Electric Bath, The

Electric Bath, The
Catalog # SKU2014
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name George M. Schweig


The Electric Bath

Chronic Its Medical Uses,
Effects & Appliance

By George M. Schweig, M.D.

The tubs, which I have now in use for nearly three years are made of wood, and I find them to answer very well. It must not be forgotten, however, that a wooden tub requires to be well painted on the inside, in order to prevent its becoming water-soaked, because in that event it would become a conductor of electricity, and interfere to some extent, with the administration of the electric current in the bath.


It was my purpose when I undertook to write these pages, to offer to the profession a book confined to one subject; not a compilation, but a volume made up almost if not wholly of original matter, chiefly, if not entirely the result of my own observations and experience. For the general physiological effects then of electricity as well as for the theories of its action, I refer those interested to the many excellent works on the subject that have appeared within the last few years. I will treat here only of the physiological effects peculiar to the electric bath.

The daily observations that I have had the opportunity of making in this respect, extending as they do over a period of upwards of two years, have not been as fruitful of results as might be expected. This is due mainly to the circumstance that but a small percentage-and these took the baths merely as a refreshing tonic-of those whom I have had the opportunity of observing, were in a condition that might be called normal. By far the greater majority were suffering from some complaint, in most instances of a neurotic or rheumatic nature, the presence of which, while it afforded admirable opportunity for observing therapeutic results, modified more or less the physiological effects of the baths, and served to deprive them of a uniformity which might to a great extent justly be looked for in healthy organisms. If, therefore, what I now contribute to the physiology of the subject is but little, it will I trust be at least found of practical utility in its applicability to the therapeutics of the subject.

Before entering into details, it is necessary in the first place to inquire in what respects electric baths differ from other methods of electrization-especially those recently introduced as "general"-that their physiological effects should merit individual consideration. They differ in two ways. One of these is self-evident. To the effects of electricity are superadded those of the warm bath. The effects of the warm bath per se are too familiar to every physician to require comment. Its effects in combination with electricity, however, may not be so generally known; and I therefore feel justified in quoting here a passage that bears directly on the subject, from a recent German work by Dr. Hartmann of Wiesbaden.

"The last question, whether mineral water acts also by contact with the skin, leads us to one of its most important effects-that through electricity.

"Although this question has not as yet been finally disposed of, we have still advanced far toward its solution, through the admirable researches of Heymann and Krebs. Both observers have furnished proof that the contact of the water of the bath with the human body gives rise to electric currents, which currents must be looked upon as being the excitors of the nerve-currents, the body acting merely as a conductor.

From these experiments we conclude that no particular difference obtains between artificial and transported waters on the one, and natural waters on the other hand, the assertions of Scoutettens notwithstanding, who in regard to electricity claimed to have found a difference between the artificial and transported waters and the natural ones. "We gather moreover from the experiments, that the electric current generated through the contact of the body with the water of the bath is modified chiefly by the gases, next by the temperature of the water, and lastly only by its salts.

"The effects of the bath depend on the strength of the electric current generated and on the condition of the peripheral endings of the nerves; the effect may be stimulating or soothing. The strength of the current is governed, as we have seen, by the quantity of gases present, the temperature and the salts. Ordinary lukewarm baths, indifferent baths containing a small amount of gases, are less stimulating than mineral baths containing a larger proportion of gases.

"With regard to the relative condition of the peripheral nerve-ends, experiments on the motor nerves go to show that swelling of the terminal ends of these nerves may diminish their excitability to the point of its complete extinction, while it becomes increased by their exsiccation. This fact as to the motor nerves is adopted by HEYMANN likewise as applying to the nerves of sensation. If, now, we presuppose absorption or even imbibition on the part of the skin, a swelling of the nerve-ends is comprehensible, as the imbibed fluid reaches them.

But, according to HEYMANN, the peripheral nerve-ends, i.e., the terminal bulbs of KRAUSE, of the sensory nerves, and the tactile corpuscles of MEISSNER, become even without this presupposition sufficiently impregnated with water while in the bath, because here all insensible perspiration must cease, and in a bath of a temperature lower than blood-heat transpiration cannot take place, so that all transudation to the skin being retained during the bath, those termini are surrounded by moisture and therefore swell up.

120+ pages - 8¼ x 5¼, softcover

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