Article #3: Ama Says Fresh Air Bad For You by Frances Adelhardt
In the February issue of Moneysworth appears the headline "Too Much Fresh Air Can Become Health Problem." The article is based on a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
What ills are attributed to fresh air? Listed in this article are insomnia, nightmares, weakness, exhaustion, heart irregularities, dizziness, numbness of hands and feet, shortness of breath, chest pains, yawning, stomach discomforts, muscle cramps, stiffness and anxiety.
This report is of the same warp and woof of a previous report that was discussed in Issue 3 of Total Well-Being: Medical opinion holds that "oversleeping" is unhealthful. Medical opinion here is that the body will "oversleep" if permitted and that sleep beyond 7 to 8 hours will lead to assorted illnesses—substantially the same ones as fresh air supposedly causes!
We need to breathe and we need to sleep to stay alive, but the medicos are telling us that we mustn't overdo it! They apparently put breathing and sleeping in the same category as eating, which we must also do to stay alive. We all know that overeating is harmful. But eating is a voluntary action. We are always consciously aware of it. If we would eat only when hungry and stop eating when hunger disappeared, we could not overeat. The body is self-regulating when its instincts are followed. But we eat for other reasons than hunger and genuine need, so our overeating results in health problems.
Now what about sleeping? This normal bodily need and function is also regulated naturally. We become sleepy when sleep is needed. If we don't fight it off by taking pep pills or coffee, we naturally drop off into a state oi unconsciousness when our bodies need sleep. And we win remain in this state until our nerve energy is sufficiently recovered—unless our sleep is prematurely put to an end by a jangling alarm clock or other disturbing influence. It is impossible to sleep if we do not need sleep. Sleep cannot be "stored up" for future use.
Air is another of the normal needs of life, and breathing is nature's way of supplying our bodies with air. Breathing is the most automatic and unconscious of all our bodily functions that supply life's needs from outside sources. We can go for weeks or months without food and for days without water, but going for only a few minutes without air results in death. Air is such a constant necessity that breathing must be done unconsciously while we sleep.
Now medical expertise is telling us in this article that if we breathe too much fresh air we can become sick!
To be sure, there is such a thing as overbreathing. We can do forced deep breathing, but after a few minutes of it the body responds to our folly by cutting off oxygen to the brain. Hallucination and unconsciousness follow, putting an end to the conscious forced breathing, after which normalcy is restored.
This overbreathing is not what the physicians are talking about, for they say, "Hyperventilation—taking in air in excess of that required to maintain normal oxygen levels in the blood—is an unconscious action on the part of the individual..." How do they say we can "over-breathe?" By getting too much oxygen in our air. This is why they claim that too much fresh air is bad for us.
Just what is fresh air? It is the opposite of stale air. Stale air is air that has been breathed and expelled. The life-giving oxygen has been appropriated by the body, and carbon dioxide, a waste product, is given off along with other waste gases of elimination. If one had his head enclosed in a plastic bag that was sealed at the neck and he had to constantly breathe and rebreathe the same air, he would not live long. It would be much the same as trying to live on one's own feces and urine. Stale air, then, is polluted air. The air that most of us breathe in unventilated buildings and outdoors in metropolitan areas is further polluted by tobacco smoke, factory smoke, automobile exhaust, aerosol sprays and many other contaminants. Fresh air is air that is without such pollutants. Country air is called fresh because plants and trees growing there absorb the carbon dioxide and expel oxygen. What a wonderful symbiosis exists here! Plant life and animal life are constantly supplying each other with the needs of life. The air waste product of one is the necessity of the other.
Are the medicos telling us that nature goofed? Is there too much oxygen in the air for our health? Did nature mess up on her proportions? And should we regulate this imbalance ourselves by making sure that we breathe enough stale polluted air along with our fresh air? Well, they have actually stated that too much fresh air can cause health problems, so they really mean that we can get sick if the air that we are breathing does not contain some pollutants. Now aren't all the cigarette smokers going to love that! When they blow smoke in our faces or cloud up the offices that we must work in, they can tell us that they are performing a service for us, for haven't physicians said that air too fresh and pure is a health hazard? And this after the same medical profession has told us that smoking can cause cancer—and made the cigarette manufacturers post a warning on cigarette packages.
Physicians have observed that certain ailments and discomforts follow a person's change from a stale-air situation to a fresh-air situation, and so, without understanding the nature of these changes or the reasons for them, they conclude that fresh air is bad for us. What they fail to recognize is this salutory physiological principle: When the body's condition is improved, the body begins improving itself!
Most of us are living at only part of our health potential. Our bodies are clogged up with uneliminated debris and toxins. This morbid matter cannot be eliminated because of lack of vitality, and vitality is lacking because the body is getting insufficient rest, sleep, fresh air, etc.
The body begins a housecleaning when its circumstances are improved. When the body gets more sleep, better food, more rest and more fresh air, its vitality is enhanced. With increased vitality the body is better able to cope with life-threatening toxins. The expulsion of accumulated toxic matters occasions symptoms which are commonly mislabeled disease and recognized as dangerous. If we believed that such symptoms (which are actually healing crises) really were dangerous, then we should also believe that drug addiction is healthful and getting off drugs is a health hazard because the withdrawal symptoms experienced are pains, headaches, nausea and other illnesses. We should also believe that smoking is healthful because smokers who don't get their accustomed dose of nicotine suffer nervousness, irritability, sleeplessness, headaches, etc. Fortunately, we know that drug addiction and smoking are injurious to our health, and we know that it takes a bit of pain and discomfort to break such habits. We also know that it is desirable to do so and not a health hazard.
It should occur to us that polluted air is also a drug—a poison—and most of us are so steeped in air pollution that s it amounts to an addiction. So when we indulge in fresh pure air and fail to get our usual dose of contaminants, we may suffer various discomforts which are actually "withdrawal symptoms" similar to those suffered by the dope addict. In both cases the real disease is toxemia, while the withdrawal pains, which are symptoms of toxin elimination, are a healthful sign.
If we will but suffer through these discomforts and the bodily housecleaning that they indicate, we will soon be more vital than before—just as the dope addict is in better health after he quits his habit.
It should be self-evident that no amount of polluted air could ever be healthful. The kind of illogical reasoning which says that pure air is unhealthy might be expected from those who have dethroned reason and ask us to believe that drugs restore health. It dates back to the previous century when medical advice would have us keep doors and windows shut while sleeping. Remember-the night air was supposed to be bad. At that time it was also popular medical practice to keep doors closed and shades drawn in sick rooms. Patients were denied fresh air and light and left to languish in their own effluvia. When feverish and suffering from thirst, they were denied water. No wonder so many of them died.
Be assured that fresh air is a healthful agency, and the symptoms it begets as noted in the AMA report are evidences of body improvement-not body destruction. Don't be taken in by error just because such reports are published in a prestigious journal.
Physicians think that they can regulate all our natural functions. They want us to think that they are wiser than the intelligence of the body when they tell us how much we should sleep, how many calorics we should eat, how many glasses of water per day we should drink, and now, how much fresh air we should breathe!
Our own instincts, reason and common sense are far better guides than any such advice that comes from the medical profession. Remember the AMA is a trade association that is in business to make money. Their business flourishes on sick people—not healthy ones. Their advice and their ministrations can make us worse, but they can never make us better (except in the case of mechanical repairs). Under no circumstances can they confer upon us improved health. Only our own practices can lead to health.
So use your own good sense. Sleep when sleepy, drink water when thirsty, eat only when hungry and breathe the cleanest, purest air you can.
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