Nutrition And Asthma

In bronchial asthma—there is not ordinarily any impairment of the heart. In this type of asthma there is a congestion of the blood vessels within the bronchial branches, and there is great nervous tension which causes spasticity of the breathing tubes. The victim finds it difficult to breathe.

The asthmatic breathes in a characteristic wheezing manner in the effort to exhale. The cause of bronchial asthma is inflammation of the mucous membrane and related structures.

The asthmatic is a miserable individual. In some cases the patient feels fairly comfortable after a good night’s rest. Asthma comes on toward evening or at night, when the body is overfatigued. In some very bad cases the patient literally suffers throughout all the hours of the day and night.

This disease attacks individuals of all ages. There are many cases of children who have asthma. In some persons an uncured chest cold progresses into bronchial asthma. The disease, as pointed out above, is caused by the processes of inflammation. A neglected cold or an improperly treated cold will leave the sufferer with inflamed tissues and with a susceptibility to asthma and to its eventual development. The nervous system of the asthmatic is weakened below par.

Asthmatics at times live and suffer through a long life. This points to the fact that bronchial asthma is a disease that does not effect the heart in every case.

Some types of heart disease cause asthmatic symptoms. Degenerative carditis with enlargement of the myocardium may secondarily affect the lung structure with congestion, impaired circulation, pulmonary edema and asthma symptoms. This illness will not be discussed here. The subject of this chapter is bronchial asthma, which is caused purely by inflammation of the bronchial structures and exhaustion of its nervous mechanism.

In order to cure this disease a number of considerations must be carefully worked out. In ordinary medical practice bronchial asthma is one of the incurable diseases. It is incurable when treated by ordinary methods because its basic causes are ignored. The disease is medicated to give the patient immediate temporary relief.

The immediate relief for bronchial asthma consists of an injection of one-half of a c.c. of adrenaline, or one c.c., or as much as 2 c.c.’s. This drug is really a wonder drug: It does give the patient immediate relief. It stimulates the exhausted nervous mechanism of the blood-circulatory and muscular mechanism of the bronchial tree, and the patient is freed from wheezing. He expectorates, brings up frothy mucus, and may go off to rest and sleep.

I recall a case of bronchial asthma I saw in the winter of 1924 when I worked in one of the Jewish tubercular hospitals in Denver. The patient did not have T.B.; she had a typical case of bronchial asthma. Her age was about sixteen or seventeen, and the history of her disease dated to the time when she was about five years old.

The girl was a normally bright individual. She made her school grades by a special tutoring program. She required injections of adrenalin several times every night, seldom during the daytime. The physicians at the hospital had her on a diet of “crackers and milk” and very little else. This was a terribly poor diet for one with a chronic inflammatory disease such as bronchial asthma.

In the same city of Denver, there lived and practiced one of the greatest medical doctors of our time. His name was Dr. J. H. Tilden. Dr. Tilden had a sanitarium known as the Tilden Health School. The sanitarium was a very impressive institution. It consisted of three or four very modern buildings comprising about 200 rooms. Dr. J. H. Tilden was, like Christ, a prophet who was not honored, or recognized or accepted, in his own city of Denver. Nevertheless Dr. Tilden had a very impressive following from all over the English-speaking world. Among the patients who came to him with diseases that could not be cured by drugs and surgery were many patients suffering from bronchial asthma.

As I have written in a previous section of this book, I had the good fortune to learn of the Tilden Health School, and I became acquainted with the great man, Dr. Tilden. Asthma was treated by Dr. Tilden as follows:

The patient was put to bed on rest cure. For a week to two weeks, no food except water flavored with a little lemon juice was allowed by mouth. Enemas were given once or twice a day in order to clean out whatever body wastes had collected in the colon.

Even when a person is fasting, wastes accumulated in the colon must be washed out every day, once, twice or even three times. Whether one eats or not, the liver manufactures bile which is poured into the intestines. From the intestines the bile is washed down into the colon, and it must be washed out from the colon to prevent its absorption into the blood.

Some individual practitioners overlook the basic principle of the curative enema as a daily necessity because they consider it unimportant and do not prescribe it. On the contrary, the daily enema is most important. When the enema is not taken once or twice daily, the patient absorbs his own bilious wastes into the blood, which then poisons the entire body.

The main objective of fasting is to cleanse the cells of the body. The enema is, therefore, as necessary as a mouth wash several times a day, because the mouth gets a bad taste and the colon fills up with gas from decomposed body fat and muscle tissues.

Even in my own early years of practice I was successful in curing individuals who suffered with bronchial asthma, people who came to me after unsuccessful medical treatment elsewhere.

One asthma patient came to me after she had been to Arizona, California and other centers that are famous for a climate that is supposed to be good for asthmatics. The woman was 44 years of age at the time. She was wheezing, coughing and spitting almost constantly, day and night.

Mrs. Bessie M. was a very good patient. She felt that she had nothing to lose by trying a radically different method of treatment. Her husband was also willing to cooperate with my methods. (In some cases there is antagonism from important family members.)

Mrs. Bessie M. was relieved of her wheezing within four weeks! She was free from asthma and from bronchial cough within two months and remained free from the disease for a number of years.

There were other cases who got completely well under my care. A number of them were young children, and some of them were adults of varying ages, 26 to 76. Invariably I found that these patients must be put on a regimen of complete silence. The speech mechanism is connected with the nervous mechanism of breathing. The strength and energy of the nervous system controlling the involuntary functions, including breathing, must be built up. Physical and physiological rest, as well as mental rest, are basic requisites for the cure of asthma.

One of my patients came equipped with a typewriter, on assignment to write newspaper articles, at the same time that he wanted to ,cure his asthma of 27 years duration. It took me several weeks of hard labor on his case to convince him that he must give up his regular work, writing, as well as some of his pleasures, in order to rid his body of that stubborn disease. This case was also completely cured, within a period of five months.

My method of treating this disease is based on the Tilden teachings. This method consists of teaching the sick how to live—eating right and conserving the energy of the nervous system.

The asthmatic is conditioned into a program of living that makes him get well. The same program of living can be adjusted to keep him well when he is feeling fit and ready to take up his regular activities. The patient’s habits must be changed to the right ones when they are wrong and causing disease. Tobacco-smoking, liquor-drinking, overeating, overtiring the body, and particularly overtiring the speech mechanism, are all prohibited.

The price for good health—living on a hygienic system that is correct—is worth paying. It is better to keep well by living on a sound health program than being sick while on a haphazard living program.

The asthmatic must be restored to good health by extremely careful dieting. Overeating, even safe foods and good foods, must be forbidden. The asthmatic cannot tolerate any dairy products, such as milk and cheese and butter, until the asthma symptoms have become only a memory.

The following plan has worked successfully with patients who suffered with asthma.

Breakfast: Diluted fruit juices (these beverages may be taken with hot or cold water). A little honey to sweeten hot lemonade or orangeade is good—too much honey would not be so good. Asthmatics have digestive limitations. They may eat fruit—fresh, raw, and also stewed fruits. Small portions of food are better than large portions.

Breakfast may be divided into two fruit-juice beverages and some solid fruit for which there is an appetite. Cooked fruit must not be sweetened with sugar. Half of the breakfast is to be eaten first thing in the morning, the other half in mid-morning.

Lunch: About noontime a luncheon consisting of as much raw salad as can be taken with appetite is a very good basic meal. The salad may consist of one-sixth of an average head of lettuce, a grated raw carrot, one-quarter of an alligator pear or avocado, some raw celery and a little orange juice to season the whole mixture. No oil or cream dressings. In addition to the salad two steamed vegetables, green and yellow, may be taken instead of bread. No crackers, no milk, no cake of any kind. After this meal, rest and sleep for two hours every day until the patient is completely well.

Three or Four P.M.: Fruit and fruit juice, same as breakfast. Supper: an early supper, same as lunch.

No food before bedtime.

Asthmatics may not have any social life, except for a radio at their bedside for entertainment during the first six months of the treatment outlined above.

The asthmatic patient will make more rapid progress and will, in fact, feel more comfortable if he receives daily osteopathic treatments. An osteopathic treatment relaxes the muscles and loosens up the joints of the neck and spine; it therefore helps to improve the circulation of the blood and the functioning of the nervous system related to the breathing mechanism.

Osteopathic treatment without an initial fast and subsequent strict diet may help the asthmatic to a degree, but it cannot cure him. A combined treatment, consisting of bed-rest with fasting, together with properly planned and managed diet, plus osteopathic treatments makes an effective and complete therapy.

Other adjuncts to the treatment of asthmatics that helped in my practice have been the short-wave diathermy or infra-red heat applied to the chest and back. These electrical appliances are very helpful in accelerating the absorption of inflammatory productive debris. In my practice all the treatments are brought to the patient’s bedside. The short-wave treatment is given at the bedside, as is the osteopathic treatment, until the patient does not suffer from wheezing on mild exertion.

The ordinary electric pad is also a fine appliance for the treatment of asthmatics; it is connected at the bedside and constantly left near the patient. When they use their hands for play or work, asthmatics at times get ice-cold. Their hands must be warmed up quickly. The electric pad is put on low heat on the abdominal wall, the hands placed on top of it, and a double purpose is accomplished. The patient relaxes and warms up and thus may avoid a severe paroxysm of asthma.

The treatment for bronchial asthma which is here briefly out-lined is therapeutically very effective. It can, however, be misused when it is not applied as strictly as necessary. The physician and other attendants must be disciplinarians. The patient must be good and cooperative if he is to be cured and remain cured.