Origins of the Ranch, Part III - Rancho La Puerta
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Origins of the Ranch, Part III

Our story to date:

Rancho La Puerta co-Founder Edmond Szekely, in Tahiti on a scientific health expedition, meets Purcell Weaver in 1934. Weaver, a young Englishman suffering from ill health, solves his health problems under Szekely’s tutelage, and becomes Szekely’s translator. Weaver returns to England to start a “Cosmotherapy” health institute following Szekely’s concepts of natural health and healing, while Szekely travels to Elsinore, California, to establish one of his “health camps.”

In future newsletters, our story will circle back to Tahiti to describe the fateful meeting of Deborah Shainman, born May 3, 1922, and her family with Professor Szekely, also by pure chance. Eventually Szekely, the Shainmans, and Purcell Weaver all find themselves in Tecate in the 1940s, site of Rancho La Puerta.

(Editor’s note: Although Rancho La Puerta today is a fitness resort and spa that does not offer or promote “cures” via fasting, the early experiments of its founder Edmond Szekely were very much aimed at curative measures through his principles of Cosmotherapy, and he heavily influenced some of the regimens still practiced at other health institutes today around the world.)

We rejoin Weaver’s story in the words of Florence Mahon, as chronicled in her memoir “Through the Cure with Professor Szekely.”

It was my lucky day when I met Purcell Weaver. The meeting was no ordinary one, for within a week we were on the way to California with five other very sick people. Purcell had been through the cure at Tahiti under the guidance of Professor Szekely, and he was so convinced of its rightness that he decided to find five sick people and take them off to California, where the Professor was on holiday; there they would go through the cure, then come back to England and start a nucleus to convey to the English people the meaning of Cosmotherapy.

On the morning of April 6th, 1935, a motley crew, for, except Purcell, we were all very sick people, set sail for America. From New York we travelled by car, driven by Purcell, across to California. It took eleven days, and, sick as we were, we are able to enjoy the beauties of the mountains and scenery on our journey.

It was a great day for us when we met Szekely. No time was lost; the same evening plans were discussed for our treatment, which would last seven months. An outline of the cure was laid before us, what to expect and how to understand what was happening. To effect a cure would require a complete detoxification of the organism; this could be done by the patient giving 100 per cent co-operation with Szekely. Treatment was not dogmatically laid down beforehand, as it would vary according to the development of the symptoms of each individual during treatment.

The thing that impressed me most was the fact that the nature or name of the disease didn’t count. During the period of my stay, there were cases of infantile paralysis, diabetes, tuberculosis of the lungs, goiter, and many kinds of nervous diseases, all of which responded to the same treatment, generally speaking, though each patient needed individual attention. The main thing was that all disease, whatever its name, was caused through one thing—and that was a toxic condition of the organism (toxic means “poisoned”). The healing system of Cosmotherapy was not content to remove the symptoms which manifested themselves at a given moment, but aimed at renewing the whole body.

The Plan of the Cure

The plan of the cure was in two stages: first the breaking-down period and second the building-up period. The method of the treatment was far different from what I had been used to from previous doctors and hospitals. From the very start, each patient was made to feel that he or she was an important being and that he or she had an important part to play in life. Questions were readily answered and explanations given, no detail was too small. I marveled at the Professor’s patience, for it didn’t matter how much of his time you took, he was always ready to listen and to help and give guidance. Never once did I feel during the whole seven months that I was being a nuisance. Szekely’s diagnosis extended over a period of a few days, by taking note of the patient’s habits, posture, tone of voice, mannerisms, and so on, followed by a chat during which he enquired of one’s problems and interests in life. During this examination, he would encourage you to study your particular subject, and he would help you develop and bring out the best in you. Great importance was attached to the mental activity, as this greatly influenced the physical well-being. While the mind held toxins in the shape of bad thoughts and feelings, it was not possible to bring about good health.

No drugs or medicines were given, and it was explained that these drive toxic wastes deeper in the tissues. The daytime was devoted to the physical part of the cure, while the evenings were set aside for the mental development and activity.

As I mentioned before, the cure was in two stages, the first being the breaking-down period, with which I will now deal.

The Breaking-Down Period

The first three days we were given grape-fruit juice at midday and again in the early evening. The amount for the two meals was the equivalent to three pounds in weight. The fourth day we had nothing at all, and at midday had an enema or wash-out…the weekly wash-outs were continued every Wednesday throughout the cure, and nothing was eaten or drunk on that day.

The daily routine was as follows: On rising, the weight was taken, then followed a cold-water sponge-down. It was California and the water never froze. Then down to the beach by the lake, where sun-bathing, water exercises, and land exercises, combined with breathing, were carried on continuously throughout the day. The length of exposure to sun and length of time on exercises increased as time went on. When sun-bathing, the feet were always towards the sun to allow the sun’s rays to play evenly on all parts of the body and at the same time to keep the top of the head from the sun’s rays. First position was on the back, then front, left and right side, increasing the amount of time each day. The direct contact with the sun radiations was a powerful means of drawing out toxic matter.

After perspiring from the sun bath, it was necessary to go straight into the water to get rid of the sweat and heat. Special exercises were given to do in the water, combined with breathing. The body was thus in contact with the sun, water, earth and air, the circulation was therefore stimulated and the skin helped to function.

Next month: the treatment continues.