Modern science prides itself on the manner in which it has been able to extend the life span of man. Statisticians point to the fact that, in the western world at least, the living years of modem men have been extended about fifteen years over those of the nineteenth-century men. And, though they have no accurate figures to prove these claims, they also assert that in our century, men live more than twenty-five years past the span of life in the Middle Ages.
Yet, for all purposes, the years referred to, even as far back as the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, are all drawn from what can be called modern times. The division between modern and ancient civilizations can most accurately be made by drawing a line between that time when men lived upon the land, each growing his own food, each toiling in his own fields, and that moment when huge, dirty, sunless cities of commerce sprang up, tearing men from the soil, removing them from that source of health and natural power which we call mother earth.
Of what importance is this to you in your quest for a sound body, a healthy mental outlook and a long and productive life? Why should you concern yourself with the living habits of men who lived a thousand or even five thousand years before your time? Here again the answer can be found- in those areas of the East and Middle East, China, India and parts of Russia, where even at this late date men boast of life spans in excess of one hundred years. These people, without exception, live upon the soil. They use the methods of planting, cultivation and harvesting used by man two thousand years ago. They walk barefoot, sleep upon the ground and bath in running streams. These people live as close to the natural sources of life as men did at the birth of civilization, and as a result they outlive the town and city dwellers by over seventy years! What are the sources of their natural health? They are four – Earth, Sun, Air and Water!
Once you understand the healing qualities of these four, Earth, Sun, Air and Water, you will be prepared, with the help of these natural agents, to live within the bosom of nature and enjoy her loving care. For nature has provided well for her children. She has created the means of preserving health, happiness and long life and placed them all around you. There is little for you to do beyond recognizing them and applying these natural healers to your own life.
[Read: Walking – A Way To Nurture Your Mind, Body, And Soul]
The giant Hercules, according to Greek lore, was ordered to take the golden apples from Antaeus, son of Gaea, the earth goddess. Hercules and Antaeus were locked in terrifying combat and it appeared that Hercules would be destroyed, until he discovered that Antaeus weakened only when he was separated from earth contact, and regaining that contact, he was refreshed and revitalized. Thus Hercules lifted Antaeus into the air and, holding him aloft, was able to strangle the weakened giant.
Myth? Certainly. But what was the origin of this tale? Obviously the early Greeks, descendants of still earlier man, were attempting to record early man’s knowledge of the powers that lie within earth itself.
Man, the most complex and highly developed form of life on earth, is yet a product of earth. He feeds upon plant life, which is of the soil, and even gains, through plant life, direct elements of the soil such as iron, calcium, phosphorus, chlorine, sodium, and others adding to some twenty-seven in number. When we realize how much of the human body can be identified among the elements found within the earth, we understand how accurate is the biblical adage, “Dust thou art.”
Adolf Just, one of the greatest names in natural therapy, realized the curative powers of earth more than hundred years ago when he wrote, “Animals and man are as much products of the earth as the plants; in consequence of their higher development, the former have separated themselves from the earth, have become walking nerve-plants. But animals and man are still as much subject to the laws of nature as plants, they still draw their strength and vitality from the earth.”
Have you ever slept on the earth, with only the stars for your ceiling? Have you ever thrown yourself upon the thick green carpet of earth and permitted your body to become one with sun and soil? Have you ever walked barefoot through grass, sand or rich farm soil and felt the glorious glow of earth and green move slowly up from your feet with a warm, healing sensation that soon swelled throughout your body? If so, then you have directly experienced the power which has been called earth-magnetism. This direct contact of body tissue with the source of all power, earth, produces within men a sense of soothing security, of warm and healing contact such as you have never known before. Children, who have the natural desire to walk barefoot and as bare of clothing as their parents will allow, do not derive their attitudes from involved thought processes. A child is more instinct than intellect. What he wants is what he feels he should have. It is only the adult who teaches him the do’s and don’ts of so-called civilization.
There is a natural tendency among us all, at one time or another in life, to get as close to mother earth as we possibly can. And, once doing so, we find the kind of satisfaction and feeling of true well-being that we have never before known. Is this just a mental attitude? Are we all deluding ourselves? No! This is no figment of all our imaginations. It is a real and important factor in the health of mankind, this earth-magnetism.
It was interesting to observe people pass from indoor to outdoor sleeping and, in some cases, even to actual earth-sleeping. One such patient H. B. was a wealthy New York man of about fifty who possessed most of those things which are supposed to ensure health and happiness. He had a flourishing business, a wholesome family life, a helpful and intelligent wife and all the creature comforts which his wealth could purchase. But despite this, H. B. was one of the most nervous and unhappy souls.
For a period of three years, this man’s family physician had attempted various treatments for the insomnia that was the bane of H. B.’s life. A nerve specialist and a famed psychiatrist had been consulted in the hope that they might have some clue to the patient’s sleeplessness. Finally, in desperation, the family doctor recommended to sleep outdoor.
In his first, H. B. totally rejected the idea of sleeping out. He was convinced that lying upon the “hard” ground, without springs or mattresses, would only add to his sleeplessness. Indeed, he called it a “crackpot idea”. By the end of that week, an eliminatory diet and frequent air and sun-baths had brought a marked improvement to his general condition, but the insomnia continued without let-up.
H. B. was early to recognize the general improvement that natural treatment had brought his nerve-racked body. Thus it was that in the second week, with a rather adventurous attitude, he joined some of those who practiced outdoor sleeping. For three nights he slept on a cot in one of the shelters. The immediate change was noticeable, even astounding. He went about the sanatorium grounds each morning, reporting to anyone who would listen that he had just had his first decent night’s sleep in three years.
There is a postscript to this story. It is in a letter which was received at the sanatorium about two months after a new and thoroughly revitalized H. B. I quote from it briefly, not as proof of the benefits of earth-contact, but because of the interesting suggestion he offered:
“Looking backward, it is amusing for me to realize that less than twelve weeks ago I was the fellow who looked out at those outdoor sleepers and said ‘A bunch of crackpots! ’ For here I am, just a short while after, practicing that same wonderful course two or three nights a week. I’ll bet you people are wondering how a city dweller like me is able to get a couple of good nights’ outdoor sleep each week without being dubbed, the local ‘nut’. Well, it was simple enough. The day I drove back to town, I spotted a small plot of ground for sale just a few miles in from the Hudson River on the New Jersey side. I made a note of the owner’s name and contacted him as soon as I got back to town.
“Before the week was out I owned that quarter acre of New Jersey. And inside of two weeks of weekend labour, I had one of those air-houses that urban people use, all my own. Just a simple little shelter, open on all sides and provided with plenty of hot and cold running breezes from the river. And this is the part that will tickle you – I built it myself.”
The rest of the letter was a glowing testimonial to natural therapy. But I have quoted from it really to indicate how a little imagination and determination can bring even the city dweller closer to the real power of health and happiness. While H. B. could have afforded many times the expense involved in building his little shelter, he could never have bought the joy of creation that he obtained by hammering it together himself. Even at present prices, such an air-house can be built for legs than the cost of a week’s stay at some country resort. And the life-long pleasure that your own sun and air-house will provide can never be counted in shillings and pence.
Outdoor sleeping is believed by many to be the finest form of earth-contact obtainable. But this is certainly not the only means of deriving the benefits of the soil from which we all spring. Two other practices, which are even more commonly used than outdoor sleeping, are readily available to all. The first of these is the most primitive and traditional form of earth-contact, that of walking barefoot upon the soil.
The power which we speak of as earth-magnetism has been likened to other forms of natural power. The comparison between earth-magnetism and electricity, for example, is a rather logical one. The earth itself can be compared with an electro-magnet. Indeed many physicists, chief among them Dr. Albert Einstein, have proved that it is this very force of magnetism which holds the earth and all other planets within their orbits, or space-paths. Naturists contend that this amazing force of which Einstein speaks is, in fact, earth-magnetism.
If you conceive of earth-magnetism as a force similar to electricity and having similar properties, then you can see why contact between the earth and any one area of the body is as effective as the full contact that takes place when you lie outstretched upon the ground. If you want to send a charge of electricity through a mile of wire, it is not necessary for you to place the entire length of wire in contact with the source of electricity. By placing just one end of the body in contact with earth-magnetism, we are able to supply the entire body with the benefits derived therefrom.
The parallel between earth-magnetism and electricity becomes even more interesting when you realize the effect that water has upon both. Everyone should by now be aware that water creates excellent electrical contact. For that reason you are warned never to go swimming during an electrical storm and never, under any circumstances, to answer the telephone or switch on an electrical appliance when your hands or feet are wet. The relationship between water and electricity is well known to you. But are you aware that this property of water also applies to earth-magnetism? For many years now, nature-wise folks have practiced walking barefoot upon dewy grass. Those who have felt the health benefits of earth-magnetism know that early morning or evening dew upon the grass increases the degree of contact between earth and body. And, for most of us, such walks are a far easier and more practical means of receiving the benefits of earth-magnetism than by outdoor sleeping.
One further means of receiving the blessing of earth-contact demands your attention. Father Kneipp, the pioneer in water-therapy, was among the first to advocate walking in running streams. The cool, crystal-clear water that swirls about your legs as you walk through the soft silt or on the rocks of a running stream has been credited with the most fabulous effects upon rheumatic and circulatory conditions of all sorts. In the absence of any other means, wading in your own bath with the water gushing full force will also be a benefit. In the annals of drugless medicine, you will find countless reports of near-crippled patients who have had tortuous pain washed from their limbs by such walks through wet grass or fresh running streams.
These are the three principal sources of earth-contact which are available to you: outdoor sleeping, barefoot walks and water treading. No matter where you live, one of these is accessible. At first you may find it difficult integrating a daily contact with God’s earth into your existence. But if you are determined to know the glories of real health and happiness, you will find a way. I cannot urge you too strongly to find some way to begin your practice of earth-contact at once.
I would like to see the day, and it may not be too far off, when every family, city-bred or not, will own a piece of land upon which it can live in the manner which nature had intended for us all. For only on earth, with the sun, fresh water and clean air of the open country, can we expect to find the true source of health, the harmony with nature that spells long and vital life for us all.
[Read: The Sleeping Secret – Grow Taller 4 Idiots]
Let me begin with a warning: a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Within the past twenty years, sun-bathing has become a popular movement and it is certainly about time. But, unfortunately, with this discovery of the powers and benefits of the sun, have not come a full knowledge and sane approach to sun-bathing. Many advocates and practitioners of sun-bathing seem to think they have found some cure-all. They are not aware that nature offers no single cure-all. Only the constant practice of living in harmony with all the laws of nature can be considered the natural cure-all. No one law of nature can be practiced successfully apart from all else. Use earth and sunlight and you will never want for the miracles of nature. Notice as the sun moves through the sky, how plant leaves turn to it, anxious to absorb every moment of sun’s rays available to them.
But here is my warning. The sun, while it is a wonderful source of energy and health, is also a dangerous and harmful force when not dealt with intelligently. Over-exposure to the sun can lead to painful, even fatal burns, skin-cracks, bleeding, headaches, dizziness, and nervous disorders. You have your choice; you may take your sun in intelligent measures, day by day, with resultant health. Or you may go about it haphazardly, skipping it for days in a row and then attempting to make it up by taking long periods, hours on end, of harmful sunlight. Again, the choice is yours.
The intelligent person will, of course, introduce himself to the sun in a gentle manner, taking no more than ten minutes of total exposure on the first day, and lengthening this period until twenty or thirty minutes of exposure are reached. No more than half an hour of sunlight at any one time is capable of being absorbed and used by the body. Keep that in mind. A suntan is actually nature’s safety device, which filters the harmful rays of too much sun. Also keep in mind that the skin oils of your body help you to derive Vitamin D from the sun. Therefore do not wash those oils from the body before sun-bathing. Do not bathe or take a shower just before your sun treatment.
But most important of all, the sun by itself is not a natural therapy. Man was not meant to lie directly under the rays of the sun. Not merely because such direct exposure can be harmful, but also because the healing qualities of the sun can best be found when combined with the plant life around us.
In Africa, where the people are constantly exposed to sunlight all the year round, you will find that they attempt to avoid the direct rays of the sun wherever possible. In the jungle, the sunlight is filtered through the trees. And in the African villages, you will find that great sun-breaks of leaves and branches are built along the streets, filtering the sun’s rays from direct contact with the body. These “green roofs”, in addition to being picturesque, actually recreate the conditions of the jungle, where the sun is also filtered through leaves before touching the body. This seems to have been nature’s intention from the start. Not direct and parching exposure, but filtered, cool and enjoyable sunlight which will not concentrate on any one area of the body and harm the tissues therein.
Thus, the natural sun-bath should be taken in the semi-shade of trees and brush. This does not mean to avoid the sun entirely. To gain the power of the sun, you must feel its warmth. But this is best done beneath the green, where the rays are filtered and where the process of growth which sun brings to trees and plants can become a part of our sun-bathing. Where the tree-filtered sunlight is not readily available, much the same advantages can be derived from merely covering the body with leaves and grass that have been damped with fresh water, much as dew damps growing plants. Once you have felt the wonders of plant-filtered sun-bathing, you will never again return to the scorching direct-contact method.
All sun-bathing, of course, is best done with as little clothing as possible. This does not mean, however, that nudity is essential or even beneficial. In particular, the sex organs of the body should never be exposed to direct sunlight for any length of time. Much as the exposure of male and female sex organs to X-rays has proved extremely destructive, so such exposure to direct sunlight will induce sterility.
To attain maximum exposure (always remembering to protect the sex organs), it is best to have some means of withdrawing yourself from view. No matter how we may attempt to educate others, there are always those who will fail to understand the total morality of living in harmony with nature. For this, in fact, is the highest morality known to man. If you have a convenient retreat, a roof or balcony, field, wood or solarium, or even a sunlit part of your own room, you may enjoy your private sun-bath with complete satisfaction. You need a space no more than three feet wide and six feet long, with just enough room for a relaxing bath of sunlight. Something in that much space is possible for all of us.
[Read: Take A Breath]
It is all around us. We walk through it, blow, sniff and swallow air the day through. And like the familiarity that breeds contempt, we think about it possibly half a dozen times during a life. We think of it when swimming under water, the lungs bursting for air. We worry if there will be enough air to support us in tight quarters; if the baby will die for lack of it should the blankets cover its head. City folks marvel at it when they step out into the country and find a new and refreshing substance entering their lungs. And that is about as much thought as we afford the ever-present air.
Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to a friend, Dr. Dubourg, wrote the following: “You know that cold water as a hardening agent has been very popular here for a longish time, but it seems to me that the shock of cold water is, generally speaking, always too strong. I found it far more agreeable for my own constitution to bathe in another of the elements; I mean, in fresh air. I therefore get up every morning and sit in my room, reading or writing, completely naked, for half an hour to one hour, according to the season. This air-bath is not unpleasant in the least; and when, as often happens, I afterwards creep back into bed, before dressing, I complete my night’s rest with a further hour or two of the most beautiful sleep imaginable. I have found no evil effects resulting from the habit, and believe, not only that it in no way harms my health, but on the contrary, contributes to its maintenance. I should therefore like to refer to this air-bath in future as an energizing, strengthening bath.”
This early estimate of the health-giving powers of air, by the illustrious Ben Franklin, is, if anything, an understatement. Air is primary not only to life, but to health as well. You are not interested only in remaining alive, but rather in remaining alive in a state of good health. And, I repeat, air is one of your major allies in this struggle.
Take a deep breath that swells your abdomen. Concentrate upon the air intake as it fills your lungs, expands your chest and flexes your diaphragm. Exhale it slowly, evenly, through your lips. Now, so far as most of us are concerned, this is the sole duty of air in the maintenance of life and health, this thing we call breathing. But, if you believe this to be so, you are wrong!
Breathe once more, consciously! Let it out again. That is a complete breath cycle. Yet, while you were completing that twofold act, air was being “breathed” by a hundred thousand different openings upon the surface of your skin. That is, the pores of your skin were exhaling if you were allowing them to. You cannot breathe with your nose through three layers of cloth. Neither can your skin. In fact, were you to paint your body from head to toe, thus sealing up the pores, you would die within one hour. Every excess layer of clothing you wear is actually suffocating the pores of your skin. “What difference does that make?” you ask.
A man cuts his finger. He washes it out and bandages the wound with cotton-wool and gauze. Each day he changes the bandage, maintaining it for five or six days. At the end of that time, the wound is not completely healed, but the man, disgusted with the bandages that seem to do so little good, throws them away. Two days later, the wound is healed completely. Why?
A city-bred woman, nervous, distraught, plagued by insomnia, rides out into the country only to lose her way at night-fall. Frightened at the thought of driving back to the city, she rents a room from a local farmer’s wife. The room is large, unheated, and weather-beaten. Wind whistles in through the eaves. “What a horrible place!” she thinks. “No central heating. Cold air rushing through it. Ugh, I’ll never sleep a moment in this place.” But the farm woman bundles her off to bed and the night begins. The wind shrieks through the trees. Tree branches scratch at the window. The old house creaks with the burden of its years. And here is this city woman without her ear-plugs, no mask to shut out the light of the moon, no consoling radiator to pour its comforting heat into her face, no sleeping-pills to drug her senseless. And here she sleeps almost from the moment her head hits the pillow. When she awakens in the morning, she feels more refreshed, more in favour of living, than she can recall having ever been before. Why?
Air! The air you breathe is the “mysterious” medicine that helped heal the man’s wound. The air that whistled through that old house is the “sleeping-pill” that lulled the city lady to complete rest and left her feeling alive and thrilled to be so.
Air-bathing, as practiced by Benjamin Franklin, is as old as man. The less clothing man wore (and early man wore little), the more he bathed himself in life-giving air. The more he bandaged his body in cotton, wool and nylon, the more he “protected” it with walls of wood, brick and steel, the less nourishment his body received from the air of our planet. I say our planet, since the atmosphere of other worlds does not contain the mixture of vapours we call air. And these other atmospheres will not support human life.
Peculiarly enough, though men have always known of the importance of air in their lives, they have constantly moved away from the kind of life that would avail them of the curative powers of the air. Of course, we have never strayed so far as to try to live without breathing, although some of the tight starched collars that men once wore, and the steel and bone corsets worn to this day by most women, are a step in the direction of strangulation. Now, try a small and simple experiment. Go to the window, open it wide and stand before it. Hold your breath for as long as you are able. Then breathe deeply and slowly half a dozen times. Feel the air as it fills your lungs and expands your abdomen. Pull your head right back and let yourself enjoy each deep lungful. Don’t wait until you have finished this blog. Do it now! What you will learn in front of your own window in six deep breaths will teach you more than all the words I know. Do it now!
How was it? Did you hold your breath for half a minute or longer before enjoying the full power of the fresh air? If so, you discovered something you never knew before. Air has its own odour, it is not odourless as we thought. You can practically taste the wonderful elixir called air. And while you were drinking at one of nature’s most important pools, you could feel your whole body filling with a new vibrancy, a new vigour. There is a headiness that comes with deeply breathed air that no champagne, no wine or liquor, can ever create. And all this from six breaths of air.
What do you suppose fifteen minutes of this would do for you each day? And not merely fifteen minutes of nose breathing: what if you were to spend that brief time in body breathing? Ah, what a glorious morning you have before you. For tomorrow you will have taken your first air-bath!
The proper air-bath does not truly begin in the morning. The first step in approaching this wonderful therapy should be taken at night. It is a simple step, for it merely consists of opening your bedroom window. I am aware that few people sleep in a completely closed room, though some foolhardy ones among us still do. But nevertheless, I am going to ask that all of you, no matter what your past practice, open the window in your bedroom at least two inches more this evening than you did the night before. The reason that I ask this of all is because experience has shown that about only one person in a thousand permits the proper amount of air to flow through his or her sleeping-chamber. Engineers have said that, were it not for the little chinks and crevices around the windows and doors of our houses, the cracks of loose construction, many of us would suffocate to death!
Don’t forget, at least two more inches of air-space in that window tonight. And this must be a year-round matter, controlled by the seasons. In other words, this summer and in the future, see to it that your window is open two inches more than last summer. This winter make certain you have two inches more of air-space in your window than in the past. Start this practice tonight. This is the beginning of your life-long air-bath. In the morning, when you awake, throw off the covers and remove your night-clothes, if you must wear them. Now you are ready for the bath. Begin by stretching your body fully upon the bed: Stretch until you can feel the muscles pull in every direction. Now a couple of big yawns will help you to shake off the sleepiness. And follow that with a very simple exercise; Sit up in bed and relax. Let your head hit your chest, so to speak. Now roll your head slowly, in a small circle, around the pivot of your neck and shoulders. Don’t tighten your neck muscles to do this, let gravity do half the job for you as your head comes to the top of the arc and rolls naturally back to the base. All these are preliminaries, but how well you feel after them!
Now it’s time to move around. The amount of exercise necessary during your air-bath depends largely upon the temperature, of the room. In the winter, you may find it helpful to do a few full knee bending and arms stretching upwards exercises; this circulates your blood and warms the outer tissues. In the summer, almost any kind of light exercise will do; even the little thing you have to do to prepare your clothes for the day will be sufficient agitation for the air-bath. But keep moving! Some men find it convenient to shave during their air-bathing period. I know one lovely lady of fifty who combines her air-bath with a morning dance. She turns on her record player and begins the morning with soft dance music. That is one of the happiest exercise I can think of. Besides, research during the past ten years has proved the wonderful use that can be made of music, particularly in the early part of the day. A soft melody and some medium rhythm are the best alarm-clock.
The need of exercise during the air-bath grows out of the bathing process itself. When you lie in a bath of water, you always move about, splashing water here and there to make certain that the entire body is well bathed. And in water bathing, you apply a wash-cloth or brush to the surface of the skin by way of assisting the water to flush the top layer of tissue. The same is true in the air-bath. Exercise, body motion of any sort, actually washes the body with the flow of purifying air and, like the wash-cloth and brush, lends a penetrating action to the air. And so a primary rule in air-bathing is, keep moving!
The nude body, in motion, accomplishes two tasks: air is fed to the skin surface and the muscles of the body are activated. Nature’s laws above all demand motion. Static matter does not long remain alive. If you want your body to live and grow each moment of your life, you must see to it that every area of the body receives daily exercise of one sort or another. The degree of exercise will vary with the condition of the individual. There are good-muscle-toning exercises for every age and condition of health.
One further word about your first air-bath, a major benefit of air-bathing is the wonderful stimulus it supplies to the skin. A sallow, pimply, and unhealthy-looking skin can be brought to a new glow of life through a series of morning or evening air-baths. (Though morning baths are preferable, evening baths, even with the sunless night air, are especially useful to those of us who cannot accommodate our daily routine to earlier bathing. What is important is not so much the time of day as the loyalty you demonstrate to these daily air-baths.)
The key to maintaining a healthy skin through air-bathing lies in the skin rubs and massages that should accompany these daily baths. The skin, like all of our body, needs regular exercise and stimulation. This stimulation will not only improve the condition of the skin itself, but will provide you with a tingling and bubbling sensation that comes with living in tune with nature. Before you have completed your first air- bath, try this series of skin attentions and see if you don’t come away from it feeling as though you have just sipped long and well from the fountain of youth.
1. During the exercises that accompany the air-bath, rub your arms, thighs, abdomen, chest, back and all portions of the body within reach. This should be no pat-a-cake process, but rather a brisk rubbing motion interspersed with slapping and grasping of the skin.
2. Purchase a good coarse towel or rubbing cloth as soon as possible and finish off each air-bath with a brisk dry toweling of the entire body.
3. Never permit the well-exercised body, damp with the healthful perspiration of exercise and stimulation, to remain still. Keep moving during the bath, exercise and rub. And, above all, dry yourself well upon the completion of the bath and get into good, warm clothing. Never, under any circumstances, must you allow yourself to become chilled. I know that there are people who seem to believe that the more you punish your body, the more you will strengthen it. This is a dangerous concept. Air-bathing will harden the body to the atmosphere and strengthen it against the colds, chills and nasal disturbances common to so many.
But bodily discomfort is not the same thing as hardening or strengthening the body. On the contrary, an uncomfortable body is one which is on its way to disrepair. Nature means us to live in comfort and ease. Shocking and disturbing our natural comfort is a hindrance, not a help to nature. Therefore, avoid chilling your body at all costs!
This, then, is your air-bath, or at least the beginning of it. For, although the organized air-bath is a matter of a few minutes daily, you are involved in the process of air-bathing each moment of your life. It is impossible for you to keep the air from reaching some part of your body at every moment, although many people, the over-dressers, certainly give it a good try. Since the air is constantly bathing the exposed portions of your body, you can help nature in this task simply by wearing the kind of sensible clothing that will permit the maximum of air contact throughout the day.
Stiff collars and tightly-knotted ties are out of the question for the sensible man. In the same way, garters, corsets and tight-fitting bras are plain foolishness for women. Choose your clothes with a view to providing the maximum amount of comfort. Loosely-fitted, soft-spun materials are best. Women seem to be moving in a good direction these days, with their bare-backed dresses and short skirts. But the designer who introduced slacks to the female sex was doing them a distinct disservice. Unless a woman is involved in the kind of activity that really calls for such attire, I would suggest that slacks be discarded from the female wardrobe.
In a like manner, I would suggest that men give up the practice of wearing long trousers in the summer, when the natural warmth provided by the sun makes them totally unnecessary. Just as I would prefer to see women give up the wearing of stockings as early as the season will permit, I would advise men to wear shorts the moment the weather permits. And, in addition, light summer attire can be worn year- round in a properly heated flat or house. Most important of all, never overdress. The body must constantly be protected against chill. But there is nothing that invites a chilling breeze like a body that has been overdressed and over-heated.
In spring, summer, autumn and during mild winter days you have an excellent opportunity to take your air-bathing outdoors. The first day that the weather permits, the air- bather should rise fifteen or twenty minutes earlier than usual, dress lightly and go outdoors after his usual morning regimen, beginning the day with a brisk walk. Where a walk through field or forest is obtainable, the air-bath is most fully enjoyable and beneficial. These walks should be enjoyed barelegged and barefooted, or with light sandals of cork or leather (the less that lies between you and earth-contact, the better). Never, never use rubber composition soled shoes, which insulate you from the benefits of earth-contact. The barefoot or barelegged walker will never suffer the rheumatic or circulatory disorders that go with over-heating and perspiration of the legs when these are clothed in stockings, socks and trousers.
Some time ago, a middle-aged man, whose initials were A. M., suffered from very painful legs and backaches, and asked for advice. His sales job called for him to be constantly on his feet. I suggested certain water-baths, air-bathing and, particularly, strengthening the feet through barefoot walks. He rejected the thought of walking barefoot in his yard, since his neighbour, an older man, had a particularly caustic wit that he used to chide others. Asked which he would prefer to eliminate, his aching feet, or his cynical neighbour, A. M. decided to give the barefoot walks a try, but he was obviously concerned about his nagging neighbour.
A month later, I chanced to visit A. M. at his suburban home. He was raking some leaves on the lawn – barefoot. He told me of the wonderful results the baths and walking had brought, results which I could see for myself as he strutted painlessly about the yard. Then he introduced me to a friend across the way who was also working in his yard. I recognized him from A. M.’s earlier description as the scoffing neighbour whose jeers had worried my friend. But A. M. obviously no longer needed to fear his neighbour’s caustic humour. For, lo and behold, Mr. Cynic was now working barefoot in his own yard. So much for the scoffers !
Now that you have learned the -wonders of air-bathing, use this knowledge well. It is a major mile along the road to health. Start at once and never let a day pass without your air-bath. Begin with short, five-minute sessions. Extend the time day by day until you are able to bathe in air for periods of fifteen minutes at a time. No more than fifteen minutes a day will be needed to guarantee the benefits of one of nature’s greatest gifts – the air-bath!
[Read: Take A Bath]
I have left for last the most commonly used bathing agent of all, water. While many have overlooked the healing qualities of earth, air and sun, there is hardly a place on earth where one or another kind of water therapy is unknown.
Water-baths of various sorts, sulphur, steam, pressure baths (affusions), etc., have been a part of human healing for thousands of years. And, if you have observed the life of animals, both domestic and wild, you know why it is safe to presume that the first man upon earth sought out the healing power of water.
If you have heard how the deer or other animal when it is sick or injured, will crawl to the nearest water-hole to wallow in the healing power of earth and water, and rise in a short while, returned to health, you must know how basic water therapy is. More meaningful than the water pilgrimage of sick animals are the regular habits of these creatures. Since they lack reasoning powers, it cannot be said that these animals have recognized the adage, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” Not reason, but instinct, drives deer, antelope and cow to the banks of river and lake. In almost every case, the routine of bathing is the same. This procedure is the same among almost all animals excepting man. Here again man has strayed from the path of nature.
The deer and other animals greatly enjoy their regular baths as you can attest, if you have ever suddenly come upon them during their ablutions. And you would have also noticed that these animals never submerge their bodies beyond a point corresponding to the human abdomen. Enjoying the water as they apparently do, still these simple products of nature will never immerse themselves from head to toe as men do.
There is another bathing trait common to these animals and that is the massage. Since they do not have the developed hands of men, they find it necessary and satisfying to massage their bodies by rubbing them upon the thick black mud of the river bed. They will generally choose a shallow area in which to crouch and massage their bodies, standing on their hind legs to apply needed pressure to the bottoms. In the case of birds, where limbs are developed so as to make it possible, they will generally complete their baths by rubbing their bodies with their wings until they are sufficiently dry.
This long ago led me to certain conclusions concerning the water-bath. Applying these rules at both the Florida and New Jersey sanatoria, we were able to prove the validity of these conclusions and the importance of proper water-bathing to the maintenance of health, sexual virility and long life.
THE NATURAL BATH
The natural bath should not be taken in hot water. Rivers and streams, with their constant exchange and flow of water, never become more than tepid on the hottest day of the year. And the natural bath was first performed in moving water. While it is not a simple matter for you to bathe yourself in the open air, as your ancestors once did, it is important that you approximate to those conditions as nearly as possible.
The room in which you bathe should not be over-heated. If air and water are at the same temperature, you will find neither uncomfortable. Begin by filling your bath with three or four inches of water, no more. When you enter the bath, you will find this to be only sufficient to cover the feet, but- tocks and sexual organs. This is as it should be for natural bathing.
It is not necessary to use soap in your bath, though this is permissible. Personally, I find the use of a genuine pine-oil water softener in the bath to be beneficial. The use of soap for removing dirt is rarely required where bathing is frequent and brisk rubbing of the entire body takes place, both during and after the bath. Soap will serve to dry the skin and remove those natural oils which assist in deriving Vitamin D from sunlight. Go on using as much soap as you wish. But let me only ask that the habit of soaping the body not be permitted to replace the healthful water massage.
The natural bath differs widely in two respects from your regular bathing habits. Your body was not meant to be totally submerged. No living creatures other than fish and amphibians (beaver, seal, otter, etc.) benefit by water submersion. Therefore, your natural bath uses a minimum of water. However, despite the fact that natural bathing involves the use of less water, the application of water to the body is so organized and directed as to benefit your body in a manner unknown to you before your discovery of natural bathing.
Swift and frequent dousings of water upon your abdominal region are the second characteristic of the natural bath. By cooling and revitalizing the circulation upon and around the abdomen and the organs of reproduction, you will do much to remove the most common causes of sexual sterility. In the case of the female, such dousings will help to alleviate the blood congestion that frequently occurs in this important area of the body and the soothing effects of cool water are quickly produced.
The daily and brisk application of cool water to this region will also help to act as a guard against sterility in the male. The over-heating and stagnating enclosure of tight undergarments and athletic supporters is a contributing factor to the loss of male sexual potency.
Following this, the procedure is repeated until the entire body has been stimulated and cleansed. The length of time spent at your natural bath is not significant and will vary according to personal need.
It is important to remain constantly in motion during the natural bath. Since the water is never hot, the chance of chilling the body exists, unless you warm yourself with stimulating action and continuous rubbing. This rubbing motion should be continued after you have left the bath and until the body is dry. Towels are unnecessary in the natural bath and their use will deprive you of the stimulating effects of the drying rub.
If you have conducted your natural bath properly, you will not be subject to chill and you may even be able to follow it with an air-bath. The air-bath is most beneficial when it can be used in conjunction with the natural bath, which opens the pores of the skin and permits the entire surface of your body direct contact with the healing qualities of air.
Water is possibly the most vital and versatile of all natural agents. Its uses and benefits are varied and many. In addition to the external bath, water is used internally as in the various colonics (enemas) and liquid diets that cleanse the interior of your body as the natural bath cleanses your surface tissues. None should be overlooked in the quest for joyous health.
Earth, Sun, Air and Water are four of nature’s greatest agents in the creation and maintenance of health and longevity. Each serves an important purpose in the great and glorious scheme of life, health and happiness, called nature’s cycle. Live with and apply each to your own existence and your life will be the fuller, richer and longer for it.