As seen in the previous section, the opportunistic and pathogenic bacteria in our body produce toxins that must be removed, as well as metabolic waste.
First of all, it is important to understand what toxemia exactly is, and how it is related to disease. In his book entitled Toxemia Explained, Dr Tilden clarified (74):
“Every so-called disease is a crisis of Toxemia; which means that toxin has accumulated in the blood above the toleration-point, and the crisis, the so-called disease—call it cold, “flu”, pneumonia, headache, or typhoid fever—is a vicarious elimination. Nature is endeavouring to rid the body of toxin. Any treatment that obstructs this effort at elimination baffles nature in her effort at self-curing.”
Additionally, he elaborated further:
“When the elimination takes place through the mucous membrane of the nose, it is called a cold —Catarrh of the nose; and where these crises are repeated for years, the mucous membrane thickens and ulcerates, and the bones enlarge, closing the passage, etc. At this stage hay-fever or hay-asthma develops. When the throat and tonsils, or any of the respiratory passages, become the seat of the crises of Toxemia, we have croup, tonsillitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis, bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, etc.” “All are symptoms of the expulsion of toxin from the blood at the different points named, and are essentially of the same character and evolving from the one cause—namely, Toxemia— crises of Toxemia. “
“It should be obvious to the discerning how extraordinarily illogical it is to treat a catarrh of the nose as a local disease; or, when crises are repeated until ulceration takes place, and the mucous membrane becomes so sensitive that dust and pollen cause sneezing and watering of the eyes—symptoms called hay-fever—to treat these symptoms as a distinct disease caused by pollen. “
Shelton illustrated the following point in his book Human Life (28):
“In the case of the inspired gnat or cake crumb, the sneezing and coughing are obviously normal and are defensive efforts. Why should they be considered as other than this when it is mucous they are directed against as in a cold, a bronchitis, or a pneumonia? They should not.”
When the normal detoxification pathways (i.e. organs) — intestines, lungs, liver, kidneys, skin — become overwhelmed, then toxins and all kinds of harmful substances have to be eliminated through extraordinary pathways. One of these means can be through secretion. Rhinitis can thus be the response of the body trying to remove toxins by producing mucus and inducing sneezing.
This is congruent with the fact that rhinitis is stronger in the morning, because the body is expelling the harmful substances that have been accumulated overnight. The more toxins — especially, the heaviest and the unhealthiest an evening meal is — the more mucus is to be expelled.
As seen in the previous section, the removal of toxins due to unhealthy eating habits by the respiratory system leads to irritation in the nasal mucosa. This, in turn, creates an environment for hypersensitivity to all kinds of airborne particulates, such as smoke, perfumes, pollen, dust, and animal hair. This could explain why sensitivity increases when unhealthy food is consumed.
Since disease is the mechanism through which the human body has to rid itself of its problem: toxemia, it is paramount to understand why such a problem arises initially. As Dr Tilden explained, toxemia stems from a reduction of nerve-energy:
“Without nerve-energy the functions of the body cannot be carried on properly. The present-day strenuousness causes enervation, which checks elimination, and the retained toxins bring on Toxemia.”
By the same token, he argued: “Everything that acts on the body uses up energy. Cold and heat require the expenditure of nerve-energy.”
Figure 3.23 Vital Energy
As a result, Dr Tilden concluded that enervation was the most fundamental cause of disease. Self-indulgence or committing all kind of excesses — overeating, using stimulants, sex, or overworking — as much as a shock, an injury, or even abuse, fear, grief and envy, can, for instance, lead to disease. In other words, the enervating habits of body and mind stem from a lack of positive lifestyle factors, bad life habits and certain emotions, or feelings that are subjectively experienced as negative by the persons suffering from them.
If enervation is the root cause of disease, then the enervating habits of life must be changed in order to allow the body to heal. Moreover, Dr Tilden added: “Rest from habits that enervate is the only way to put nature in line for curing. Sleep and rest of body and mind are necessary to keep a sufficient supply of energy. Few people in active life rest enough.”
Enervating habits of life are the weakening factors contributing to hypersensitivity in persons predisposed to this kind of condition.
There are two types of toxins: the internal ones (i.e. endogenous) and the external ones (i.e. exogenous).
There are two ways to manage these toxins: by elimination and by storage. Regarding elimination there are two kinds: normal and extraordinary; and two kinds of storage: harmless and harmful.
A normal elimination does not have any important consequences for the body; the main detoxification organs are used. But an extraordinary elimination requires considerable efforts from the organism, which exhibits a set of symptoms of disease: pain, swelling, phlegm, sneezing, cough, redness, high temperature and prostration, for instance. These are warning signs indicating us that something is done wrong and must be stopped. The issue arises when these alarm bells are ignored and muffled with chemical, natural or alternative medication, whereas the real solution would be to break these bad and unhealthy habits.
In the storage toxicity management, the body strives to keep toxins in a place which should not disrupt its functions and organs, such as adipose tissue (i.e. fat). However, the organism may decide that toxicity cannot be stored in this harmless place — it may already be “full”, or it may be due to the nature of the substances or due to other reasons. As a result, such toxins may be deposited in areas of the body in which harm can be caused. Nonetheless, the body will naturally endeavour to prevent these toxins from damaging the most vital organs. For instance, the joints of the knees may be chosen over the facet joints of the spine; or the muscles of the extremities over the cardiac muscle. Overweight and ulcerative diseases such as colitis, ulcers and sclerosis, as well as induration such as fibromas, tumours, cysts, atherosclerosis and cataracts may be the consequence of this storage strategy.
Whilst each individual has a genetic predisposition to one of these types of toxicity management, several factors influence the strategies adopted by the organism. In one single individual, the organism can decide to rid itself of certain substances, whilst storing others. Moreover, depending on the state of the body, the same substance can even be processed differently. For instance, medication and/or any other remedies for hypersensitivity tip the balance of the organism towards a storage mode, in order to stop the processes of elimination. Then, when using these medicines, instead of developing an inflammatory disease or hypersensitivity in the short term, we develop an ulcerative or induration disease in the long term.
In general and as depicted in the next section, when unable to be excreted from the body through the normal pathways, these harmful substances will be stored and will accumulate until a toleration threshold is exceeded. This will in turn trigger an extraordinary mechanism of elimination. This toleration level varies from one person to another, and is subject to change throughout life.
Toleration level and reserves
Dr Tilden explained
“When nerve-energy drops below normal, the elimination of toxin—a natural product of metabolism—is checked, and is retained in the blood, bringing on Toxemia.
It should be obvious to discerning minds that the amount of toxin in the blood must vary with each individual, and that the degree of resistance also must vary with each individual. An amount that would cause a toxemic crises in one would apparently have no effect on another.”
Shelton elaborated further on this tolerance to toxins:
“Crisis usually last until the disease producing factors have been reduced to the toleration point. This point varies with the individual and with the varying conditions of the individual. Thus, the greater the amount of vitality one possesses, the less morbid matter will his system tolerate, and as the vitality of one with chronic disease is gradually raised, his toleration point also rises so that crises occur”.
Some persons who eat unhealthy food, smoke or drink alcohol may appear to be in good health, while others may often be sick although they take very good care of their health.
There are mainly two diametrically opposed explanations for this fact:
1) One obvious answer is that on the one hand, the person with unhealthy habits may be strong and may be able to lead an unhealthy lifestyle without falling sick.. On the other hand, the person with healthy habits may be so weak that even the wisest healthy choices may not prevent disease. If this second person followed unhealthy habits, it is likely that they would find themselves in a poorer state of health.
2) According to the approach of Hygienists Tilden and Shelton, a person with unhealthy habits has a very high toleration level, which means that their body have become accustomed to consuming a large amount of harmful substances, which are stored. However, once these toxins have accumulated above the toleration level, disease will be contracted in order to eliminate this excess of toxins. On the contrary, the weak person with healthy habits probably has a very low level of tolerance. Therefore, any small amount of toxins will be immediately excreted from their organism with a disease crisis.
Along with every hypersensitive person, my toleration level is extremely low. From a scientific point of view, I consider this as an advantage: similarly to a canary in a coal mine, We react to any harmful substances in tiny amounts and quickly. Our reactions occur well before the body of other persons may have accumulated or have been damaged by such substances.
The level of toleration, or sensitivity, varies throughout life. Children are more sensitive, thus more prone to developing elimination diseases (i.e. colds, flu or gastroenteritis) more often than adults. As the person ages, adults in general develop chronic diseases instead, which are the result of the harm inflicted by the accumulated toxins. Shelton stated (28):
“At first the young man’s body will not tolerate more than two or three cigarettes a day, but, in the course of a few years, he is smoking two or more packages of these daily. So, in infancy and childhood, the body will not tolerate much of the toxins of disease, but develops frequent crisis and throws them off. As time passes, however, more toleration is built, and crises become less frequent and less vigorous.”
However, as soon as the person stops having that harmful substance over an extended period of time, their body will become intolerant and sensitive again to this particular substance. This also applies to dairy products or gluten, for instance: When the person starts having these products again after avoiding them for some time, an intolerance reaction appears stronger than before it stopped, and the nature of this reaction can differ according to the person.
Figure 3.25 Pool of toxemia
In Figure 3.25 the toxemia pool represents the accumulation of harmful substances for the body (i.e. toxins from bacterial decomposition, metabolic wastes and toxics from outside sources). In fact, this toxicity is deposited and stored in several places of the body such as in the interstitial fluid surrounding the cells, in fat tissue, organs and joints. This allocation will be made by the organism depending on factors, such as the genetic predisposition, the nature of the substances, and the amount of nerve-energy stored.
The elimination organs need nerve-energy or vital energy for the process of emptying this toxemia pool. If the levels of energy are low, or if the normal pathways of elimination are overwhelmed with toxins, the barrel will fill progressively until the amount of toxins reaches the toleration threshold. Then, the body will resort to the extraordinary pathways of elimination. This mechanism will cause a crisis (e.g. diarrhoea, mucus or inflammation) by calling up the reserves of nerve-energy or vital energy that the body has built up to respond to dangerous situations,
Once toxins have decreased below the toleration point, elimination will resume through the normal pathways if there is enough nerve-energy. Nonetheless, toxins will be retained again within the body if the levels of nerve-energy are too low.
After a crisis, the body is so exhausted because it has been depleted of all his energy reserve supplies, that collapse and pain forces the individual to rest. However, expending more vital energy than they can replenish by resting, eating healthy and receiving the energy of the sun, for instance, will be very detrimental to their health.
Shelton explained the mechanism of the reserve of power (28):
“The body seeks always to maintain a certain reserve of power and we can get this power out only by supplying emergencies such as this reserved is stored up to meet.”
“The capital stock of energy, over and above the usual expenditures, is held in store for an emergency, and while, therefore the draft upon this reserve is increased by every assault, the supply necessary for the work of maintaining functional action and structural integrity will be furnished till the reserve is exhausted. After this, if the demand for power to sustain functional soundness exceeds the income, the organ or organs must falter in their functions, and here commences Functional Disease.”
Unconsciously, most of us are heavily depleting our vital energy reserves, whenever we rely on painkillers, anti-inflammatories, on a cup of coffee or on any other kind of stimulant or sedative upon suffering from ailments or pains, which, in normal circumstances, would force us to pause. Our busy lives do not allow us to do so, and rest as much as we should to recover. Such a lifestyle takes a toll on our health.
Finally, Shelton added (28):
“The loss of power that must precede the development of disease is due to waste of power largely occasioned by the use of irritants and excitants — stimulants. Hence the egregious folly of the habitual employment of stimulants or tonics of various kinds, until the vital economy is forced to hang out its distress signals, and then employing the same means in larger amounts, or others of similar character and greater power, to remedy the damages of the habitual over-stimulation.”
For the time being, I believe the theory advanced by Hygienism to be one of the most coherent ones about disease.
Desensitisation by adaptation
In conventional medicine, desensitisation is performed by means of the adaptive capacity of the human body.
Nature has a large capacity of adaptation to gradual changes occurring overtime, such as temperature, humidity, pressure, exposure to the sun and the amount of food.
Under subtle environmental changes, living beings have the ability to gradually perform changes in life functions and adapt to the new conditions. Nonetheless, their adaptive capacity remains limited. Therefore, for an organism to survive, it is crucial that these environmental changes, albeit gradual, occur at the same rate as adaptation’s.
On the other hand, living beings will not be able to adapt in a rapidly-changing environment (e.g. if the temperature is too extreme). In response to such a threat to survival, they will either flight or freeze. A typical example to illustrate this case is the fable of the boiling frog: if sitting in a pot of gradually heating water, the frog will adapt to the changes in temperature, but will eventually be boiled to death without leaping out of danger when the temperature rises too much. However, if the frog is suddenly plunged into boiling water, it will immediately jump out to save itself. Although it has been shown that the frog would jump out in both cases, this fable is an appropriate analogy of the capacity of adaptation of living beings.
Humans react in a similar fashion: for instance, when non-smokers start smoking, their body will react to the poisons being introduced, and they may experience coughing and vomiting as a result. However, after smoking regularly for a long period of time, or if their daily consumption of cigarettes has increased very gradually, these initial reactions will stop. Their body will have built up a tolerance to tobacco. Smokers, albeit accustomed to smoking, are slowly damaging their body.
In the same vein, unhealthy food is not rejected by the organism of the average person. Only hypersensitive persons, who are being diagnosed with food intolerance or allergies, are the ones whose bodies are rejecting some or all of these junk foods, although sometimes also reacting to agents which are normally inoffensive.
One way to desensitise a person to these harmless agents is to allow their body to slowly adapt to them. This is the procedure used by allergists in desensitisation. At the beginning, the organism is exposed to a tiny amount of a particular allergen, which does not cause any reaction. The doses are then gradually increased until the body can become accustomed and build up a tolerance to the allergen to a normal level. In fact, it is the same process as the frog being slowly boiled alive: our body systems are misleading us into accepting substances, which would not be tolerated in normal circumstances.
Although the human mind is deemed to be more powerful than the infinite wisdom of our body, how can we be sure that an allergen is not actually a threat? Doctors insist on desensitising children to peanuts, cow milk protein and egg protein. It is questionable whether these foods are actually healthy for humans; from my point of view, and as illustrated in the next chapter, they are not. To summarise, desensitisation involves adapting the organism to harmful substances.
By the same token, how can we be sure that some allergens targeted by the treatment, such as pets, dust, bee venom, dust mites or pollen, are harmless to hypersensitive persons? If the organism had the power to rid itself of these particles through the normal pathways of elimination, it would do it, but resorting to the extraordinary pathways is sometimes the only way to do so (if the organism is using extraordinary pathways, this means that it has run out of options.). Forcing the body to build up a tolerance to allergens does not help the organism to excrete the toxins through its normal channels. Desensitisation does not lead to reduced levels of toxicity and enervation. What this treatment does is prompting the organism to store allergens instead of eliminating them, which can lead to chronic diseases in the long term.
The French Hygienist Albert Mosséri stressed in his book La nutrition hygiéniste (75): “It is time to stop this deception about the adaptability and tolerance of the human body. It is a double language, unique to medicine. […] It is also time to understand that this so-called adaptation is an illusion and a disappointment; has anyone who has smoked or consumed alcohol for a long time adapted to these poisons, to the point of tolerating them? Have those who eat meat, fish, bread and grains as the staples of their diet, adapted to these foods? Is their body able to tolerate them? At what cost?”
Compared to the average person, individuals with hypersensitivities have a limited adaptive capacity. A sudden exposure to a large amount of allergens can sensitise the organism to them.
In today’s world, we are constantly challenged by the drastic changes in the composition of the environment. Indoor air (i.e. inside homes, cars and offices) is different from outdoors owing to the organic chemical compounds found in furniture, carpets or cleaning products, for instance Moreover, traveling can increase the exposure to these sudden, abrupt environmental changes.
I think that respiratory allergies are due to a lack of adaptation to changes in the environment.
I have personally experienced such allergic reactions in spring: hay fever starts as soon as I get into or out of the car, or when I travel long distances. However, after spending some time in a new environment — it can be one hour or longer — my organism slowly adjusts to it; the reactions would slowly diminish and, in most cases, eventually stop. Many people suffering from rhinitis have declared that a reaction would be caused as soon as they enter or exit a store, a building or a house.
In the natural environment, human beings would not be exposed to such radical changes in the environment: due to a gradual increase in the amount of pollen in the air, animals slowly adapt to changes in their current environment.
The hypersensitive organism strongly reacts to changes. Similarly to the fable of the boiling frog, hypersensitivity may be an asset in the face of a harsh and rapidly-changing environment — such reactions can often save lives. Probably, a compromise between adaptation and reaction could be ideal.
It would be interesting to understand why hypersensitive persons have such a limited adaptive capacity. This phenomenon may be due to a genetic predetermination, through which an organism will develop a strategy when facing sudden changes in conditions: it will either resist, or adapt to them..
As previously depicted in the theory of toxemia, the normal pathways of elimination can become saturated by the weakening factors or by an overload of toxins. As a result and in order to adapt to an environment, the organism reacts by calling the extraordinary pathways into play. According to this theory, desensitisation could be achieved by reducing the toxemia.
Desensitisation by toxemia reduction
Hypersensitive persons usually have a very low toleration level. Nonetheless, the immune system can be made less sensitive.
I succeeded in decreasing my hypersensitivity. I have suffered from MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) for most of my life. By following a healthy lifestyle, I seldom suffer from the allergic and hypersensitive reactions I have had since I was a child. Now, I only suffer from light rhinitis a few days of the year when the pollen count is very high and it is very windy.
Sensitivity can be decreased by reducing the level of toxins that can be controlled. Keeping toxicity below a certain threshold enables us to be in a stronger position when facing the external agents we are sensitive to. In fact, the body will not be overwhelmed by the daily toxic load, and more vital energy will be available to remove allergens.
In other words, neither the environmental nor the triggering factors for hypersensitivity reactions, such as the pollen, dust, mosquito bites, chemicals, noise, pollution and smoke can be fully curbed. Nonetheless, the weakening factors can be limited by what we eat, how much we exercise and by how many hours we sleep, for instance. By improving our lifestyle and our nutrition, we can minimize and better manage the risks we face in our daily lives. Moreover, the same principle can be applied to emotions; whilst we cannot control the acts and words of other persons, we can strengthen our resilience to challenge aggressive behaviours.
Impacts of other factors and limitations of nutrition
In Natural Hygiene, health is influenced by many other factors besides nutrition. For instance, Dr David Klein mentions 30 of them in his book Self Healing Colitis & Crohn’s (76): “Love of self, healthy self-image and esteem, passionate love of all life, awareness, intention, inner focus/listening, abidance of the senses of intuition, true knowledge, graceful, grateful, respectful, generous attitude; organic, properly-combined vegan diet; pure water, pure air, sunshine, warm climate, fitness and posture, security and peace of mind, rejuvenative rest and sleep, heart-centered self-nurturing, sharing of love, relaxation, humor, creative expression, emotional flow and release, rhythmic movement, musical indulgence, simple lifestyle, communing with nature, gardening, service—living your life’s purpose, engagement in self-improvement challenges.”
Changing our dietary habits is one of the steps that can be taken in order to bring about beneficial and more positive effects on vital energy. However, there are many other life factors that can have a more negative impact, which means that all efforts towards improving nutrition can be in vain.
For instance, I met a child called Neil. He suffered from severe asthma attacks on an almost daily basis, with most of them requiring hospitalisation. His condition was associated with gastroenterological disorders such as GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), stomach aches, inflammation, flatulence, loose stools as well as insomnia, behavioural disorders, dermatitis, headaches, back pains and fatigue.
After following my advice and changing his diet, the improvement was still not satisfactory: only tiredness, headaches and backaches were relieved, and milder symptoms of dermatitis were exhibited.
I think that the outcomes expected with the nutritional changes were not achieved because Neil was on medication on a daily basis. The contribution of medication to the toxic load is such that a tremendous amount of vital energy has to be expended in order to expel it from the body, hence restricting the supply of energy for digestion. Subsequently, any food eaten, albeit healthy, will be converted into more waste, thus further increasing the amount of toxins. Additionally, the discomfort caused by the elimination of toxins disrupts rest and a good night of sleep, which decreases vital energy levels as well. Unfortunately, it was an unbreakable circle.. The only solutions would have been either to stop medication or to go on a fast, but neither options were available because that could have caused conflict with the medical establishment, and because in any case, parents would have refused to participate.
Some harmful substances such as those from medication can have such a strong negative impact on health: increasing toxemia to such high levels that any effort made in improving nutrition and other lifestyle factors will fail in achieving visible results.
I have faced this situation in other cases, too: with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, epilepsy and hypertension. In all of them, the person was on a medication that prevented any improvement in nutrition.
We can understand this limitation with a mathematical equation: imagine that having the best nutrition improves health by 100 points, and taking medication worsens it by 1,000,000. It is clear that the impact of a good nutrition will not be perceptible whilst taking medication. The same happens with any of the weakening factors influencing health.
“Fasting: Nature's Best Remedy” — Albert Mosséri (77)
In my opinion, fasting is one of the best remedies to treat most illnesses. It has been shown that fasting is effective for many diseases (78, 79, and 80).
Personally, I have never fasted for more than 48 hours. However, if ever I suffer from a severe health condition, I think that a long fast will be my first choice.
I once coached a person who was going on a water fast (i.e. no food, only water) for 20 days, and we did not see the expected results. Unless necessary and unless the person is absolutely determined about it, I am not very enthusiastic about prolonged fasting because it is a great sacrifice.
Hypersensitive persons do not need prolonged fasting, namely for more than two days, because hypersensitive reactions are a consequence of both an overactive immune system and detoxifying system. In hypersensitive people, toxins are not stored in the body, but the organism finds alternative ways to expel any harmful substances; even some inoffensive substances are targeted by the immune system in order to be removed.
Consequently, a detoxifying treatment of any kind will not be necessary for hypersensitive people, whether juicing, hydrotherapy, herbs or prolonged fasting, for instance. Our body naturally detoxifies itself very well — albeit excessively. This could be interpreted as our internal organs being “obsessed with cleaning”, and the fact that many of us are quite obsessed with order and cleanliness may not be a coincidence after all…!
Any detoxifying therapy is going to increase hypersensitive reactions.
The type of fasting that I regularly practice and I advise is intermittent fasting. On most days, I eat only once a day, between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. In my experience, I think this is the schedule that works the best. If I eat more frequently, this is, two times a day, for example, I will not sleep well at night and I will feel much worse the next day, mainly hampered by rhinitis in the morning. This happens even if I split the same amount of food that I eat in one meal into two meals.
Resting and sleeping
We have the erroneous idea that food provides energy, but this is not exact. Here, Dr Douglas Graham (81) explains the difference between energy and fuel in detail:
“In health sciences […] the term, ‘energy’ is defined as a low-voltage electrical current produced by your brain during sleep, which run through your body via your nervous system (also known as vital nerve energy). When you are awake, you use nerve energy more rapidly than the brain can produce it. Hence, you eventually run out of energy. After an appropriate period of hours procuring sleep, you awaken, fully recharged and full of nerve energy again.
On the other hand, food is referred to as ´fuel´. We need to consume fuel for three primary reasons—nutrition, hydration, and pleasure. Through the process of digestion, we burn our fuel (food) to release its own energy potential and utilize it for ourselves. During this complicated process, we receive a net gain in energy by using our own nerve energy to release the potential in food.”
Consequently, the energy provided by food and the one provided by rest and sleep are different; one does not replace the other.
The best remedy I resorted to in order to reduce the symptoms of severe allergic reactions was to take a rest. Sometimes, five minutes are enough in order to stop an allergy attack, and on occasion, I needed more time and I had to rest more frequently during the day. Resting with the eyes closed is very important. Meditation is not compulsory; relaxation is what matters.
I can think of several different explanations as to why rest is so effective:
1) Closing eyes and being inactive saves on energy, which increases vital energy, which in turn reduces toxemia.
2) Similarly to sleep, resting the body allows the immune system to recover and the senses to rest. All activities of daily living are more or less stressful, which leads to an overactive immune system in hypersensitive persons.
3) Hypersensitive persons are very sensitive to the world around us, as if it was “hurting” us. When sensory receptors are shut down, we feel better. Hypersensitive persons have a very active nervous system, hence a high sensory processing ability and a heightened sense of awareness for detail and for any events that occur simultaneously. In fact, more energy is allocated to the nervous system than in the average person, and a very high amount of energy is spent in processing the information from the environment through senses, mainly as images. However, this is at the expense of a high vital energy expenditure. As a result, other systems of the body may lack energy to perform tasks, such as neutralising and eliminating toxins through the normal pathways.
In Human Life , Shelton stated (28): “Rest and replenishment of power is the first step in the curative work.”