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

Fascinating techniques on everything from sleep and breathing to chewing foods…

The Professor continues his “breaking down” methods of eliminating disease and toxins from the body, as chronicled by Florence Mahon, a health refugee from England who, along with her friends and Purcell Weaver (the Professor’s translator), was at a retreat run by Szekely on the shores of Lake Elsinore, California, in 1935. The diet and exercise program was very strict…a daunting challenge, but she stuck to it. Ms. Mahon found it extreme at times, but the presence of her daughter helped a great deal. Professor Szekely was also encouraging, patting his guests on the back and (according to Mahon’s account) saying, “Bona!” whenever he noticed “the toxins coming out.” As mentioned before, please note that these methods have not been in use at Rancho La Puerta since its founding…they are of historical interest only, but some still seem intuitively valid today—the Professor’s methods continued to evolve, and by the time The Ranch began in 1940 the focus was mainly on healthy eating and exercise, not deprivation, to rebuild health.

[The following is from “Through the Cure with Professor Szekely” by Florence Mahon.]

We experienced many unpleasant things when we were getting rid of our ailments, but these symptoms varied according to the nature of the disease we had. Very little could be done to ease the pain while the new cells were forming….emphasis was put on the fact that it wasn’t possible to cure one thing without cleaning up the whole organism—each organ must work for the good of the totality.

First the organism eliminated the toxins of last year, and then retrogressively back to the first year of our life, so we experienced again the symptoms of old illnesses which introduced toxins into us. It was explained that everyone is born twice—once when he is physically born, and again when he learned the laws of nature. When the process of disintoxication has got back to the condition of birth, it begins to eliminate the toxins our ancestors passed on, so bad heredity can be overcome. If we lead an unnatural life we constantly absorb more toxins than we can eliminate. If we live according to the laws of nature we introduce less toxins and eliminate more

We have now seen that the daily routine covered the needs of the physical and mental well-being of the patient. We will now turn our attention to sleep. During elimination, more sleep is needed. Before sleeping, it was necessary to clear all disturbing thoughts from the mind, for the quality and content of sleep is influenced by the thoughts and sentiments prior to sleep. If we sleep with harmonious thoughts, our sleep is a source of energy, harmony and knowledge. Inharmonious thoughts cause us to wake up tired instead of refreshed.

Having dealt with the procedures of the day, I will clear up one or two points that may have arisen in your mind.

On the question of breakfast. To begin with, we did feel hungry and wanted breakfast badly, but after some weeks of going without, the desire disappeared and never returned. It may have been the fact that we were already understanding that if no breakfast is taken then the organism is able to eliminate toxins during the morning, but if food is taken this process is stopped.

The question of thirst was a problem, for we were always thirsty during the first month or so. The various exercises in water, sun and air lead to deeper breathing, so therefore there was a greater burning up of toxins, and this caused thirst. The way to alleviate this without interfering with the process of burning up the toxins was to gargle, holding the head back as far as possible to allow fresh cold water to trickle down the back of the throat, then gently throwing up the head and ejecting the water. Thirst comes from the throat regions and not from the stomach.

Great importance was attached to mastication. When eating it was necessary to be in a good humour so as to allow the food to digest properly. Also, we found it was not wise to drink too much, for when the organism is digesting a great deal of liquid, it cannot eliminate. More than the right amount of food becomes ferment. We were told to “listen to the voice of our organism” and not to go on eating for the sake of eating. We were encouraged to leave the table feeling we could eat just a little more. Controversy or arguments were prohibited during meals on the grounds that they distract attention from the food and draw blood away from digestion.


We now come to the second part of the cure: that of the “building-up” stage. This was the most exciting period, for not only did we start to put on weight (for we had become very thin) but we began to feel good and take an interest in life once more. While the breaking-down period was very slow and gradual, the building-up did not take so long. It was fascinating to watch the changes come over one—in the texture of the skin, the colour of the eyes, the flexibility of the body, and the clearness of the mind. Our attitude to life was different, fear went, depression, bad feeling—in fact all the unpleasant things that make one ill—went for good, and day by day and every day there was a marked improvement in general health and well-being.

Next month: the joy of tasting bread again…and the mysteries of the “diet chart.”