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Rest and unrest have had their days and fashions in medicine; but be you sure that he who can tell when the one is wanted, and when the other, is a man who is a master in the ways of healing. Surgeons and doctors for a long while have been using rest as one means of curing disease. Not by any means all of them have distinct views as to what it is they do when they put at rest a limb or the whole body; and yet this is what we most want to know. Unhappily, we lack as yet some of the factors needed to work out this hard equation; and until these are given we must in part only guess at the physiological results of rest, for today no man can tell me fully what is the difference in the products of the life of a limb at positive rest and in active motion. In fact, most that we know on this matter is purely empirical, and is in the shape of coarse clinical results. Still, even these teach certain things which you will do well to bear in mind. First of all is the thought, which should be ever with us, that few medical means are without their evil side. In our efforts to help, we too often harm, and we must take prudent care always that, in causing the largest share of good, we give rise to the least amount of ill. The one goes with the other as surely as shadow with light. To no medical measure does this caution more apply than to the use of rest.

The original article was published in A Series of American Lectures Volume I, Number IV which was edited by E. C. Seguin, M. D. The article is bound in a book titled Medical Addresses and Reports and has a sticker on the inside cover from the Pennsylvania State Lunatic Hospital, Harrisburg.

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G. P. Putnam's Sons


Healing; Medicine; Mental Disorders -- therapy; Mitchell, S. Weir (Silas Weir), 1829-1914; Nervous System Diseases -- therapy; Therapeutics


Arts and Humanities | History | United States History

Rest in the Treatment of Nervous Disease