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Quotations about Health


Health and cheerfulness are brothers. ~Proverbs, William Hardcastle Browne, 1900

Eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life. ~William Louden, 1929

The scientific truth may be put quite briefly; eat moderately, having an ordinary mixed diet, and don't worry. ~Robert Hutchison, M.D. (1871–1960)

The trouble about always trying to preserve the health of the body is that it is so difficult to do it without destroying the health of the mind. ~G. K. Chesterton, 1929

I look about me in the world, and nearly everybody I know is sick. I could name one after another a hundred men and women, who are... carrying a cruel handicap of physical suffering. ~Upton Sinclair, The Fasting Cure, 1911

For my own part I reckon being ill as one of the great pleasures of life, provided one is not too ill and is not obliged to work till one is better... To lie there careless of everything, quiet and warm, and with no weight upon the mind... to watch the soft shadows come and go upon the ceiling... not only to be a lotus-eater but to know that it was one's duty to be a lotus-eater. ~Samuel Butler, 1870s

Men usually take better care of their boots than of their stomachs. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon. ~Doug Larson, 1989

The best six doctors anywhere—
      And no one can deny it—
Are Sunshine, Water, Rest and Air,
      Exercise and Diet.
These six will gladly you attend,
      If only you are willing,
      Your mind they'll cheer,
      Your ills they'll mend,
And charge you not one shilling.
~"Doctors Six," c. 1921

A bodily disease, which we look upon as whole and entire within itself, may, after all, be but a symptom of some ailment in the spiritual part. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Leech and His Patient," The Scarlet Letter: A Romance, 1850

Every symptom has a story to tell about your life. A fascinating story, that can reveal the complex links between your body, mind, emotions and spirit. ~Kristina Turner, The Self-Healing Cookbook, 2002, originally published 1987

If you mean to keep as well as possible, the less you think about your health the better. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, in The Atlantic Monthly, July 1890

The deviation of Man from the state in which he was originally placed by Nature seems to have proved to him a prolific source of Disease. ~Edward Jenner, M.D., 1800

Most habits against Nature, if not arrested, run into disease. ~George Catlin (1796–1872)

Come, abashed Self! admit one thing:
You have been indoors too much of late…
You should have been out wrestling with the sun,
Or running races with the rolling Earth…
Where's the old smell of you, when, nostrils dilated,
You were drenched with sea-salt and soil-odor?
Where 's the lusty tang of your voice, cleansed by strong winds?
Your sun-burnt cheek?
And the animal magic of your eyes?
Out of the house with you…
Into the water! Into the sky!
Over the hills!
~James Oppenheim, "Out!," War and Laughter, 1916 seems as if pain were the prayer of the nerve for healthy blood. ~Moritz Heinrich Romberg, A Manual of the Nervous Diseases of Man, 1840, translated from German by Edward H. Sieveking

May you live as long as you are fit to live, but no longer! or may you rather die, before you cease to be fit to live, than after! ~Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th earl of Chesterfield, letter to his son, 1749

Sickness always brings the soul nearer to God. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

I am sick both soul and body... ~Laurence Sterne (1713–1768)

A sad soul can kill you quicker, far quicker, than a germ. ~John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America, 1962

I have looked through the list of illnesses, and did not find cares or sad thoughts mentioned among them. That is a mistake, surely. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), translated by Norman Alliston, 1908

Happily we are learning that the mind has to do with the misdeeds of the body, and that there are no more valuable therapeutic agents than cheerfulness, happiness, and hope. ~Olive Thorne Miller, "Pet Lore for Pet Lovers," The Home-Maker, 1889

The mind has great influence over the body, and maladies often have their origin there. ~Molière

My definition of fitness is to be able to carry out all of the activities in life that you desire, plus have a physical reserve at the end of the day to do something besides lie down and flip the remote. If you can do all that, if you're functional, then you're fit. It doesn't matter if you have great abs or can bench-press your body weight. Those things have nothing to do with real life. ~James Glinn, physical therapist, in an interview with Joseph Kita for his 1999 book Wisdom of Our Fathers

First need in the reform of hospital management? That's easy! The death of all dietitians, and the resurrection of a French chef. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

Half the modern drugs could well be thrown out the window, except that the birds might eat them. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

Joy and Temperance and Repose
Slam the door on the doctor's nose.
~Friedrich von Logau (1604–1655), "The Best Medicines," translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1846

      Teacher:  Sterilized Stephen, do you bring with you a disinfected certificate of birth, baptism and successful vaccination? Have you had your arm inoculated with correct cholera serum? Have you had your vermiform appendix removed? Have you a Pasteurized certificate of immunity from croup, cold feet and cholera morbus? Do you promise for yourself, your heirs and assigns, for all ages, to use sterilized milk? Will you abjure every companion that sniffles? Do you promise to use an antiseptic slate sponge?
      Stephen:  Yes, ma'am.
      Teacher:  Then extract that one remaining milk tooth, tie a formaldehyde bag 'round your neck, and make your will. Come to‑morrow and you will be assigned an insulated seat in this Sanitary Schoolhouse. ~"The Schoolboy of 1905," in Life, 1904  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

A thrill of physical well-being went through him under the sleek, sun-warmed skin and in the running blood and quiet nerves... The sense of fitness exalted him like a gentle beatitude. ~May Sinclair, A Cure of Souls, 1924

As a people, we have become obsessed with Health. There is something fundamentally, radically unhealthy about all this. We do not seem to be seeking more exuberance in living as much as staving off failure, putting off dying. We have lost all confidence in the human body. ~Lewis Thomas, The Medusa and the Snail, 1974

Physical ills are the taxes laid upon this wretched life; some are taxed higher, and some lower, but all pay something. ~Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th earl of Chesterfield, 1757

I would make good health catching, instead of disease. ~Robert G. Ingersoll, The Gods, 1872

Like everybody else, when I don't know what else to do, I seem to go in for catching colds. I have had some beauties and they have been just as beautiful after doctors got through with them as they were before I was fool enough to telephone. If there ever was a doctor who could actually shut up a cold in less time than it takes a cold to shut itself up, I do not know his address — and I know a lot of doctors' addresses... I have been all right again in a week or nine days, maybe, when the cold has just naturally got tired of me and has gone somewhere else, but not a minute before. ~George Jean Nathan, "On Doctors"

Fast living makes a slow liver. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

The first wealth is health. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you have health, you probably will be happy; and if you have health and happiness, you will have all the wealth you need, even if not all you want. ~Elbert Hubbard, "How To Keep Well," The Romance of Business, 1917

The... patient should be made to understand that he or she must take charge of his own life. Don't take your body to the doctor as if he were a repair shop. ~Quentin R. Regestein, M.D., quoted in Philip Goldberg & Daniel Kaufman, Natural Sleep, 1978

Every man's disease is his personal property. ~Alonzo Clark, M.D. (1807–1887)

I have been awfully busy... And it tires me so that generally I go to bed again the next minute after I get up: and sometimes I go to bed again a minute before I get up! Did you ever hear of any one being so tired as that? ~Lewis Carroll, 1879

I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired! ~Byllye Y. Avery, Black Women's Health Project, National Conference on Black Women's Health, 1983

Economically, many folks don't feel they can afford organic. While this may be true in some cases, I think more often than not it's a question of priority. ~Woody Harrelson, "Woody's way,", 2004

When the head aches, all the body is the worse. ~Proverb

Bacteria keep us from heaven and put us there. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

Those obsessed with health are not healthy: the first requisite of good health is a certain calculated carelessness about oneself. ~Sydney J. Harris, 1961

Let us a little permit Nature to take her own way; she better understands her own Affairs than we. ~Michel de Montaigne, "Of Experience," translated from French by Charles Cotton

It is very strange, this domination of our intellect by our digestive organs. We cannot work, we cannot think, unless our stomach wills so. It dictates to us our emotions, our passions... We are but the veriest, sorriest slaves of our stomach. Reach not after morality and righteousness, my friends; watch vigilantly your stomach, and diet it with care and judgment. Then virtue and contentment will come and reign within your heart, unsought by any effort of your own; and you will be a good citizen, a loving husband, and a tender father — a noble, pious man. ~Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), 1889

One Strives for Health and cures his Body's Ills;
Another Mopes and gathers Doctors' Bills.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Health," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

Haste breeds indigestion, but happiness lies, first of all, in health. ~George William Curtis, Lotus-Eating: A Summer Book, 1852

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book. ~Irish proverb

But times of stress and difficulty are inevitable in life. Mental hygiene means preparation to deal with such times. ~Mental Health Bulletin, Illinois Society for Mental Health, 1928

The time has come to appeal to the public to provide support for mental hygiene. ~Clifford Whittingham Beers, A Mind That Found Itself, 1921

How frail a thing is health, and what a thin envelope protects our life against being swallowed up from without or disorganised from within! A breath, and the boat springs a leak or founders; a nothing, and all is endangered; a passing cloud, and all is darkness! Life is indeed a flower which a morning withers and the beat of a passing wing breaks down; it is the widow's lamp, which the slightest blast of air extinguishes. In order to feel keenly the poetry of a morning's roses, one needs to have just escaped from the claws of that vulture we call illness... Here in all its simplicity is the teaching of sickness! "Do with all diligence what you have to do; reconcile yourself with the law of the universe; think of your duty; prepare yourself for departure." ~Henri Frédéric Amiel, journal, 1860

Know then, whatever cheerful and serene
Supports the mind supports the body too...
~John Armstrong, M.D., The Art of Preserving Health, 1744

If the pain wanders, do not waste your time with doctors.  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1963

Sickness — nature's vengeance for violating her laws. ~Charles Simmons, A Laconic Manual and Brief Remarker, 1852

Sickness is injured Nature's revenge. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

There are... two things in life that a sage must preserve at every sacrifice, the coats of his stomach and the enamel of his teeth. Some evils admit of consolations: there are no comforters for dyspepsia and toothache. ~Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, Kenelm Chillingly: His Adventures and Opinions, 1873

I am at this moment deaf in the ears, hoarse in the throat, red in the nose, green in the gills, damp in the eyes, twitchy in the joints, and fractious in temper from a most intolerable and oppressive cold... but I will make prodigious efforts to get the better of it to-night by resorting to all conceivable remedies, and if I succeed so as to be only negatively disgusting tomorrow, I will joyfully present myself at six, and bring my womankind along with me. ~Charles Dickens, letter to Mr. William Harrison Ainsworth, 1843, Devonshire Terrace

Though there may be some opposition to sneezing as a pastime, I am pretty sure that, if you will be quite honest, you will admit that a good rousing sneeze, one that tears open your collar and throws your hair into your eyes, is really one of life's sensational pleasures. You may say, "Oh, darn it!" in between sneezes and try to act as if you weren't enjoying it, but as an old hay-fever sufferer, I know the kick that can lie in a good sneezing spell, provided you have the time to give to it and aren't trying to thread a needle. ~Robert Benchley, "Hiccoughing Makes Us Fat," 1932

"Sneezing is like discharging a gun loaded with germs," says a physician. We are for Nasal Disarmament. ~"The Daily Starbeams," Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, 1931

Illness is the doctor to whom we pay most heed; to kindness, to knowledge, we make promise only; pain we obey. ~Marcel Proust

If one's bowels move, one is happy, and if they don't move, one is unhappy. That is all there is to it. ~Lin Yutang, The Importance of Living, 1937

I have finally come to the conclusion that a good reliable set of BOWELS is worth more than any quantity of BRAINS. ~Josh Billings, revised by H. Montague

Would you succeed in anything? — ambitious projects, business, love? Then cultivate this personal force, by persistent regard to the laws of health and vigor. ~Mose Velsor (Walt Whitman), "Manly Health and Training," New York Atlas, 1858

If a man reflects upon his physical or moral condition, he usually finds himself to be ill. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, "Proverbs in Prose," translated by Norbert Guterman

Health is the first muse, comprising the magical benefits of air, landscape, and bodily exercise on the mind. The Arabs say that "Allah does not count from life the days spent in the chase," that is, those are thrown in. Plato thought "exercise would almost cure a guilty conscience." Sydney Smith said: "You will never break down in a speech on the day when you have walked twelve miles." I honor health as the first muse, and sleep as the condition of health. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Inspiration," Letters and Social Aims

Manly health! Is there not a kind of charm — a fascinating magic in the words? We fancy we see the look with which the phrase is met by many a young man, strong, alert, vigorous, whose mind has always felt, but never formed in words, the ambition to attain to the perfection of his bodily powers — has realized to himself that all other goods of existence would hardly be goods, in comparison with a perfect body, perfect blood — no morbid humors, no weakness, no impotency or deficiency or bad stuff in him; but all running over with animation and ardor, all marked by herculean strength, suppleness, a clear complexion, and the rich results (which follow such causes) of a laughing voice, a merry song morn and night, a sparkling eye, and an ever-happy soul! ~Mose Velsor (Walt Whitman), "Manly Health and Training, with Off-Hand Hints Toward Their Conditions," New York Atlas, 1858  [Thanks, Zachary Turpin! —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Diseases come a horsebacke, and returne on foot. ~French proverb

I think you might dispense with half your doctors, if you would only consult Doctor Sun more, and be more under the treatment of these great hydropathic doctors, the clouds! ~Henry Ward Beecher, Royal Truths

Life is not merely to be alive, but to be well. ~Martial

We drink one another's healths, and spoil our own. ~Jerome K. Jerome, "On Eating and Drinking"

Our body is a machine for living. It is organized for that, it is its nature. Let life go on in it unhindered and let it defend itself, it will do more than if you paralyze it by encumbering it with remedies. ~Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace, 1867, translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude, 1931

He who takes medicine and neglects to diet wastes the skill of his doctors. ~Chinese proverb

Adam and Eve ate the first vitamins, including the package. ~E. R. Squibb & Sons, 1950s

Anybody's soap is superior to somebody else's stink killer. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

Disease is somatic; the suffering from it, psychic. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

You have to be as relaxed as possible about food and fitness and the rest of it, or you'll be a slave to your beauty habits… you may have a great skin but you become a robot. ~Audrey Hepburn, 1971

...your own individual case doubtless has points and circumstances which more or less modify all the general laws, and perhaps call for special ones, for yourself. This is an important consideration in all theories and statements of health. ~Mose Velsor (Walt Whitman), "Manly Health and Training," New York Atlas, 1858

Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos — the trees, the clouds, everything. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

There is nothing like a taste of illness to bring out the full flavour of health. ~Charles Searle, Look Here!, 1885

...the only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd druther not. ~Mark Twain

What some call health, if purchased by perpetual anxiety about diet, isn't much better than tedious disease. ~George D. Prentice, Prenticeana, 1860

Modern psychology has brought very vividly to our attention the fact that our thoughts profoundly influence all the organs and functions of the body. ~William J. Fielding, "The Menopause — Beginning a New Epoch of Life," Sex and the Love-Life, 1927

When I have no CARES on my mind, and no ACHES in my body, I feel like I have just about struck oil. ~Josh Billings, revised by H. Montague

For sickness is a cannibal which eats up all the life and youth it can lay hold of... ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1860

If you are not well you need fresh air, perhaps, change of air, attention to diet, good and appropriate food judiciously regulated. ~F. J. Groner, M.D., "Health Hints," 1889

For happy health, fuel yourself with dreams and greens. ~Terri Guillemets

Spiritual and metaphysical health is inextricably linked to physical health. ~Morris Hyman, M.D. (b.1908), paraphrased

Some day when you have time, look into the business of prayer, amulets, baths and poultices and discover for yourself how much valuable therapy the profession has cast out of the window. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

And thus the literary man has two fires in his body: the strain of his mental work and the overmuch of blood in his head... Man, so rich in knowledge, has also become rich in diseases, but poor in health and physical strength. ~Sebastian Kneipp, Thus Shalt Thou Live: Hints and Advice for the Healthy and the Sick on a Simple and Rational Mode of Life and a Natural Method of Cure, 1889

Sickness... No mortal nature is exempted from this complaint. ~Joseph Hall (1574–1656), "Lazarus Dead," Contemplations on the New Testament, 1614

Gold that buys health can never be ill spent,
Nor hours laid out in harmless merriment.
~Thomas Dekker & John Webster, Westward Ho, 1604

In minds crammed with thoughts, organs clogged with toxins, and bodies stiffened with neglect, there is just no space for anything else. ~Alison Rose Levy, "An Ancient Cure for Modern Life," in Yoga Journal, 2002

live so that you
can stick out your tongue
at the insurance
~Don Marquis, "certain maxims of archy," archy and mehitabel, 1927

I still need more healthy rest in order to work at my best. My health is the main capital I have, and I want to administer it intelligently. ~Ernest Hemingway, as quoted in A. E. Hotchner, The Good Life According To Hemingway, 2008

And the best part of health is fine disposition. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1860

It has often been remarked, that persons destitute of ambition and avarice are peculiarly likely to enjoy long life. They feel no regret for the past, nor anxiety about the future. Enjoying that tranquility of soul, on which the happiness of our early years so much depends, they are strangers to those torments of the mind, which usually accompany more advanced years, and by which the body is wasted and consumed. Hence a calm, contented, and cheerful disposition, may be justly considered the great source of health, in regard both of body and mind; and ought to be accounted the most important of all our possessions. ~John Sinclair, The Code of Health and Longevity, 1807

When we learn to obey nature's laws and our nature rightly, our little spheres will move joyfully onward in the orbit designed for us. ~Brita Elizabeth Johnson, Maher-shalal-hash-baz, or Rural Life in Old Virginia, 1923  [a little altered —tg]

How sickness enlarges the dimensions of a man's self to himself! he is his own exclusive object. ~Charles Lamb, "The Convalescent"

Health is a relationship between you and your body. ~Terri Guillemets

A soul in an unsound house
Continually finds unrest...
~Sara L. Vickers Oberholtzer, "A Sufferer's Impromptu," Come for Arbutus, and Other Wild Bloom, 1882

Life has been reduced to getting food out of cans. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

Sometimes I think our ancestors would laugh through their tears if they could see how we eat. We eat mostly from colorful boxes and cans. We spray our vegetables and fruits with deadly chemicals, then ship them half-way around the world before we eat them. It's been a grand experiment in the wonders of technology, but what a price we're paying in our health! Many scientific experiments have now demonstrated that if we simply return to eating more traditional, natural foods, the body often begins to heal itself. And, it's becoming impossible to heal personal symptoms, unless they are understood in relationship to the need to heal the planet. ~Kristina Turner, The Self-Healing Cookbook, 2002, originally published 1987  [a little altered —tg]

You probably have heard the student's definition of disinfectants: "They smell so bad that people open the door, and fresh air gets in." ~F. J. Groner, M.D., "Health Hints," 1889

The majority of people of this country, are ever studying the best means of preserving health, and at the same time pursue a course that must have results precisely contrary to their wishes. They will seek for medicines with the utmost avidity, and will fill their carcases with patent medicines and the nostrums of the regular quack, in order to cure some disorder having existence only in their weak imaginations; and when by dint of perseverance, they have travelled through the pharmacopæia, purged, blistered, and bled profusely from the pocket, they find the disease, or rather the imaginary disease, just as it was previous to their course of medicine. ~"Physic; Or, I Die," The Medical Adviser, and Guide to Health and Long Life, edited by Alex. Burnett, M.D., 1824

Preserving the health by too strict a regimen is a wearisome malady. ~François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld

You are as important to your health as it is to you. ~Terri Guillemets

      Every one desires health and a long and happy life. Yet the artificiality of civilization has bred in us so many maladjustments, and such a multiplicity of fantastic human interferences with the natural course of life, that people now live in the middle of the greatest civilization the world has ever known, in ignorance of the elementary facts governing their own vital functions.
      Happily, many people can confirm from personal experience that the normal human body works its own supreme miracle of living so quietly and efficiently, that the owner who inhabits it can use it for the most intricate purposes as a perfectly adjusted tool, and yet be unconscious of any hitch in its running, or any change of gear as it travels the road of life.
      Contrariwise, alas, many who have lived joyously and successfully find suddenly a difficult time of dislocation, and there is no one to put things in gear again. ~Marie Carmichael Stopes, Change of Life in Men and Women, 1936

Friends can be good medicine. ~Charles Roppel, c.1981

If you take the 'I' out of illness and add 'we' you end up with wellness. ~Charles Roppel, c.1984

The I in illness is isolation, and the crucial letters in wellness are we.  ~Author unknown, as quoted in Mimi Guarneri, The Heart Speaks: A Cardiologist Reveals the Secret Language of Healing, 2006

My personal opinion is that any one who possesses a normal constitution will enjoy good health if he will conduct his life on principles of moderation. No one who constantly defies natural laws can reasonably expect to remain physically sound. ~Professor Fourmen, "The Physical Man," Physical Health Culture: A Popular Manual of Bodily Exercises and Home Gymnastics for Men and Women, 1901

Health is a journal your body keeps about you. ~Terri Guillemets maxim is more true, than that cheerfulness of mind and serenity of spirit, is highly essential to the vigorous enjoyment of health... a fretful and irritable disposition... tends to weaken the body, induce a train of nervous complaints, and finally, loads the body with disorders, which possibly it may be beyond the power of medicine to restore to its native vigour. This is no imaginary or improbable result, for so united and dependant is the body, on the state of the mind, that when the one is under any excitement, the other is as assuredly likely to be affected... ~T.N., "On Cheerfulness as Conducive to Health," in The Medical Adviser, and Guide to Health and Long Life, 1824

Depression and its twist of emotions can lead to a brain fog that we seek to dispel by the sun of returning health. ~Daniel Hack Tuke, M.D., 1878  [a little altered —tg]

F.L., aged 48, a clergyman, consulted me for what he described as "brain-fog." He had been accustomed to do a great amount of parochial work, and also to devote great attention to the preparation of his sermons. Up to about a year ago, his work had been no trouble to him, and he had never suffered from headache. But now he had done his work with increasing difficulty; he had been unable to concentrate his thoughts for any length of time and felt as though there was a "mist in his brain." ~George C. Kingsbury, M.D., 1891

Such thoughts as these, rising like a fog in his brain, were but little favourable to clear thinking; he stood, therefore, trying to see things distinctly in his own mind. ~Honoré de Balzac, The Rise and Fall of César Birotteau, 1837, translated by Ellen Marriage, 1896

Gradually Felix's brain-fog was dispelled, and his strength came back to him. ~"Where There's a Will There's a Way," Demorest's Monthly Magazine, May 1878

I had burned my candle at both ends, and I was weary of these perilous and precarious adventures which had led me — whither? I was experiencing mental fatigue, a paralysis of my energies, and all my faculties were diminishing while still in their prime, sapped by neurasthenia. Ah, how I regretted not having followed the straight roads of life! ~Octave Mirbeau, "The Mission," The Torture Garden, 1899, translated from the French by Alvah C. Bessie, 1931

I woke up on fire with a fever... There was a barrier between me and the world, and I thought for a moment that the world had never wanted me and now it was taking the opportunity to get rid of me... The next morning, when I woke, I thought I had died. I knew it wasn't true — but the thought was there. Maybe a part of you died when you were sick. I don't know... The flu didn't seem to want to let me go. ~Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, 2012

Sickness and suffering are not meant for man,
      For Spirit is perfect and right;
      But we transgress God's laws in many a way
      And, so, turn away from the light.
There is not any need to suffer such pain,
      For God did not make all these ills;
      He wanted us happy and free to enjoy
      The valleys, the ocean, the hills!
Thinking correctly can help keep us all well!
      Right thinking can keep us immune
      From much that is wrong, and can help every one
      Keep, harmoniously, in tune!
And so that, dearest friends, is the reason why
      Man suffers from all kinds of ills:
      Some day he may learn the correct laws of God;
      And, then, he can give up his pills!
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "How to Keep Well," 1940s

There are more ghosts in an unwell body than in an entire haunted mansion. ~Terri Guillemets

God created nature with restorative powers... ~Ferdinand Dupré, M.D., Orthodox or Allopathic Medicine: What Is It?, 1867

And I knew that once they identified her disease for her, once everyone around her accepted her diagnosis and reinforced it and repeated it back to her time and again, there was no way she could stop it. The visible becomes inevitable. ~Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain, 2008

good health, yes, is partly genes
really though it's more about greens
and other types of healthful things
~Terri Guillemets

To be always considering "what we should eat, and what we should drink, and wherewithal we should be clothed," in order to avoid the approach of disease, is the most likely means of provoking its attack. A man who is continually feeling his pulse, is never likely to have a good one. If he swallow his food from the same motive as he does his physic, it will neither be enjoyed nor digested so well as if he ate in obedience to the dictates of an uncalculating appetite. The hypochondriac who is in the habit of weighing his meals, will generally find that they lay heavy on his stomach. If he take a walk or ride, with no other view than to pick up health, he will seldom meet it on the road. ~John Reid, M.D., "Occupation," c.1818

Disease symptoms are in many cases simply substitutes for strong suppressed emotions. ~H. A. Overstreet, About Ourselves: Psychology for Normal People, 1927

A great many sick persons are allowed to drift into a critical condition when ill — from which many never rally, because they are not fed — not furnished with such nutritive material as their enfeebled powers can digest. ~King Chambers, quoted in John Milner Fothergill, A Manual of Dietetics, 1886

Sometimes I get the feeling the aspirin companies are sponsoring my headaches. ~Terri Guillemets, "Pain gain," 2000

The medicine of the future will know but few drugs... It will concern itself with the production and preparation of food, rather than the production and preparation of drugs, because it knows that its only permanent results in the direction of improving health will be won by the former instead of by the latter. The kitchen is the best laboratory, and the doctor of the future may even take rank with the cook as a public benefactor. The medical colleges of 2014 will teach the botany, geographical source, and methods of production and preparation of foods as carefully as they now do those of drugs. ~Woods Hutchinson, M.D. (1862–1930), "The Dawn of the New Doctor," Civilization and Health, 1914  [Fail. —tg]

The doctor of the year 2014 will work shoulder to shoulder with the teacher. He will see to it that education shall train and develop the whole child, instead of just the expanded bulb at the top of him, leaving the rest of him to shift for itself in the intervals that remain. The new medicine will make schooling a thing of the open air instead of stuffy rooms, of fields and gardens instead of printed pages, of deeds instead of words... Perhaps by 2014 teachers may recognize that it is as important for a child to correctly bound and describe his liver as the countries of Europe, or the States of the Union, and to know at least as much of his own interior as he does of that of Hindustan. Education for life will include a sound, working knowledge of the body machine that he has to live and work with; of what food fuels will best and most economically supply it with energy; how its bearings are to be watched and its gears regulated; and how to make roadside repairs. ~Woods Hutchinson, M.D. (1862–1930), "The Dawn of the New Doctor," Civilization and Health, 1914  [Fail. —tg]

An illness of the mind is an illness of the body, and vice versa. ~Terri Guillemets

I have been for a long time dreadfully ill. I am getting better, however, although slowly, and shall get well. In the meantime the flocks of little birds of prey that always take the opportunity of illness to peck at a sick fowl of larger dimensions, have been endeavoring with all their power to effect my ruin. ~Edgar A. Poe, letter, 1846

A single, dancing thread ties the people of the world together in a cohesive fabric. This is our humanness and mortality. We are all born with a similar challenge, borne from the blessing of ownership of this complex physical body... With this ownership... comes the sometimes immense responsibility of health maintenance. ~Garri Garripoli, Qigong: Essence of the Healing Dance

if we never stretch we snap like a brittle twig
and that's true both physically and mentally
~Terri Guillemets

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. ~World Health Organization, 1948,

Dissonance and disharmony arise only when we limit our capacity to resonate totally and completely with the rhythms of life. ~Michael Drake, "The Role of the Drum," The Shamanic Drum: A Guide to Sacred Drumming,

In the condition of perfect health, your whole body and consequently your spirits too, will be elevated to a state by other persons unknown — made clear and light, inwardly and outwardly elastic — made solid, strong, and yet of rapid movement. A singular charm, better than what is called beauty, flickers out of and over your face; a transparency beams in the eyes, both in the iris and the white; you exhibit a new grace in walk, and indeed in all your movements — in the voice, which rings clearer, and has melody. ~Mose Velsor (Walt Whitman), "Manly Health and Training," New York Atlas, 1858  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

In the condition of perfect health not only the looks and movement, but the feelings, undergo a transformation. It may almost be said that sorrows and disappointments cease: there is no more borrowing trouble. With perfect health and regular agreeable occupation, there are no low spirits, and cannot be. A man realizes the old myth of the poets; he is a god walking the earth. He not only feels new powers in himself — he sees new beauties everywhere. His faculties, his eyesight, his hearing, all acquire superior capacity to give him pleasure. Indeed, merely to move is a pleasure; the play of the limbs in motion is enough. To breathe, to eat and drink the simplest food, outvie the most costly of previous enjoyments. How happily pass the days! The whole system seems to laugh with glee. ~Mose Velsor (Walt Whitman), "Manly Health and Training," New York Atlas, 1858  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

      But with this it is as in other things: what is simple, rational, consonent with nature, is abandoned, and a cure is sought where it cannot be found, in means injurious, because contrary to nature. It may be said without much exaggeration: the greater the absurdity of a new-fangled mode of healing is, the more swells the number of its friends and adherents until the over-credulous crowds come to realise the fact that they have been deceived by unscrupulous, money-making quacks...
      The same may be said, and with more reason still, of the modern way of living. When we consider the habits of certain people and the blunders they make in the physical training of their children, it would almost seem as if they had lost all common sense and the power of logical thinking. ~Sebastian Kneipp, 1889, translated from German

In later times wise men were never wanting who endeavoured to restore among their contemporaries primitive habits and ways of living, to bring mankind back to the observance of those simple and rational rules of life to which the ancients owed their health and strength. ~Sebastian Kneipp, 1889, translated from German

Stretching oneself too thin is the disease of modern life — letting oneself get too thick, the other. ~Terri Guillemets

      A fine lesson may be learned from the observance and history of the operation of putting a man in perfect condition for any great feat of strength and agility. The trainers will sometimes take such a man, every way in a bad state, and will establish such changes in his habits as will turn that man out in a few weeks a completely renovated being, feeling well, looking well, with his muscular development carried to its ultimate degree of perfection, and all the bad humors drenched from his body. This wonderful change lies in the reach of every man — mechanic, farmer, or any workingman.
      Rise at day-break, rapidly wash the whole body in cold water, rub dry with coarse towels, and use a flesh-brush to put the skin in a red glow all over. Open the window and door so that the room may become filled with good fresh air — for the play of the respiratory organs will be increased, and good air tells best. Take a half-hour's brisk walk, or dumb-bells, or some gymnastic exercises, in the open air. Take breakfast of fresh rare lean meat, a chunk of bread, and afterwards a cup of tea.
      Go about your employment, then spend an hour in the forenoon (say from 10 to 11 o'clock) in some good exercises for the arms, hands, breast, spine, shoulders, and waist; the dumb-bells, rowing, sparring, or a vigorous attack punching suspended sand-bags, then take a long walk. Dinner should consist of a good plate of fresh meat with as few condiments as possible, and a small slice of bread. Do not bloat yourself with quantities of trash — pastry, gravy, pie, pudding, coffee, ale, &c. — which will distend the stomach and worry the digestion. Do no toilsome work immediately after dinner.
      In the afternoon a long walk may be taken — or a good game at leaping, or any of the games that tax the legs. After a moderate supper, of some fruit, cold meat, or stale bread, perhaps with a cup of tea, the evenings ought to be devoted to friendly and social recreation. Ten o'clock ought to find a man in bed. It is important that the system should be clarified, through the inspiration and respiration, with a plentiful supply of good air, during the six, seven, or eight hours that are spent in sleep. ~Mose Velsor (Walt Whitman), "Manly Health and Training," New York Atlas, 1858  [A little altered. Thanks, Zachary Turpin, for the great find! —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

I required only the pure medicine of silence and slumber. ~Andrew Jackson Davis, Beyond the Valley, 1885

A maltreated body will cry out in symptoms. ~Terri Guillemets, "Crowded out," 2006

A body well cared for glows in happy health. ~Terri Guillemets

Every living thing depends for its existence upon some other form of life — or death. Were it not for the pale, underground flowers of the soil, the bacteria, the grass could not live. If it were not for the grass, the browsing beasts of the field could not live. If it were not for the beasts of the field and the ripened seeds or roots of the grass, man could not live. ~Woods Hutchinson, M.D. (1862–1930), Civilization and Health, 1914  #paleo  ["Edible, adj.: Good to eat, and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm." ~Ambrose Bierce —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

There are many troubles which you cannot cure by the Bible and the hymn book, but which you can cure by a good perspiration and a breath of fresh air. ~Henry Ward Beecher

The glow of good health can be yours for the price of hard work, wise choices, and respect for your body. ~Terri Guillemets

Disappointment, love, business troubles, and a long list of dark possibilities, are always waiting around every man; these interact, when they happen (and none can go through life without them), in many ways upon the health. When they do happen, it is no excuse for "giving up"; if one will only persevere in the wholesome observances, and patiently wait a few days, the mind will be again at ease, and spring up with cheerful vigor again. This is one of the greatest recommendations of the training system, which, if our advice could be followed by young men, we would have never intermitted through life. It would be their best armor for all the ills that would be likely to beset them; to others baffling and overcoming, but to them obstacles easily turned aside and traveled away from. ~Mose Velsor (Walt Whitman), "Manly Health and Training," New York Atlas, 1858  [Thanks, Zachary Turpin! —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

      Having passed the threshold of my subject, I shall remark that, however partial I may be to simplicity of treatment, I am decidedly opposed to the common notion of following nature as a general rule. Many persons, seriously determined to preserve their health at any sacrifice of enjoyment, have failed in their efforts by ill-judged attempts in that way. "Nature is the best guide." — "Follow Nature, and you cannot err." — "Nature always directs the best." — These are the leading maxims, but when pursued too far, without discrimination, they are extremely fallacious and injudicious. We should recollect that a civilised and a savage state are materially different; and that, what will answer in one may not in another. Successive generations, in improved society, alter, not only our constitutions, but our very features and persons. By carrying this crude notion of natural living too far, we find ourselves involved in the most ludicrous absurdities...
      This zealous desire to follow Nature can never be pursued with consistency, in as much as we do not know what a state of Nature is. Man has seldom, if ever, been found in what we might call a truly primitive state... The indigenous productions of his country... generally regulate or point out his diet. Thus, climate makes a great difference in the important article of food, and the customs of each savage nation differ materially one from another. Where then are those favourite rules of Nature to be found? Are we to eat human flesh, to go naked, tattoo our faces, sleep in caverns?...
      In short an attempt to shape our living to that which is designated a natural state, is equally absurd as not to eat any thing requiring chewing, in order to save the teeth. But, perhaps, the best argument of all is, that notwithstanding our numerous temptations to injure the health, and the many maladies we have created, unknown to savage nations, the duration of life seems pretty nearly balanced in one state and the other — indeed I think we have generally the advantage in point of longevity. ~Hortator, "Precautions in Following 'Nature's Dictates,'" Simplicity of Health, 1829

My aches and ails could I shake
      Away as dust from my feet,
      Be dead to the pangs of flesh,
      And to pain's unceasing beat,
Methinks I should tread on air
      And rival a care-free bird,
      That my unbound voice should thrill
      Forever one grateful word...
And if I were well just once
      For a whole, a livelong day,
      I might go wild with the joy;
      So patience, not health, I pray.
Patience, to bear all the pains,
      To dwarf not the growing soul;
      Patience, to tenant the flesh
      Nor murmur it is not whole...
So I only ask for power
To suffer and yet be strong.
~Sara L. Vickers Oberholtzer, "A Sufferer's Impromptu," Come for Arbutus, and Other Wild Bloom, 1882

I am tired, so tired, and dulled with pain,
My courage flags from endless strain.
I wonder if 'mid life's clouds and rain
The sun and blossoms will break again.
I am half dissatisfied and distressed,
Worn with anxiety, starved for rest...
~Sara L. Vickers Oberholtzer, "Weariness," Come for Arbutus, and Other Wild Bloom, 1882

Take charge of your health — be your own guardian angel. ~Terri Guillemets

She tries to have her children obey nature's laws with a cheerful mind: never be hasty in word or deed; eat only when hungry, drink only when thirsty; work or exercise calmly, consistently, cease when tired, and go to bed to sleep. That is a good plan to save suffering and doctors' bills. ~Brita Elizabeth Johnson, Maher-shalal-hash-baz, or Rural Life in Old Virginia, 1923  [a little altered —tg]

If you don't take care of yourself, the undertaker will overtake that responsibility for you. ~Terri Guillemets

...nailed down upon her bed with a merciless attack of rheumatism... ~Anatole France, Le crime de Sylvestre Bonnard, 1881, translated by Lafcadio Hearn, 1890

God made disease to be a reparative process. ~Florence Nightingale, 1860  [a little altered —tg]

And so medicine, steeped in the conviction of its own wisdom, knows nothing of that spiritual affirmative, nutritional health, upon which all proper therapeutic measure must be based. Thus, we are as likely to drive away the shadows of disease without a prior elevation of nutritional health within the cell, as we are to disperse those of the night, without the previous elevation of the sun. ~Morris Hyman, M.D. (b. 1908), "General Considerations of Disease," Congenital Alterable Transmissible Asymmetry: The Spiritual Meaning of Disease and Science, 1970

The thought, I AM HEALTH — is therefore one to be drilled into us by Affirmation, till we think we are health, then we are health. ~"Soul Culture Lesson," in Now: A Journal of Affirmation, 1904, Henry Harrison Brown, editor

...longevity in itself is not a basis for evolutionary selection — natural selection is not interested in us after we have finished child-bearing. ~Russell G. Foster and Leon Kreitzman, Seasons of Life: The Biological Rhythms that Enable Living Things to Thrive and Survive, 2009

When an illness knocks you down, stay and relax a while before trying to get back up. ~Terri Guillemets

One thing is certain: the time will come when the opinions of priests and doctors must give way to the science of life; for their opinions lead to death and misery, and the science of life is health and happiness. ~Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, 1861

Human misery universally arises from some error that man admits as true. We confound our fears with the idea feared, and place the evil in the thing seen or believed. Here is a great error, for we never see what we are afraid of. ~Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, 1861

Now, I stand alone on this rock, fighting the errors of this world, and establish the science of life by my works. What is my mode of warfare? With the axe of truth I strike at the root of every tree of error and hew it down, so that there shall not be one error in man showing itself in the form of disease. ~Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, 1861

Every one is made of matter, and matter is continually going through a chemical change. This change is life, not wisdom, but life, like vegetable or mineral life. Every idea is matter, so of course it contains life in the name of something that can be changed. Motion, or change, is life. Ideas have life. A belief has life, or matter; for it can be changed. Now, all the aforesaid make up man; and all this can be changed. ~Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, 1861

After I found that mind was matter, I found that ideas were matter condensed into a solid called disease, and that this, like a book, contained all the wisdom of its author. Seeing the book,—for sight with Wisdom embraces all the senses,—I open it, and see through it. To the patient it is a sealed book; but to Wisdom there is nothing hid which cannot be revealed or seen, nor so far off that it cannot be reached. So I read the contents of the book to the patient, and show that it is false. Then, as the truth changes his mind, light takes the place of the darkness, till he sees through the error of disease. The light of Wisdom dissipates the matter, or disease, the patient once more finds himself freed of opinions, and happiness is restored. ~Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, 1861

Disease is the misery of our belief, happiness is the health of our wisdom, so that man's happiness or misery depends on himself. Now, as our misery comes from our belief, and not from the thing believed, it is necessary to be on the watch, so as not to be deceived by false guides. Sensation contains no intelligence or belief, but is a mere disturbance of the matter, called agitation, which produces mind, and is ready to receive the seed of error. Ever since man was created, there has been an element called error which has been busy inventing answers for every sensation. ~Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, 1861

Man is made of opinions,—of truth and error; and his life is a warfare like all other lives before him... Man goes on developing error upon error till he is buried in his own belief... It is the office of wisdom to explain the phenomena in man called disease, to show how it is made, and how it can be unmade. This is as much a science as it is to know how to decompose a piece of metal. ~Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, 1861

It may seem strange to those in health that our beliefs affect us. The fact is, there is nothing of us but belief. It is the whole capital and stock in trade of man. It is all that can be changed, and embraces everything man has made or ever will make. ~Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, 1865

The healthiest among us is not exempt from hereditary disease. The most symmetrical, athletic, and long-lived is a being inexpressibly inferior to what he would have been had not the unnatural habits of his ancestors accumulated for him a certain portion of malady and deformity. In the most perfect specimen of civilized man, something is still found wanting by the physiological critic. Can a return to nature, then, instantaneously eradicate predispositions that have been slowly taking root in the silence of innumerable ages? — Indubitably not. All that I contend for is, that from the moment of relinquishing all unnatural habits, no new disease is generated; and that the predisposition to hereditary maladies gradually perishes for want of its accustomed supply. ~William Andrus Alcott (1798–1859), Vegetable Diet: As Sanctioned by Medical Men, and by Experience in All Ages, 1838

After reading countless health books over the past few decades, I can tell you it pretty much all boils down to this:  Eat plenty of veggies, work, play, rest, and don't worry. ~Terri Guillemets, "Saving y'all some time," 2019

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