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Medicine and Hygiene Contrasted

The drug system is either right or wrong. If right, the Hygienic System is wrong. The issue is plain. There is
no middle ground. The two systems are essentially antagonistic; they cannot coexist. They admit of no
compromise. One must destroy the other or be destroyed by it. All attempts that have been made to teach
both systems in the same school have been, as Trall pointed out, unmitigated farces. And, as he further
said in the Science of Health, May 1875, the fact that one or the other system cannot survive a critical
examination is what the advocates of both systems are beginning to see.
Present Hygiene and let other systems alone is advice we are frequently given. We may do things
offensively or defensively; we may overthrow error or we may establish truth. Whichever of these ways of
doing things we may prefer, it seems best to employ both ways. We may prefer to establish truth; we may
not like to be always attacking error; we may think that if the truth is made plain enough, error
automatically retreats. We wish that this were so; unfortunately, the human mind is capable of harboring,
at one and the same time, the most contradictory notions. It becomes necessary, therefore, to demolish
error before truth can be fully established.
We have nothing to do with individuals, but we recognize it as a duty to expose fallacy and to denounce
error and we cannot withhold our criticisms because these errors and fallacies are popular.
Peradventure, some of our readers may imagine that we would better act our part by simply telling what
we know of our own side of the question at issue between Hygiene and scientific empiricism, leaving the
medical side to take care of itself.
There could be no greater mistake. The people have generally been educated in foolish whims and
groundless theories; they are steeped in allopathic sophistries; hence, before we can teach them the
sublime truths of Natural Hygiene and expect these to be understood, we must enable them to give a
reason why they should abandon the teachings of the medical system, as well as for the adoption of the
new faith as found in natures Hygienic scheme.
The question is an old one: is the cause of truth and science promoted by criticism of medical systems and
their alleged medicines? In reply to this question, it may be said, in the words of Trall, that error must be
exposed before it can be corrected. It is all very well to feed milk to babies, but those of older growth and
especially those who have dealt with the doses of death and have drawn floods of the vital liquid need
something stronger than moral suasion. To build a new house on a solid and enduring foundation, it is
necessary first to remove all the rubbish of the old one. To raise a flower garden, it is essential that we
eradicate the weeds.
A system may be judged in the light of its principles or in the light of its illustrators. The principles upon
which it is founded may be sound or otherwise; its theories and its teachings may be logical and well
based, or they may be illusions. On the other hand, we may judge the system by what it does, by its
Perhaps the wisest means of judging a system is by looking at both its principles and its achievements.
The Hygienic System is opposed to all other systems that now or in the past have sought popular approval.
Let us, at this time at least, ignore all the other systems except the regular or self-styled scientific medical
system. Hygienists oppose the drug-medical system because we believe it to be false. It has no scientific
basis. It is in opposition to nature. It is at war with life. It is disastrous in practice. Let us draw a few
contrasts between this system and the Hygienic System.
1. Medicine teaches that disease is inevitable; Hygiene teaches that health is mans normal state.
2. Medicine teaches that disease is a destructive process; Hygiene teaches that disease is a remedial
3. Medicine teaches that diseases are to be cured; Hygiene teaches that they are to be permitted to
accomplish their remedial work. In the Science of Health, July 1873, Trall said: The broad and distinct
issue between the Hygienic System and all other systems is simply this: The drug system endeavors to
cure disease. The Hygienic System endeavors to cure patients. Medicine has always pictured this process
of cure as something so intricate that only the initiated could understand it and they have taken great
pains to keep alive this delusion, lest the people assert their right to investigate the matter and thus reveal
the fallacies and inconsistencies of the system.

4. Medicine teaches that poisons are the proper things with which to cure disease; Hygiene teaches that
the normal things of life are the proper substances and influences with which to build health. Believing, as
they do, in the curability of disease and this by drug administration, if physicians condescend to consider
Hygiene, they think of it as something to place beside their most virulent and deadly poisons and to be
administered together. Failure is then blamed upon Hygiene, not upon the poisons.
We know that some who posed as Hygienists have declared that drugs are not wholly useless, that a little
medicine now and then will do good, that drugs may sometimes save life, etc. But, have these ever really
given Hygiene a full trial; have they ever made a full study of the relations of drugs to the living organism?
It would break a fundamental law of nature for a drug to have a beneficial effect.
5. Medicine teaches that drugs act on the body; Hygiene teaches that the living organism acts on the
6. Medicine teaches that drugs cure disease; Hygiene teaches that drugs occasion disease. (To make this
more clear: Hygiene teaches that the administration of every new drug requires new and additional
remedial efforts to free the body of the poison with every drug there is a new disease. The physician
curesor attempts to do so by producing iatrogenic disease.) A sick man is given a substance (drug)
which results, as is known from experiment and experience, in impairment of function and destruction of
structure, and if and when he recovers from his illness, his recovery is credited to the drug and not to the
restorative operations of the body. The drug cured him. This is tantamount to the proposition that an agent
that is known to be destructive occasions a restoration of health.
7. Physicians used to bleed, blister, puke and purge; now they inject, transfuse, cut and vaccinate to cure
disease; Hygiene supplies food, air, water, sunshine, activity, rest, sleep and cleanlinessin a word,
physiological wants. There is a radical difference between the Hygienic System which saves and the drug
system which kills, but some cannot understand this difference. They think of the two systems as merely
two different, perhaps opposing systems of treating disease.
Although every school of so-called healing insists that it is working for the betterment of the health
conditions of mankind, their works all demonstrate that, however successful they may claim to be in
grappling with the health problems of the day, they fail to take due cognizance of certain fundamental
principles of physiology and biology and, failing to take cognizance of these principles, they have all failed
equally to provide measures that truly meet the situation that has arisen. The Hygienic System alone
meets this need.
8. Medicine seeks to cure disease; Hygiene seeks to remove cause. Look further at our differences, for we
are radically apart. We are not the same, with only seeming differences. There is a vital antagonism
between the two systems. Medicine has a great advantage of position and rests securely behind ancient
fortifications, but these do not constitute criteria of truth.
So long has the world been accustomed to the thought that diseases are to be cured with drugs that the
proposal to care for the sick without drugs, but with only the normal things of life, seems at first absurd. It
is absurdjust as absurd as was the theory that the earth is round and turns on its axis, when it was first
presented. The theory was controverted for 1,200 years. We may expect Hygienic principles to be
controverted for a long time, too, before they are finally accepted. Physicians say that they give drugs to
help nature throw off disease. Sublime thought! What is this disease that nature is trying to throw off?
In what way do drugs assist in the process? They give their drug, but they do not stop to remove or correct
causes and if this is not done, all of their efforts are in vain.
9. Medicine holds that diseases are caused by germs, viruses, parasites, etc. Hygiene teaches that
diseases result from violations of the laws of life. Physicians seem to be ignorant of the simplest rules of
life and health.
10. Medicine teaches that disease may be prevented by immunization; Hygiene teaches that obedience to
the laws of life is the only preventive of disease.
11. Medicine is a system of treating disease, largely a system of spectacular palliation; Hygiene is a way of
life. The results of the two systems are as different as are their theories and practices. Writing in 1853, Dr.
Thomas Low Nichols said that if a Hygienic practitioner had a case of fever, he would be ashamed to be
more than a week in curing it. In a chronic disease, the patient makes such steady progress and gets so
thorough an understanding of his case as to get beyond the necessity of advice. This is not all, as he
pointed out. The best part of the matter is that when a man gets well under Hygiene, he gets with his

recovery the knowledge necessary to maintain his health forever after. A patient cured, is a patient lost;
and if that patient is the head of a family, dont count on that family practice to meet your current
He further said: In common medical practice, when a physician gets a few families to take him as their
regular physician, his fortune is made. He deals out his medicines and the diseases come as seed-time and
harvest. The more business he has, the more he may have. The more he tinkers, the more the
constitutions of his patients want mending, until the doctor and his drugs become the necessities of life.
Hygienic practitioners find all this changed and the more thorough and conservative they are with their
patients, the less they will have to do with them. We must rely upon continually making new converts. We
must use every means to spread a knowledge of Hygiene or our very successes will destroy us. But true
men can never fear the progress of intelligence, nor regret the happiness of mankind and when the
medical core is finally disbanded, it will be because we have triumphed over suffering and there is no
enemy to conquer.
The people are familiar with the practices of the medical system; they know only too well how futile, even
lethal, are its practices. Millions of them are admitted by medical men themselves to be suffering with
iatrogenic disease. The people know that medical practices are in a constant state of flux, that medical
theories are as unstable as quicksand and as changeable as the wind. Physicians keep them on a constant
teeter-totter rideup into the clouds of hope and expectancy, then down into the dark valley of despair
as they promise new wonders with their newly discovered cures and then discard them as failures.
It is becoming increasingly obvious to everyone that a false system of medical practice prevails.
Notwithstanding the great number of reformatory modes and systems that have come into existence
within this century or just before and the number of drug systems that have died out, nothing significant
has been done to perfect a science of medicine. Have physicians and pharmacologists ever made a serious
attempt to prove that drugs possess curative properties? By reference to what general principle can their
curative powers be proved? So far as we can see, they make no pretense of proving the curative power of
their drugs but rest their case entirely on experience (their so-called clinical tests are merely part of their
experience). Certainly, they fail to apply scientific rules to the verification of their claims. In the past, at
least, certain medical leaders (Broussias, for example) have denied the applicability of scientific rules to
the testing of drugs, on the ground that the facts oppose science. Bleeding, said Broussias, is well known
to cure inflammation, no matter what science says.
We ask for evidence. What reason have we to believe that any drug can ever restore a sick person to
health? Is it because it is in the nature of drugs to do so?
Drugs either cure or they dont. If they do cure, disease should decrease in proportion to the increase in
drugs and physicians. The contrary is the obvious fact.
Concomitantly with the increase in the number of physicians and the number of drug remedies, there has
been a steady increase in the incidence of disease. How wonderful! I exclaimed as I finished reading a
lengthy list of remarkably efficient curative drugs now at the command of physicians. Certainly there is
now no need for more sickness in the world. No more colds, coughs, corns, consumption, constipation,
worms, skin eruptions, backaches, fevers, etc., for the world now has an arsenal of wonder drugs that
should speedily free mankind of suffering.
12. In the regular practice of medicine, it is not good manners to ask questions and explanations are never
volunteered. You must respect the wisdom of your physician and trust your case in his hands. He is entitled
to your confidence and his fees and you have nothing to do but to follow his prescription and his directions.
If you ask what you are taking, he will use his discretion about telling you; or if he condescends to tell you
the truth, you will be little wiser. The common practice of medicine, as with every other kind of
charlatanry, is based upon confidence and credulity.
Hygiene has changed all this. In Hygiene, the first step towards restoring the body to health is
enlightenment of the sick. The best foundation for a belief in Hygiene is a thorough knowledge of
physiology and the causes of disease. We have no mystery except the great mystery of life. When we have
explained the human constitution and its relations to external nature, our work is done; when this
explanation is understood, our convert is made. Peoples attention is attracted by recoveries under
Hygienic care, but it is only by an understanding of principles that they are converted-hence the necessity
for a multiplication of books and the promotion of Hygienic journals, hence also the duty of all who can

write or speak to use pen or tongue in this most worthy cause.

The aim of the physiological system of Hygiene infinitely transcends that of medicine; it proceeds from a
knowledge of the reason and nature of things, and is scientific; the other can establish no connection
between the disease and the drug that is applied to it, and is empirical. Hygiene depends for its success
upon the intelligence of those who adopt it; medicine depends on the faith that is ever a concomitant of
The Hygienist must educate his patient. To control the captiousness and ignorant whims of the sick
requires much tact, but little deceit; it is generally best to supply knowledge in these matters, to supplant
incorrect notions, as fast as it can be received.
Knowledge is the only true corrective of ever-recurring vital mistakes. The laws of life, so intimately
connected with our well being and happiness, should not be conjectural or of ambiguous significance. They
are carved on a page as broad as the face of nature and are exemplified in all that breathes. Every patient
should have a full knowledge of them.
The modern Hygienic movement, or so it seems to the author, is the result of real progress in knowledge.
The most thorough Hygienic converts we know are the most intelligent. Indeed, up to this time, there are
few others. A man can believe in Hygiene just as far as he understands its principles, but his belief in the
common practices of medicine or the use of drugs in any way is just in proportion to his lack of
understanding. In all this Hygiene is peculiar. Other systems have their books and journals, but they are for
the profession alone and cannot be understood by the uninitiated. For thousands of years the sick world
has trusted practitioners to cure it and the result has been an increase of diseases and a more premature
and frightful mortality.
13. Under the prevailing system of medicine, as in past systems, it is sought to restore health by the use of
those things which destroy health; invigoration is hoped for through processes that exhaust, and it is
sought to develop the powers of the body by defying naturehence it is that the plans in vogue are by
their very terms and nature empirical and not scientific. The plan of Natural Hygiene, on the other hand, is
natures own plan and method and is, therefore, the scientific one.
The Hygienist employs no agents that are in their very nature destructive of the welfare of the animal
economy, which is always the case with drugs in whatever amounts given or in whatever dose employed.
It has long been lamented by physicians that, in the administration of their remedies, they cannot count on
universal results. They claim that the most inexplicable peculiarities and individualities interpose
themselves so that their supposedly salutary remedies become pernicious. Drugs (poisons), instead of
assisting the body in its restorative work, check the healing processes of nature and deaden and stifle
disease instead of restoring health. Often they change acute infections, which left to their own courses
would result in health, to chronic and irremediable diseases. In Hygiene there is no patching up, but a
thorough renovation, both of the individual organism and of the ways of life of the individual. In Hygiene
there is no tampering with evils. They are all rejected and only beneficial agencies are invoked. We
neither bleed nor madden, nor stupefy, nor intoxicatein a word, we do not poison. We restore the vital
functions to their natural harmony and their highest vigor by the employment of physiological
14. The medical man finds a sick body filled with toxic debris and he proceeds to add the equally potent
poisons of his materia medica in the vague hope that somehow one poison will expel the other, then get
rid of itself. In such a case, the Hygienist calls to his aid the elements of health. Every drug, every potent
article of the material medica, is a poison and, as such, in large or small doses, exerts a deceiving
influence upon the system. Of this there is no questionit is on all sides admittedand the whole practice
of drug medication is confessedly a choice between evils. It professes to cure a greater evil by producing a
lesser; but in practice, too often, this rule is reversed, for one evil is added to another.
In medical practice, when one drug is given to act upon a disease, another is given to counteract the
effects of the first and so on, until the patient, feeble and exhausted from the actions and reactions due to
a whole series of poisons, is left at last with just the breath of life remaining, to get well by the operation of
what vital power medication has spared him.
Health, once established by Hygienic care, is maintained by it ever after. It is rare that a Hygienic family
ever requires the services of a Hygienist a second time.
Hygiene threatens, in this way, to destroy all so-called medical practice. Mothers learn, not only to care for

the diseases of their families, but what is more important, to keep the family in health. The only way that a
Hygienist can live is by constantly getting new clients, as the old ones are too thoroughly restored and too
well informed to require further services.
15. The Hygienist cares for a sick person very much in the same way that he would a well one, whom he
desired to keep well. The homeopath treats him just as he would if he were well and he desired to make
him sick. The allopath loses sight of the man altogether, making use of him only as a medium through
which to fight a myth he calls diseasewhich myth no man has seen and the allopath can tell neither from
whence it comes nor whither it goes, when its action is present (if present it be) nor give any description of
it further than its name, disease. In the melee, if the man escapes, it is well for him; if he dies, the death is
charged to the disease, not to the physician.
Under the plan of care prevailing at the origin of the Hygienic System, sufferer after sufferer lingered and
was dosed, bled and blistered, but died. In such cases, it was assumed that, all having been done to save
them that could be done, their time had come. God had so decreed and, of course, it was best that they
go. What logic!
What worse than ludicrous muddle! Concurrent events in the one class of cases are accepted as causes
and effects; in the other, an imaginary decree is conjured up to relieve the shameful failure, not to say
drug murder. Strange, is it not, that nobody ever thought to credit recovery to the fact that the patients
time had not comeGod had not decreed his death?
Worse than the foregoing, if this is possible, was the habit of charging Hygiene with responsibility for death
if a patient, far gone under wrong living and worse treatment, was not brought back from the dead by pure
physiological care. Hygiene was denied the benefits of good logic. It was not even provided with the
scapegoat that protected the drug systemif a patient died under Hygienic care, this was not because his
time had come. God did not decree that he should die.
16. The means of medicine are artificial methods, a coinage of their own ingenuity. The drug-medical
system seeks, with all the causes of disease in all the kingdoms of nature, to cure disease by creating new
disease. How different the work of the Hygienist! He employs only such substances and conditions with
which the organism is entirely familiar and which it uses daily, seeking to adjust these to its altered
requirements. His is a legitimate effort. The means of Hygiene are natural and have belonged to mans
normal way of life from his origin. Hygienic means have their foundation in the fitness of things. There is a
radical distinction between the Hygienic System, which seeks to aid and assist the vital organism with the
normal things of life in its reconstructive work, and the drug-medical system, which seeks to cure disease
by the use of poisons.
Writing in the Journal, June 1860, W. T. Vail, M.D., said: The mass of mankind seem to think that there is a
drug for every disease and could they only be so fortunate as to find that drug when they are sick, or find
the physician who knows it and can administer it properly, they might be speedily restored. These learned
doctors believe, while they are so bountifully and indiscriminately dealing out drugs to their patients, there
is scarcely one disease in four in which drugs have the least efficacy towards effecting a cure. Thus he
bears witness to the fact that the profession of his day had little confidence in the drugs they so freely
administered. Two wrongs can never make a right and giving poisonous drugs to remedy the effects of
prior violations of the laws of life is like knocking a drunken man down because he wont stand up. If a
substance is harmful, why take it into the body? Why think that because it does not produce instantaneous
death, we may take it with impunity? Why not refrain from burdening the body with it? Why not give your
body the best opportunity to maintain high-level health? If we are content to suffer, if we want to watch
ourselves go down year after year, then we will give no attention to the ways in which we feed and care for
ourselves; but if health is worth having, it is worth the simple effort that is required to refrain from
habitually abusing the body by habits that are foreign to the elemental needs of life. If health is worth
regaining, it is worth the simple effort required to provide the elemental needs of life and to refrain from
destroying life by dosing the body with poisonous substances drawn from all the kingdoms of nature.
There is but one way to solve the health problems of man and this is to abolish the practice of medicine
and replace it with Natural Hygiene. What are the other schools of so-called healing (those other than the
medical system) doing towards this end? Exactly nothing. In fact, with their contradictory propaganda and
their inconsistent activities, they only add their weight to the elements which confuse the health seeker.
These various competing schools serve to obstruct humanitys progress towards a world of health and

sanity. When, finally, they go out of their confused and hapless existence, there should not be a glimmer of
All those writers who gather their ideas from the current literature of the day without examination and
critical analysis must necessarily advance, or rather, teach the fleeting errors of the times. They may
expose an occasional error; but, basically, they propagate the very errors they seem to expose. Never in all
history has so much praise been wasted on a fundamentally evil thing as today goes out to medicine.
Indeed, wasted is too mild a word. Perverted would be more accurate. When once the people have
acquired a genuine understanding of the nature of medicine and its practices, it will be regarded with
aversion and downright loathing.
When our opponents lay down their arms, retreat from the field and ask for quarter, there will no longer be
necessity for us to pursue them. Then we can devote our attention exclusively to the welfare of the living,
guarding them against ill health, drugs, physicians and the whole paraphernalia of medical slop-shops,
blisters, man mid-wives and every other unclean thing. Until then, we must continue to fight, as did all
past reformers and revolutionaries. When light and knowledge have obtained the ascendency over
darkness and evil, then and then only shall our swords be beaten into ploughshares and pruning hooks and
mankind learn war no more, nor swallow pills, pukes and other drugs.
It may be objected that medicine is scientific, hence, one of our sacred cows.
Science is radically empirical and is devoted to methodology rather than to ontology.
It treats general propositions as working hypotheses, that is, as provisional truths to be continually
revised as the results of observation and experiment demand. Science is at least partly conventional. It
emphasizes the operation of verification as essential to verity, but is rarely, if ever, satisfied with its
verifications. All of its conclusions are provisional and subject to revision, change or discard. The scientist
is, in sober fact, an instrumentalist. But, in addition to his dependence upon his scales and measuring rods,
he is, in many areas of learning, a guesser. Biology, physiology, geology, anthropology, archeology and
kindred sciences are shot through with guesses. Pharmacology is one stupendous guess and a wrong
guess. That mythical science called the science of modern medicine is a system of incongruities,
absurdities and morbid products of the imagination.
Physicians often complain that they are forced to treat their patients in the manners in which they do treat
them, because the patients demand it. This complaint is made in utter disregard of the all too obvious fact
that the teachings of medical science constitute the starting point of popular beliefs and demands. When
physicians yield to the clamour of their patient for the popular drug, as they so often do, there is reflected
back upon them the fallacies they have so assiduously promulgated in the public mind. In his maze of
learned stultification the physician is hopelessly lost at sea without rudder or compass. Deprive him of his
drugs and he knows nothing to do in caring for the sick. After all, Hygiene does have a guiding principle
which is the fundament of true practice.
Allopathic medicine is crumbling like an old building beset with fungi and the fact that it is a gigantic
building does not stay the process. The ideological decay of the medical system is no less apparent than
its structural collapse and only those people who seek the obscure and cabbalistic, when the simple truth
is right on the surface, can fail to discern this fact. The euphoria and public complacency cultivated by
the medical organization and the public press cannot long hide the going to pieces of the poisoning
system. When you permit your faith to oust facts or your fancy to oust memory, you lay yourself open to