Baths And Sweating
( Originally Published 1929 )
FREQUENT bathing is an aid to the loss of weight.
The metabolism of the body may be increased by the use of cold baths or showers. But a word of caution is in order about the cold bath. It will undeniably increase your metabolic activity. Be-fore you employ this method, however, be sure that your heart, arteries and blood pressure can stand the shock. If you feel chilly for some time after your shower is finished you should not indulge in it. On the other hand, if a warm healthful glow follows, showing that the effect on the heart, arteries and blood pressure is normal then you can safely take cold baths and showers with the assurance that they are aiding in your effort to prevent obesity.
In sweating there is a direct transfer of water from the inside to the outside of the body. It occurs whenever the air temperature reaches about 3O0-330 C. or when there is a marked difference between the entire required heat elimination and the amount which can be disseminated by radiation, conduction and vaporization from skin and lungs.
Life is possible without sweat glands. Several individuals with congenital absence of these glands have been reported in medical literature. Under ordinary circumstances they react like normal individuals but they develop a rise in temperature very readily from exercise, a heated environment or infection.
In the very obese with water-logged tissues as the result of deficient kidneys or impaired circulation sweat baths have merit, though they must be given with caution and discrimination. They help in ridding the system of the waste products of defective metabolism. By the stimulation of tissue oxidation they also aid in burning up fatty tissue but this is minimal.
The losses of weight after sweat baths of various kinds consist largely of water and not fat loss. Patients are greatly impressed by weighing before and after sweating, thinking that they have lost two or three pounds of fat but such is not the case. In a few hours the tissues regain their water con-tent if water or food has been consumed, and the scales as well as the individual regain their former figure.
The electric light cabinet is superior to the Turkish bath since the subject is not forced to breathe the hot and vitalized air of the Turkish room.
Those with circulatory deficiencies must be watched very carefully while in the cabinet. Pulse, breathing, facial appearance and subjective reactions must be guides as to the duration and in-tensity of the baths. A cold compress should be applied to the head. The hot blanket pack for twenty to thirty minutes following the bath in-creases the amount of water depletion from the tissues. If followed by a vigorous salt rub and Scotch douche metabolism is greatly enhanced and a sense of well-being results.
Sweating therapeutics, no matter how produced, artificially, should be used only as an accessory treatment in conjunction with rational dieting and exercise. It has grave potentiality for harm and should be taken only on the advice and under the direction of a physician.
Rubber Garments for Reducing
One of the most senseless reducing methods recommended through the advertising pages of newspapers and periodicals is the use of rubber garments. These do nothing more than to compress the tissues thereby reducing the circulation of blood in the areas applied. By preventing evaporation of perspiration as it exudes from the sweat glands and inhibiting radiation of heat from the skin water collects under the rubber garment giving an exaggerated idea as to the amount of weight lost. Practically no fat is lost from the tissues compressed. Only water is lost but this is quickly replaced hence the reduction noted on the scales and the ocular deception the result of constriction is more apparent than real. Certainly the mechanical constriction of tissue and organs must prevent proper tissue oxidation and organ functioning thereby going entirely contrary to the physiological principles of weight reduction. Certainly the only way to reduce triple chins and lobulated hips is by working the jaws less and the legs more. It is needless to speak of the unsanitariness of rubber garments. I can think of nothing more revolting than the practice in gymnasiums of donning an odoriferous, unsterilized rubber garment and exercising strenuously in poorly ventilated quarters until copious sweating has been induced.