can be made. Whatever the errors of life, they must be corrected. Anything that causes the bowels to move--be it drugs, laxative waters, laxative foods, oils, agar-agar, drinking great quantities of water, or using enemas large or small--is a palliative and in no sense curative. Whatever the influence that uses up nerve energy must be corrected, for it is curative; all else is palliative.
It is true that dancing attendance on the bowels daily with one or more of these palliatives will prevent building a fatal toxemia from constipation, and the strictest vigilance in securing an action daily will prolong life, but it can not be said that the use of such remedies will in time cure the constipation, for indeed such treatment confirms constipation and leads to nowhere except to stronger and stronger dosing and premature old age and early death.
To use anything--any one remedy or any hundred remedies--is equivalent to adding to cause, and that shows a fallacious understanding of what constipation is. No cure can come from a treatment based on a false conception of cause.
Constipation may be said to be one prominent symptom in a syndrome (defined as the aggregate symptoms of any so-called disease, from the inititive cause to full organic development) which starts with enervation, toxemia, indigestion, catarrh of the stomach, and develops catarrhal inflammation of the throat, larynx, bronchi, lungs, nasal passages, from the stomach to the duodenum, gall-duct and bladder, pancreas, small intestine, colon, appendix, rectum. Some of the symptoms accompanying constipation are: indigestion, gas distention, headaches, heart palpitation, chilliness, cold hands and feet, dizziness, fermentation of starches, decomposition of proteids, acidosis, proctitis, colitis and others; all of them natural crises of toxemia, with constipation often the most pronounced symptom, and one of toxemia's most pronounced allies. No organic disease can exist alone, for its initiative cause or causes are general, and the union of organism must stand united, for divided it falls. A house divided against itself must fall. Enervation--lowered nerve energy--is the general first cause, but the causes of that cause are protean. It is as impossible to find a single cause as it is to find a single effect or a single remedy. The cause of all the ills (crises named above) is toxemia, but the causes of that cause may be enumerated as follows: Any influence of a mental or physical character that uses up nerve energy faster than it is generated. Under this head may be listed work or play to excess; love or hate; joy or sorrow; overwork or underwork of all the emotions; excessive eating; imprudent eating, eating wrong combinations causing indigestion, fermentation, decomposition; all ending in the establishing of Toxemia--the first, continuous and last cause of all so-called diseases.
All these causes and effects it is possible to find in any subject, but not necessarily pronounced, for there are very few people who have not an inherited diathesis, as the tuberculous or gouty, or organic--confined to an organ--or an acquired diathesis, that accounts for a general breakdown or causes a giving down of the defective organ in advance of other organs. For example: Some are more inclined to develop nasal catarrh; others, liver derangements; others, colitis; others, constipation, etc.
There is one cause of constipation that is of my own discovery, so far as I know, and it is more far-reaching than thinkers on these lines will be willing to admit for years to come, namely, excessive water drinking.
It should be obvious to the discerning that if constipation is a prominent link in the chain of affections above enumerated, it would be foolish to undertake to isolate that particular symptom and give it special treatment. The idea of finding a specific remedy for constipation is as absurd as it would be to undertake to discover a single remedy for catarrh, typhoid fever, malaria, syphilis, or a single remedy for toxin poisoning. Constipation should be looked upon as a leading symptom of a constitutional derangement for which the blanket term chronic toxin poisoning is quite fitting. And when the disease is cured, it will have to be cured by righting the errors of life, so as to bring the general health back to the normal. This we shall endeavor to describe in the following.
Peristalsis means rolling. It is a vermicular motion or movement of the bowels--a contraction of the transverse or circular muscular fiber of the muscular coat of the intestine. When the contraction takes place, the movement starts at the head of a section of intestine with a circular contraction--perhaps constriction would be a better term. No sooner does the constriction begin than starts a wave-like movement to descend rapidly, passing to the end of that particular section of the bowel. If it starts at the head of the small intestine, the wave-like constriction ends at the ileo-cecal valve (a valve that guards the passage between the ileum and cecum). This constriction may be likened in effect to stripping a rubber tube with the thumb and finger; whatever the content of the tube, it is forced ahead of the stripping and the tube dilates behind the fingers as they pass. The peristaltic movement produces the same effect; it forces the contents of the intestine onward.
Peristalsis is under the control of the nervous system, hence those who are enervated from any cause must give up a part of their bowel efficiency. It is only a step farther to see that a short supply of nerve energy must check secretions and excretions, thereby causing Toxemia. Constipation is one of the commonest crises. Heavy eaters--those of the vital, sanguine, lymphatic temperament--have bowel movements daily, yet they may be enervated and toxemic.
Constipation is the opposite of diarrhea. In constipation there is a lack of normal secretion into the bowels; in diarrhea there is an undue amount of fluid thrown into the bowels from irritation, but not necessarily an abnormal amount of the normal secretions into the bowels; in truth, a deficient secretion is the rule. There is always a deficient secretion and excretion in all irritated organs.
In excessive eating the digestive system calls upon the organism for an extra supply of solvents. This demand is interpreted as thirst, and water is taken, but drinking does not relieve; the water goes out by the kidneys, or a diarrhea may be developed, carrying enzymes that are needed and would be used to digest the oversupply of food if drinking had not been indulged in. Indigestion always follows a too hearty meal when the thirst that must follow is indulged. From the babe at the breast to the tottering grandsire there is an unnatural thirst, the penalty for overeating, and if it is indulged, indigestion must follow, with an ever-increasing flow of urine and an ever-decreasing bowel secretion, which must end in obstinate constipation.
Restitution for overindulgence can not be made except in one way, namely: suffer the pangs of thirst until enough fluid is taken from the general circulation to supply the demand for fluid. When fluid is taken, the forthcoming enzymic supply is turned back and excreted by the kidneys, leaving an uncontended field for bacteria.
Two important elements are necessary, and they are fluid and solvents--enzymes. Water will not do, and if taken it does not quench thirst, but passes out of the system through the kidneys, leaving the bowels dry. When this imprudence is continued, polyuria, albuminuria and obstinate constipation are sure to follow.
Water drinking after eating--after leaving the table--is disease-producing. I mean drinking anything, any of the table beverages. In this, as well as eating and other habits, there will be people who break all laws with apparent impunity, but they are the exception and they will pay in full in time.
In eating, the food should be so balanced as to supply nature's demands for fluid without drinking water or other table beverages. The water in the fresh fruits, vegetable salads and milk will supply all fluids needed if eaten in proper amounts. Dry food, such as meat, bread, potatoes, pies, puddings, and cakes, causes thirst. It is a safe statement to make that all meals making a demand for water or fluid within one or two hours after eating are not properly balanced, or an excess has been eaten.
Drinking after meals checks digestion, invites fermentation, causing stomach acidity. The foods that create thirst are the potentially acid--bread, meat, etc.; and the thirst is a demand for the alkaline fluid of the blood which is potentized with enzymes or digestive ferments. Few people there are who do not fly impulsively and instanter for a drink when conscious of thirst. There are a few who have learned that if they do not drink after eating, they feel better--more comfortable--and that they do not have to suffer thirst very long until the desire is gone and then there is no more thirst. The fact that the desire to drink, or the feeling of thirst, passes away without being gratified should cause the most skeptical to see the plausibility of an argument against drinking. Where the thirst is gratified, one drink usually calls for another and another, until the victim is waterlogged and uncomfortable, and perhaps will pay for this dissipation with "biliousness," sluggish to constipated bowels, bad taste in the mouth, headache, and too free flow of urine of light specific gravity. While the kidneys carry off water, they do not carry off enough of the solids peculiar to normal urine. These solids are left in the system to cause toxemia. Even water drinking may cause toxemia!
My observation in this line can be verified by anyone who desires to find the simplest, most common, and the most potent factor in the building of constipation.
The physician may start his observations with the constipation of the infant. Feed half as much as the child is taking or have it nurse half as often. Keep the child quiet; do not allow it to be handled; keep it lying on-either side or abdomen, not on its back; allow it to sleep; do not allow nurse nor anyone else to disturb it, even if it does not get more than one meal in twenty-four hours. After observing the babe, then watch the influence of no drinking after eating on grown people; do not allow them to drink even if the thirst is driving.
There are people who will not deny themselves the gratification of a single impulse. Nothing can be done for them outside of doctoring them. I send them to the regular profession where they can be physicked, X- rayed and operated upon. Of course, they are not benefited, but their compensation is that they have not been cheated out of anything good to eat and drink, they have the satisfaction of knowing that they have all that is coming to them.
3--Lack of Coarse Food
There is much waste of paper and printers' ink in enumerating many causes of constipation which are in fact only effects; a deficiency of bulky food is thought to be primary and one of the first causes of constipation, hence coarse food, food containing much cellulose, is thought to be, not only a preventive, but a cure for constipation.
This theory was thoroughly tested in my practice forty years ago, and the conclusions reached were unfavorable and were abandoned so far as looking upon the plan as curative was concerned. Indeed, cellulose was placed with drugs as a palliative and like drugs was not an unmixed good. It was tried when at a loss for anything better; since going out of the drug practice it has been abandoned entirely.
4--Carelessness in Responding to Nature's Call
Another very common cause of constipation is neglect in answering nature's calls. After this, enervation from the infection of absorbed excretion makes possible catarrhal inflammation of gastro-intestinal mucous membranes. The writer has often observed that reflex irritation from constipation often causes symptoms denominated cold, catarrh, "flu," etc.; infection having no part in the symptom complex, infection taking place only in cases where there is ulceration.
Postponing a desire to stool tends to blunt sensation and educates a toleration for rectal accumulation. It is no uncommon thing to find obstinate constipation in people who have very large, pouchy rectums, which have become enlarged and sensationless from being allowed to pack with waste matter; and proctitis (catarrhal inflammation) follows with piles and prolapsus. The prolapsus is produced by bearing down at stool. It is unwise where there is prolapsus of the rectum to spend a long time at stool. When there is a desire to evacuate, immediate attention should be given, and all effort at bearing down should cease as soon as the evacuation takes place and relief is had. A slight feeling or desire for bearing down should not be indulged, for it will work havoc in time by increasing the irritation and causing more constipation and more discomfort, and finally prolapsus of the rectum.
DAILY MOVEMENTS NECESSARY
When normal health obtains there will be a movement daily; but there is too much concern by doctors and patients when the bowels do not move; perhaps not too much under their regimen, for they must eat to keep up the strength, and the bowels must move daily or a calamity will overtake them. On this point the profession has spent enough energy to build a system of rational medicine, but the same lack of common sense is used today in treating constipation that has been used for centuries.
What can happen when the bowels won't move and eating is suspended until they do move? Nothing except that the patient grows lighter and a little weaker.
The fear of starving to death is idiotic. Feeding and physicking has built much acute and chronic disease; has complicated diseases, and has been the cause of so many deaths that if laymen knew how many, they would shun drugging as they would shun a pestilence.
If eating stops when constipation begins, and no food is taken until the bowels move, what will happen? Thousands of unnecessary operations will be avoided; thousands of unnecessary sicknesses will be avoided; thousands of people would have their lives prolonged; thousands of doctors would be sent to a respectable job. Penitentiaries, jails, hospitals, poorhouses, insane asylums, sanitariums would have fewer inmates and the world would be more prosperous; intelligence would become more popular; and high-browed intellect would take on a little common-sense. Why not all this change? The intellect is constipated when the bowels are. The usual treatment shows a chronic type of intellectual constipation of years' standing.
When the bowels fail to move, don't think in the language of pills, laxatives and enemas, but miss a meal or meals; when they move, eat, but eat more rationally. (Read the "Pocket Dietitian.")
MAN IS NOT A MACHINE
The prevailing idea concerning the bowels is that they act on the order of a sausage mill. Quantity, coarseness, bulkiness is thought necessary; hence food like bran, coarse bread and vegetables and fruit carrying much cellulose are recommended to give bulk and stimulate or irritate the bowels to move. This mechanical idea belongs to the machine shops, but man is not a machine. Constipation is due to enervation checking secretions and excretions. Laxatives, physic, foods that irritate, bran, etc., dried, sweet fruits that cause fermentation, all will make the bowels move more or less, but at a price, namely, continuous need of them, and not one but that really adds to the derangement by overtaxing the digestive organs and adding to the enervation which is the main cause of the disease.
One experiment that may be tried out by anyone curious enough to undertake it and which will bear out the contention that bulky, coarse foods are not needed--that full eating is not the cause of the bowels moving: Take any ordinary case of sluggish or constipated bowels in those who are on full diet, and cut the eating down one-half; whether the case is a man in apparent good health or a baby at the breast, within a week or earlier the bowels will be moving daily; proving that it is not more food but less food that is needed. Feeding less relieves overtaxed nerves and restores energy and function.
DRY MOUTH AND ITS MEANING
When the mouth is dry a fast is in order, and anything that forces the bowels to move is wrong in theory and injurious in practice. To eat under such circumstances is to outrage the requirements of nature, invite bacterial fermentation (multiplication), and place the intestinal tract in a septic state favoring typhoid fever; puerperal septicemia in the parturient woman; septic exanthemata in children; hemorrhagic and black types of smallpox in epidemics of that disease. Influenza and pneumonia are made very fatal by physic and feeding when secretions and excretions are suspended.
Grouchiness, fear, impatience, anger, apprehension, dissatisfaction, fault-finding, a disposition to be critical, cause a drying of secretions--dry mouth--and will prevent improvement.
More food is often eaten than can be digested, and it must decompose. As a result of this decomposition, the gastro-intestinal tract is overstimulated from gas distention, fecal accumulation and the toxin poisoning. The irritation and toxin absorption bring on systemic enervation and catarrhal inflammation of the mucous membrane. The catarrhal secretions coat the mucous membrane and mechanically interfere with perfect digestion by coating the food and excluding the digestive ferments. The stomach derangements resulting are many.
Fermentation causes gas to form, and the distention from gas is a mechanical cause of constipation. The distention causes pain, because the inflamed and ulcerated mucous membrane is put on the stretch. The distention and pain tend to fix the parts; for the muscles are put on guard to keep the inflamed and sensitive parts quiet. This, of course, means inactivity--constipation. The tension and fixation of muscles bring on a painful state of the muscles that I have named on-guard pain, which causes much suffering, interferes with the circulation of blood, and produces obstinate constipation. This state should be suspected by the observant physician when the patient can not be induced to relax--when the muscles remain taut even when the legs are flexed upon the abdomen, and one part is about as sensitive as another.
Shame to our commercialized surgical profession, many of these cases are operated upon for the removal of various organs in the pelvis and abdomen, when two or three weeks in bed and proper dieting will do away with every symptom.
When intestinal putrefaction is an established habit, toxin poisoning keeps the abdominal and pelvic viscera in a sensitive state. It is this sensitiveness of the bowels that drives many to innumerable operations. A gas- distended, catarrhal bowel--a colitis with constipation and gas distention--is a constant source of discomfort and the excuse for surgical exploitations galore.
The appendix is usually the first victim; an ovary or both ovaries, or the reproductive organs, are removed next; then the gall-bladder is drained; then the gall-bladder is removed. Possibly the stomach will be anastomosed to some part of the intestine, the colon short-circuited, before the surgeon will suddenly discover that the patient should live in a higher or lower altitude, or make some geographical change in his habitation.
The catarrhal inflammation will extend through lymphatic continuity; these glands are worked overtime in keeping the blood from being overwhelmed with toxins. The sensitive state favors the fixation and its consequences described above. The on-guard state is necessary because any movement is uncomfortable--even the moving of gas. The peristaltic motion necessary to pass the intestinal contents on to the outlet is painful. The consequence is that stasis--which means a standing still--is cultivated. Because of this stasis and gas distention, debris accumulates and causes ptosis (dragging down). The affections appearing as a consequence are dilation of the stomach, with retarded digestion, irritation, inflammation, ulceration, cancer; duodenitis with ulceration--perforating ulcer of the duodenum--gall-bladder diseases, pancreatic diseases, diseases of the cecum, colon, and rectum, diseases of the pelvic organs and bladder. These are a few of the affections of the alimentary tract and auxiliary organs caused by constipation, and are amenable to a plan of treatment that will cure the inactive bowels.
To be able to correct a disease, it is necessary to know its causes. Attention has been worked overtime in finding remedies which cause the bowels to move. It is an error to apply the name "remedy" to the thousand-and-one inventions and contrivances made to force the bowels to move. All so-called remedies are causes of constipation.
We have seen that overeating leads to decomposition, that decomposition (putrefaction) evolves toxins, and that toxins poison more or less the entire organism. Certainly one of the most important things to do in overcoming constipation is to stop overeating and improper eating. Unless this is done, all arrangements, devices, drugs, waters, enemas, peculiar foods, etc., must continue to fail as they have done in the past.
6--A Lack of Poise
Many people carry themselves in a rigid state of mind and body, evidenced by a corrugated (pinched) brow, caused perhaps by ill temper or erroneous ideas concerning life, such as believing the world owes them a living; or that luck is against them; or that they are not understood, or not appreciated; or all their emotions may be overworked; an ingrowing grouch; a fear of losing the respect of friends if a certain specter should happen to slip out of the closet in which it has been locked for years; in fact, a falling short of hopes and expectations in any and all lines may cause a state of nerve irritation that will tense body and mind and ruin life by developing all sorts of derangements, even constipation. Sleeplessness is a common symptom. These people cannot relax, and they are hard to teach, but when taught, their pains and aches disappear along with constipation. Nerve tension causes a sudden start or jump when about to go to sleep. This symptom is very distressing with a few people. Those who eat toast or rolls and drink coffee or tea come to grief. Many develop a neurosis from the habitual use of coffee or tea and bread; there is gradually developed irritation of the stomach, evidenced by sensitiveness to slight pressure over the pit of the stomach. This sensitiveness, or coffee neurosis, spreads until the inter-abdomen is painful to slight pressure; the bowels become constipated and distended with gas, and in time the patient will not be free from pain or discomfort at any time. These are the cases that are subjected to all kinds of operations, none of which give relief and certainly not any cure.
Many users of tobacco suffer as the coffee, tea and toast users suffer. Those who have inherited hundred per cent bowel efficiency will not develop constipation, but some other of the organs will give down.
When a neurosis and constipation develop from the use of stimulants--coffee, tea and toast must be classed as stimulants--neither the neurosis (nervousness) nor the constipation can be cured until coffee or tea and toast breakfasts are given up entirely, also tobacco and alcoholics.
For the first three mornings after giving up toast, coffee or tea, the patient should go without breakfast. Lunch should be toasted whole-wheat bread eaten dry with butter, and follow with a pint or quart of teakettle tea.* (*See Appendix.) Dinners: meat one day and starch on alternate days, with two succulent vegetables and a combination salad--lettuce or cabbage, tomato or apple, and celery; or a fruit salad: apple, orange and celery. Dress either with salt, oil and lemon juice. Beginning the fourth morning: a pint or quart of teakettle tea. The other meals are not to be changed. Every evening following every day that the bowels do not move, a small enema of warm water--one-half or a pint--is to be placed in the rectum and allowed to remain from ten to fifteen minutes; then try to have a movement. Tensing exercise is to be practiced daily; where bodily strength will permit, forty minutes are to be spent at this exercise every morning before getting out of bed; and when possible fifteen to twenty minutes four or five times during the day.
Where these instructions are faithfully carried out health should be restored.
"Your Constipated Friend."
A long time ago the writer had a patient and friend who ended his letter with: "Sincerely your constipated friend," or "I am faithfully and loyally your sincere and constipated friend." He did not intend to be facetious; on the contrary, he was complaisant, very much in earnest, but resigned. He had been constipated for years, appeared to be willing to be cured; in fact, gave the impression of having a sincere desire to find a cure; yet would not be disappointed if he did not; and when all was said that could be said, the impression would somehow force itself on the auditor's mind that if the gentleman should accidentally or otherwise fall heir to a permanent cure, the source of a great and abiding satisfaction would be cut off forever, leaving him rather more desolate than happy.
This gentleman is a solitary exception to the rule that all constipated people are pessimists; he certainly was not; his optimism was refreshing, he talked of his constipation much as one would of a friend who had wonderful qualities, barring an irremediable defect. His was a case of optimistic constipation, and could have been corrected in a reasonable time if he had not been so perfectly contented in his discontent.
The opposite type, or the pessimistic constipated, knows he will never get well, for that is "just his luck." Knowing that he will never get well, he breaks rules, in fact never follows instructions. His mental attitude is knotty and gnarled, and why not his physical?
Both of these types can be cured, but they should stay in the Tilden Health School until disciplined out of their conceits.
The Million Dollar Prescription should bring their bowels around all right, but they need their minds corrected if they would stay well.
7--Lack of Exercise a Cause of Constipation
Activity is life, inactivity death. The eternal fiat is sent out at the beginning of every individual: to thee, life is given, and the price, if it is to be continued, is activity. As soon as inactivity is indulged, deterioration begins, and, if continued too long, disintegration and disorganization, ending in death.
Activity is a stimulant; general exercise within reason stimulates all the functions of the body; secretions and excretions will keep quite normal in most people who lead active lives; this, too, in spite of rather an indiscreet life otherwise.
Not infrequently when the writer is checking some one up for his bad habits, the victim of the bad habits will triumphantly point to some one eighty, ninety or a hundred years old who has practiced the same bad habits all his life without apparent evil resulting. On investigating, it will be found that the prodigy of bad habits is a very moderate man; that he is like an old friend of the writer who once boasted in a twitting manner with a twinkle in his eyes: "Doctor, it seems to me that my life is a refutation of your theories; I have indulged a little in about all the vices all my life, and have had no sickness!" My answer to him was: "You are fortunately married to a remarkable woman--an angel without wings. You are very active; you take great pleasure in your work, and you have as an avocation your garden, in which you take great pleasure in excelling; and look at your accumulation of curios; not a junk-shop filled with bad air and morbid relics--ghostly reminders of a dead past when knight-errantry was in blossom! You are alive and keeping in touch with the now; and have wholesome visions of what evolution has in store for the coming generations of wide-awake, live people. You leave the dead past to bury the past. Your vices you do not worship and allow them to usurp your time and attention. Your habits do not run you. A wholesome optimism pervades your being. Mentally and physically you are wholesomely blended--no warring elements find hostelry in you."
Habits are bad when they monopolize the man, hypnotize the mind and remove ambition. Man must have an object in life. To chase the dollar for the sake of the dollar is a bad habit and in time checks elimination, brings on toxemia, and the victim dies prematurely or suicides. Dollar-chasing for the sake of the dollar is enervating and disease-building.
Some men have an ambition to secure a competency and retire. Retiring brings inactivity, constipation and early death. It is not only necessary to be active in body, but the mind must be active--active in character-building, not character-destroying. "I must be about my father's business." It is not enough to tend the sheep, or work at some occupation that gives too much time drowsing. Life demands activity of mind and body; and where inactivity abounds, sluggishness of mind and body must develop. The constipation resulting may be fought with palliatives, enemas, physic, bran mashes, laxative foods, etc., but a cure can not be brought about until an object is found to live for that requires mind and body attention.
Inactivity with sensuality--self-indulgence in overeating or any other stimulating habits--must enervate and lock the secretions and excretions; then toxemia, the cause of all diseases, is developed. Constipation and other old-age diseases follow, including cancer.