Nutrition And Arthritis
( Originally Published 1954 )
According to a national survey 8,000,000 Americans suffer from some form of arthritis. The same survey also revealed that rheumatic sufferers are the largest number of cases among the chronic diseases, as exemplified by the following table:
ESTIMATED PREVALENCE OF SPECIFIED CHRONIC DISEASES IN THE UNITED STATES
Disease Number of Cases
Rheumatism and Arthritis 8,000,000
Heart disease 3,700,000
Arteriosclerosis and high blood pressure 3,700,000
Nephritis and other kidney diseases 1,550,000
Cancer and other tumors 930,000
T.B.—all forms 680,000
Diabetes mellitus 660,000
While arthritis causes the greatest number of disabilities, it is not a fatal disease. Although remaining an economic burden to his family and society, an arthritic can live a normal span of life. One of the tragedies of this disease is that it is most frequent among young adults. According to the survey mentioned above, half of the patients under forty-five years of age are afflicted with arthritis. I observed some cases in the early twenties.
Otto Steinbrocker, B.S., M.D., and John G. Kuhns, A.B., M.D., F.A.C.S., authors of the medical textbook Arthritis in Modern Practice, decry the fact that almost total indifference to this disease is prevalent among the public as well as among the medical profession. This indifference exists in spite of the fact that the disease is so terribly painful and disabling.
In the three typical case histories which I will describe below the reader will see that arthritis need not be a crippling, disabling chronic disease. It can be cured. But it will never be cured by the methods suggested by the eminent authors Drs. Steinbrocker and Kuhns. The medical and surgical treatment of arthritis aggravates the agony of this disease and assures total disability.
In my little resort, The Health Rest, I have worked very hard and conscientiously with the few arthritis patients who have come to me for treatment. It is gratifying to report that even those arthritic cases which were in the bedridden stage responded to my treatment.
It is up to the public, to the scientific-minded institutions like Rockefeller Institute and other research foundations, as well as to the medical profession as a whole, to open their minds and accept this challenge.
In the vast bulk of medical literature on arthritis, it is amazing to find that the leading medical thinkers ignore diet and its relation-ship to the body physiology and pathology of this disease. In chronic conditions of arthritis, as in osteoarthritis and in atrophic arthritis, there is bone pathology such as osteoporosis and decalcification of the affected bone shafts and joints. What causes this demineralization? Evidently there is a demand by other parts of the body for the chemicals which give the bones hardness. In health, the blood and lymph maintain a constant chemical reaction as long as the body functions normally or nearly normally. In disease of any sort, and in arthritis as an inflammatory and metabolic abnormal bodily process, there is a disturbance of bone chemistry and physiology, as well as biochemical disturbance in the blood and lymph. Nature attempts to restore to normal the chemical balance of blood and lymph at the expense of the bones.
The dietetic route of attacking arthritis is one that offers real hope for prevention, arrest, and cure of this terrible chronic ailment. In many chronic cases of arthritis patients discover that certain foods are tolerated better than others.
For example, one patient, suffering with arthritis for twelve years and bedridden for five years, discovered that foods such as plain cooked vegetables without salt and fat and bland raw salads and fruits agreed with her best. She was distressed after eating meat, sugar-sweetened foods, bread and fats. Her pains were aggravated; drawing of the limbs at night became extremely painful; swelling of joints was more marked on the next day; nausea and poor appetite became annoying.
There are many weapons which physicians and surgeons have at their disposal in their methods of treating arthritis. Drugs to relieve pain only help to prolong the chronicity of the disease and the patient is likely to become apathetic about seeking means to remove the causes of the ailment from the blood-stream and from other parts of the interior of the body.
When joints become stiff (ankylosed) and limbs become deformed, the orthopedic surgeon may endeavor to restore these joints and limbs to normal. He more often fails than succeeds, because he has done nothing to change the faulty metabolism of the body. He fails be-cause he does not direct all his ability toward the objective of removing inflammatory processes within and around the diseased joints, and he does not attempt to remove the irritation and poisons. The dietary method of approach in dealing with arthritis is most gratifying in its rewards for patient and physician.
Now let me briefly describe three cases of arthritis and outline the dietary treatment given them.
The patient, Mrs. P. B., was a nurse on active duty with a paralyzed bedridden patient for over four years up to the time of submitting to treatment.
Her arthritic symptoms were most annoying for ten months. On physical examination I found visible swelling in her digital joints of the hands and feet. Her wrists and ankles were restricted in motion; they were swollen and in pain. The elbow and shoulder joints of the right arm were very painful and swollen. The left •arm was slightly affected.
General case history: Married woman; four children living. Ages of children: son 23, son 17, son 15, and daughter 12. All normal de-liveries. Operation for gall bladder 20 years ago. All teeth extracted 22 years ago due to pyorrhea. Before the patient came for treatment she used aspirin as her daily remedy: five grains about every hour, 60 grains a day on an average; codein and phenobarbital for her sleep and rest at night. The patient took all these remedies for her progressing arthritis while at the same time nursing a bedridden invalid suffering from paralysis. Her dietary while on the job included meat, coffee, and occasionally liquor. She took liquor because of unhappy domestic conditions. Mental state of patient: quite intelligent, alert and generally acquainted with non-drug principles of treatment.
Physical examination: Age 44. Well-built woman; well-nourished; good complexion. No apparent chest or abdominal symptoms of ill health. Osteopathic examination: Normal motions of her spine and neck. No apparent signs of arthritis in her neck joints. The upper back and lower back quite tense and somewhat limited in motion. The patient walked with slow gait and effort, especially when going upstairs. All the joints of both feet showed swelling of the soft tissues around the joints; they pained when touched. Her hands and wrists were also markedly swollen. The patient could not close her fists. No X-ray or blood examination was made in this case, for economic reasons. She had, however, reported that she had had some X-ray examinations of her body in a hospital. The patient was in pain and very fatigued on admittance for treatment.
Mrs. P. B. was at once put to bed for a rest cure. General osteopathic treatment to relax the muscles and move the joints as much as possible within normal range of motion was given at least once daily. Short-wave heat was given daily to all joints while the patient was resting in bed. A maximum of good was accomplished with the short-wave treatment while the patient remained in bed, relaxed and warm.
Enemas were used once or twice every day for the first two weeks. Daily baths with epsom salts were given to relieve swelling and pain. The patient was strong enough also to take sun baths in our open-air solarium.
During the first two weeks the diet consisted of very little more than two or three pints of water every day. Just a little fruit juice was allowed to make the water palatable. In other words, the patient was on a fast.
The second two weeks treatment consisted of daily tub baths, sun baths, and rest periods between each of these treatment sessions. The diet was increased to allow the patient one raw salad daily of bland vegetables, lettuce or cabbage, celery, cucumber and raw car. rots, without seasoning of any kind. One meal of cooked or steamed vegetables was given, also without any seasoning. Breakfast consisted of hot water with a little fruit juice added for taste and one or two pieces of fruit. The progress of this patient continued to be very satisfactory during her second two weeks, except for a flare-up of swelling and pain in her right hand and arm. This flare-up seemed to have a direct relationship to the fact that she had written eleven letters in one afternoon. Letter-writing was necessarily forbidden from then on.
The third period of treatment improved the patient's condition still further. She had no pain. She was able to drive her car in comfort—a task which had been uncomfortable to the point of distress on her arrival and before.
Then circumstances made it necessary for the patient to return to her work. I was against this step, but patients often refuse to take constructive advice, and this patient did so on this occasion. A case of arthritis of ten months duration requires at least half that period for its course of treatment if there is to be any prospect of regenerating and restoring the body to a healthy state.
Clinically, this patient made pronounced progress in her six weeks treatment under my supervision. She was sent home with definite instructions to carry on a careful daily hygienic plan of living and eating. I do not assume that the body can wash out the disease of arthritis within a few short weeks, even with the most conscientious management and treatment.
The second case was a typical example of arthritis deformans, which is also known as atrophic arthritis. It was in the fifth year of its progress. The patient, Mrs. E. B., was X-rayed by an eminent roentgenologist at the beginning of treatment, and she remained under my management for eight months.
The case history is as follows: Married woman, 34 years of age, married 5 years. There was no arthritis in her family. According to the patient's assertions, she was absolutely well until she got married. Clinical and laboratory investigations revealed no venereal disease as a possible cause of arthritis. Prior to her marriage, Mrs. E. B. had been a sedentary worker (stenographer and typist). After her marriage, she helped her husband with his small new business which did not succeed, and this caused her a great deal of anxiety and worry. Her arthritic symptoms were then in their incipient stage. On medical authority, she was given a diagnosis of gall bladder disease. The patient was advised to become pregnant. The theory of her attending physician at that time was that pregnancy might arrest her arthritis. The gestation period was fairly normal, except that her arthritic symptoms remained and continued to advance. A healthy child was born.
When I accepted the patient, the following were her clinical and X-ray manifestations: Her finger joints were immobilized. There was some inflammation around the joints of the hands and wrists so that both hands appeared badly deformed. Both elbows and shoulders were in great pain and restricted in movements. The entire spine was in pain. There was, however, fairly normal movement of her spinal column. Her pubic joint was in pain and swollen. The hip joints were difficult to move. Bending or rotating of the thighs was very painful and difficult. Getting up from a sitting or reclining position caused such excruciating pain that the patient remarked: "My body feels as if it is breaking in two when I try to get up and move." Her feet were also in great pain and there were dislocations of some of the metatarsal bones. There was also erosion of a number of the joint surfaces of the feet, hands, pubis, and the head of one femur (the thigh bone). The left heel was affected by intense pain. The X-ray revealed an interesting fact: there was an area of decalcification in the back of the calcaneus or heel bone. The clinical manifestations of the case showed a clear picture of advanced arthritis deformans. The patient was nearly bedridden.
My management of this case was similar to the one described in the first case above. However, in this case, I used four fasting periods of a week to ten days each, followed by four feeding periods of two weeks to a month. The feeding periods were designed to accomplish several objectives.
In this case food lifted the patient's morale and encouraged her. Food also was used as a vehicle for carrying out tissue wastes that the cells of the body excreted and ejected into the blood-stream and lymph-stream. Tissue wastes must be eliminated from the blood stream. Raw fruits and raw vegetables and juices, and broths made of vegetables that are rich in minerals and are alkaline in composition, help as vehicles to carry body wastes out of the system.
My theory of alkalizing the sick body is based on the well worked-out biochemical principle that the bloodstream has its own vital biochemical power to buffer or soak up wastes that find their way into the body. These buffers or sponges the blood takes either from digested and absorbed foodstuff or from the tissue stores.
The demineralization produced by arthritis is undoubtedly due to the demand that the blood makes upon the bones to give up their alkaline minerals in order that the blood itself may remain normal in chemical composition. In other words, when the patient's diet does not furnish the blood with an adequate amount of alkaline food substances to be used by the blood as buffers to soak up wastes, the body is forced to yield up alkaline minerals from the shafts and other parts of the bones. This biochemical, biopathological, biophysiological relationship must be understood by the leading internists and orthopedic surgeons under whose care millions of arthritic patients are being treated.
Mrs. E. B. remained under my care for a period of eight months. She made satisfactory progress. Her sickness was ameliorated to the extent that joint motion was restored although it had been limited at the beginning. Most of her pain had gone.
The X-ray report at the end of eight months bore these gratifying words: "Comparison with last X-ray shows that this patient has improved to the extent that the decalcification has been arrested and approaches more nearly the normal bone physiology." (By Dr. Eugene R. Kraus.)
The visible pronounced erosions of the pubic joint surfaces, as well as the surrounding swelling, showed a return to normal at the end of eight months. The same regenerative process was also observed in other pronouncedly diseased joints that had been decalcified and eroded. It may be pointed out here that the medical therapy in this patient's case before she came to me for treatment had consisted of aspirin day and night.
When I discharged this patient, I stressed the point that she was not completely cured as yet, because nature required more than eight months for a complete cure of a deep-seated and advanced condition like her arthritis, which had been worsening for over four years. My instructions were that active and intensive periods of fasting for a period of a month to six weeks, followed by light feeding, must be repeated every six months. It is much better to do this than to remain in the rut of conventional drugging, stuffing and accumulating waste debris from overeating and overtiring the body in many unnecessary ways.
The arthritic patient is taught to apply principles of personal hygiene as a fine art, in order to keep on building better health and to avoid a flare-up or a recurrence of the disease. My methods of approaching the problem of arthritis, as well as of handling individual patients, are planned with the objectives of arresting the disease, restoring the patient to normal, and maintaining a safe status of dependable health.
This patient, Mrs. C. J.--a married woman, 55 years old—had been a waitress since the age of 14 until her marriage at 31, and during those years had been on her feet at least ten hours a day. After marriage she operated a summer country resort with her husband. In this capacity, she still remained on her feet many hours a day, and unlike the case of Mrs. E. B., her occupation decidedly seemed to be a cause of her condition. The patient had one child; there had been no other pregnancy. The case history of her 10-11 years of seeking a cure would fill a book by itself.
Mrs. C. J. consulted leading specialists in the fields of medicine and surgery. She received "fever" treatment, "gold" salt treatment and many types of injected serums and vaccines. When her knees became crippled and bent, her legs were "straightened" and put into plaster casts for many months by a leading orthopedic surgeon.
During her eleven years of intense suffering hourly doses of aspirin and codein were taken. This patient had to have a powerful constitution in order to be able to tolerate, day and night, hourly medication by pain alleviators and sleep inducers. No special dietary restrictions had ever been made by either her physicians or her surgeons, before she was admitted to me for treatment.
When I examined and accepted this patient, there was a great deal of pain and swelling in most of her joints. She also gave a graphic description of her suffering in the following words: "My body feels as if it had bits of broken glass in it."
Her type of arthritis, proliferative osteo-arthritis, showed an in-crease of joint areas rather than the shrinkage of atrophy. The feet and knees looked as if padded by increased tissue substances, the deformities being enlargements rather than shrinkage.
The X-ray consultant (Dr. E. R. Kraus) made a complete study of this patient's body at the beginning of her treatment. This study, as in Case No. 2, revealed the typical general signs of decalcification and osteoporosis. The patient was able to sit up in moderate comfort. It was, however, difficult to move or turn her for necessary hygienic care.
Her eleven years of suffering had impelled this patient to seek a cure. She underwent many months of hospitalization, first in the hope of straightening her legs, so that she might walk again, and later as a hopeless and desperate incurable case in the municipal hospital of a certain city. Her coming to my resort gave this patient a ray of new hope.
The management of this patient's severe health problem was even more laborious than that of the two cases previously described. Fortunately, Case No. 3 was of a very cooperative temperament. Fasting, as an initial means of eliminating the constitutional symptoms of her disease, was a powerful help in giving her rest and ease from pain and medication.
I use absolutely no drugs in any case of arthritis. As a rule, my patients come in an overdrugged condition to begin with. My aim is to rid the body of metabolic and drug poisoning. The proof that I am working according to a plan that is correct-a plan that is based on scientific knowledge that the old-school great internists seem to ignore in their treatment of chronic diseases like arthritis—is given by the effects of fasting and correct feeding. The sick body recovers health when the individual is mentally, emotionally, and physiologically elastic enough to yield to the regenerative and recuperative efforts of the organism.
Mrs. C. J. spent a year with me. Her treatment, among other things, consisted of a series of fasting periods alternated with feeding periods.
Fasting periods are often marked by great discomfort. In the case of this patient, discomfort during fasting was indeed severe in a number of ways. She developed a burning, itching rash on the skin which, however, disappeared in a few days. Soap and water was the external specific aid as a skin lotion. Skin rash, during a fast, appears in those who have taken aspirin and other drugs for pain and sleeplessness.
A condition of acidosis is developed in every fasting patient. This acidosis is due to the consumption of tissue fat during the fasting period. Acetone, a waste compound of fat metabolism, is found in the urine and other excretions of the fasting patient. In a few days of a salad and fruit diet, the acetone disappears from the urine, breath and skin excretions.
Mrs. C. J. had been bedridden for five years at the time of her admission to Health Rest for treatment. In one year of treatment much was accomplished for the patient. Her pain was greatly ameliorated; the swollen and immobile joints of the elbows, shoulders and ankles were regenerated to a pronounced degree. Even though the patient was craving a "good piece of cake" or a "piece of chicken," she declared her willingness to forego such eating pleasures because she felt encouraged and hoped to walk again. It was a dramatic moment, indeed, when this patient stood up alone on the floor. And she did it without feeling pain in her feet or legs.
Physical exercises are an important health aid in these cases. The patient is instructed to exercise every joint and muscle of the body to the extent that physiological comfort permits.
Osteopathic: treatment is always a great therapeutic help. With osteopathic techniques of restoring joint and muscular power, the internal physiological processes are accelerated. The blood circulation and the flow of nerve impulses are normalized by this dynamic and revolutionary method of body mechanics. The teachings of osteopathy give the physician a set of practical tools for the scientific use of fingers and hands in order to correct restricted motion wherever and whenever nature permits. Fasting and proper feeding, as well as electrothermo therapy, prepare the ground for the osteopathic physician to normalize the regenerating arthritic structures.
In the case of Mrs. C. J. much restoration of motion and function was accomplished. A twisted right foot was restored to normal structural position. Other joints of her body were similarly restored to motion and function. After ten months of treatment the patient was able to walk with the aid of an attendant to the bath tub and take a bath. On taking this first tub bath—she had not had one for many years past because of her years of disability-she was indeed overjoyed!
Mrs.C.J. over a number of years, had built up the "sick habit."
So many chronic cases do this. Sometimes this habit is built up to the point where invalidism becomes a form of comfort. This habit has to be carefully broken down where it exists, before real health progress can be made. Mrs. C. J. was brought to the stage of progress where she could walk outdoors about ten yards from her room with but little help from an attendant.
The above typical cases have been discussed because I fervently believe that the 8,000,000 arthritic sufferers in the United States have every thing to gain by a radical change from the conventional medico-surgical forms of treatment, a change to the dynamic, non-drug, non-stuffing, biochemical, rational methods of treatment that are used in pioneering health institutions practice.