This section is from the book "The Art And Science Of Personal Magnetism", by Theron Q. Dumont. Also available from Amazon: The Art and Science of Personal Magnetism: The Secret of Mental Fascination.
In the preceding Chapter I have given you general instructions regarding the first phase of nerve-force by means of certain forms of rhythmic breathing. I now proceed to the general instruction regarding the second phase of nerve-force generation, namely, the distribution of the absorbed nerve-force to the nervous system, and particularly to the great reservoirs of nerve-force.
This process of nerve-force distribution naturally follows directly after that of nerve-force absorption, the two being coordinated phases of one of nature's recuperative processes. Just as is the process of the recuperative breath-rhythm, nature's way of restoring to the system a fresh supply of nerve-force to replace that used in the extra-ordinary mental, emotional or physical strain preceding it, so is the process of nerve-force absorption another (or twin) method of nature to distribute the absorbed nerve-force to all parts of the body, strengthening and invigorating, vitalizing and stimulating, each and every part of the body, and at the same time storing up in the great reservoirs of the nervous system a reserve supply of nerve-force for times of future need.
Again you ask: "What is nature's way of distributing the absorbed nerve-force, as above stated, which also is the way in which you state students of personal magnetism may distribute their absorbed nerve-force or physical magnetism?" As in the case of the previous question, I answer, "Go to nature herself, and discover her method." Let us then do so.
Investigating nature's method of distributing physical magnetism or nerve-force, what do we find nature doing just after the person is exhausted by mental, emotional or physical exertion - that is, in addition to the peculiar breath-rhythm. Answer: We find, accompanying the long deep sigh preceding the breath-rhythm, and also, following the rhythmic breathing, a tendency to "stretch" the muscles of the body. Not only do we notice this phenomenon at such times, but also it is to be observed when we awaken in the morning with a yawn, followed by an instinctive stretching of the muscles. We observe the same thing after we have used up nerve-force in listening, reading, studying, etc. - in fact, in any action, which has required concentrated attention. It is always the yawn, the deep sigh, the measured breath, and, finally, the stretching of the muscles.
Now, do not dismiss this matter with a trifling jest, or an amused smile - for this stretching of the muscles in one of nature's most important offices. It is nature's own favorite way of distributing to all parts of the body the nerve-force being absorbed into the system. It is nature's own way of sending a vitalizing and invigorating current to the places in which it is needed. And, moreover, if we will take her seriously; examine the meaning of her process; and then intelligently apply the same in our work of developing physical magnetism, we will have gained an important secret of nature, and one which we will not be willing to part with, once it is applied and turned to account.
In the first place this "stretching" is something far more than a manifestation of laziness, weariness, or fatigue. It is an instinctive action resulting from nature's recognition of the need of a fresh supply of nerve-force, and her rush to supply the needed energy. Do not mistake and confuse causes and effects in this matter.
You will notice, in cases of complete "stretching," a twofold motion, viz.: (l) An extensions; and (2) a tensing or contraction of the muscles, in the direction of drawing in the extended limbs or parts of the body. Now note this, both of these motions are forms of "tensing" or contracting the muscles. The extension movements result from the tension or contracting of the opposite set of muscles. The principal muscles of the body are arranged in opposing sets, one being used to push out, and the other to draw in, the limb or portion of the body. You may always count on the presence of these opposing sets of muscles. When in the process of stretching you first extend, and then draw in the limbs, you rally are tensing both of the opposing sets, in turn. For what purpose? Let us see.
Nature's purpose in tensing the opposing muscles, in the above stated case seems to be that of "squeezing out" something from the muscles. And that is exactly what it is - a squeezing out of something. Of what? Of the old, stale, weakened nerve-force of physical magnetism. Why? - To what end? To the end that the supply of fresh, vital, strong nerve-force or physical magnetism may rush in to take the place thereof.
This is equally true in the case of the brain exhaustion, nerve-exhaustion, or muscle-exhausting - for the brain cells, the nerves themselves, and the muscles are kept vitalized and invigorated by the same form of energy, coming from the same source. Moreover, the fresh supply of nerve-force pouring into the muscles and cells, from the great nerve-force reservoirs of the nervous system, leave the latter more or less depleted, and cause them to call for a fresh adequate supply from the universal source. In short, the stretching process sets into operation the whole machinery of the distribution of the system's supply of nerve-force, and results in the whole nervous mechanism being give a new impetus.
This is the secret of the personal magnetism adept's method of distributing a fresh supply of physical magnetism or nerve-force to all parts of the system, at will - thus rendering himself a veritable dynamo of physical magnetism, if he so desires.
But there is more to this method of the student than mere ordinary "stretching," I assure you. The ordinary stretching is simply an elementary form of nerve-force distribution. I shall call your attention to an extension of, and improvement upon, the elementary method. You have probably heard of that from of calisthenics generally known as "the tensing exercises." Well, in that system you may find the seed of a much more efficient system. The tensing system of calisthenics is taught for the purpose of exercising the muscles - only this and nothing more. It has been found to bring about the greatest results, and to greatly develop the muscles and benefit the general system. Why? "Oh just exercise," replies the physical culturist. But we know better, for while we realize the benefit obtained from these sensible exercises alone, we also understand how such a rational course of exercise must result in greatly invigorating the entire system, by distributing the nerve-force, and as a consequence bringing about the absorption of a fresh supply to the great reservoir centers of the nervous system, do we not?
We have three decided points of advantage over the "tensing exercise" school, as follows: (l) We precede our tensing exercises by rhythmic breathing exercises, thus bringing to our reservoirs a fresh supply of magnetism or nerve-force; (2) we proceed leisurely and almost "lazily," our idea being that of "stretching" as opposed to the idea of vigorous exercise by tensing, the latter being held by the "tensing exercise" school; and (3) we understand the real reason for the tensing, and hence are able to apply it intelligently, instead of in a hit-or-miss style.
The addition of the rhythmic breath, of course, gives a new and novel impetus to the work of nerve-force distribution; in fact the latter cannot be perfectly performed without the former. This the ordinary tensing exercise practitioner almost entirely misses, except in so far as he becomes fatigued by his vigorous exercise, and is forced to breathe rhythmically, as a consequence, thereby unconsciously obtaining at least some of the benefits of the rhythmic breath. The ordinary tensing exercise student, once given our key of the rhythmic breath, is enabled to attain results impossible to him before. He sees a great light, as a consequence.
My students of personal magnetism proceed about the exercises for distribution of nerve-force, or physical magnetism, in an entirely different manner from that of the ordinary practitioner of the tensing exercise systems. The latter work themselves into an exhausted condition, under the belief that their muscles will become better developed by such vigorous exercise. As a consequence, many of them wear out as much as they acquire, of muscular development. My students, instead, pursue anything but a strenuous course of exercising in tensing. Instead of moving vigorously, they proceed slowly, calmly and almost "lazily" in tensing the muscles, in turn extending and then drawing in. They keep before them, all the time; nature's own processes of "stretching," and model their movements entirely upon the same. In this way, as a consequence, there in no exhaustion or using up of nerve-force or tissue to any marked extent, but, on the contrary, there is a constant taking in and distribution of magnetism from the centers to the parts, and consequently a marked increase in vigor, vitality and vim. The difference can be understood perfectly only when one practices my exercises for himself or herself.
Finally, it follows that a much greater effect is obtained by one who practices any form of exercises, understandingly, and with full knowledge of the "why" as well as the "how" of the thing - of the theory as well as the practice. When one knows just what he is about, and just what he wishes and expects to obtain, then he has gained half of the bailie. Lacking this knowledge, he wastes energy and effort, and does much that had better be left undone, while leaving undone much that should be done. Verily, "knowledge is power" in this case, as in many others.
It is somewhat amusing, though sad, to see these "tensing exercise" people using themselves up in vigorous exercising, and, at the same time, losing nine-tenths of the benefits gained by those practicing the "lazy" stretching exercises, accompanied by the rhythmic breath, as taught to my students.