Benefits of HYDROTHERAPY
Hydrotherapy, Hydropathy, Hydriatic Treatment, or the Water Cure, as it is variously called, has been successfully used in nearly all diseases to which human flesh is heir. The treatment by Turkish Baths, and Mineral Springs, for rheumatism is well known, and the fact that a host of other disorders can overcome by water applications should be self-evident to any Naturopath, because the chief effect of them is an eliminative one, and, since the Naturopath appreciates the fact that disease, in its final analysis, is retention of morbid wastes, he can readily see that any means that will cause an elimination of such accumulations will effect a cure.
The effect on the body of Mineral Springs is not understood by the common people. Many suppose that some peculiar mineral quality of the water really cures, whereas as a matter of fact, such is seldom the case. The mineral water comes out of the ground very warm, and the patient is instructed to bathe in it almost continually during the day, and to drink a small quantity of it. Constant bathing keeps the pores of the skin open, and causes the foul matter to be expelled, and copious water drinking speeds up the elimination through the kidneys and bowels, and in th is way the patient's system is ridded of the cause of disease.
The mineral content of most Mineral Springs can be closely duplicated by adding about a teacupful of Epsom salts and Glauber salts (3 parts to 2 parts, to the usual amount of water used in a bath- tub). Then if the patient takes bathe in this many times in a day as he would at a Mineral Springs, and drink as much of it as he would, he can expect equally good results. Or, better yet, ifhe will take just pure hot water to bathe in and drink. Water really does the work anyway, and the mineral content has little value in such a small proportion as it is found in most of these watering-places. There is one bath that is particularly useful for rheumatism, neuritis, lumbago; sciatica and similar disorders, and that is as follows:
To 12 gallons of hot water (so hot that one can just comfortably get into it), add three pounds of Epsom salts. Then lie in it for 30 to 40 minutes at each treatment, and take two to six such baths a week, according to the strength of the patient and the severity of his complaint. The Epsom salts counteracts and dissolves the uric acid ill the blood and causes it to be eliminated through the pores.
Water applications for the cure-of disease are nearly as old as the human race. Ancient Rome was noted for its wonderfully appointed public baths. Baths were a national institution. There are many ruins of Rome's celebrated baths still to be seen. Their armies erected baths as soon as they encamped for the night. Among many other ancient nations baths were found in every city, and the people were frequent bathers, As a result, disease was kept in check. In Siberia today, steam baths similar to the Turkish baths, are found in nearly every town, and they are an evidence of a custom that has come down for several centuries.
Two steam baths per week (15 to 30 minutes' duration), taken in a steam bath cabinet, much like our present-day vapor cabinets, heals. Then, from one to three hip baths daily, except that in an gynecological case, helps, During pregnancy Sitz-baths are taken instead of hip baths. Temperature of water should be about 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
"Hip-baths" differ from "Sitz baths." In the former a patient is made to sit in water up to his iliac spines, whereas in the latter the patient sits on a stool, the seat of which is on a level with the surface of the water; the water then being lifted up and rubbed vigorously about her hips with a coarse linen cloth. Vigorous friction is used in either case, using the linen cloth. This bath is continued from 5 to 20 minutes. After the bath, the patient is warmed by exercise, or, if too weak, by being put to bed.
Louis Kuhne, the world famous Naturopath used this method for every disease, and people came to his clinic from many parts of the world.
REDUCTION OF FEVER
When all other means fail to overcome fever, you will find the following hydrotherapeutic methods almost infallible. Usually one application will suffice, but if it does not, it can be repeated after a few hours:
Give full bath at 99 degrees Fahrenheit, gradually decreasing the temperature while the patient is in the bath. Then tepid sponge baths can be given after the patient has been put back to bed. Or, in the case in which no heart complications exist (organic disturbances):
1. Place two or three woolen blankets on the bed.
2. Wring a sheet from cold water and place on blankets.
3. patient lie on sheet.
4. Wrap the sheet quickly around the patient, with the legs separated from each other and the arms separated from the body, but completely enclosed in the sheet.
5. The woolen blankets are then wrapped closely around the patient.
6. Patient remains until sweat ceases or until he feels clammy, then the sheet is removed and he is given a brisk rub-down.
Caution: If the patient begins to turn blue, due to blood stagnation, remove the pack and rub the extremities vigorously toward the heart.
Daily tepid sponge baths should be given to all fever patients.
THE BIOLOGICAL BLOOD-WASHING METHOD.
It is of particular value in overcoming the signs of advancing years, and for this reason it has been designated as the "Fountain of Youth." For effecting a speedy reduction of weight it perhaps has no equal, while its effect in hardening the constitution and rejuvenating the body has had many practical demonstrations.
It consists in having the patient lie under a continuous shower of water at a temperature of 106 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
The patient lies under the shower for a continuous period of two to eight hours, the water being in turn directed upon the abdomen, lower part of back, and other regions of the body, for periods often minutes to one hour on each part of the body.
HOT AIR, STEAM AND VAPOUR BATHS
One of the quickest, and surest, ways to produce elimination of toxins from the system is by means of the modern hot air, steam and vapor bath cabinets,
These cabinets possess a great advantage over "hot rooms" and "steam rooms." Because in such baths a patient's head is allowed to remain in the cooler air of the room.
This is more comfortable to the patient, and it often makes it possible for a weak person to remain in the bath for a longer time than would be possible in a heated room. Another advantage of the cabinet is that it accommodates one patient at a time only, so that the heat can be brought on gradually and regulated to the comfort of each individual.
These, bath cabinets are of types: reclining and upright. The reclining cabinet enables the patient to lie down and fully relax. The relaxation facilitates elimination and takes the "load" off the heart, but the upright cabinet has the advantage that it occupies less floor space and ordinarily does not frighten nervous patients as much as the reclining- cabinet. The choice of a cabinet rests largely with individual. It would be well for an institution to have both types.
The principal noticeable effect of hot air, steam or vapor bath is copious perspiration, and the question may arise as to whether such a bath would be of much value to a patient in the summer, which causes him to perspire profusely. The answer is emphatically, yes! Perspiration caused by heat or exercise will not eliminate many of the disease toxins which a bath cabinet will draw out, for the reason that in physical exertion the circulation is accelerated, the blood moving the uric acid and other crystals rapidly along the blood vessels, while the more liquid portions of the blood are thrown out of the pores as sweat. In the bath cabinet the case is otherwise.
The patient is relaxed and the circulation is slowed. The heat is enabled to penetrate deeply into the tissues, dissolving and extracting the morbid accumulations of toxic acids and alkaloids.
Many bath cabinets are arranged so as to give either hot air, vapor or steam baths. The dry heat is infinitely the best for neuritis, neuralgia, muscle spasms and similar troubles, while the moist heat is considered better for rheumatism and uric acid diatheses in general. Dry heat can be tolerated at a higher temperature than moist heat, and many cabinets deliver the dry heat modality by means of electric lights. These electric light baths fire indicated in practically every diseases to which humanity is subjected to, because they combine radiant heat with its energizing deep penetration with facile elimination.
Steam baths are produced by placing a pan of water over the heat in the cabinet, which boils and thereby throws off steam. Vapor baths are produced by putting oil of pine needles, eucalyptus oil, sulphurated potassium, epsom salts, or other oils or drugs in small amounts in the pan. In as much as elimination is the end sought, we cannot see that these drugs increase the value of the bath, although it is sometimes advisable to add a few drops of essential oils '(such as wintergreen, pennyroyal, eucalyptus or oil of pine) to act as a deodorant and to keep the cabinet smelling clean and fresh.'
The question may arise in the mind of the reader as to what these baths are good for. The answer is that they are good for practically every disorder and for every patient. It would be a splendid thing if everybody, whether sick or not, could be induced to take such a bath at frequent intervals. As fresh air, sunshine, pure food, and clear water are good for everybody, sick or well, so elimination is of value to every human being. Elimination will ward off disease in the well and throw off the toxins of disease in the sick. The universal adoption of these baths by mankind would do far more toward conquering diseases, in our estimation, than can be accomplished 'by any and all other means'.
The length of time for a cabinet bath varies with the condition of the patient, but the time can roughly be from ten to forty-five minutes and sometimes even longer. Plenty of water should be drunk before entering the cabinet and while in it.
After the bath the cabinet should be allowed to cool down for a few minutes before the patient leaves it, so as to prevent such a shock as would 'be likely to occur if he immediately left the high temperature of the cabinet and entered that of the room. Then he should be given a sponge or shower bath to remove the perspiration yet clinging to his body. And it would also be advisable to give him a thorough manipulative treatment.
HOT AND COLD FOMENTATIONS APPLIED TO THE SPINE
A splendid tonic treatment to increase the vital resistance of a patient consists in applying hot and cold fomentations to the spine. A heavy flannel cloth is wrung out of very hot water and placed along the dorsal and lumbar spine. The flannel cloth should be folded six or eight times and should be only about four inches wide when folded and about eighteen inches long. It is then quickly withdrawn and a cloth of the same size wrung out of cold water is placed along the spine, which 'is also quickly withdrawn. The hot cloth can be held on for about five seconds, and the cold one for about ten seconds; two alternate hot and cold applications are thus made. The treatment is concluded with a light general massage.
Another excellent treatment, which is given to 99 per cent of the patients, is as follows:
I. The patient is given an enema.
2. He or she is put in a vapor bath cabinet.
3. The salt glow is given.
4. General massage is applied.
The world is badly in need of more "water cure" institutions, and it would be advisable for every true Naturopath to direct his efforts toward equipping his clinic to give such treatments. There is no agency that has the universal applicability that water has, and none can reach and cure so many ailments.
EFFECTS OF VARYING TEMPERATURES
The effects of the varying temperatures of water can be briefly stated as follows:
108 to 120 degrees F. is the tonic range.
100 to I 05 degrees F. is the relaxant range.
94 to 98 degrees F. is the sedative range.
65 to 90 degrees F. is the depressant range.
32 degrees F. or below is the anesthetic range.
To increase body temperature (by prolonged hot or short cold applications) increases metabolism.
To decrease body temperature (by short hot or prolonged cold applications) causes dissipation of heat from the body and decreases metabolism.
Short cold applications cause a rise in body temperature.
Short hot applications cause a fall in body temperature.
Prolonged cold applications cause a fall in body temperature.
Prolonged hot applications cause a rise in body temperature, and an increased oxidation of the blood.
These applications can be made in the form of either a full bath or a sitz bath, and some of them can also be made in the bath cabinet.
THE ABDOMINAL PACK (A Universal Remedy)
One of the best universal applications, having a wide range of usefulness, is the abdominal pack. A piece of linen or cotton sheeting (or preferably a piece of raw silk) to prevent the "cold shock" when it is applied, about twelve inches wide by four or five feet long is wrung out of cold water and quickly wrapped around the abdomen. A piece of woolen, cloth three or four inches wider, is then wrapped closely around the damp cloth, care should be taken that the damp cloth is entirely sealed in from the air (so that none of it can be seen), and the woolen cloth is' then held in place with safety pins.
This pack, if rightly applied, quickly gets warm and acts as a heating compress, drawing an increased amount of blood to the abdomen and assisting in removing morbid matter from it. The abdominal pack is left on for one hour to whole night and after removing it the abdomen should be thorough Iy washed off and the patient exercises or put back to bed to be warmed up. It is always advisable to remove the pack about half an hour before the patient gets out of bed, so as to give time for his abdomen to dry and warm up.
This application can be made practically. Every disorder, as it is an eliminative one, and elimination is the coup de grace of the healing art. In the acute infectious fevers it will be found particularly valuable.