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Sources: Papers On Health

The use of these to give temporary relief, often

degenerating into a habit, causes so much serious disease that we have

felt constrained to insert an article warning our readers in regard to

it. The use of tobacco we have found a fruitful source of dangerous

illness. It tends to destroy nerve power, and through this to relax the

muscular system. It has a most dangerous effect upon the mind, relaxing

the brain, and even
causing some of its functions to cease. It hinders

clear reasoning, and in many cases brings on incipient paralysis. It is

a fruitful source of cancerous diseases of the mouth. It destroys

keenness of vision. It is of no use to quote exceptional cases in such

an argument. Great men have smoked, as some great men have habitually

drunk, to excess. But that is no argument for the average man of whom

we speak. The very difficulty he has in giving up the use of tobacco

indicates a diseased state of the nerves, which no wise man will

willingly bring on himself.

The effect of the continued use of opium, chloral, and many drugs taken

to gain soothing or sleep is dreadful: so much so that we have seen

patients who were deprived of them, after some time of continuous use,

perfectly mad with agony. Let our readers remember that the relief

given in using such drugs comes from a benumbing of the vital nerves.

Their influence is deadening, and, if strong enough, kills as surely

as a bullet. The wise medical man will, if he does administer such

drugs, take care they are only taken once or twice. If a doctor orders

their continual use he is to be distrusted. By all means let our

readers avoid the terrible snare of ease and sleep obtained through

narcotics. It is generally easy to give relief, in the various ways

described in these papers, without resort to any such hurtful methods.

Suppose that you try a very hot application to the roots of the nerves

affected, if you can guess about where those roots are. The doctor

should help you to know this. The hot poultice is put on--we shall say

it fails to relieve. Well, you put on a cold application at the same

place. That relieves slightly. Whichever of the applications relieves

should be followed up vigorously. Do not say, "Oh, it gives relief for

a little, and then the pain returns." Follow up the little relief, and

change from heat to cold as the pain or relief indicates. You can do no

possible harm by such processes, and in multitudes of cases all will

soon be right, and no opiate required at all. But you must not think

all remedies at an end when you have tried one or two singly, and

relief does not yet come. The large hot poultice may be put on the

roots of the affected nerves, and ice-cold cloths placed on the

branches of these nerves at the same time. Then the cold ice cloths may

be placed on the roots and the hot on the branches. But remedies are

not exhausted, by any means, when you have thought of two or three

applications of heat and cold. The whole nerve system can be influenced

by the rubbing of the head and spinal region, so as to wake up a strong

increase of vital action in the nerve centres there. We have seen a

patient who had been for months under medical treatment, and in agony

except when deadened with narcotics, rendered independent of all such

things by a little skilful rubbing alone. Perhaps you object that these

remedies are "very simple." Well, that would be no great harm; but if

they are so simple, you are surely a simpleton if you let your poor

nerves be killed with morphia, while such obvious remedies are at hand.

(See Massage.)