Enervation & Toxemia
By: Herbert M. Shelton
Hygienic Review August 1964
In line with the old concept of disease as
something imposed from without, an attacking
entity, medical men and the public have been
taught to think of causation in terms of germs,
viruses, parasites; resistance as the capacity of
the body to marshal its phagocytes to overcome or repel an invader or to
marshal antitoxins to neutralize the toxins of germ activity; cure in terms of
antagonists, antidotes, antitoxins.
They employ the term toxemia, but they mean by it poisoning by germ
activity. No germs, no toxemia, is their general attitude.
Our Hygienic concept of toxemia is fundamentally different from that held by
the medical profession.
To us toxemia is the result of the accumulation in the blood, lymph, and
tissues of retained metabolic waste.
It is an autogenerated state, the toxin arising as a normal by-product of the
regular and necessary activities of life.
Toxin accumulates as a result of inhibited excretion (checked elimination).
Basically, we hold that any influence, whether physical or mental, that results
in an excessive expenditure of nerve energy leads to toxemia.
This means that the chief causes of enervation are found in the voluntary
habits of the individual.
What is meant by the term enervation? It means the reduction of nerve
energy sufficient to interfere with or reduce the organic activities of the body.
The nervous system presides over and controls the functions of the many
and various organs of the body—secretion, excretion, circulation, digestion,
respiration, absorption, etc., etc.
Hence the term enervation simply means a reduction of the capacity of the
nervous system below the level required to maintain a normal level of
As man in civilized life does not possess perfect health, we hold that
everyone is more or less enervated, hence more or less toxemic.
This lowering of the body's capacity to function on a high physiological level
is what we mean by lowered or broken resistance. But we have a different
concept of what is resisted.
We resist heat, cold, poisons, fatigue, and other inimical influences. When
our energy is sufficiently low that we present inadequate resistance to cold,
for example, exposure to severe or prolonged stress by cold, results in a
sufficient added check being placed upon excretion that there is a sudden
increase of the body's toxic load, thus precipitating a crisis.
A gradual accumulation of waste (toxin) occurs when continual draughts
upon the nerve energy of the body are made by various activities, stresses
and exigencies of life that prevent the maintenance of complete elimination.
This accumulated waste constitutes what we understand as toxemia. This is
not to say that there are no other sources of intoxication (such as drug
poisoning, toxins absorbed from decomposition processes going on in the
intestine, etc.) but we prefer to differentiate between poisons of en-
dogeneous origin and those of exogeneous origin, by calling the one
toxemia and the other poisoning.
Poisoning from any source causes suffering-disease—so that we have also
defined toxemia as the presence in the fluids and tissues of toxins from any
source. Tobacco poisoning causes disease; acute disease when the
tobacco is first taken, chronic disease after toleration has been established.
The same facts are true of all poisons. Bacteria produce toxins in their
activities, but they are as helpless as a feather in a whirlwind in a healthy
The body must first be enervated and toxemic before bacteria can gain a
foothold therein and thrive. This means that we must first be sick before
bacteria can add a complicating and, perhaps, differentiating toxemia to the
primary or metabolic intoxication.
It should be borne in mind that there can be no toxemia, as we have here
defined it, without a previous checking of elimination and that this is due to
lowering of functioning power-enervation.
The order of events (sequence) in the evolution of cause is habits of mind
and body and environmental influences that use up nerve energy in excess
of the body's power to regenerate it during the hours allotted to rest and
repose, enervation, checked secretion and excretion (indeed a lowering of
the power of function in general), retention and accumulation of body waste,
In the last analysis toxemia is the result of fatigue of the nervous system to a
sufficient degree to lessen the functioning power of life and cripple the effort
to maintain normal functions.
While we may speak of an absorptive-toxemia arising from gastro-intestinal
decomposition or from an abscess, or we may speak of a toxemia resulting
from great emotional stress or from profound physical fatigue, in the final
analysis these are results of enervation.
Intoxication, alcoholic, narcotic, tobacco, etc. may occur even in those of
perfect health, if poisons are deliberately introduced into the body, but let us
keep this variety of poisoning separate in our thinking from the toxemia that
is the result of habits of life and environmental influences that reduce nerve
energy; all the while keeping in mind that indulgence in poison habits add a
profoundly enervating influence to their poisoning.
Enervation may grow out of any possible combination of the following
practices and influences:
Such emotional stresses as fright, grief, worry, apprehension, anxiety, hurry,
anger, irritability, hate, resentment, jealousy, over ambition leading to
overwork (mental or physical); physical overexertion, excessive venery,
lasciviousness, pain and shock, injuries, loss or blood, surgical operations,
disease processes, constant coughing, loss of sleep, lack of rest and
relaxation, drug treatments, the stimulations and inhibitions of chiropractic,
and similar treatments, the digestive strain caused by overeating, wrong food
combinations, condiments, drinking with meals; exposure to cold, and wet,
exposure to heat and humidity; eye-strain, a lack of exercise, of fresh air, of
warmth and comfort, lack of cleanliness, lack of sunlight, inadequate food; in
short, the universal excesses and deficiencies of which mankind is guilty and
the treatments which are heaped upon the sick, are the most common
causes of enervation.
Another great source of enervation is the almost universal indulgence in
poisons of one kind or another—the various alcoholic beverages and soft
drinks, tobacco, smoking and chewing, drinking of tea and coffee, the taking
of narcotics and other drugs, poisons absorbed from the intestinal tract,
chemical and bacterial poisons taken in by mouth, lungs, mucous membrane
or by injection.
Poisoning of any nature and from any source causes a waste of nerve
energy in resisting and expelling the poison. Toxemia, once it is established,
causes a waste of nerve energy in the activities needed to resist and expel
Thus it will be seen that enervation results in toxemia, toxemia increases
enervation, thus increasing the toxemia; enervation causes the individual to
resort to enervating depressants and stimulants for relief of discomforts and
the enervation thus caused calls for more enervating means of relief.
Soon the individual finds himself in a complex of vicious cycles, from which
he sees no way of escape. The more he resorts to the treatments, the more
enervated he becomes. The more enervated, the more toxemic and the more
he thinks he needs treatment. The more he lashes himself with stimulants,
the weaker he grows and the more he resorts to stimulation.
How do we break up this complex of vicious cycles? Certainly not by resort
to more enervating treatments, not by surgical vandalism, not by more of the
hair of the dog that bit you.
A radical, a revolutionary change in the way of life is the only way out. Every
cause of enervation must be abandoned or corrected. Every bad habit of
mind and body must be abandoned and good habits of life substituted
therefor. Anything short of a radical change in the way of life will fail to
enable the man or woman to evolve into a state of good health.
A housecleaning is in order. Toxin must be eliminated. This is not to be
accomplished by the artificial and forcing methods that have been employed
for ages by the curing cults, for the effect of these is to produce more
enervation while failing to secure toxin elimination.
The body has its own blood purifiers and these will do the work if they are
given an opportunity and supplied with adequate functioning power. Where
is functioning power to come from in a body that is already profoundly
It can come only by hoarding what one has; this is, by ceasing all
unnecessary expenditure. Energy saved from one activity is available for
use in other activities. This is the reason physical and mental rest result in
an immediate increase in excretion.
It is also important that we look toward stopping the absorption of toxic
materials from the digestive tract and from drug habits.
An empty digestive tract and discontinuance of all drug habits enable the
body to free itself of poisons already accumulated. The fundamental error of
all the curing systems lies in their effort to force the sick organism to act in
accordance with the practitioners' conceptions of how it ought to act,
ignoring all study and observations of how it is constituted to act.
They try to force healthy action upon the sick body and cause more suffering
by their very efforts.
By: Herbert M. Shelton
Article: Enervation & Toxemia