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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/740

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

In view of these facts, it need hardly be said that those who would properly understand and apply massage should be familiar with its past and present literature; they should also be familiar not only with the natural history of the maladies in which massage may be applied when left to themselves, but also with the course of these affections when treated in the usual approved methods, so that improvements or relapses may be referred to their proper causes. Moreover, they should know something about the methods of others who have any claim to respectability in their manner of applying massage, so as to compare them with their own. And yet all these qualifications may fail if the operator has not in addition abundance of time, patience, strength, and skill, acquired by long and intelligent experience. Measured by these requirements, I fear that good masseurs (manipulators) are scarce. Dr. E. C. Seguin, in the "Archives of Medicine" for April, 1881, says, that even in New York there are few manipulators who can be trusted to do massage well. Massage may be studied as a science, but it has, like everything else in medicine and surgery, to be practiced as an art. Those who have a natural tact, talent, and liking for massage, united with soft, elastic, and strong hands, and physical endurance to use them, may be as useful artists in this department of the healing art as in others. It has been well said that those who do massage should be tender and gentle, yet strong and enduring. These are qualities that are rarely found combined in manipulators. It is a very common mistake to suppose that those who are of a remarkably healthy, ruddy appearance, plethoric and fat, are the best fitted to do massage. Such people require a great deal of exercise in the open air for the proper oxygenation of their blood, and confining, in-door work, like massage, they soon find to be tedious and irksome. Besides, the stooping attitude and varying positions so often necessary while doing this sort of work soon put them out of breath; and thus, while suffering from their ignorance and awkwardness, they fancy they are imparting "magnetism" to their patients at their own expense. Better that the manipulators should be rather thin, though if of too spare a habit their hands will not be sufficiently strong and muscular and their tissues generally will lack that firmness necessary for prolonged endurance.

One of the best German medical reviews, "Schmidt's Jahrb├╝cher," in an extensive report on massage, thus indicates the esteem in which this treatment is held by many eminent physicians and surgeons of Europe: "It is but recently that massage has gained an extensive scientific consideration, since it has passed out of the hands of rough and ignorant empirics into those of educated physicians; and upon the results of recent scientific investigations it has been cultivated into an improved therapeutical system, and has won for itself in its entirety the merit of having become a special branch of the art of medicine." Professor Billroth, one of the most eminent surgeons of