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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/753

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fascia, and the latter stretched and relaxed by passive movements of the limb. The alternate widening and narrowing of the lymph-spaces between the tendinous fibers seems, therefore, to cause absorption of the lymph from the neighboring parts as well as its onward flow into the lymphatic vessels." This function of the fascia certainly affords a partial, important, and, so far as it goes, very satisfactory explanation of the success of methods of treatment which involve passive motion, for the removal of effete matters from the tissues is favored by an increased flow of lymph.

But Nature, as one of her regular functions, is continually performing this experiment in the voluntary and involuntary movements of the muscles. The large serous cavities, such as those of the pleura and peritonæum, are now regarded as extensive lacunae in the course of the lymphatic vessels; lymph-spaces and lymphatic vessels, communicating with each other by means of small openings or stomata, have been demonstrated in these membranes, and also the communication of the lymph-spaces with the pleural and peritoneal cavities by means of intercellular openings. This has been shown by injecting either of these cavities with colored fluid, and, after killing the animal, examining the course of absorption of the fluid under the microscope. In the movements of respiration, alternate expansion and contraction of the chest-walls, with descent and ascent of the diaphragm, we have a continual pump-like action of absorption and onward expulsion in the lymph-spaces and lymphatic vessels of the pleura and peritonæum. But we must not forget that the capillary blood-vessels are similarly influenced, nor should we fail to remember that osmosis may also play a very important part, and that this, too, can be increased by artificial pressure. We can now understand why the kings of the Sandwich Islands should be lomi-lomied after every meal in order to aid their digestion, for the externally applied pressure over the abdomen would force the contents of the lacteals, or lymphatics of the small intestine, onward, at the same time aiding them in their absorption of digestive products.

Professor von Mosengeil, of Bonn, has made some interesting and useful experiments by injecting the cavities of corresponding joints of rabbits with Indian ink, and in this way proving that resorption takes place from these cavities by means of lymph-spaces and stomata, communicating with lymphatic vessels, and through these with lymphatic glands. With each rabbit he masséed one of the joints and left the corresponding joint untouched. The swelling that arose from the injection always disappeared rapidly under massage, and, upon examination of the masséed joint, it was found emptied for the most part of its colored contents. Even when the examination was made shortly after the injection and the use of massage, there was proportionately little ink found in the joint, part of it was found upon the synovial membrane; and upon microscopic examination it was seen that the