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Water and Good Health (Part 5 of 6) [message #1408] Fri, 20 May 2016 22:04
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Water and Good Health
(Part 5 of 6)


Hydrotherapy (water treatment) is not a cure-all. But there is no single drug on the market that can rival water in the variety of physiological effects it is capable of producing, its wide availability, lack of bad after effects, and relative economy.

Because giving successful treatments with the use of water requires time, effort, and labor, this method of treatment has lost favor in our modern society where "time is money" is more than just a saying; it is frequently also an economic necessity. It is much more convenient to simply take a pill, and disregard the possible ill effects that may be produced in the various systems of the body. The wonderful results that can be obtained from water treatments that are properly given, especially when they are combined with the other true remedies for man's ills exercise, proper diet, pure air, sunlight, rest, and trust in divine power cannot be obtained by any other method. Hydrotherapy rarely causes bad side effects or debilitation complications, as many drugs do. Water treatments do, however, take a longer time to produce results, but when the body reacts, it does so in a much more natural way. To give successful water treatments takes time and effort, but this is the price people must sometimes pay to restore and maintain good health. Some of these treatments are so effective, and yet so simple to use, that they should become a part of everyone's daily health program and not be reserved for use only in time of emergency or illness.


In order to obtain the best results, here are some General Rules that must be followed when any water treatment is given.

1. The room in which the treatment is given must be warm (70* to 75* F.), clean, and free of drafts.
2. A calm, restful atmosphere without distractions or bright lights should prevail.
3. All articles that are to be used during the treatment must be at hand before starting the treatment.
4. Know ahead of time exactly how the treatment is to be given.
5. Stay with the patient as much of the time as possible and watch for the effects of the treatment. Never go beyond calling distance.
6. Never argue with or irritate the patient by your talking. Be cheerful, express confidence, and converse on pleasant topics. Keep the patient relaxed.
7. Keep the patient covered and warm at all times and avoid chilling.
8. The patient must be warm before the treatment is started. Use a hot footbath beforehand, if necessary.
9. Be sure your hands are warm if it becomes necessary to touch the patient during the treatment.
10. During heat treatments, apply a cold compress on the patient's head when perspiration starts or the temperature reaches 100* F.
11. A cooling procedure should follow any heat treatment.
12. Make sure the patient is thoroughly dry after the treatment.
13. Following the treatment, the patient should be encouraged to relax and take a brief rest.
14. During the course of the treatment, let the patient know what you are doing; especially before using any cold application that may come as a shock.
15. Cold treatment are not tolerated well by infants and young children, aged persons, or those who are extremely weak or exhausted, and such treatments should not be used on these patients.


Baths are divided into various classes, according to the water temperature, as follows.

1. Very cold ........... 32* to 55* F.
2. Cold ................... 55* to 65* F.
3. Cool ................... 65* to 80* F.
4. Tepid ................. 80* to 92* F.
5. Warm ................. 92* to 98* F.
6. Hot ................... 98* to 104* F.
7. Very Hot ..... 104* F. and above


1. Never take a full bath within two hours after a meal. Local applications of water such as footbaths, fomentations, compresses, and even sitz baths may be used within a shorter period of time after eating.
2. When preparing baths for the sick, always use a thermometer, when available, to check the water temperature. The method used to test water for babies by placing the elbow in the water will sometimes help when a thermometer is not available.
3. The temperature of the room should be between 70* and 80* F. Patients or invalids may require it somewhat warmer. There should always be good ventilation, but no drafts.
4. Do not use either extremely hot or cold baths for very young, old, feeble, or extremely nervous patients. Although it is permissible to take a cold bath when you are just warm enough to start perspiring, never take a cold bath when you are extremely fatigued or exhausted. It is better to start with a tepid bath and gradually decrease the temperature until the water is cold.
5. Never allow more than three or four days at the most to pass without taking a warm cleansing bath. Take one daily if possible. A cold bath or shower in the morning is an excellent means of stimulating the whole nervous system, as well as preserving bodily cleanliness.
6. Bath attendants should carefully avoid giving a shock to nervous people, or those either afflicted with heart disease or who have had a stroke.
7. The best time for hydrotherapy (water) treatment is about three hours after breakfast.
8. Cold baths should not be taken during menstruation. A shower or warm sponge bath is best.
9. Always use the purest and softest water obtainable.
10. Baths should always be given at an agreeable temperature to sick persons, unless the baths are being used as a treatment to produce some particular effect.
11. If symptoms of faintness appear, apply cold to the head and face, give a drink of cold water, or lower the temperature of the bath by adding cool water.
12. As a precaution against catching a cold, always decrease the temperature of the bath just before finishing, if the person is not strong enough for a shower or cool sponge bath.
13. Cold baths should always be brief, unless given for a specific purpose to a local area of the body.
14. It is extremely important that the patient should be carefully and completely dried. Never leave a patient chilly. Rub him until he is warm.
15. Depending on the patient's condition, it is well to have a little light exercise shortly before bathing.
16. A short rest after bathing will add to its beneficial results. It is best to lie down and keep well covered.

Baths are one of the most powerful means of affecting the human system in either health or disease. Weak patients should have sponge baths, and if necessary these may be given in bed.
If the patient is susceptible to chilliness, sponge one portion of the body at a time, dry and cover that portion, then proceed to the next area.


Relaxing Bath

This bath is excellent for nervous or agitated persons to help promote sleep and relaxation. It does this by balancing the circulation and relieving congestion in the brain. The temperature of the water should be from 94* to 97* F. It is sometimes best to have the water slightly warmer to begin with and let it cool slowly to the temperature just mentioned, but the patient should never feel chilled.

1. While in the water the patient should attempt to relax. There should be no noise, talking, radio or television.
2. Fill the tub about two-thirds full.
3. Place a folded towel for a headrest on the end of the tub.
4. The lights in the room should not glare in the patient's eyes.
5. A bath towel should be used to cover any part of the patient that is not immersed in the water.
6. Place a cool washcloth over the forehead and eyes.
7. Hot water should be added to maintain the proper temperature.
8. The length of the bath is usually about 30 minutes and never longer than one hour.
9. When finished, the water should be cooled a few degrees by the addition of cold water.
10. Pat the skin dry; do not rub.


Warm the room first to 70* or 75* F. in order to prevent chilling

A bath thermometer should be used to check the water temperature.

If the patient is not warm, a hot footbath should be given first.

The patient should go to bed in a darkened room immediately afterwards and keep warm.

Tub Baths for cleanliness

Full tub baths are the most beneficial and pleasant baths that can be taken. The full bath should be taken at least two or three times a week, but preferable every day. Thoroughly scrub the entire body with a coarse washcloth, using a good soap; Ivory is one of the best. This will open the pores and make the skin glands active so that poisons can be eliminated from the system. When this kind of bath is given in disease, good results will be obtained if the patient is rubbed thoroughly while in the water.

A hot tub bath is a specific aid against colds, if taken as soon as they are contracted, making sure that the person does not become exposed or chilled afterwards. For rheumatism, neuralgia, gout, colic, sciatica, or gallstones, the bath must be taken very hot so that the person perspires, the bath must be taken very hot so that the person perspires. Do not make the water hot to start with, but keep increasing the heat. For comfort and good results, when the person becomes too warm, have him stand up and shower off with cool water or rub his body with a towel that has bee dipped in cool water. If the person has heart trouble, keep an ice bag over the heart. Keeping a cold compress in the head or around the neck will do much to avoid faintness.

For sick people, it is best to take the bath just before retiring. Baths have a tonic effect. The temperature must be determined by the attendant, and should be suited to the individual patient.

I have taken many cases where persons had been diagnosed by doctors as having heart trouble, and were told that it was dangerous to give them a hot bath. But I have given such persons warm tub baths freely, with beneficial results. Of course, when there is heart trouble, or palpitation of the heart, great care must be taken when beginning the bath not to have it too hot, and not to leave the patient in the tub too long.

Sitz Bath

The Sitz bath is also known as the hip or half bath and is one of the most useful. A common washtub may be used, placing under one edge something that will elevate it three or four inches. Protect the skin from contact with the edge of the tub by placing folded towels under the knees and behind the back. A tub made especially for sitz baths has the back raised higher than the front to support the back, the sides slanting down to support the arms. A bathtub is probably the most convenient way for most people to take a sitz bath. The water should reach to the middle of the abdomen. The temperature should be suited both to the condition of the patient and the illness to be treated. The sitz bath acts as an analgesic and derivative. It markedly increases the blood flow.

The hips and abdomen should be rubbed well by the attendant. The patient must be covered with a sheet or blanket during the bath, and several blankets must be used if sweating is desired. The feet should be placed in a hot footbath at 105* to 110* F. Apply cold compresses to the head when sweating starts and change them every 3 to 5 minutes. The temperature of the water in the footbath should always be higher than the temperature of the sitz bath. An ice bag should be placed over the heart if the pulse is over 80. Begin the bath at a temperature of 90* to 95* F. and increase the temperature to 100* to 110* F. When this temperature is reached, leave the patient in the bath for 5 to 10 minutes more for a tonic effect or 30 to 40 minutes for a regular treatment. Finish by cooling the water to 80* to 90* F. Then pour over the patient some cooler water at about 65* to 70* F. Dry the patient thoroughly, keep him warm and encourage rest for at least 30 minutes. The sitz bath is useful in prostatic diseases, piles, genital and urinary diseases and disorders, urinary retention, cystitis, hemorrhoids and fissures, following a hemorrhoidectomy, chronic constipation, diarrhea, congestion in the abdominal or pelvic regions, sinusitis, colds, and headache. It is absolutely indispensable in uterine and many other diseases peculiar to women, such as painful menstruation, pelvic inflammatory disease, etc.

...Sometimes a cold sitz bath works best for constipation...

Hot Footbath

This is a simple old-fashioned treatment that has many benefits.

1. It makes the patient feel warm all over. The hotter the water, the more the patient will perspire. A warm patient will react better to any other kind of heat treatment that may be given either with or following the hot footbath.
2. A good relaxer. Never go to bed with cold feet. Sleep comes more readily and you are better able to relax when your feet are warm.
3. Increases the circulation in the feet. Blood is drawn to the feet, relieving other congested organs located inside the body, such as the brain or pelvic organs. It is helpful in the treatment of headaches if used early and with a cold cloth on the forehead.
4. Makes sore feet feel better.
5. Helpful in easing the symptoms of the common cold.
6. Good for the relief of pelvic cramps, abdominal pain, prostatic problems, and menstrual cramps.

How to give a hot footbath;

1. The room should be warm and there should be no drafts. The patient should undress and keep completely covered with a sheet to stay warm.
2. Place both feet in the water. The temperature of the water should be about 100* F. to start with. The container needs to be large enough so that both feet can be placed side by side on the bottom. The water should come up well over the ankles, about halfway to the knees if possible.
3. If the patient is to weak to sit up, sitz bath can be given in bed.
4. Slowly add hot water as tolerated until the temperature is 115* F., but never hotter.
5. Always add the hot water to one side of the container, making sure that the feet are well protected and out of the way. Stir the water in the container with your hand as additional hot water is added.
6. Keep on with the treatment until the feet are pink. This usually takes from 15 to 30 minutes, but sometimes less. Adding about one tsp. Of ground mustard per gallon of water will enhance the effects of the bath.
7. Keep a cold compress on the head and neck.
8. Following the treatment, the feet should be cooled off with cold water and then dried completely, being specially careful to dry well between the toes.
9. If the patient is sweating after the treatment, a cooling procedure such as a neutral shower or alcohol rub should be given.
10. See precautions under hot and cold footbath, following.

Leg Bath

This can be taken by sitting in a bathtub with the water covering the pelvic area. It is useful for chronic ulcers of the leg, swollen knees and ankles, varicose veins, and will also relieve headache and palpitation of the heart.

Alternating Hot and Cold Footbath
(Contrast Bath)

This is a very useful remedy for chilblains (mild frostbite of the fingers, toes or ears) and cold feet. The hot water temperature should range from 100* to 115* F. The cold water should be either cold tap water or ice water. Keep the feet and legs in the hot water for three minutes and in the cold water for not more than one minute. Alternating hot and cold will produce a powerful reaction. The feet should always be rubbed while in the bath. The footbath is most useful in neuralgia, headache, toothache, colds, cold feet, and congestion of the abdominal and pelvic organs (look also under Hot and Cold Contrast Bath, following).


Do not leave the patient unattended.
Do not use water hotter than 115* F.
The water temperature must be measured accurately with a thermometer.
Do not use hot water on the feet of diabetics or others with poor
circulation, such as in hardening of the arteries, frostbite, etc.

Hot and Cold Contrast Bath

This is one of the easiest and yet most effective water treatments that you can use in your home. The alternating hot and cold dilates and contracts the blood vessels, bringing a supply of fresh new blood to the area being treated. The blood cells that fight infection, the white blood cells, are increased in number and activity and waste products that have collected in the tissues are removed. The healing processes are stimulated and the body is more rapidly restored to a normal condition.

Infections, sprains, strains, bruises, and arthritis are some of the more common conditions that are greatly benefited by this bath. Contrast baths are used to treat the hands, wrists, feet and ankles and can also be used for the elbows and knees if the container is large enough.

General rules for a contrast bath are as follows.

1. Always use a bath thermometer to check the water temperature.
2. Always treat a larger area than is injured. For example, a sprained ankle should have the water nearly up to the knee.
3. Always start with the hot water and end with the cold, except when treating arthritis, or if the patient is menstruating, or if massage of the part is to follow the treatment. If any of these three situations exist, the hot water should be used last.

How to give a contrast bath:

1. Place the area to be treated in hot water at about 105* F. and leave for 3 minutes.
2. Move the extremity to the ice water for 30 seconds. While it is in the ice water, add hot water to the first tub to increase the temperature to about 110* F.
3. Make eight complete changes, leaving the extremity 3 minutes in the hot water and 30 seconds in the ice water. This will take a total time of about 30 minutes.
4. Keep adding ice and hot water as needed to maintain the proper water temperatures in the two tubs.
5. After the final cold or hot treatment, dry the part thoroughly.
6. This treatment may be given once or twice daily.


1. In acute sprains or strains, it is best to use only cold treatments for the first 24 to 48 hours. After this period, the contrast bath may be used with benefit.
2. Those who have poor circulation due to diabetes or hardening of the arteries should use this bath with care and the water should not be over 105* F.
3. In cases of arthritis the water temperature can be increased to 115* to 120* F. if the patient can tolerate it and the circulation is good.
4. Keep cold compresses on the forehead and neck. These should be changed every 3 or 4 minutes.
5. Check the pulse before starting the treatment and every 5 to 10 minutes thereafter. If the pulse increases or is over 80 beats per minute, place an ice bag over the heart.
6. Clean and disinfect the containers thoroughly after each treatment, specially if an infection is present.

Emollient and Other Medicated Baths

These baths are very good for treating general skin rashes, specially those that cause itching or burning of the skin, such as poison oak or ivy, allergic reactions, and eczema or local reactions from insect bites. The medications commonly used are oatmeal, cornstarch, and soda, as given in the sections following.

...Some general principles for taking a medicated bath are the following...

1. Maintain the temperature of the water in the neutral range of 93* to 98* F. and never warmer than 100* F. or the itching may be increased.
2. Fill the bathtub so that the water will cover as much of the body as possible.
3. Remain in the tub for 10 to 30 minutes.
4. When the bath is completed, pat dry; do not rub. This will tend to leave a thin coating of the agent used on the skin, as well as protecting the sensitive skin from further irritation by rubbing.

Oatmeal Bath

Place three cups of oatmeal in a cheesecloth or coarse muslin bag. Place it in the tub filled with water. A better way yet is to let very hot water run over the oatmeal bag and into the tub. Then squeeze the bag into the tub. The bag may also be used as a sponge to wash the neck and shoulders. Aveeno, a finely ground oatmeal, is available from some drug stores and makes the bath much easier to do. Place two cups of the Aveeno in a cheesecloth bag and let it soak a short while in hot water; then add it to the bath. This will stop it from getting lumpy, which it may do if it is add directly to the bath water.

Starch Bath

Put one pound of cornstarch in a full tub of water, or you may first mix the starch with enough cold water to make a paste and then add hot water and boil until it is thick.
This mixture may then be added to the bath water. The oatmeal bath is less drying than the starch bath.

Paraffin Bath

This is an excellent treatment to relieve pain in the hands and wrists. It may also be used for the elbows, feet, or ankles, provided that the container is large enough. The paraffin forms a coating on the skin that prevents the loss of heat; therefore, the temperature of the skin can be increased far more than with the use of just plain water. The Penetrating heat produced by the paraffin promotes healing and leaves the skin soft and pliable.

It is specially useful in arthritis and can also be used in bursitis, injury resulting in sprains or strains, and painful joints from other causes such as gout.

To give this treatment you will need a double boiler to melt the paraffin, a bath thermometer, about five pounds of paraffin and one pint of mineral oil.

Place the paraffin and mineral oil in the top of the double boiler and heat until the wax is melted. Then let it cool until a thin film forms on top or it reaches about 125* F. The hands must be clean and dry. Dip the hands and wrists in and withdraw them rapidly, keeping the fingers apart. Do this a few more times until there is a good coating of paraffin on the hands. Then place the hands in the paraffin and leave them there for about 14 to 30 minutes. After the treatment is completed all the paraffin should be peeled from the hands and saved in a closed container. This treatment can be given with benefit every day. It is best to follow with a warm bath or shower and a rest period of about 30 minutes.

Occasionally you may treat a patient whose skin is sensitive to the paraffin, and of course this treatment should not be used for them. Those with skin infections, or conditions resulting in poor blood supply or lack of feeling in the hands or other part to be treated, likewise should not use this treatment.


Water and other solutions may be applied to the eyes in many different ways. A brief treatment can be conveniently given by placing the solution in a cup of the hand, holding it over the eye and blinking, thus bringing the eye directly in contact with the solution. Small glass cups are also made for holding the solution. The solution should be changed frequently.

In any treatment to the eyes, it is essential to learn first the difficulty and the cause, then apply the best thing to remove the cause.

When the membranes that line the eyelid and cover the eyeball become inflamed or there is inflammation of the external structures, cold or cool applications are required. Inflammation of the cornea or iris (the colored membrane behind the cornea) requires hot applications. Compresses made of two or three thicknesses of linen should be used, and changed every five minutes. Cool applications are excellent made in this way. Fomentations are the best method of applying heat. They should be as hot as can be borne. If they give relief, continue for a half hour or more. BUT IF THEY INCREASE THE PAIN, STOP IMMEDIATELY.

Alternate hot and cold applications will give relief in most cases. Leave the hot application on the longest, applying the cool for only a few minutes.

An eyebath using pure cold and hot water is infinitely superior to the patent eyewashes on the market.

An excellent eyewash is made by steeping one teaspoon of golden seal, two heaping teaspoons of boric acid powder, and a half-teaspoon of myrrh in a pint of boiling water. Strain when cool.

Daily eyebaths of tepid water will benefit those who must use their eyes a great deal in working, or who read a great deal. Many people ruin their eyes by neglecting to give them proper care and rest.

Ear Bath

Applications may be made to the ears by using fomentations, compresses, douches, sprays, or poultices. Fomentations and compresses are useful in inflammation of the ear and will restore the hearing in many cases.

Syringing the ear should not be practiced, as it often results in irreparable injury.

The douche is a valuable means of removing foreign substances and insects. Warm water douches at 100* F. are good to remove hardened earwax, and thus restore the hearing. When taking a douche, lean the head over a basin, so that the water can freely run in and out of the ear.

Nose Bath

Close the mouth when drawing any liquid substance into the nose, or when injecting it by means of a fountain syringe. Always apply gently; violent applications often cause great pain and irritation. Never give injections with a piston syringe, as this often forces the substance into the Eustachian tubes and may result in deafness. As a rule, the temperature of nose baths should be tepid or warm.

Turkish Bath

Turkish baths are usually given in a special cabinet and are used to produce fever and profuse perspiration. They are essentially the same thing as our present-day sauna bath. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after the bath to make up for that which is lost by perspiration. The chief agent is hot air. The temperature varies from 105* to 140* F. There are usually unpleasant sensations, but as soon as the patient begins to perspire, these disappear.

After the patient has perspired thoroughly, he is taken to a room at about 90* to 100*F. where the attendant thoroughly rubs and massages the body to remove all of the dead skin, after which the whole body is thoroughly lathered and rubbed, either with the hand or a brush. A shower is given, and then the patient is immersed in a tub of cool water or a spray may be all that is necessary. The patient is then dried, wrapped in a sheet (a blanket sometimes being necessary), and lies down in a room where the temperature is 70* or 80* F.

Besides producing profuse perspiration, the Turkish bath wonderfully stimulates elimination. It is a king of remedies in acute or chronic rheumatism, jaundice, malaria, syphilis, obesity, dropsy, gout, skin disease, eczema, and hydrophobia (rabies). It will break up fevers, typhoid, etc.

The Roman bath is quite similar to the Turkish, with the exception that after the patient has been dried, he is thoroughly rubbed with some sweet oil. This is excellent for persons who are susceptible to colds.

How to give a Turkish bath without a cabinet

Use a common No. 3 washtub. Tilt the tub up by placing a two-by-four or some other kind of strong prop under one edge. Fill the tub with hot water and also fill a large pan with hot water for the feet. Place a folded blanket over the edge of the tub. Place the patient in the tub with his back against the blanket and his feet in the pan of hot water. Cover him well with a sheet, which should be fastened snugly around the neck. As the water cools, take some out and add hot water, being careful not to burn the patient. Keep this up until the patient perspires profusely. Give him plenty of water to drink and wipe the forehead with a cool cloth. This is preferable to a pack if the patient can be moved.

Electric Light Bath

This bath uses simple artificial light. The advantage is that the patient is not subjected to a hot atmosphere, yet it produces profuse perspiration. It is a fine tonic, and is good to use when it is desired to increase the activity of the skin. It is usually used along with some form of hydrotherapy, and since it requires a special electric light cabinet, this treatment is given in a hydrotherapy treatment room by trained personnel.

The patient sits in the light cabinet at a temperature of 125* to 130*F. for 10 to 20 minutes with the head protruding from a hole in the top. This causes profuse sweating, a slight increase in temperature to 101* to 102*, dilatation of the blood vessels, and a decrease in the blood pressure. As soon as sweating begins, a cold cloth should be applied to the face. It is good for the treatment of obesity, some types of kidney disease, neuroses, arthritis, neuritis, hypertension, and symptoms of drug, tobacco, or alcohol withdrawal. It should not be used for those with diabetes, tuberculosis, hyperthyroidism, for severely weakened patients, or persons with heart trouble or hardening of the arteries.


One of my favorite personal water treatments is the douche spray. The operator stands ten or fifteen feet away, if we have the room, and the stream of water is turned on with a force strong enough so it will hurt just slightly.

To begin with, the water should be a little warmer than the temperature of the body or as warm as I can comfortably stand it and have the operator start by directing the spray to the back of my head and then spray up and down my spine, clear down to my feet. Then I keep turning and he sprays the side of my neck and face clear around, up and down; and I keep turning around and around and let him spray right in my face.

Then I turn my head down so that the spray will hit on the top and all over the head, and keep turning until I am well warmed up.

Then I have the operator turn the water a little cooler than the body temperature, and start spraying the back of the head again, as well as up and down the spine clear to the feet.

I keep turning around so the water strikes every part of my body. I even hold each foot up so the spray strikes the bottom of the feet and keep turning until the cooler water sprays my entire body.

We keep this up for ten or fifteen minutes. I enjoy this treatment very much.

SOURCE: "Back to Eden" by Jethro Kloss

Your brother in Christ

[Updated on: Fri, 20 May 2016 22:08]

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