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Henry Tanner’s Death Wish Health Triumph?

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Henry Tanner's Death Wish Health Triumph?
Henry Tanner's Death Wish Health Triumph?Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org Henry S. Tanner as he appeared after fasting 40 days at Clarendon Hall, New York City. Photograph 1880 By: G.E. Hogg (Firm)Published: 1880. Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Dr. Henry S. Tanner a medical doctor, somewhat after my own heart, as a man originally from the ‘old country’, Tunbridge Wells, England, but by emigration and working his way through medical school in the US. in mid 18th. century. Ultimately making a name for himself in Minnesota.

He ultimately sadly suffering acute pain from:
Rheumatism, an autoimmune disease as we know it! Further problems with asthma, really yet another inflammatory reaction, and extremely debilitating.
This man with terrible sleep patterns for years, and reaching a low point in terms of lifestyle and tolerance.
No doubt a major ‘multiplication’ factor being separation from his also ‘medical’ wife, a huge contributor respecting stress, that all this can entail!
The decision, to end his life!

After ‘following’ his wife, and undergoing stress that only those in that ‘forlorn’ world of apparent ‘loneliness and helplessness’ can understand!

In those days a medical school teaching concept that the human body can only survive ten days without food. Also, a complete confusion whether this included water that was magnified by the incompetence of his then medical supervision respecting his fasting. He even had to endure no water!

So he fasted in order to, in his words:
‘starve the pain out’, ten days passed and he still felt fine and so he continued for 31 days in total, during which time he claimed that his asthma, rheumatic and chronic pain had faded away.
But the remarkable result, despite all the surrounding incompetence, rather than dying, he reacted extremely positively, and his autoimmune diseases all but disappeared!
He thereupon subsequently becoming an advocate of fasting as a medical remedy.
Ironically dying at 92 living more than a full life for those days!

The New York Times at the ‘time’ referring to the somewhat notorious event as ‘Tanner’s folly’. He suffering suspicion from the contemporary medical profession. But, despite all this, Tanner’s theory of fasting for health, then heralding the phrase ‘therapeutic fasting’ becoming contemporaneously popular.

Dr. Tanner gaining back 20 of the 35 pounds in weight and embracing the lecture circuit to persuade his audiences of the restorative powers of fasting and its ability to cure disease. He eventually dying at the age of 92, presumably of old age, but sadly in relative obscurity.

Maybe something to Mark Twain:  “A little starvation can really do more for the average sick man than can the best medicines and the best doctors.”