Article #2: Gastric And Duodenal Ulcers by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
I have a letter from a reader who informs me that he has a sister and a brother, both of whom are suffering with stomach ulcers. They have been told: “once an ulcer, always an ulcer,” that “you just have to learn to live with it.” He also informs me that the sister is “now taking the highly controversial Miltown” (one of the tranquilizing drugs) and that she says that it is “better to suffer the side effects of this (drug) than to be doubled up half the day with ulcer pains.”
What an indictment of “medical science!” What a confession of failure! What an experience they have that leads them to say: “once an ulcer, always an ulcer,” and that you just have to learn to live with it.”
The woman is being transformed into a drug addict because the boasted “science” of medicine can offer her no hope of recovery, the letter says nothing of how they are being fed, but we may safely assume that they are eating the usual bland diets and are eating at all hours of the day and night, the next thing will be an operation to remove portions of the stomach; to be followed by the recurrence of another ulcer and another operation. In the end, the entire stomach may be removed and the esophagus united with the duodenum. But the sister also has a duodenal ulcer—what will be done with this?
People expect to be cured and they expect the curing to be done by something outside of themselves—by drugs, electricity, baths, massage or some other power or agency hat drives out disease and restores health. All the practices of all the schools of so-called healing are based upon his erroneous idea. In the case of ulcer, however, they are being taught that there is no cure; they simply have to learn to live with their ulcers—”once an ulcer, always an ulcer.”
Why should the ulcer case get well? Drugs are employed o “relieve” pain, food is used as a palliative, no cause is ever removed, the primordial requisites of health existence are neglected. With the causes of disease existing, the condition of health unsupplied and the energy of the patient constantly depleted by exhausting personal habits and by the treatment employed, what right has the sick person to expect to recover? How can effects cease while cause remains? How can results be obtained when the requisite conditions are not supplied? How can important vital functions be normalized if there is lack of functioning power?
In every other science these subjects are carefully studied and true principles applied to the achievement of results. It is only in the curing professions that the plainest principles are ignored and effects are sought to be obtained by the operation of thoroughly speculative methods. The key to robust life, to functional vigor, to the preservation and recovery of health, lies in an understanding of the normal means by which life is evolved and maintained.
The removal of the causes of disease involves a study of their causes and their bearings upon the individual; so that any true science of health/disease must include the science of etiology. As sure as effects follow causes in any and all departments of nature, an understanding of the causes that lead to the evolution of disease will enable us to remove these causes and provide the causes of health and thus to restore health. So long, however, as we are content to ignore causes and to palliate symptoms, no restoration of health is possible.
The ways or processes by which the sick recover, no matter what the name given to the disease, or what the treatment employed, are strictly biological processes and are not susceptible of duplication or imitation by the practitioners of any school of so-called healing. The forces and processes of the living organism alone restore health and these processes and operations are always in obedience to the same general principles of life; the power and the processes by which the organism is developed and maintained are the same by which wounds are healed and health restored in disease.
The means of recovery are the same as those by which the original evolution of the organism, from zygote to maturity, are made possible. This means that the elements of health, of normal life, are the means of recovery. The subject of getting well by the use of the same means that keep you well, should be of utmost interest to everyone, well or sick. The means employed must harmonize with physiology and biology as manifested under the peculiar circumstance of disease. All of this simply means that we recover strength and vigor in the same way and by the same means that we originally obtained these; that we repair tissue (heal lesions) in the same way and by the same means that we originally evolved the tissue; that the means that enable us to live in health are the requisites of recovery when we are sick.
The power of healing resides in the organism and the process is the process of life. It is ever active, it is never asleep, it never rests so long as life lasts, if there is anything to be healed. The success of its work depends first of all upon the removal of the cause of the disease and then, upon the proper quantities and qualities of the primordial requisites of organic existence. By this last is simply meant that the amount of food one should eat, the amount of exercise one should take, the time one should spend in the sunbath, the amount of bathing one should indulge, the rest and sleep that should be secured, the water taken, etc., is dependent upon the ability of the impaired organism to appropriate and use these substances and conditions. The more vigorous person may bathe frequently, exercise vigorously and eat heartily; the feeble patient must rest more, bathe less, eat little or not at all and treat himself with the utmost gentleness. Any heroic measures will prove harmful.
I have emphasized the importance of placing our reliance upon the means and materials by which we maintain ourselves in health as being, also, the means and materials by which we are to be restored to health, simply because the schools of so-called healing constantly ignore them or misuse them. It is the worst kind of folly to think that we require healthful materials in health and disease-inducing substances when we are ill; that the sick are to be restored to health, not by use of the means by which health is built in the first place, but by means which are well known to produce disease when given to the healthy.
Why should we be afraid to trust the modified use of these normal elements of living, when we are sick, as means of recovery? Why should we impose our trust in substances and processes that have no normal relation to life, are not needs of life, cannot be used by the body in either health or sickness and are invariably harmful, often lethal, when introduced into or applied upon the body—whether well or sick? Why talk learnedly about the “side effects” of these damaging substances and close our eyes to the obvious fact that these so-called side effects are an integral part of the general effects of the poison employed?
I have stressed the modified employment of the normal elements of living for the reason that the impaired organism is limited in one way or another in its capacities and abilities to appropriate and use these normal factors of life. Much as the healthy man may need exercise, the pneumonia or typhoid patient needs rest. Much as the healthy worker requires a certain amount of food daily, the typhoid patient cannot digest and utilize food. The ulcer patient is strongly needed and is the surest and most certain-way of providing the rest of the stomach that is requisite to healing of the ulcer. Instead of feeding every two hours of the day and night, all feeding should be discontinued for a period of time commensurate with the toxic state of the patient.
This commonly, though by no means always, means an increase in suffering for the first three to four days, after which the pains begin to subside and daily grow less end less until they cease altogether. Just recently a young man fasted at the Health School for a gastric ulcer. There was no pain from the moment the fast was instituted. In those cases where there is increased pain, the pain lasts but a few days and the patient certainly suffers far less under the plan of care than under the plan of mere palliation, for under this plan the suffering goes on year after year, the ulcer becomes larger, others evolve, perforation develops with the escape of the contents of the stomach into the peritoneal (abdominal) cavity and the patient dies of peritonitis or from loss of blood or cancer evolves and the
patient dies of cancer.
Gastric and duodenal ulcer grows out of a long-standing catarrhal inflammation of the lining membrane of the stomach and duodenum. This is the result of chronic toxemia and chronic abuse of the stomach in eating and drinking. The line of evolution is irritation, inflammation, induration (hardening) and ulceration. The next step in this pathological evolution is fungation, which is cancer. Repeated gastric crises (gastritis) develop over the years before the condition becomes chronic. The enervation and toxemia that are back of the gastritis and ulceration are outgrowths bf a mode of living that uses up nerve energy in excess of the body’s abilitiy to replenish it.
This all simply means that an enervating mode of living produces enervation; enervation checks elimination so that metabolic waste is retained, producing toxemia. Toxemia produces irritation and inflammation and, ultimately hardening and ulceration. The remedy for the evolutionary results of wrong life is to correct the life. This must be done, however, before an irreversible stage of the pathological evolution is reached. Once the condition has evolved into cancer, there is no turning back.
Under Hygienic care ulcers of the stomach heal and under Hygienic living they remain healed. This is to say, the same means and measures that evolve good health also preserve good health. This is exactly the same principle that provides that the same causes that produce disease perpetuate the disease. Remove cause and effects cease.
Reprinted from Dr. Shelton’s Hygienic Review March 1957