topmdi

Curative Powers of Earth

In Nature Cure and Natural Methods Of Treatment on December 6, 2007 at 5:09 am

Earth was used extensively for remedial purposes in ancient times as well as the middle ages. IN modern times, it again came into prominence as a valuable therapeutic agent in the last century through the indefatigable efforts of Emanuel Felke, a German-born Lutheran minister who was nicknamed the “Clay Pastor.”

Felke found that the forces of earth have remarkable effects upon the human body, especially during the night. These effects are described as refreshing, invigorating and vitalising. Felke believed that for wounds and skin diseases, application of clay or moistened earth was the only true natural bondage. The body is thus repaired with the element from which it is assumed to be made.

Adolf Just ( 1838 – 1936) , one of the pioneers of nature cure in modern times, believed that all diseases, but especially the serious nervous troubles of our age, would lose their terrors, if only sleeping or lying on the earth at night became customary in the curing of diseases. According to him, by sleeping on the ground, ” the entire body is aroused from its lethargy to a new manifestation of vital energy, so that it can now effectively remove old morbid matter and masses of old faces from the intestines, and receive a sensation of new health, new life and new unthought -of vigour and strength. “

Going barefooted all day long, except when it is very cold, is also regarded as a valuable step towards achieving good health and true happiness. Men can draw vital energy and strength out of the earth through their feet. Jesus Christ also attached a great deal of importance to the practice of going barefooted. He himself was barefooted and commanded his disciples likewise.

It is advisable to go entirely barefooted as often as possible, especially on the bare ground but in rooms with painted floors it is better to wear chappals, since the painted floor affects the body adversely if one walks on it with bare soles.

The American Indians lay great stress on earth treatment.

They believe that healing power is strong in leaves and herbs, powerful in the air, but very powerful indeed in the earth. They have a custom to bury sufferers from all kinds of disease in the earth up to their necks, leave them there for some hours, and then remove them. They believe that many of them are cured. Presumably the body draws unto itself the healing minerals and some of the earth’s magnetism.

MUD PACKS

The nature cure practitioners at present are making increasing use of moistened earth in the treatment of diseases. The use of mud packs has been found highly beneficial and effective in the treatment of chronic inflammation caused by internal diseases, bruises, sprains, boils and wounds. This mode of treatment is normally adopted in conjunction with a proper scheme of dietary and other natural therapies.

The advantage of mud treatment is that it is able to retain moisture and coolness for longer periods than cold water packs or compresses. The cold moisture in the mud packs relaxes the pores of the skin, draws the blood into the surface, relieves inner congestion and pain, promotes heat radiation and elimination of morbid matter.

A mud pack is prepared with clay obtained from about ten cms. below the surface of the earth, after ensuring that it does not contain any impurities such as compost or pebbles. The clay is then made into a smooth paste with warm water. This is allowed to cool and then spread on a strip of cloth, the size of which may vary according to requirements. The dimensions of the pack meant for application on the abdomen are generally 20 cm X 10 cm X 2.5 cm. for adults.

Mud packs have been found to be a valuable treatment of diseases relating to general weakness or nervous disorders. It can also bring down fever and is beneficial in the treatment of scarlet fever, measles and influenza. The mud pack is prescribed for swellings, eye and ear troubles, gout, rheumatism, stomach troubles, kidney and liver malfunctions, diptheria, neuralgia, sexual  disorders, headache, toothache and general aches and pains. The mud bandage, after being placed on the body, should be covered with flannel or other protective material. The pack is applied for 10 to 30 minutes.

As the abdomen is the seat of most diseases, mud pack applied to this part of the body can cure many disorders including all forms of indigestion affecting the stomach and bowels. It is most effective in decreasing the external heat and breaking up the morbid matter. It also aids the inactivity of labour pains and for this purpose, the pack may be renewed every hour or two.

The mud pack is also helpful as an alternate treatment. The area under treatment is first given fomentation for five to 10 minutes until it is well heated. Mud is then applied directly to the skin for five to 15 minutes, depending upon the reaction required.

Hot and cold applications are useful in relieving chronic pains, intestinal cramps and lumbago.

Alternate application helps to relieve discomfort caused by flatulence and intestinal obstructions. It is also helpful in amoebiasis, colitis, enteritis and other inflammatory conditions of bacterial origin.

MUD BATH

Mud or clay bath is another mode of treatment. It is applied in the same way as packs, but only on a larger scale on the entire body. In this, mud or clay is first ground and sifted to remove all impurities, and then made into a smooth paste mixed with hot water. The paste is then spread on a sheet which in turn is wrapped round the body. One or two blankets are then wrapped over this, depending on the temperature of the room and that of the pack. A mud bath is followed with a cleansing warm water bath and a short cold shower.

The mud bath is found to tone up the skin by increasing the circulation and energising the skin tissues. Frequent mud baths help to improve the complexion, clear spots and patches on the skin following skin disorders or due to smallpox. It is very beneficial in the treatment of skin diseases like psoriasis, leucoderma and every leprosy.

This bath is also valuable in getting relief from rheumatic pain or pain in the joints caused by injuries. The duration of the bath should be from 30 minutes to one hour. Care should also be taken to avoid the patient catching a chill during the bath. Mud applications also form a vital part of natural beauty treatment.

Exercise in Health and Disease

A world famous physical educationist, Eugene Sandow, has very aptly said, ” Life is movement, stagnation is death. ” Physical exercise is essential for the maintenance of normal condition of life. Lack of natural exercise is one of the chief causes of weakness and ill-health.

In recent years, the need for exercise has been recognised even in sickness. Physio and occupational therapy are now standard procedures in medicine to restore the use of muscles and nerves that have been injured by disease or by accident. Patients with organic ailments are now advised to stay in bed for the minimum period considered necessary.

Exercise and Activity

For corrective living, it is essential to differentiate between exercise and activity. While both are important as they are involved in vital physical movement, they vary in degree and benefits.

Both employ the body in voluntary movement. Activity uses the body to a limited degree and generally to achieve a specific purpose. Exercise employs the body over the widest possible range of movement for the particular purpose of maintaining or acquiring muscle tone and control with maximum joint flexibility.

Activity requires less physical effort and often less conscious effort once the routine has been established. Exercise demands considerable physical effort and is more beneficial as mental concentration is simultaneously employed.

Benefits

Systematic physical exercise has many benefits. The more important benefits are mentioned below :

Regular exercise taken properly can achieve the increased use of food by the body, which contributes to health and fitness. The basal metabolic rate and habitual body temperature will slowly rise during several weeks of physical exercise, if the programme is not too hard. The healthy person usually has abundant body heat and a warm radiant glow.

i. Regular progressive physical exercise can bring about the balance of automatic, or involuntary , nervous system. The tone of the vagus nerve, one of the nerves that control sensation and motion, is strengthened. This accounts for stronger pulse waves, higher metabolism and better circulation.

ii. Exercise can prevent or reduce gravitational ptosis or sag, as it is commonly called. Ptosis results from uneven flow of blood in the feet, legs and lower abdomen.

iii. Improved capillary action in the working of muscular and brain tissue results from exercise carried to the point of real endurance. This permits greater blood flow and gives the muscles, including the heart, more resistance to fatigue.

Massage, heat and moderate exercise are relatively ineffective in producing additional capillary action as compared with vigorous exercise.

iv. The full use of the lungs in vigorous exercise can reduce or prevent lung congestion due to lymph accumulation.

v. Gas and intra-intestinal accumulations can be reduced by exercise that acts to knead and squeeze or vibrate the intraintestinal mass.

vi. Better respiratory reserve is developed by persistent exercise. This ensures better breath holding, especially after a standard exercise. With greater respiratory reserves, exercise become easier.

vii. Improvement in tone and function of veins can be accomplished by repetitiously viii. squeezing and draining the blood out of them and then allowing them to fill. Sweating in exercise aids kidneys by helping to eliminate the waste matter from the body.

ix. Consistent exercise leads to improvement in quality of blood. Studies have shown improved haemoglobin levels, relatively greater alkalinity, improved total protein content and a grater red cell count.

x. Systemic exercise promotes physical strength and mental vigour and strengthens will power and self control leading to harmonious development of the whole system.

Exercise promotes longevity

Medical researchers at Harvard and Standford Universities who studied the habits and health of 17,000 middle-aged and older men, reported the first scientific evidence that even modest exercise helps prolong life. Dr. Ralph S. Paffenberger, the visiting professor of epidemology at the Harvard School of Pubic Health, who is the principal author of the report said, ” We have found a direct relationship between the level of physical activity and the length of life in the college men we have studied. ” He added,” This is the first good evidence that people who are active and fit have a longer life span than those who are not. “

A strong connection between a hard and a healthy hard has also been convincingly demonstrated in the same study. The study showed that the less active persons ran a three times higher risk of suffering a fatal heart attack than did those who worked the hardest. Review of fatal heart attacks revealed that the less active men were also three times more likely to die unexpectedly and rapidly within an hour after the attack.

A parallel research report from doctors in Dulles also concluded, after a study of the lives and habits of 6,000 men and women, that the physically fit were less likely to develop hypertension.

Dr. Steven N. Blair who headed the research group said, ” We followed the physical health and habits of these people for an average of four-and-a-half years and the data showed that the lackof physical fitness leads to hypertension. “

Exercise increases calorie output. The body fat can be reduced by regular exercise. It is therefore, useful for weight reduction in conjunction with restricted food intake. According to a study by Dr. Peter Wood of Stanford University Medical School, author of ‘ California Diet and Exercise Programme ‘, very active people eat about 600 more calories daily than their sedentary counterparts but weight about 20 per cent less. Upto 15 hours after vigorous exercise, the body continues to burn calories at a higher rate than it would have without exercise. Moderate physical exercise has been found to be accompanied by less obesity and lower cholesterol levels.

Regular exercise plays an important role in the fight against stress. It provides recreation and mental relaxation besides keeping the body physically and mentally fit. It is nature’s best tranquilliser.

Chronic fatigue caused by poor circulation can be remedied by undertaking some exercise on a daily basis. It helps relieve tension and induces sleep. Moderate physical exercise at the end of a try day can bring a degree of freshness and renewed energy. Exercise also plays an important role in the treatment of depression. According to Dr. Robert Brown, a clinical associate professor at the University of Virgina School of Medicine, ” Exercise produces chemical and psychological changes that improves your mental health. It changes the levels of hormones in blood and may elevate your beta-endorphins (mood-affecting brain chemicals). Exercise also gives a feeling of accomplishment and thereby reduces the sense of helplessness. “

Methods of Exercise

Several systems of exercise have been developed over the years, the most popular among them being the Swedish system and yoga asanas, the later having been practised from ancient times in India. Whichever system you choose to adopt, the exercises should be performed systematically, regularly and under proper guidance.

To be really useful, exercise should be taken in such a manner as to bring into action all the muscles of the body in a natural way. Walking is one such exercise. It is, however, so gentle in character that one must walk several kilometers in a brisk manner to constitute a fair amount of exercise. Other forms of good exercise are swimming, cycling, horse-riding, tennis, etc.

Precautions

Vigirous exercise of any kind should not be taken for an hour and a half after eating, nor immediately before meals. Weak patients and those suffering from serious diseases like cancer, heart trouble, tuberculosis and asthama should not undertake vigious exercise except under the supervision of a competent physician. If exercising makes you tired, stop immediately . The purpose of exercise should be to make you feel refreshed and relaxed and not tired.

The most important rule about the fitness plan is to start with very light exercise and to increase the effort in gradual and easy stages. The sense of well-being will begin almost immediately.

One can start off with a brisk walk for 15 to 20 minutes. A comfortable sense of tiredness should be the aim. It is valueless and possibly harmful to become exhausted or seriously short of breath. Perhaps, one should aim at activities which need about two-thirds of one’s maximum ability. One way to assess is to count your own pulse rate.

Counting of pulse is quite easy. Feel the pulse on your left wrist with the middle three fingers of your right hand. Press just firmly enough to feel the beat easily. Now count the number of beats in 15 seconds, with the help of a watch with clear second hand and calculate your rate by multiplying by four. At rest heart beats 70 to 80 times a minute. This rate increases during exercise. Really vigorous can produce rates as high as 200 beats per minute or more.

Reasonable aim is to exercise at about two-thirds of maximum capacity. It follows that heart rate should be about 130 per minute during and just after exercise. Always avoid over-exertion and never allow your pulse go above 190 per minute minus your age.

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