8 Principles | Air | Exercise | Nutrition | Rest | Sunlight | Temperance | Trust | Water | Treating the Sick
The Health Principle of AIR
Fresh pure air is an essential part of life. We can live for weeks without food, days without water, but only minutes without air. Every cell in our body requires oxygen in order to function, so you can understand that if the air we breath is not pure, then we force our body cells to function on this impure oxygen. In fact, The American Lung Association has declared that up to ½ of all illnesses are either caused or aggravated by polluted air!
In combination with pure air, in order to have good health, we must have good blood; for the blood is the current of life. It is the channel though which waste is removed, repairs are made, and the body nourished. When the blood is supplied with the proper food elements and when cleansed and vitalized by contact with pure air, it carries life and vigor to every part of the system. The more perfect the circulation, the better will this work be accomplished.
At every pulsation of the heart the blood should make its way quickly and easily to all parts of the body. Its circulation should not be hindered by tight clothing or bands, or by insufficient clothing of the extremities. Whatever hinders the circulation forces the blood back to the vital organs, producing congestion. Headache, cough, palpitation of the heart, or indigestion is often the result.
In order to have good blood, we must breathe well. Fresh air is the free blessing of Heaven, calculated to electrify the whole system. Full, deep inspirations of pure air, not smog of smoke filled air, will fill the lungs with oxygen, and help to purify the blood. Air imparts to the blood a bright color and sends it, a life-giving current, to every part of the body. A good respiration soothes the nerves; it stimulates the appetite and renders digestion more perfect; and it induces sound, refreshing sleep.
The lungs should be allowed the greatest freedom possible. Their capacity is developed by free action; it diminishes if they are cramped and compressed. Hence you can understand that there will be ill effects if you stoop or do not sit straight for long periods of time. In this position it is impossible to breathe deeply. Superficial breathing soon becomes a habit, and the lungs lose their power to expand. Thus an insufficient supply of oxygen is received. The blood moves sluggishly. The waste, poisonous matter, which should be thrown off in the exhalations from the lungs, is retained, and the blood becomes impure. Not only the lungs, but the stomach, liver, and brain are affected. The skin becomes sallow, digestion is retarded; the heart is depressed; the brain is clouded; the thoughts are confused; gloom settles upon the spirits; the whole system becomes depressed and inactive, and peculiarly susceptible to disease -- all because of not breathing completely.
The lungs are constantly throwing off impurities, and they need to be constantly supplied with fresh air. Impure air does not afford the necessary supply of oxygen, and the blood passes to the brain and other organs without being vitalized. Hence the necessity of thorough ventilation. To live in close, ill-ventilated rooms, where the air is dead and too dry, weakens the entire system. It becomes peculiarly sensitive to the influence of cold, and a slight exposure induces disease. It is close confinement indoors that makes many women pale and feeble. They breathe the same air over and over until it becomes laden with poisonous matter thrown off through the lungs and pores, and impurities are thus conveyed back to the blood. This is a condition which will weaken the system and allow sickness and disease to gain a foothold in us.