Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/22

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12
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

where my plan of operation involved a ten hours' march across a snow-covered mountain-range. I reached the camp foot-sore and almost feverish with exhaustion; but the catarrh, too, had exhausted its resources, and the next morning I awakened with half-healed feet and wholly-cured bronchi. One day of pedestrian fatigues had saved me two weeks of pulmonary distress.

Next to fresh air, active exercise is the best prophylactic:


"Dem Athleten wird vergeben
Was der Schwächling theuer büsst."

By stimulating the action of the circulatory system, gymnastics promote the elimination of morbific matter; disease-germs are removed before they have time to take root. Every gymnastic apparatus is worth dozens of patent medicines; the beneficial effect of the "movement-cure" is permanent, as well as safe and prompt. The five gymnastic specifics for pulmonary disorders are dumb-bells, Indian-clubs, long-handled oars, spears, and a grapple-swing. Ger-werfen, or spear-throwing, is a popular pastime of the Turner-Hall. The missile is a javelin of some tough wood, about ten feet long and as thick as a common axe-handle. It terminates either in an iron lance-head, or in a brass knob, to keep the wood from splintering. A rough-hewed log-man, with a movable head, forms the target, and the problem is to decapitate the figure from a distance of about twenty paces for tyros and forty for veteran lancers. The shock of the throw expands the chest, and has a magical influence on the stitch-like pains of a lingering pleuritic affection. It is a mechanical anaesthetic for all kinds of pulmonary disorders. The grapple-swing consists of a pair of iron (leather-covered) rings, suspended at a height of about four feet from the floor, and affords opportunities—if not facilities—for a great variety of acrobatic exercises. The complex evolutions are somewhat arduous, but even the simplest use of the contrivance—swinging to and fro like a pendulum—exerts a mitigating influence on the strictures of the respiratory organs, dyspnoea, and asthmatic troubles. Faute de mieux, trundling a wheelbarrow, with a gradual increase of the load, chopping or sawing wood, or grubbing out stumps with a mattock, is worth ship-loads of cough-sirup, though it is doubtful in what degree the individual predilections of the patient might bias his choice.

But people of means and leisure can remove that doubt by making out-door exercise pleasant enough to be preferable to any drug; and the following plan would combine, under the most favorable conditions, the best atmospheric, gymnastic, and dietetic remedies for the disorders of the respiratory organs.[1]

 

[To be concluded.]

  1. The treatise on consumption will be concluded in our next issue, as the first of a series of articles on the hygienic treatment of the prevalent disorders of the human organization, including dyspepsia, pulmonary diseases, the alcohol-habit, rheumatism, and climatic fevers.