The Half Bath.
This bath may be used as one of the mildest of the water cure
processes, or as one of the most powerful. An ordinary bathing tub is a very good apparatus for the purpose. A good sized washing tub will answer very well, if there is nothing else at hand. The water should generally be quite shallow in this bath, from three to six inches. Priessnitz's half baths were made of wood, four or five feet long, about two and a half feet wide, and twenty inches deep. This simple contrivance is one of his most powerful remedial means, that by which some of his highest triumphs are achieved.
The water is generally used of moderate temperature, at sixty to seventy degrees Fahr., and, when long continued, is changed, as it becomes warm from the heat of the body.
This bath may be used,
First, as a means of cooling the mass of the circulation in the hot stages of fever, and in inflammatory attacks of every kind.
Secondly, as a revulsive, or means of drawing blood in congestions or inflammations of the nobler organs, the brain, lungs, stomach, liver, etc.
Thirdly , as a means of resuscitation in the shock of serious accidents, sun stroke, and before, during, or after apoplectic and other fits. In drunkenness and delirium tremens, the half bath is a sovereign remedy.
Fourthly, as a middle means, and preparatory to the general bath in weak constitutions.
In the latter of these indications, the bath is generally used but for a few minutes after the wet sheet, or at other times, as may be desired. In the former, much practical knowledge is necessary in order to proceed always with safety, and to obtain the best results. Thus, six, or even nine hours may be required, with the greatest perseverance, the patient being thoroughly rubbed over the whole surface, and this to be kept up constantly by relays of assistants, the patient's head and shoulders, meanwhile, being supported.
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copyright 2005, J. Crow Company, New Ipswich NH 03071