Stimulants And Restoratives
( Originally Published 1921 )
All forms of treatment have the quality of acting either as stimulants or as restoratives. In other words, if you whip' a horse you stimulate him, if you feed him you restore him. Some measures, indeed, may have the qualities both of stimulation and of restoration, but one or the other always predominates. Stimulants ordinarily applied to the human Organism are agreeable and immediate in their effects. Restoratives are often disagreeable and remote in their results. The hot bath, that is, the bath which is hot enough to feel very hot, is stimulating and restoring. So that, if a person should be afflicted by some terrible prostration, one of the best remedies to restore him would be a hot bath. The hot bath is particularly useful in young children who are suffering from collapse. It is immediate in its effect, but the effect is not lasting. On the other hand, a cold bath may be so disagreeable that you dislike to plunge in, and you may feel cold and shivery for sometime. afterward and appear to have your vitality exhausted by it. If you were weak, it might even do you real harm. Still,, the ultimate effect of the cold bath is to stimulate nutrition, to make your flesh harder and firmer, and to give you strength. We might say, then, that heat is a stimulant and cold a restorative.
All these measures need to be mixed with plenty of brains to get the desired results, and it is not possible to lay down a fixt formula that can be applied by an ignorant person.
While hot baths have their use in heart disease, cold baths produce lasting benefit. It has been found that when a great deal of salt is put into them, or is m them naturally, and the baths are saturated with carbonic acid gas, the person is able to endure them much colder than otherwise, and their effect on heart subjects is much enhanced.
These saline carbonated baths had their origin in Bad-Nauheim, and have been imitated throughout the world with benefit when given with sufficient skill. This is the bath par excellence for heart troubles. Other forms of hydrotherapy may of course be used in addition, but not as substitutes.
As to exercise, the same thing may be said to be true that a particular type of exercise is of more use than any other. This is known as resistance exercise. It has to be carried out with the help of an attendant, who gently resists the series of motions on the part of the patient, which are so designed as to take in nearly all the muscles of the body.
It is unlike any other kind of exercise, because the muscles are kept in a condition of tone for several moments. The heart is a muscle, and the chief attribute of the heart muscle is tonicity, that is, the continuous partial con-traction that keeps the heart in shape.
The voluntary muscles have this same quality. My own belief is that by improving the quality of tonicity of all the voluntary muscles by resistance exercises the tone. of the involuntary muscles participates in the benefit. Many people have proved the usefulness of the so-Called Schott movements in heart disease, and when combined with the saline baths they constitute the Nauheim-Schott treatment that has received greater recognition than any other method that can be substituted.