For the description of the hydropathic appliances contained in the following pages, I am indebted, in substance, to "The 61 Hydropathic Family Physician," by Joel Shew, M. D., author of several popular works upon the principles and practice of hydropathy. I have not uniformly adopted his exact language, which is not always the best he might have chosen to express his thoughts.
Priessnitz is admitted to have been the originator of the hydropathic modes of treating diseases. He was an unlearned man, though he had original powers of mind; and, imperfect as the treatment is, he benefited Ms race by conferring it upon the world.
At first, and for some time, baths were made too cold, and were continued too long; the result was much injury to the patient in many cases. Time and experience have brought a better adaptation of the temperature and continuance of the water appliances to the symptoms, constitution, and temperament of each patient. Formerly, weak, exhausted, and nervous persons, not less than the full blooded and strong, were put into the wet sheet pack, and reduced near to death's door; and there is reason to believe that in some cases where the practice is in ignorant hands, this barbarity is not wholly discontinued. The practice, however, is now mainly in better hands; and although I by no means admit its sufficiency as a system of remedial agencies, I am persuaded it is doing some good. Used in connection with the ancient system of regular medicine, which is the joint product of time, science, and experience, the water treatment, molded and modified to the circumstances and strength of the patient, is an auxiliary of no mean power. As such, I accept it. As such, it is received by hundreds and thousands of regular practitioners through out the world. Further than this, it never can or will be generally received. By pushing it beyond this, its rightful and honored sphere, its friends only limit its progress and injure its influence,
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