Handbook of Health

Handbook of Health
Catalog # SKU2037
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Woods Hutchinson


Handbook of Health

Woods Hutchinson, A. M., M. D.

LOOKING upon the human body from the physical point of view as the most perfect, most ingeniously economical, and most beautiful of living machines, the author has attempted to write a little handbook of practical instruction for the running of it.

And seeing that, like other machines, it derives the whole of its energy from its fuel, the subject of foods-their properties, uses, and methods of preparation-has been gone into with unusual care. An adequate supply of clean-burning food-fuel for the human engine is so absolutely fundamental both for health and for efficiency-we are so literally what we have eaten-that to be well fed is in very fact two-thirds of the battle of life from a physiological point of view.

The whole discussion is in accord with the aim, kept in view throughout the book, of making its suggestion and advice positive instead of negative, pointing out that, in the language of the old swordsman, "attack is the best defense." If we actively do those things that make for health and efficiency, and which, for the most part, are attractive and agreeable to our natural instincts and unspoiled tastes,-such as exercising in the open air, eating three square meals a day of real food, getting nine or ten hours of undisturbed sleep, taking plenty of fresh air and cold water both inside and out,-this will of itself carry us safely past all the forbidden side paths without the need of so much as a glance at the "Don't" and "Must not" with which it has been the custom to border and fence in the path of right living.

On the other hand, while fully alive to the undesirability, and indeed wickedness, of putting ideas of dread and suffering into children's minds unnecessarily, yet so much of the misery in the world is due to ignorance, and could have been avoided if knowledge of the simplest character had been given at the proper time, that it has been thought best to set forth the facts as to the causation and nature of the commonest diseases, and the methods by which they may be avoided. This is peculiarly necessary from the fact that most of the gravest enemies of mankind have come into existence within a comparatively recent period of the history of life,-only since the beginning of civilization, in fact,-so that we have as yet developed no natural instincts for their avoidance.

Nor do we admit that we are adding anything to the stock of fears in the minds of children-the nurse-maid and the bad boys in the next alley have been ahead of us in this respect. The child-mind is too often already filled with fears and superstitions of every sort, passed down from antiquity. Modern sanitarians have been accused of merely substituting one fear for another in the mind of the child-bacilli instead of bogies. But, even if this be true, there are profound and practical differences between the two terrors. One is real, and the other imaginary. A child cannot avoid meeting a bacillus; he will never actually make the acquaintance of a bogie.

Children, like savages and ignorant adults, believe and invent and retail among themselves the most extraordinary and grotesque theories about the structure and functions of their bodies, the nature and causation of their illnesses and aches and pains. A plain and straightforward statement of the actual facts about these things not only will not shock or repel them, or make them old before their time, but, on the contrary, will interest them greatly, relieve their minds of many unfounded dreads, and save them from the commonest and most hurtful mistakes of humanity-those that are committed through ignorance.


The Body-Automobile. If you were to start to-morrow morning on a long-distance ride in an automobile, the first thing that you would do would be to find out just how that automobile was built; how often it must have fresh gasoline; how its different speed gears were worked; what its tires were made of; how to mend them; and how to cure engine troubles. To attempt to run an automobile, for even a ten-mile ride, with less information than this, would be regarded as foolhardy.

Yet most of us are willing to set out upon the journey of life in the most complicated, most ingenious, and most delicate machine ever made-our body-with no more knowledge of its structure than can be gained from gazing in the looking-glass; or of its needs, than a preference for filling up its fuel tank three times a day. More knowledge than this is often regarded as both unnecessary and unpleasant. Yet there are few things more important, more vital to our health, our happiness, and our success in life, than to know how to steer and how to road-repair our body-automobile. This we can learn only from physiology and hygiene.

The General Plan of the Human Automobile is Simple. Complicated as our body-automobile looks to be, there are certain things about the plan and general build of it which are plain enough. It has a head end, where fuel supplies are taken in and where its lamps and other look-out apparatus are carried; a body in which the fuel is stored and turned into work or speed, and into which air is drawn to help combustion and to cool the engine pipes. It has a pair of fore-wheels (the arms) and a pair of hind-wheels (the legs), though these have been reduced to only one spoke each, and swing only about a quarter of the way around and back again when running, instead of round and round. It has a steering gear (the brain), just back of the headlights, and a system of nerve electric wires connecting all parts of it. It gets warm when it runs, and stops if it is not fed.

There is not an unnecessary part, or unreasonable "cog," anywhere in the whole of our bodies. It is true that there are a few little remnants which are not quite so useful as they once were, and which sometimes cause trouble. But for the most part, all we have to do is to look long and carefully enough at any organ or part of our bodies, to be able to puzzle out just what it is or was intended to do, and why it has the shape and size it has.

275+ pages - 10¾ x 8¼ softcover