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Chapter 16The Skin: Its Connection with the Internal Organs, and Correspondence with the Mind

There is no organ of the body more skillfully and wonderfully constructed, and whose normal action is more necessary to our physical well-being, than the skin. The substance of which the various tissues are made, are being constantly changed. It has been stated that once in seven years, the whole bodily structure is renewed. But there are satisfactory reasons for believing that complete renovation is effected in a much briefer period, perhaps as often as once a year, if not once a month. The time necessasry for this change in the organic elements, is that which is required for an amount of worn-out material, equal to the weight of the body, to pass off through the appropriate channels, and an equal amount to be received and appropriated.

Every day new matter is supplied from the food, and particles of every tissue are dislodged and carried out of the system by the excretory organs, one of the most prominent of which is the skin. The waste, worn-out particles pass off from the skin invisibly, in the form of insensible perspiration, and visibly, and in appreciable quantities, in sensible perspiration or sweat. This useless matter is eliminated from the system through what we call the pores of the skin, which are crowded together upon the entire surface of the body, and are the terminations of millions of minute spiral tubes, proceeding from the membranous envelopes of the internal organs. They are not mere punctures or holes in the cuticular covering, but are the outlets of a grand system of drainage, and of pipes conveying nutritious elements into the body.

In this way, and by means of nervous fibers which proceed from the various organs, and are spread out into a nexus or network in the cutis vera, the skin has connection and communication with all the internal organs, and is their ultima-tion or external boundary. These pores or tubes are more numerous in some places than in others. There are more of them in the palms of the hands than in the heel of the feet, there being in the former about three thousand, five hundred and twenty eight to the square inch, and in the latter two thousand, two hundred and sixty eight. The general average has been estimated in Wilson’s Anatomy, to be twenty-eight hundred to the square inch. The number of square inches of surface in a man of medium size, is twenty-five hundred. This would give seven millions as the whole number of pores. These tubes are estimated to be only one fourth of an inch in length, which falls greatly short of the truth, but this gives the number of inches of perspiratory tube as one million, seven hundred and fifty thousand, or nearly twenty-eight miles. But this is some six times too small in relation to the length of each tube, and at least five times less than the real number of pores to the square inch. If so, there would be eight hundred andforty miles of these minute draining pipes terminating in the skin.

Physiologists have computed, that through these channels there are excreted about two and a half pounds of waste matter every day, or seventy-five pounds a month. A large proportion of this is mere watery vapor, but holding in solntion minute quantities of solid matter, which once composed the muscles, nerves, and other tissues. If this were left to accumulate, it would aggregate in such quantities as to interfere with the healthful and vigorous functional action of all the organs, and fevers and other morbid conditions of the system would be the inevitable result. This passes off from the body through the skin, and is lodged in the clothing, or surrounds us as a sphere or atmosphere of its own exhalations. This perspiration is attended with a sensible odor, different in various persons, and in the same person at different times. To keep these pores open and in proper action is as necessary to the health of the internal organs as it is to that of the surface. And to ascertain what spiritual states and influences affect their action, is not merely a matter of curiosity, but of practical hygienio value. We shall endeavor to show this in as clear a light as we are able.

The investing membranes are the grand chemical laboratory of the living system. The secretory and perspiratory glands, and the absorbents, are the apparatus nature uses in her chemistry of life. The one throws off the diseased and worn-out particles, the other imbibes them. We are satisfied “that the spring of all nourishment and abundance, whether of the inner or outer man, is not to be found where we seek it: it lies deep in the spirituality of our nature, there where no external evils can reach, to trouble or dry it up.” It was the opinion of Paracelsus, that man is not only fed through his stomach, but through all the membranes of the body by drawing in nutriment from the elements surrounding us.

We drink in life from the viewless air, and from the unseen all-surrounding spiritual realm. There are well-authenticated cases of persons passing long periods without food or drink. But undoubtedly the spiritual elements or essences, contained in our ordinary diet, were received from other sources. Thus man may eat angels’ food. Elijah in this way passed forty days without other nutriment than the spiritual world supplied. Thus Moses at the moment, and Jesus in the wilderness of Bethsaida, susained life for more than a month without material food.

We imbibe from the atmosphere much that is essential to life and health, not merely through the lungs, but like the leaves of plants from the air in contact with us. Hence the hygiene value of both the air-bath, and the sun-bath, in which the whole surface of the body is exposed to the unobstructed action of the atmospheric elements and the influence of light. The parts of the body least covered by the clothing, are always in the healthiest condition. All the internal organs may be affected by an application of medicines and various substances applied to the surface, as we have previously shown. And it is better to apply medicines here, than to the stomach and intestinal canal. The latter is the common sewer of the body, and is the last place in the world in which to put medical compounds. We have often known a cloth wet in a solution of sulphate of magnesia, to cause a movement of the lower intestine, in a costive state of the bowels, and that without inflaming the whole alimentary tube, as when administered through the stomach. Any organ may be thus affected, for when there is in it a lack of any element, it has a hungry infinity for it, and attracts it to itself, when the substance containing it is applied to the skin over it.

Our experiments with medicines thus applied have satisfied us that they possess efficiency, without the usual morbid results attending their administration in the ordinary way. An application of common salt to the lumbar plexus, will relieve an inflamed state of the kidneys, indicated by an excess of saccharine matter in the urine. But an intelligent application of spiritual or mental force, may produce all the ef-fects that can be produced by medicines. We have thrown persons into a gentle perspiration in five minutes, without touching them, and sometimes when they were miles away. For let it be remcmbererl that a psychological influence can affect the psychological action of any organ in the body. But it is in this, as in everything else, — knowledge is power. To know how to do anything, is to be able to do it.

The laws that govern in the production of such results we hope to explain hereafter. But what can be done by one mind acting upon another mind, and through this upon the body, can be effected in a still higher degree by angels and spirits. If they can move ponderable bodies, as a stone at the entrance of a sepulcher, or articles of furniture, or a man’s hand, and these are established facts of science, and demonstrated truths, they can certainly just as well affect the phgsiological activity of an organ in the body, by an intelligent employment of spiritual and imponderable forces. We have the means of knowing, or at least of believing, that there are associations of spirits in the other world, whose use and happiness are found in ministcring to minds diseased. There are many Raphaels, or divine physicians there. And the laws that govern the production of healing effects by sanative spiritual influences, are subjects of earnest investigation. Hereafter the world will receive higher light on this important and interesting subject, than has ever
dawned upon us from the serene and lucid depths of the angelic heavens. A calm clear light is already breaking in the east. It will be seen by coming generations, that all the therapeutic effects that we aim to produce by medicines, but often fail in our attempts, can be unerringly caused by psychological forces.

The spiritual world contains, and perhaps is made up of, the invisible essences of material things. All the sanative virtues of plants and minerals are to be attributed to the spiritual forces of which they are only the ultimate expression. It has been established by experiment, that pure water, in the hands of a good magnet-izer, can be made to produce the specific effects of any medical preparation. But it is only the action of his mind upon it, for our inner being inherits from the central Life a sort of creative force. The so-called miracle, in Cana, where Jesus made water into wine, was performed in harmony with this law; for all miracles that are historically true, are only the exhibition of higher laws of nature than those men usually avail themselves of. If by the employment of unrecognized spirit forces, such a reslllt was effected in an obscure village of Galilee, cannot spiritual beings impart a sanative principle to anything we take into the system, or that comes in contact with us? And cannot the human mind here learn to do it? If the account of the pool of Bethesda be accepted as literally true, an angel imparted sanative virtues to its water, so that whoever stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. (Jn. v. 2-9.) There is nothing contrary to the known laws of nature in this. Facts go to show that the manipulation of medicines by the physician, and his mental states while compounding them, produce psychometrical effects upon a sensitive patient.

All chemical changes in the body are effected by the action of the cellular tissue, which composes the membranes that surround and interpenetrate all the organs and the entire system. These membranes are mucous or serous, positive or negative, like the copper and zinc in an electro-magnetic battery. All positive substances give off a negative magnetism, and all negative substances absorb and throw off a positive electrical force. Any influence that stimulates to excessive action the mucous surfaces of the body, throws it into a negative state and closes the pores of the skin. This is the case in a common cold, which is only an infant fever. All the mucous membranes or tissues exhibit an increased action, and the serous surfaces are correspondently inactive and dry. There is a loss of vital harmony. Before the pores can be opened, and the febtile symptoms relieved, the bodily organs must be rendered more positive by an excitement of the serous membranes. The dryness of the surface is only what is seen everywhere in the serous tissue of all the organs.

The question now arises: What spiritual states, or forces, will excite to action the appropriate membranes, and increase the serous secretions, and open the pores of the skin, and what mental states will so act upon the mucous surfaces, as to close the mouths of the spiral draining tubes, and check or suspend all perspiration? It is an interesting fact in this connection, that certain animals never sweat, however much they may be heated. This is true of the dog, the goat, the cat, and all animals of the feline species, and the hog. In the animal races that never exhibit any sensible perspiration, we find prominently developed some one or more of the selfish propensities that have their organs in man in the base of the brain. Occasionally a human being is found who never exhibits much, if any, sensible perspiration, while others in the game atmosphere, the same temperature, and the same employment, may appear to have been immersed in water. It seems to be his normal state, a peculiarity of mental and physical organization. But it will be found that some one or all the organs at the base of the blain are predominantly active. To lower the action of these organs by demagnetizing them, by sending thcir vital force down into corresponding organs of the body, or up to the region of the intellectual and spiritual faculties, is the modus operandi of giving a patient a psychological sweat.

The more the mind is elevated above the animal and sensuous range of action, the more active are the perspiratory glands of the skin. In sleep this region of the brain is usually quiescent, and an increased perspiration is the result. One of the first symptoms exhibited in that exalted state of the mind’s action characterizing the magnetic coma or trance, is the unusual moisture of the hands and the surface of the body. In consumption there is invariably exhibited a loss of harmony between the intellectual and affectional departments of the mind, the former predominating. They are affectionally cold and think more than they feel. This predominance of the intellectual over the emotional, affects the amount of the respiratory action, and also the state of the skin. They often exhibit a morbid tendency to undue perspiration. And they never can be relieved of the disease, until the lost harmony of the mind is restored. It is well known that unusual muscular exertion induces an increased perspiration, and by magnetizing the part of the cerebrum which is the organ of all voluntary movements, the same effect can be produced upon the perspiratory glands. Thus the action of the skin is under the control of the intelligent magnetic healer, A certain force force, brought to bear upon some parts of the brain, will send a glow of heat over the whole surface of the body, producing a transient febrile state. By another action of his mind and will, he can produce almost instantly the opposite physiological condition, and throw the patient into a gentle perspiration.

Are there any drugs that can equal the living force of a mind made in the image of God, and which incloses in its hidden depths a germ of the one and only Life? We have known fevers, in their incipient stage, to be cured by a psychological force in less than five minutes. In one case a person connected with the War Department in Washington, was thrown into a profuse perspiration, while the operator was quietly seated in his library in New Hampshire. Many facts and testimonials could be given to confirm the statements we might make in relation to the wonderful effects produced by the simple force of the mind. But they would not seem credible to those who do not understand the spiritual laws that govern in such cases. We are apt to forget that mind is the only causal agent in the universe, and that all effects and phenomena in the realm of material things owe their origin to the action of spiritual forces. The sublime movements of the universe are all effects of a divine and self-sustaining force whose name is the I AM, the Living One, and whom the philosophic Greeks called Zeus, from a verb meaning to live. The whole realm of nature is subordinate to spirit, and controlled by it. All physiological action is only an ultimation of psychological forces. All vital movements are a display in the realm of organized matter of spiritual dynamics. And sufficient hints and glimpses of truth have been afford us in this chapter to warrant the belief, or at least, the hope, that the time is coming when all cultaneous diseases, and febrile states of the system — and their name is legion — will be under the control of an intelligent use of the living powers of the human spirit.

Jesus cured Peter’s wife’s mother of a fever by taking her by the hands, and we have seen a person thrown into a healthy perspiration in the same way. The arms are the chief instrument of muscular motion, and all the voluntary strength of the body can be concentrated in them. They have sympathetic connection with the point of the brain where muscular force has its seat. And an excitement of this part of the brain acts upon the perspiratory glands.

We have before remarked that our physiological and pathological states render us receptive of a corresponding spiritual influx. The various ablutions of the Jewish and Mohammedan laws have not only a hygienic value, but a real spiritual use. The washing of the body not only purifies the skin, and white-washes the outside of the sepulcher, but purifies the internal organs, and the spiritual man as well. It is a law that the influx of life from the realm of spirit, is modified by the quality and condition of the recipient form. Hence when the body becomes foul by the retention of worn-out material, which accumulates on the surface and in the interior of the structure, it becomes a cage suitable only for the dwelling of unclean birds, and no others will descend and make their nest in it. It is a vessel fitted to receive only the lower passions and feelings of human nature. Such mental states, ultimated in a correspondent bodily condition, are the spiritual causes of fevers and many loathsome and unclean cutaneous diseases. External cleanliness is not only next to godliness, but may be viewed as a part of it. Public bathing houses are as important a means of grace as our poorly ventilated churches, and many an unhappy soul would be brought nearer to heaven by a judicious application of soap and water, than he could be by listening to a sermon about things of which he comprehends little and cares less. If we purify the external body, it prepares a recipient vessel for the influx of pure affections and of truths in agreement with them. To bring the external nature into correspondent harmony with the higher and diviner sentiments and powers, should be our steady aim. For the soul not only acts upon the body, but the latter reacts upon the former.


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