Counseling Sheet


Agatha M. Thrash, M.D.
Preventive Medicine


Customs in eating, drinking, and also dressing greatly influence the level of health. Following are some suggestions that may help to give you better health.


Any bands that impede the circulation or leave a mark on the skin or prevent entirely free motion of an extremity are improper. The most healthful clothing is suspended from the shoulder, rather than from tight bands around the waist. Care should also be used at such trouble areas as the neck, ankles, knees, thighs, and wrists. Shoulder straps of underclothing can cause a heavy, tiring weight. Test your clothing by lifting your arms straight up. The clothing should move upward with the arms. Examine your skin for marks from tight bands. Test the clothing over the thighs by taking giant steps (your clothing should not become snug against your thighs even with your longest step). Men's pants that are too tight in the crotch endanger the delicate testes. Their injury from compression and excessive heat has been compared to receiving a certain quantity of X-radiation.


It is impossible to have the best of health if the extremities are habitually cold. The unequal circulation which results from clothing the trunk more warmly than the extremities allows toxic materials to build up both in the anemic extremities and in the congested viscera. Blood tends to pool in any area of inflammation. In the head the excess blood produces headaches, in the chest it produces coughs, in the intestinal tract various types of discomfort, and in the kidneys inefficient cleaning of the blood. The nervous system responds to messages from chilled areas with an alarm reaction.


Much of the feebleness which is suffered by women is the result of improper clothing of the extremities. Congestion of the pelvic organs can lead to cervicitis, dysmenorrhea, cervical polyps, and malpositions of the uterus. In pregnancy the placenta may not get a sufficient circulation of the blood. As a result of a sluggish exchange of blood, the development of the fetus may be retarded. Vitality is expended unnecessarily to supply the want of sufficient clothing. Usually proper dress demands warm underclothing. Absorptive cotton for underclothing, not synthetic fabrics, are often required to meet all the various needs of the body.


If the breasts are more warmly clothed than the extremities, the resulting increased temperature makes them susceptible to various diseases, from inability to nurse one's infant, to cystic disease and various tumors. The normal temperature of the breast is several degrees below that of the surrounding skin. Mammary thermograms show an increased breast temperature in breast cancer and many benign lesions. In this regard, the undescended male testis is a similar glandular organ, and has a much greater malignancy rate than the descended testis. It is felt that the reason for the increase in cancer is that the undescended testis is kept several degrees warmer than the scrotal testis which is removed from the major portion of the body heat.


The susceptibility to viral infections is greatly increased if the extremities are not kept warmly clad at all times. The normal skin is described by physicians as "warm and dry" except when one is actively sweating, when it is described as "cool and moist." It is rare that bare arms or legs can be normally designated by either of these descriptions. We have fixed macrophages in the skin which are important in combating disease. If the blood can be flooded past these important structures, they assist in protecting against infection, particularly upper respiratory tract infections. Many diseases that have long been elusive as to cause are now being considered as virus diseases. These include such diseases as cancer, arthritis, ulcerative colitis, etc. We may lower the body's resistance to these types of disease by improperly clothing the extremities.


Shoes should be substantial, with low heels, and should not require gripping the toes in order to maintain position on the foot. A strap or tie which keeps the shoe on, and allows the toes ample room is the most healthful shoe. Remember to buy larger shoes in winter to accommodate woolen winter hose.


A. Dress against the heat.

  • Protect the skin from direct rays of the sun by loose clothing of cotton material that fully covers the arms and the legs. In countries where the weather is very hot, clothing is loose fitting and covers the body well.
  • Choose light colors which reflect the heat and thus keep the body cool.
  • Wearing long sleeves both summer and winter prevents the "alarm reaction" of the adrenals that causes a vigorous adjustment in the nervous system and the sensation of extreme overheating if even a light sleeve is worn. The reaction is paradoxically characterized by an intolerance to covering the arms. It is an adaptation response of the nervous system to the stress of chilling.

B. Keep the head cool while in the sun by wearing a hat, avoiding the midday sun when possible, and by drinking plenty of water to promote free sweating.

C. Eat lighter foods, emphasizing fresh fruits and vegetables. Heavy or sweet foods, fatty foods, or high protein foods cause much heat production.

D. Water. Perspiration can be promoted by drinking much water, and the natural temperature controls of the body, the skin and lungs, can be much more efficient if there is plenty of water.


Babies experience much discomfort because of improper clothing. Many a fretful baby is uncomfortable because of being handled on bare skin, particularly in hot weather when hands may be sweaty and salty and make the baby's skin uncomfortable. Chilling of the extremities may cause congestion in the abdomen, where even a tablespoon of extra blood may distressfully crowd the organs. If at the same time there are tight bands, either around the abdomen or thighs, the stage is set for colic.

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Uchee Pines Lifestyle Center
30 Uchee Pines Road #75
Seale, Alabama 36875