The Treasure Chest Of Life
Treasure chest – what thoughts of pieces of eight, gold ornaments, pearls, diamonds and other jewels that must conjure – particularly in the youthful mind. Who hasn’t dreamed at some time in his life of searching for buried treasure, perhaps the treasures reputed to have been buried by the bold pirates of old upon the islands of the Caribbean! Who hasn’t dreamed a little of Arabian nights tales, or given some thought to the storied caves and warehouses, filled with treasure chests, of Indian potentates believed to be the wealthiest men in this wide world.
This form of treasure has much material value, intrinsic worth past belief, but what original owner of this fabulous wealth when he finds himself ill and aging would not give it all for a few more years of life? Strong, vigorous years, when a man should be at the zenith of all his faculties. No man has a need for more than a moderate amount of this world’s goods; one can only eat so much, sleep in one bed and, to remain strong and healthy, can only participate in a few moderate pleasures. It’s a case of when one can eat a horse he can’t afford it and when he can afford it he can’t eat it.
So getting down to real values we find tat the greatest value of all is how we feel, and this is controlled by the condition and action of our internal organs. I have titled this chapter in what some may believe to be an odd manner to bring out the point that the real human treasure chest is your own chest. That’s the only treasure chest that really matter to you. How you feel, the length and happiness of your life, is controlled by the organs in that chest more than any others. Yes, the human chest box constitutes the human treasure chest of health, strength and vitality.
So many articles have been written concerning the importance of other muscles and other muscle groups, of other organs, of the various parts of the body and its numerous appendages, organs, glands, cells so many articles stressing the importance of arms, back, legs, sides, lower back, abdomen, that it would be natural for the reader to become perplexed as to just what portion of the body is really most important. All are important, for each part must depend on some other part of the body. All are parts of a whole, each depending upon the other like the links of a chain, and when one part fails, just as in the breaking of a chain, future life is impaired or ended depending upon the importance and function of the organ which has failed.
As you continue with this book, I believe you will agree with its author that the contents of the human treasure chest of life, the chest or rib box, to which so little thought is ordinarily given, are the organs which are most necessary to the well being, strength, and endurance of the body. The important parts it contains have the most beneficial relationship to your physical well being. As we delve farther into the study of the organs contained in the thoracic region of the chest you will become thoroughly convinced of the importance of chest development in the production of health, strength and longevity.
There is no other part of the body which contains organs so necessary to the business of living as does the chest. The chief organs encased in this bony framework are the heart and lungs. Among the necessary functions these rank at the head of the list. While we could live indefinitely after the injury or removal of some of the organs, life would last only moments when the action of the lungs ceases and only seconds when the heart fails. I intend to write considerable concerning the importance of the anatomy of the chest, and the organs it contains. I hope you will be patient with this discussion and realize its importance. Make a careful study of the anatomy of this most important part of your body so that you will desire to develop the chest and all it contains until you have a real treasure chest of life. No repetition I could make would be too frequent concerning this subject, for nothing can be more important than for every man to realize the necessity of having knowledge of the body, particularly the part of the body we are now discussing, and putting forth untiring, ceaseless efforts to develop these parts to their limit.
A well-developed chest is not only attractive to look at, not only extremely useful in work or athletics, but its internal strength and efficiency of operation will prevent and overcome most any chest and lung troubles. Courage and confidence are possessed by men and women who have well-developed chests, for they are able to surmount any physical difficulties which may beset them as well as to avoid or overcome lung troubles such as consumption, commonly called tuberculosis, asthma, catarrh, bronchitis, weak lungs, pleurisy, pulmonary diseases, pneumonia and similar forms of premature death.
Our Success Letters published monthly in Strength and Health magazine cite many cases of men who have overcome serious disorders such as those enumerated in the previous paragraph. Perhaps the most outstanding case is that of Roger Eels of Ohio. Some years ago Roger, as the result of a car accident when an airplane propeller struck and crushed his chest, found himself in an advanced stage of consumption. One lung was completely collapsed; the other nearly so. He was given just three months to live. Naturally under these circumstances his insurance company was forced to pay him total disability charges. When he first received these dire reports he sold his interest in his business, and started out to see something of life during the short months he had before him. But he was made of stern stuff physically as well as in determination as he later proved.
At the end of three months he had not passed along as was so freely prophesied and he began to wonder if there mightn’t be something he could do to overcome his difficulty. He began reading all the physical training and medical books he could obtain – books such as this – and decided that physical exercise might be the proper solution. He wrote to me and in the beginning told me that he would take my course if I would guarantee that he would gain twenty pounds. His weight had dropped to 121 pounds from 150, which he had weighed prior to the serious accident in which he was involved. This left him little more than skin and bones.
I refused to make the guarantee of twenty pounds’ gain, but cited numerous cases of those who had gained weight even under the most adverse circumstances, and enumerated a few others who had not gained weight but had attained perfect health and two or three times average strength. He was convinced enough to make his start with the four
It was freely prophesied at this time that, while he had improved in bodyweight and appearance, the strain he had placed upon his weakened organs would no doubt cause him to drop dead most any day. But the days passed and finally Roger was completely cured. A story appeared in Strength and Health magazine concerning his rise from the shadow of death to a position of usefulness, health, strength and happiness in this world.
The story was widely read and created quite a furor in various circles. I was cited by the Federal Trade Commission for unfair advertising. One of my competitors claimed that Roger had benefitted from his system of training because he had read his books. The Federal Trade Commission thought that I had exaggerated his condition. The Federal Trade attorneys had hearings in
And then he produced doctors’ reports prepared at the depth of his physical debility to prove that his condition was as we had advertised and that later he was completely cured. Roger Eels followed the four
As an aftermath to all of his hard labor, his insurance company heard that he was cured, had him tested before their own physicians and discontinued any form of benefit payments. Later Roger was scheduled to tour the country as a lecturer for the Tuberculosis League, but he was prevented from doing this as some felt that he was the exception rather than the rule. He had benefited greatly, they agreed, had been completely cured, but, so they reasoned, some other man might injure himself through such exercises.
But the fact does remain that exercises such as are offered in the chapters of this book will overcome the majority of lung ills and will build such strength, health and resistance to pulmonary diseases that most men and women who practice the movements will go through life without the slightest inconvenience from the common cold. It is many years since I have had a cold and I attribute my freedom from this common ill to the practice of chest exercises such as I am offering. It has been said that there is no way to entirely cure the common cold. If this were true it would be necessary for you to resign yourself to spending the rest of your life being annoyed with constant coughing, sniffling and hacking. But the human body was designed to operate perfectly. It has within itself the ability to cure or overcome all injuries or ills. And the lungs, when given the proper opportunity, given sufficient “living space” and fortified and strengthened through general body-conditioning exercises, particularly deep breathing exercises in conjunction with progressive exercise, will build such resistance to pulmonary difficulties that you will not be annoyed by these common, but nevertheless annoying, troubles in the future.
To cite the case of another prominent physical culturist, Ray Van Cleef, who recently wrote as follows: “Like many youngsters, during the period of adolescence my growth was too rapid in proportion to my vitality. By the time I reached the age of twelve I was in a run-down condition, and was considerably underweight. Being in such a frail state of health I proved and easy victim to sickness. In the course of having frequent illnesses that year, I contracted a chest cold. Had I been in good health I would have been able to overcome it without any serious complications. But in spite of receiving proper care under medical supervision, my system was too weak to combat the ravages of the disease. The result was an attack of pneumonia. With my vitality being further weakened by this illness, however, I contracted pneumonia again before the year was over. This second attack proved even more serious than the first in that the after-effects left me with a fluid deposit in my lungs which had to be removed. My doctor was gravely concerned over my health and feared that I might become a victim of tuberculosis unless some measures were employed to build up my vitality and increase my resistance. He prescribed a series of deep breathing exercises for me to practice. It was there and then that my active association with physical culture commenced.
“The beneficial results that I obtained from even these elementary exercises were so encouraging that once I fully recuperated I was anxious to further advance in my physical culture endeavors; so I employed more advanced methods of training. The rebuilding of my health firmly convinced me that the only way to avoid sickness was by adhering to the physical culture mode of life.
“Now that I have briefly discussed my state of poor health and susceptibility to colds prior to the commencement of practicing physical culture, I wish to relate a few facts in regard to my experience with colds after I had acquired vigorous health. During my school days I did considerable running as a member of a cross-country team. In practicing this sport in the late fall season there were many days when we ran the course under such adverse weather conditions as mist, rain and even snow on a number of occasions. Many times the temperature was below freezing, yet all we wore were a scanty pair of trunks and sleeveless shirt. Needless to say, my parents were worried that I would ‘catch my death of cold.’ But quite to the contrary I did not acquire even a sniffle, let alone a cold, and neither did the other members of the team. In fact, being in good physical condition at this time, the frigid, damp air served as an invigorating tonic.”
Mr. Van Cleef goes on to explain that with more advanced physical training methods, during which he became particularly famed for his strength and hand-balancing ability, he has not had the slightest cold for years. His case is similar to that of hundreds of other weight lifters and strength athletes whom I number among my personal acquaintances. We have plenty of proof to offer that nature did not intend that the human body should be constantly ailing, suffering from a never-ending stream of minor or major ills, but that it should continue without disease, which of course means perfect health.
While deep breathing exercises, developing the chest and lungs to the fullest extent, provide the best means to avoid or overcome pulmonary diseases which range from the common cold to tuberculosis, other health laws should be included in the mode of living: a regular course of all-around body-conditioning exercises, eating proper food, well-balanced meals at mealtimes only, sufficient rest or relaxation, and the proper frame of mind. While these are our four major health rules so often written about – they are the best rules to follow to avoid chest ills of all sorts – to these may be added a few more important rules such as avoiding contact with those who are suffering from colds. When really strong and vigorous you need not fear infection from another, but don’t expose yourself needlessly unless you must. During the Great War, I spent the winter of 1918-1919 in a mud hole which was known as “
Another rule to follow is to avoid constipation. Breathe through the nose. In each nostril are hairs designed to strain the air and warm it before it passes to the lungs. If you breathe through the mouth, the cold, often smoky or dirty air is drawn directly into the lungs. When possible, work in well-ventilated rooms, which are properly heated and of course insist on these conditions at home, where you can more easily control them. Drink sufficient water; have well-ventilated bedrooms at night. This does not necessarily mean wide open windows with the snow blowing in on upon us as we thought was best in our childhood. Two windows in a room, not weather stripped, leak as much air as could come in freely through an opening a foot square. Do not have the air in your home too dry. Water in pans upon registers of radiators will provide the additional humidity the moist passages of the nasal passages and the lungs require. Keep yourself clean with daily baths and frequent of hands and face and drink an ample supply of water each day. These may seem like minor rules in some cases, but they are all important. And above all include with your regular training plenty of breathing exercises with weights.
There are so many reason for building your rib box, your lungs and the muscles on the outside of the chest, that any time spent in developing the chest inside and out will be time well spent. There will be a direct connection between these exercises, a direct proportion of improved health, increased strength, greater vitality and endurance – a glorious muscular development and a complete freedom from all ills and distressing conditions of the chest region.
I am sorry that I cannot give you a big healthy chest. You’ll have to win that for yourself. All I can do is tell you the superior way outline the best exercises and a mode of living which provide the quickest and easiest way to derive the desired ends of a powerful, healthy chest. You will first of all have to desire to have this big healthy chest, and then have sufficient persistence to continue with your endeavors until you have a chest which compares favorably with the men whose photos appear in this book, and numerous other outstanding physical specimens whose pictures could not be shown as the pages of a book are not unlimited.
I am trying to include the most important pieces of advice somewhere in this book, trying to avoid repetition, and perhaps this is as good a place as any to tell you that first you must aspire to have this big chest, then be willing to perspire to attain it. You will require constant inspiration, so keep this gook around where you can go through its pages at frequent intervals, absorbing the knowledge it contains and being encouraged by the photos of men with splendid physiques who have succeeded in obtaining their outstanding development through the practice of the advice I am offering you.
It is a good plan to cut out photos of big-chested men; place these upon large cards – frame them if you wish – and have them on the walls of your training quarters. By keeping your goal of a perfect body – particularly a big healthy chest – constantly in mind, it will first of all give you something definite to strive for, but most of all provide a source of encouragement for you.
Before launching on a special chest-developing program you should measure yourself, and obtain a before picture if possible. You will be thrilled by the improvement you make and it will be a source of encouragement to some other man who is seeking increased strength, health and development. You will be surprised at the tale the tape measure will tell you in a few weeks of regular training, and at the change in your appearance as shown fleetingly by the mirror and permanently in photos.
Make haste slowly. Don’t try to go to fast. Start gradually; wait until the muscles and the lungs, too, are accustomed to the increased work required of them before going ahead with increased vigor. I wish you all sorts of success in acquiring an admiration-creating chest development of which you can be proud.