Counseling Sheet

How to Maintain a Healthful Body Temperature

Agatha M. Thrash, M.D.
Preventive Medicine

The principles of protection from the stressful effects of cold with the “almost endless train of disease” that “results from unhealthful modes of dress” have not changed since E. G. White wrote almost 100 years ago concerning these important matters. (Education p. 199). Note these helpful references on this subject:

  • Strength and energy are unnecessarily expended from body stores “to the surface to supply the want of sufficient clothing.” The Adventist Home p. 256.
  • The greatest cause of disease in women is the way they dress and eat. If you are sick, meditate carefully on the following statement to receive a blessing. “I do not speak unadvisedly when I say that the way in which women clothe themselves, together with their indulgence of appetite, is the greatest causes of their present feeble diseased condition. There is but one woman in a thousand who clothes her limbs as she should. Whatever may be the length of the dress, females should clothe their limbs as thoroughly as the males. This may be done by wearing lined pants... [that] come down long enough to meet the shoe. The limbs and ankles thus clothed are protected against a current of air.” Selected Messages, book 2, p. 478.3.
  • The blood is not cleansed if the feet are habitually cold. “If the limbs and feet are kept comfortable with warm clothing, the circulation will be equalized, and the blood will remain healthy and pure, because it is not chilled or hindered in its natural passage through the system.” Ibid.
  • Constricting bands at the waist which compress the organs cause disease from which it is difficult to recover. “The female form should not be compressed in the least... The heavy skirts worn by females, their weight dragging down upon the hips, have been the cause of various diseases, which are not easily cured, because the sufferers... continue... girding the waists... until they are made lifelong invalids. Many will immediately exclaim, ‘Why such a style of dress would be old-fashioned!’ What if it is? I wish we could be old-fashioned in many respects.” Ibid. p. 478.
  • To protect the limbs from chilling, the “dress should reach somewhat below the top of the boot; but should be short enough to clear the filth of the sidewalk.” Ibid.
  • Cleanliness in clothing and premises is essential to health. “A great amount of suffering might be saved.... Strict habits of cleanliness should be observed. Many, while well, will not take the trouble to keep in a healthy condition... Impurities are constantly and imperceptibly passing from the body, through the pores, and if the surface of the skin is not kept in a healthy condition, the system is burdened with impure matter. If the clothing worn is not often washed, and frequently aired, it becomes filthy with impurities which are thrown off from the body... The pores of the skin absorb again the waste matter... into the blood... which... produces fevers... Many, instead of... seeking to remove the poisonous matter from the system, take a more deadly poison into the system, to remove a poison already there.” Ibid. p. 460.
  • Each family should “make special efforts to remove every impurity from their persons, and from their houses, and... premises.... By inhaling the impure air, the blood is poisoned, the lungs become affected, and the whole system is diseased.” Disease of almost every description will be caused by inhaling the atmosphere polluted by odors from the body or premises. Ibid. pp. 460-461.
  • Chilling and restricting the limbs of a baby, and covering its head lead to disease of the lungs and brain. In illness, “the infant’s sufferings would have been relieved by taking off its tight clothing, and putting upon it garments properly loose and short, that it may use its feet and limbs.... If she covers its head... while sleeping, in a short time it will be in a perspiration.... When she takes it from beneath the covering, it is almost sure to take cold.” Ibid. p. 469.
  • Tight bands around the abdomen and at the thighs, such as in wearing plastic garments or tightly pinned diapers, cause much suffering. Many parents do not properly clothe the infant’s limbs and this leads to poor growth. “The arms being naked, exposes the infant to constant cold, and congestion of the lungs and brain. These exposures prepare the way for the infant to become sickly and dwarfed.” Ibid.
  • The most healthful dress for children to keep the heart, lungs, and brain in a healthy condition and promote proper growth is given in Selected Messages, book 2, pages 469-471. “God holds mothers accountable for the diseases their children are compelled to suffer. Mothers bow at the shrine of fashion, and sacrifice the health and lives of their children.” Ibid. p. 470.
  • The pregnant woman needs to pay special attention to her clothing. "Care should be taken to protect the body from a sense of chilliness.” The Adventist Home, p. 256. The placenta is not well seated or nourished if any part of the skin is allowed to become chilled.
  • “Another evil which custom fosters is the unequal distribution of the clothing, so that while some parts of the body have more than is required, others are insufficiently clad. The feet and limbs, being remote from the vital organs, should be especially guarded from cold by abundant clothing. It is impossible to have health when the extremities are habitually cold.... Perfect health... cannot be had while three or four times as much clothing is worn upon the body, where the vital organs are situated, as upon the feet and limbs.” The Ministry of Healing, p. 293.
  • We must make a study of the health needs of the body, and take no liberties. The appearance of a garment is only part of its requirements. “In order to secure the most healthful clothing, the needs of every part of the body must be carefully studied. The character of the climate, the surroundings, the condition of health, the age, and the occupation must all be considered.... Women who are in failing health can do much for themselves by sensible dressing and exercise.” Ibid.
  • Our clothing “should provide warmth and proper protection.... In all respects the dress should be healthful.... Both [health of soul and body] are promoted by healthful dress.” Ibid. p. 288.
  • “Scrupulous cleanliness is essential to both physical and mental health. Impurities are constantly thrown off from the body through the skin.... The impurities which should pass off through the skin become an additional burden to the other eliminating organs…. [By] a cool or tepid bath…the mind and body are alike invigorated... the intellect is made brighter. The bath is a soother of the nerves.” Ibid. p. 276.
  • Warmth, protection, and comfort are requirements of healthful clothing. “No part of the body should at any time be made uncomfortable by clothing that compresses any organ or restricts its freedom of movement.... In some countries the custom of leaving bare the shoulders and limbs... prevails. This custom cannot be too severely condemned. The limbs... demand greater protection than the other parts of the body.... When the limbs are left unprotected or are insufficiently clad, the arteries and veins become contracted.” Ibid. p. 382.
  • “In many cases the sickness of children can be traced to... insufficient clothing in the chilly evening.... Let the parents study to find the causes of the sickness, and then remedy the wrong conditions as soon as possible.” Ibid. p. 385.
  • “Women should clothe their limbs with regard to health and comfort. Their feet and limbs need to be clad as warmly as men’s.” Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 459.
  • Cool air quiets distracted nerves. Improper clothing of the extremities causes headache, nosebleed, a sense of fullness in the chest, cough, palpitation, or indigestion. (Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 531.)
  • “The amount of physical suffering created by unnatural and unhealthful dress cannot be estimated. Many have become lifelong invalids through their compliance with the demands of fashion. Displacements and deformities, cancers and other terrible diseases, are among the evil resulting from fashionable dress.” Testimonies, vol. 4, pp. 634-635.

We can now determine “the greatest causes of” (Selected Messages, book 2, p. 478.3) several difficult-to-cure diseases and conditions. Each of the following conditions is mentioned as caused by improper clothing: lung congestion, growth disorders, arthritis, fatigue and weakness, stomach ulcers, fevers, invalidism, congestion of the brain, infant colic, colds, imbalanced mind, curvature of the spine (Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 635), nervousness, headache, nosebleed, cough, palpitation, indigestion, and cancers.

“God has been testing His people. He allowed the testimony concerning dress to become silent, that our sisters might follow their own inclination and thus develop the real pride existing in their hearts.” (Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 639.) “At the sanitarium, physicians and helpers have greatly departed from the Lord’s instructions in regard to dress.” Ibid. “In this institution people were to be taught how to dress, breathe, and eat properly—how to prevent sickness by proper habits of living.” (Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 303.) “Irregularity in eating and drinking, and improper dressing, deprave the mind and corrupt the heart.” (Ibid. p. 62.)

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