The Milk Diet

Chapter X: Rheumatism

The milk diet treatment can be applied to rheumatism with the greatest confidence in a successful outcome. I have never seen nor heard of a return of any manifestation of rheumatism in any one who had taken the milk cure.

It may well be asked: Why are there so many suffering from rheumatism if such a simple thing will cure them? There are several answers to this question, but there is no good reason.

Many people with rheumatism, gout, chronic bronchitis, and similar diseases are fleshy, plethoric and overweight, and the milk diet does not appeal to them because, if correctly taken, it means an increase in weight, at first, anyway. Very many of them are gross eaters; some hygienic writers go so far as to say that they all are. Not many are willing to give up the pleasures of the table for an exclusive milk diet.

A fast is often beneficial to this class, but most of them will not listen to it. If they fast for a time they commit such excesses when they resume eating as to nullify all the benefits. Those who can afford it go from one hot spring to another, drinking vile tasting and smelling waters, taking mud baths and being doctored by all kinds of quacks, with all sorts of medicines.

The resorts where a “good table” is set appeal to them the most and hold them the longest. Very few permanent cures are performed in these places. Some, like the Arkansas Hot Springs, often greatly benefit invalids, but there the water is quite pure, and the good results come from the change to the pleasant mountain air, drinking large quantities of water, taking a daily warm bath, and experiencing a general improvement of hygienic conditions.

I have seen fully as good results in Long Beach, California, from a free use of the soft, artesian water, together with a more correct diet. The milk cure does not meet with the ideas of most rheumatic people because they must take a fast to begin with, and next they must cut off their meat, eggs, tea, coffee, whiskey, and tobacco.

They cannot see the need of going to bed for they think that would make them weak; they would rather hobble around for years like cripples than go to bed for a fortnight and get well. Many sufferers from rheumatism have started in bravely on the milk diet, but have stopped short when a natural reaction occurred. In this disease, as in many others, the first sign of a cure is a stirring up of the old trouble, causing often a recurrence of the rheumatic attacks.

It is very common, almost the rule, I should say, for a case of chronic rheumatism, starting on the milk diet properly, to have a return of the old malady. If the disease has previously taken the form of lumbago, after a few days of the diet, some movement, or muscular effort, will suddenly bring on a typical attack of the pain and spasm.

If the patient keeps on with the milk the attack disappears after a day or two, but within a few days more a second attach may come on, but always much lighter than the first. I have seen even a third attack, but so slight as to cause no inconvenience. If the patient goes through the first attack without ceasing the regular taking of the milk, any further appearance of the trouble will not hinder a cure, because it will be evident from the lighter form that the disease is being mastered.

The explanation of these “crises” may be found in the fact that the circulation of the blood is greatly stimulated while it is not yet purified. The excess of fibrin, the uric or lactic acid, or whatever the rheumatic poison may be, is still in the blood and being driven around with greater force, or into parts where previously the circulation had been stagnant, it is only natural that such reactions should occur. These things are discouraging to people who have been in the habit of taking medicine to relieve the attacks, and who have considered that medicine the best which most completely and quickly stopped the pain and discomfort.

It is the old story of something quick and easy, some immediate effect, the suppression of some symptom which is only the surface indication of deeper trouble; present relief regardless of future trouble. The process of eliminating the rheumatic poison on a milk diet, if slow, is sure. Milk does not contain the elements from which this poison is made, and gradually, the new blood, working within the body, assisted by the baths keeping the external skin soft and porous, drives rheumatism out of every tissue of the body, and, best of all, there is a complete correction of the abnormal process of assimilation, digestion, or elimination which allows this poison to accumulate in the blood.

It is a genuine cure, not simply temporary relief. We do not know why certain people should have rheumatism, when others, living apparently the same way, should be free from it; why one class of people is subject to rheumatism, but never have tuberculosis, and another class is liable to be consumptive, but never rheumatic.

Innumerable volumes have been written on rheumatism, gout, Bright’s Disease, chronic bronchitis, asthma, etc., but to my mind they are all different manifestations of the same disease, and that disease is simply the deranged condition of the assimilative or eliminative organs which permits the poison to accumulate in the blood. Undoubtedly the class of food eaten has an important influence, for meat extract, meat and fish always increase the amount of acid in the blood, while a vegetarian diet always decreases it.

Tea, coffee, and cocoa also contain the so-called purin bodies or bases, of which group uric acid is a member. Milk is absolutely free from these bodies. Prof. Weir Mitchell says uric acid disappears from the urine while skimmed milk alone is being taken, but reappears on the addition of other foods, especially meat. I do not think skimming the cream from the milk would make any difference.

I am sure that my rheumatic patients obtain freedom from uric acid by the use of unskimmed milk. The urine of these patients from being highly acid, changes very quickly to the normal condition of a very slight acidity, due to acid phosphates. The perspiration, however, continues highly acid for several days, and sometimes for weeks.

The odor from a rheumatic patient on the milk diet is distinctive and unmistakable, but becomes gradually less as they go on to a cure. Many other patients have odors of more or less intensity emanating from the skin, and none of them may be considered cured as long as this persists, no matter how well they may otherwise appear.

There is no form of rheumatism, acute or chronic, of the bones or muscles, so far as I know, that cannot be successful treated by the milk diet. But there are some cases with obscure, deep-seated pains, probably in the bones and worse at night, which are not rheumatism at all, and cannot be cured in as short a period as rheumatism can.

I have treated several cases of rheumatoid arthritis with bad ankylosed or stiffened joints. The progress of the disease always stops on the milk diet, and, to my surprise, at least two patients recovered movement in joints which I had thought permanently stiff, but the diet was continued for some months in both cases.

Continue to Chapter XI

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. Consult with your physician before making any changes to your diet.