Thomas Inch on Neurasthenia: New Nerves for Old!

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As a precursor to this work by Thomas Inch, it’s perhaps worth a quick explanation of what neurasthenia actually means! It literally means nervous exhaustion. Early last century many doctors worked on a “nervous energy” model of health – and the notion that we can use up this energy by the way we live our lives. Interestingly for a modern audience, neurasthenia relied to some extent on cultural explanations – such as the growth of city living and office work.

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Thomas Inch on Neurasthenia: New Nerves for Old!

While there is an entire history of neurasthenia which I encourage you to delve into, as a precursor to this work by Thomas Inch it’s perhaps worth a quick explanation of what neurasthenia actually means! It literally means nervous exhaustion (or nerve weakness). Early last century many doctors worked on a “nervous energy” model of health – and the notion that we can use up this energy by the way we live our lives. Interestingly for a modern audience, neurasthenia relied to some extent on cultural explanations – such as the growth of city living and office work.
When we look at the major characteristics of neurasthenia, we can see why it remains an interesting and relevant subject for discussion;

  • physical and mental fatigue,
  • dizziness,
  • tension headaches,
  • muscular aches and other pains,
  • concentration difficulties, and inability to relax,
  • sleep disturbance,
  • irritability and memory loss.

Of course, today we must rule out any medical reasons for these ailments, but once they ARE ruled out, then looking at our environment, and the toll it takes on our nervous system is (to my mind anyway) an excellent idea!

Neurasthenia today:

The most recent criteria for a diagnosis of neurasthenia includes the core symptom of mental and/or physical fatigue, and at least two of the other symptoms. A diagnosis of neurasthenia persists in certain Asian countries as it is an ‘acceptable’ medical diagnosis of symptoms that might otherwise come under the banner of psychiatric illness. Some modern doctors also draw parallels to chronic fatigue syndrome, although again it is noted neurasthenia has more cultural connotations.

Thomas Inch:

As to Thomas Inch himself – well he was a giant in physical culture circles for the first half of the 20th Century. From Britain’s Strongest Youth to Britain’s Strongest Man, Thomas Inch made a career out of being strong. Although most famous today for his ‘unliftable’ Inch dumbbell, his many writings on exercise and physical training contain a wealth of valuable information for the modern-day physical culturist.

Contents of Inch on Neurasthenia: New Nerves for Old!

 

  1. Symptoms of Neurasthenia
  2. First Steps
  3. Diet
  4. Exercise
  5. Self Massage
  6. Baths and Bathing
  7. Constipation
  8. What About a Hobby
  9. Development of Will Power
  10. Mental Efficiency
  11. An Average Day
  12. Chart of Progress

*Please note there are no illustrations in this booklet – but Inch was a very clear writer and his instructions re: the exercises can be easily followed.

Also Available from the Thomas Inch Collection:

We have also reproduced the excellent Thomas Inch Self-Resistance course, view details HERE.

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