Chapter 20 - Hydropathic Treatment
Processes of Hydropathic Treatment
Different Baths
Sea Bathing
Rules for Using Water
Wet Bandages and Compresses
Wet Sheet Pack
Wet Dress
Half Pack
Folded Wet Sheet
Rubbing Wet Sheet
Pail Douche
Half Bath
Wash Tub
Wash Down
Eye and Ear and Mouth Baths
Oral Bath

20.5 Rules for Using Water

Rules for Using Water. The Time of Day. In general, the more powerful applications should be made in the early part of the day. At this time the calorific powers and the circulation are more vigorous, and, consequently, the body more able to resist powerful applications of whatever kind. The Meals. Ordinarily, no powerful bath should be taken within three to four hours after a meal. A full stomach and cold water do not at all agree. But in certain diseased conditions, as feverishness, inflammation, colic, cramp in the stomach, cholera morbus, and other sudden attacks, water appliances are to be commenced without reference to hours or meals. The symptoms then are our only guide. The Lighter Baths. If there is doubt as to which application to make, the well wrung rubbing wet sheet, the tepid shallow bath, or a warm bath should first be taken. Reaction. Within a reasonable time after a bath, the body in all its parts should become naturally warm. If the feet and hands remain cold, and the nails and lips blue, the bath has, to say the least, done no good. In some cases of fevers and other inflammatory diseases, it is better to keep the body chilly than to allow it to become too warm. Ulceration. If any part of the body, as the extremities, lungs, bowels, etc., is undergoing any considerable ulceration, very cold baths are inadmissible. Nervousness. With some persons who are highly nervous, and particularly with nervous females, much cold bathing, although it appears to agree well, and to be the best for a time, is in the end harmful, rendering the nervousness and general debility worse. Exercise. For the douche, plunge, cold sitz, and foot baths, and all others that abstract a large amount of caloric from the system, the body should be fully warm, and the circulation somewhat accelerated by exercise. Exercise should also be taken AFTER the bath, until the heat and circulation are fully restored. But if exercise is impracticable either before or after the bath, friction should be made to take its place. Increased Heat. Elevation of temperature constitutes no objection to bathing, provided the body is not excessively fatigued. The reason why overheated persons sometimes lose their lives by plunging into or drinking largely of cold water, is, that the vital force has been too much exhausted. Mere heat is an advantage. Perspiration. Neither does this constitute an objection to bathing or water drinking, if the foregoing rules are observed. The Air. Bathing in the open air is always preferable to in doors, provided the extremes of heat and cold are avoided. The Head. It is well always to wet the head with cold water, both before and after a bath. Douches and the shower should never be taken on this part. Simple pouring or affusion is the only mechanical force of water that should be allowed on the head. Pregnancy. This, as abundant experience proves, forms no objection to bathing, or any form of properly regulated water treatment. Cold bathing and water drinking are of the greatest service during this period. The Season. If the lungs are not extensively diseased, and if there is no considerable ulceration going on in any part of the sys~ tem, the cool and cold seasons are preferable for a course of bathing. With right management, a patient gains two or three times as much in a given time during the cold months as he does in the hot. Days of Rest. One day in seven water treatment should be discontinued, with the exception of a simple ablution in the morning. Six days' treatment in the week is worth more than seven, because it is a law of nature that, if a remedy is continued steadily and without change, it loses much of its good effect. This is as true of water as of any other agent. Those who do wisely will omit the treatment on Sunday, whatever their religious convictions may be. Internal Use of Water. The same general rules apply here as in the external applications. Thirst should for the most part be gratified whenever it is experienced. As a rule, the less water drank at meals the better. For the tonic effect, it is to be taken while the stomach is empty, and it is better that exercise should accompany it. From six to twelve tumblers per diem is a fair allowance for average patients. Quality of Water. For all remedial as well as hygienic purposes water should be as pure and soft as can be obtained. With proper care and ingenuity in the construction of cisterns, filters, etc., this desirable end can be everywhere accomplished. Lead, and lead pipes, should be avoided, except where the water runs freely and constantly. The Sweating Process. Formerly it was much in vogue to sweat patients in the blanket pack, but latterly the practice has quite gone into disrepute. For several years of the latter part of Priessnitz's career he was very averse to using the process. It was a remark of his, that the cures by sweating were not permanent.

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