The reprinting of this Volume and Volume II has been made possible through a former patient of Dr. Tilden's. This grateful patient (now in his mid-eighties) wishes to leave these teachings of Dr. Tilden's to humanity, We are grateful for the trust bestowed upon us to distribute these volumes.
The text in Volume I has been completely reset and rebound. It is otherwise unchanged in anyway. It now matches the third edition of Volume 11 (revised in 1938 by Dr. J. H. Tilden before his death in 1940).
Mokelumne Hill, California
January 15, 1960
Dr. John H. Tilden, the son of a physician, was born in Van Burenburg, Illinois, on January 21, 1851. He received his medical education at the Eclectic Medical Institute, Cincinnati, Ohio, a medical school founded in 1830 as a protest against the allopathic and homeopathic schools of medicine of that time. He was graduated in 1872, with the degree of doctor of medicine. From the best information we can obtain, his father was a Dr. Joseph G. Tilden, who came from Vermont in 1837 to Kentucky, in which State he married.
Dr. John H. Tilden started the practice of medicine at Nokomis, Illinois, then for a year at St. Louis, Missouri, and then at Litchfield, Illinois, until 1890, when he moved to Denver, Colorado. In Denver he located in the downtown business section, in an office with other doctors. Later he established a sanitarium in an outer section of the city. This sanitarium and school he conducted until 1924, when he sold the Institution, for about half of what he had plowed back into its development, to a Dr. Arthur Voss, of Cincinnati, Ohio, intending to devote himself to writing and lecturing. However, he soon became discontented without his school and after a period he bought two residences on Pennsylvania Avenue, in Denver, united them into one and opened a new sanitarium and school, having to borrow from a friend a part of the money with which to make the purchases. This probably was in 1926. This school continued until the Doctor's death, on September 1, 1940.
It was during the early years of his practice in Illinois, that Dr. Tilden began to question the use of medicine to cure illness. His extensive reading, especially of medical studies from European medical schools, and his own thinking, led him to the conclusion that there should be some way to live so as not to build disease, and in this period his thoughts on toxemia began to formulate and materially develop. From the beginning of his practice in Denver, the Doctor used no medicine but practiced his theory of clearing the body of toxic poison and then allowing nature to make the cure, teaching his patients how to live so as not to create a toxic condition and to retain a healthy body free of disease. An uncompromising realist and a strict disciplinarian, the Doctor wasted no time on those who would not relinquish degenerating habits, but to his patients and disciples he was both friend and mentor.
In 1900 he began the publication of a monthly magazine called "The Stuffed Club," which continued until 1915, when he changed the name to "The Philosophy of Health," and in 1926 the name was changed to "Health Review and Critique." His writing for his publication was almost entirely done in the early morning hours, from three until seven. The purpose of the publication was not to make money but to spread knowledge of the Doctor's teachings. In time it attained a wide circulation, not only in this country but also abroad, even in Australia, but it never produced revenue, for the Doctor refused to make it an advertising medium, as often urged to do by advertising firms. As his death revealed, after sixty-eight years of practice, the Doctor had accumulated only an exceedingly modest estate. His life was pre-eminently one of self-sacrifice and of devotion to service, searching after truth, with an indomitable will and with an intense fortitude to adhere to the truth when discovered. In his day the Doctor's thoughts received no support from the established medical profession but brought the strongest of opposition and condemnation.
Frederic N. Gilbert
In writing a book, the author should have an object. it has been my endeavor to make my object so plain in the first volume that he who runs may read it. In spite of this fact, however, I have resolved to say a few words regarding what I wish to accomplish, hoping in doing so that I may induce someone, who otherwise might not read beyond the preface, to read at least the first volume.
Certainly my object cannot be to give to the public the only semi-professional book on the subject of health, thereby filling a long-felt want; for there are hundreds preceding.
My object would not bespeak rational judgment if it should be to make money; for my reading public is too small to make so selfish a desire feasible. I admit that I should not despise any contingent that would sweep the sales into such a grand total as to put thousands of old Croesus' dollars on the credit side of my bank account; for I do not believe I should have any trouble in finding many more ways than I have of using them in choking, strangling, and even killing a "bit" of the withering and blighting influences of medical superstition on many of the human race who are now, and will be, physically and mentally doomed by it. I shall not be disappointed in this matter; for well I know that King Croesus has no dollars to be spent in lessening his power and fame, which are founded on error, ignorance, selfishness, and superstition. He has billions with which to build institutions for educating mankind into, and perpetuating, mental slavery; but not a sou--not even a widow's mite--to free a single thought that might break the spell of superstition on mankind, and start an influence that would bring rationalism--a mental breadth and understanding--which could see the absurdity of an ethics and religion that breed disease and wars as legitimate offspring. The most benighted henchmen of our present system talk most of cures and freedom; but the only cures they know are habit and disease-building, and the only freedom they ask for in their prayers is to have their God perpetuate their superstitions.
My object is to aid those who care to have a rational understanding--those who would have more than a slave's or a child's conception--of cause and effect as applied to disease and cure; not only on matters of health, but to aid a little in gaining an inspiration point for an understanding of nature which must be the road to Good--to an understanding of God!
It is painful to see people, who appear to have reasoning power, babbling and reaching for prescriptions and formulas, as a spoiled child reaches for the moon, and who are as disappointed in not getting the cure-alls as the child is when not served to the moon. It is not mind-stupefying formulas that man needs; he needs knowledge of fundamental principles--then he can make his own formulas. The world has been overrun by all kinds of cures and curers--charmers, exorcists, enchanters, diviners, conjurers, manipulators of fetiches, magicians, and medicine-men. And how far advanced is modern medical science today? Have we not doctors of thaumaturgy--sleight-of-hand--doing wonderful things in transforming "fallen mankind" into immunized beings who are no longer subject to the laws of nature, by vaccination, inoculation, and serum injections; are not our drug stores full of magical remedies; and have we not days set apart for invoking divine guidance? Are we not heathens in our thinking? Are we not barbarians in our actions? Are we not Antichrist in practice?
The child-mind cannot understand why it cannot be told in a few words just how to get well and stay well; how to be saved from its sins, and continue saved in spite of its sinning; for it cannot conceive other than that disease and sin must be entities which can be overpowered by an antidote and forever done away with. The people are not so much to blame for such childish beliefs, when we see a great and supposed-to-be wise profession teaching specific causes, specific immunities and cures-when we see a commercialized surgical profession cutting out effects without; knowledge or even thought of cause, and having the honors of knighthood conferred on them by a public that is more benighted, if that be possible.
Neither profession nor people appear to have the slightest conception that they might, with a small mental effort, secure a few fundamental principles that would lead them out of the wilderness of haphazard and make them safely their own physicians. First of all, however, they must learn that the really good physician prevents disease; that he cannot cure anything. Because of a lack of this knowledge, sickness has become more natural, or more to be expected, than health. Sickness is looked upon by the people, the state, the nation, as inevitable; and precautions, immunizations, and preventions are in keeping with these false ideas. The reverse is true. If we live for health, and seek health instead of disease, we find it. Post-mortems, vivisections, and laboratory investigations are all in the line of looking for disease-and we have found disease galore. If we look for health, it can be found.
Is there any excuse for all the sickness, and for the supposed scientific technique that is formulated for doctors and nurses to carry out in such heathenish, grandiose manner as we see it in grandly conducted hospitals and sanitariums as well as in private life? None whatever. This is an instance of reversion of the natural order--where the doctors, nurses, and institutions are the cause, and the patients and patrons of the institutions are the effect. Little do the public and those who run these supposed-to-be necessary institutions know that each and every such plant is a college for educating the people into the sick habit. Every graduate of one of these institutions goes out an advocate and teacher of the fallacy.
These statements will fall, for the most part, on stony understandings, and will fail to take root immediately and grow; but they are as true as the eternal verities, and will some day be common knowledge. Meantime the horrors of the sick-chamber and surgical rack will continue.
As a refutation of the necessity for all the so-called remedies carried into the sick-room--surgery, drugs, prescriptions, vaccination, serum injections; faith, suggestion, and mind cures; the laying on of hands, and every other device known and used as remedial--I offer my simple methods; namely, that of taking nothing into the sick-room, and of doing nothing that can be likened to the modern conception of healing. My methods are devoid of any suggestion of mysticism or supernaturalism, and are not above the understanding of the most commonplace mind, unless its simplicity appears uncanny to distorted understandings.
I go into the sick-room without a so-called remedy, and, what is best of all, without the need of one. There is no faith cure offered; there is no hocuspocus, legerdemain, nor play on the superstition or credulity of the patient. There is nothing resorted to which may give the impression that unusual or supernatural power is to be used.
After getting the history of the case, I explain how the patient happened to get sick, how his life differs from nature's requirements, and how he may get well. No drugs, no manipulations--nothing but keep still and don't build disease by foolish acts of mind or body!
When cause is known, the remedy will be self-suggested to the most commonplace mind. This being as fundamental as truth always is, it has been my endeavor, in writing this book, to lead the reader's mind into such an understanding of the human body that the cause of sickness will be understood and the cure become a natural sequence.
It has been my endeavor to show that matter, in its transformation into being, is attended throughout life by two handmaids; namely, unorganized ferment--enzyme-and organized ferment--the bacterium or microbe.
Both of these ferments are necessary. One, the enzyme, presides over the physiological processes, and the other, the bacteria, presides over the pathological processes. Both work together. For instance, in an inflammation or a wound, the building or reparative material is brought to the diseased process by the circulation, and fitted for being molded into cells, and the cells into tissue, by enzymes; the waste products are liquefied and fitted for discharge by the bacteria. With a suspension of either of these processes, reparation cannot be made. Digestion, assimilation--nutrition--must be attended by the two ferments. A variation of either disturbs and perverts health, and this is what we call disease.
Disease is health thrown out of an ideal state by the thousand-and-one environmental (exogenous) and internal (endogenous) influences.
I have tried to, explain all these influences, their causes and their effects. If I have succeeded as I hope, the reader will be put in possession of a self-protecting knowledge that will make sickness and inefficiency unnecessary. At least I have tried to make health and its sequels optional with an intelligent people who are favored with an opportunity to read this book--Impaired Health--Its Cause and Cure.