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many weeks without food other than air and water. Then there are the other essentials of exercise, rest and sleep, mental and moral conditions, etc.
I wish to say here that I regard long life as desirable only in proportion to the perfection, development and happiness attained by, and the usefulness of, that life. To simply exist for a great number of years, a burden to yourself and friends, as is too often the case, is both undesirable and unnecessary.
The general use of water as related to health, happiness and longevity, is too extensive a subject for one short paper, and I shall confine myself mainly to its use within the body.
Cleanliness of the surface of the body, of the skin, is rightly regarded by thinking people as necessary and very desirable for health and comfort. If this is true, and nearly every one admits its truth, while comparatively few practice it to the most desirable extent, how much more important is it to keep the interior of the body, the meat within the shell; the bones that support and sustain; the muscles which move and give flexibility, grace and strength, constituting, as they do, about three-fourths of the body; the brain and nervous system which control and direct all; the vital organs, and the organs of digestion, assimilation, secretion and excretion; and especially the blood, which nourishes and strengthens all; how much more important, I repeat, to keep all these pure, clean, and in perfect working condition. Pure water, and plenty of it, does this, and it can be done in no other way.
Important as is the external bath in promoting the cleanliness and healthy action of the skin, it has much less influence upon health and longevity than this daily bathing of all the blood and tissues of the body in pure water. When I say pure water I mean that which is absolutely free from all animal, vegetable and mineral substances whatever.
The proper performance of every function of the body, digestion and assimilation of food, the circulation of the blood, the processes of secretion and excretion, and the regulation of the temperature of the body, in fact every vital action, is dependent upon the quantity and quality of the water which is daily taken into the system. If water in insufficient quantity, or of impure quality, is used, every organ is impeded in its action, and every function disturbed; the free circulation of the blood through the microscopic capillary tubes of the entire system, one of the most important of life's processes, is seriously interfered with ; depuration through the various organs and channels of excretion is retarded, and consequently a slow but certain poisoning of the system takes place.
Water constitutes nearly three-fourths of the body. This fact alone shows its great importance. The blood is about 80 per cent. water, the muscles 75 per cent., the brain nearly 80 per cent., the gastric juice 974 per cent., the saliva 993 per cent., and even the bones contain 13 per cent., and the teeth 10 per cent. of water.
Water is continually passing from the body, and always carries with it more or less of the waste, worn-out and poisonous materials constantly being generated within the system, as well as the injurious substances introduced from without. Every expired breath is loaded with watery vapor filled with these impurities. They are constantly being thrown out through the millions of little sewers, the perspiratory ducts of the skin, in the form of insensible perspiration. So, also, with the kidneys and other channels of elimination, and water is always the vehicle by the aid of which they are disposed of. If they were not thrown out of the body they would soon clog the wheels of life and produce disease and death, as they are doing all over the world.
We will use a sponge as an illustration of this cleansing and purifying process. If the sponge is badly soiled, the first time water is squeezed through, it will come out dark and muddy; the second time less so; the third time less still, until at length the water has done its work and issues forth as pure as when it entered. So with the body. It is filled with impurities, and, unlike the sponge, they are constantly being added to by the worn-out particles of the system which are of no further use, but must be disposed of to make room for new ones capable of furnishing renewed life and vital force. Water is the only medium capable of absorbing and carrying these impurities out of the body without injuring or destroying it. The larger quantity of water squeezed through the sponge the quicker and more effectively it will be cleansed. It is the same with the body—the more water drunk, the quicker and more certainly it will be purified. And again, the purer the water which is used the sooner and better will the cleansing be accomplished. Any housewife knows that if she uses clean water to wash and rinse her dishes and clothes the work will be better done, and the article washed be purer, whiter and sweeter than if soiled water were used, yet how few realize the vastly greater importance of using the purest water to wash and keep pure and sweet the caskets which contain their immortal souls.
Quantity of Water Required. The best authorities agree that under ordinary conditions at least two quarts of water per day should be drunk by the average individual. Laborers and others exposed to a high degree of heat, who perspire freely, require a much larger quantity. I have known men to drink from two to three quarts of water in the hot rooms of a Turkish bath within an hour, and at the end of the bath their weight was less than at the beginning, showing that they had lost through perspiration more than they had drunk.
Care should be observed not to drink so much water at a time as to burden the stomach, nor to take it so cold as to chill it. Where the stomach is weak, and in some other conditions, warm or hot water should be used. Large quantities drank at meals or soon after interfere with digestion. Most of the water should be taken from half an hour to an hour before meals. Ice water should not be drunk as a beverage.
In all kinds of fevers and inflammations, defective nutrition, inactivity of the liver or skin, diseases of the kidneys, constipation, rheumatism, gout, and all the various diseased conditions caused by uric acid poisoning, the drinking of still larger quantities of pure water is highly beneficial.
Dr. John T. Nutt, in a recent publication, says: “Very few Americans drink enough water. Eight or ten glasses of water should be taken daily by the average person."
Gould & Pyle's "Cyclopædia of Medicine and Surgery" says:
“At the present day the subject of drinking water involves the interest, attention and welfare of every civilized community. The question of health largely depends upon the water consumed, in which may reside the micro-organisms of disease and death.”
Prof. George B. Fowler, M.D., of the New York Post Graduate Medical School, says:
"I venture the statement that the cause of one-fourth the cases of disordered digestion in fashionable life is the lack of sufficient water in the dietary."
Prof. George Henry Fox, M.D., of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, says:
"It is quite certain that few people drink too much water, and I feel sure that many unpleasant feelings and symptoms of actual disease would quickly disappear if the sufferers only appreciated the value of this best and cheapest of all remedies. The interior of the body needs cleansing as much as the exterior, and a liberal supply of pure water in the treatment of our patients will often bring about the desirable results which drugs have failed to accomplish.”
Madame Patti, the famous singer, who, at the age of sixty, is as perfect a specimen of womanhood, both in appearance and reality, as she was at thirty, in telling how to retain youth and beauty, said:
“Drink nothing but water or milk-especially drink water—you can't drink too much of it.”
In speaking of uric acid causing rheumatism, gout, biliousness, constipation, slow digestion, inactivity of mind, etc., Prof. William G. Thompson, M.D., of the University of the City of New York, says:
"Water itself, if taken in sufficient quantities, by increasing the fluidity and consequently the solvent powers of the blood, is often an effective remedy in these cases."
To dilute the blood when it becomes thickened, and as a consequence circulates with difficulty, water is a quick and the only effective remedy.
Importance of Pure Water. Having considered the absolute necessity for water, some of its various internal uses and the quantity required, we now come to the vitally important question of its purity or impurity.
As a rule in Nature like produces like. Pure food and drink, under favorable conditions, insure purity and health of body, and, other things being equal, purity and health of body give purity and health of mind and soul. Conversely, impure food and drink produce impure and diseased physical conditions, and these in turn influence all mental and moral states.
If we desire a strong, active, healthy body, free from pain and disease and obedient to our will, and one that shall so remain for one hundred years or more; if we wish an active and vigorous brain that shall give us clean, wholesome, energetic thoughts to the end of life, let us see to it that none but the purest and most suitable solid and liquid food is supplied to our digestive organs, under proper conditions, to make and keep the body and brain clean, strong and enduring. Pure water is the only liquid agent in existence that will do this.
Professor Simpson, a noted scientist and physician, says:
“The complacency with which we swallow the filthy, impure, disease-bearing water which is delivered through poisonous pipes to our homes affords a spectacle of self-abasement as melancholy as it is disgusting."
Prof. Charles F. Chandler, of Columbia University, the noted chemist and analyst, says:
“Pure water is hardly second to pure air as a life-giving and life-protecting agent. It is the most potent servant the sanitary authorities can call to their aid.”
Nicola Tesla, the celebrated electrician and inventor, in the “Century Magazine" for June, 1900, says:
“For every person who perishes from the effects of a stimulant at least a thousand die from the consequences of drinking impure water. This precious fluid, which daily infuses new life into us, is likewise the chief vehicle through which disease and death enter our bodies. The germs of destruction it conveys are enemies all the more to be dreaded, as they perform their fatal work unperceived. They seal our doom while we live and breathe. The majority of people are so ignorant or careless in drinking water, and the consequences of this are so disastrous, that a philanthropist can scarcely use his efforts better than by endeavoring to enlighten those who are thus injuring themselves.”
Typhoid Fever and Cholera. It is generally conceded that no one ever has typhoid fever or cholera unless he eats or drinks the germs that produce them. The lesson of the Spanish war should be noted. Surgeon-General George M. Sternberg, of the United States Army, states officially:
"The total number of deaths reported in our enlarged army, including regulars and volunteers, from May 1, 1898, to April 30, 1899, is 6,406. Of these, 5,438 died of disease, and 968 were killed in battle, or died of wounds, injuries or accidents."
It is well known that impure water was one of the chief causes of the great mortality. If the soldiers had been provided with an abundance of pure water, I fully believe nine-tenths of that number would have been saved. It has been stated that on the war vessels, where nothing but distilled water was used, not a single death occurred from disease. The Marine Battalion, 500 to 600 strong, used distilled water from the ships while on shore duty in Cuba, and had none of the enteric fevers so common in the Fifth Army Corps.
Testimony to fill volumes could be adduced in regard to the injurious results of the use of impure water.
During the year ending May 31, 1900, according to the last census, there were 35,379 deaths from typhoid fever in the United States, nearly all of which were caused by disease germs in water.