Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Some Standard Wisdom for Curing Scoliosis

To fill the gaping hole left in my heart, not to mention my schedule, by Dorothy Day, I am inaugurating a new weekly series today derived from the Christian Standard. Founded in 1866 by a group of progressively-minded Disciples (including future president James A. Garfield), the Christian Standard was the flagship paper for the growth and mainstreaming of the Disciples Movement. It continues publishing into the present.

My recent research has brought me into intimate contact with the 1880 editions of the paper while it was under the headship of its first and greatest editor, Isaac Errett. I tried desperately to focus exclusively on the development of church-state thought among the Disciples, as my research dictated, but my attention was constantly diverted to the dozens of amusing, intriguing, and insulting articles that appeared constantly in the pages of the Standard. It is those articles, unrelated to my research and, more often than not, unrelated to much of anything at all, that I propose to share. Some will likely be entertaining, either because they were intended to be or because they titillate our need to feel superior by virtue of our historical progress--as the one today does. Others will stimulate the curiosity of those of us who have an interest in Disciples history, particularly as it pertains to ongoing controversies within the churches of the Stone-Campbell Movement. Still others will offend. It is critical to remember that in quoting those articles, I intend neither an endorsement of the expressed view nor a judgmental critique. I present them as a historian hoping to elucidate key issues in the history of a religious movement and of the broader American culture of the post-bellum nineteenth century.

A wonderful starting point seems to be this bit of medical advice, pilfered by the Christian Standard from an article by Dr. Dio Lewis in the Congregationalist entitled "Crooked Spines."

The only way to straighten the spine, no matter what the curvature may be, is to strengthen the muscles of the spine. And the best possible way to do this is to carry a weight on the head. The best weight is a sheepskin bag containing from ten to fifty pounds of sand. the bag should be not quite full, so it will fit down upon the head and balance well. The weight may at first be light, but soon it should be from thirty to fifty pounds for a man, and from ten to thirty for a child or woman. The greatest weight you can carry will do no harm. In the morning while reading or studying carry this bag, walking slowly about with the spine erect, and chin close to the neck until you are tired. Do the same thing going to bed at night. In one month you will experience happy results. Your neck will be stronger, and the spine straighter and stronger. In twelve months you will lay up such treasures of straight strong spine as will last you a long time.

1 comment:

  1. My sister is about to begin treatment for her scoliosis; I've been reading a lot about it lately, and I found this post to be especially insightful. Thank you!