Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/102

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are the natural factors of healing—air, light, water, quiet, exercise, etc.

The first thing required is, of course, to remove the fundamental causes of the disease. As much rest as possible should be given from without as well as from within; a true religious condition, which a sure faith gives, is therefore of inestimable value to patients. It is self-evident that they must try to be, as much as possible, in the open air, and mountain air is particularly advantageous to them.

Extravagant as they may venture to be in the enjoyment of fresh air, they should be more careful against excessive applications of water. They should always remember that man is not a water animal but an air animal. If in anything, a close adaptation of the treatment by the physician to the individual is particularly necessary in respect to the treatment of nervous patients with water. By the abuse of water in nervous diseases that most sovereign of all remedies has, after a short period of popularity, come into discredit. It is certain that a too indiscriminate application of water is a double poison to nervous patients. It is, on the other side, incontestable that water applications in the right measure, and in a manner adapted to the character of the affection, are excellent. Equally advantageous for them are going barefooted when properly prescribed, and the air-bath. In connection with the water and air cures certain respiratory and muscular exercises are advantages, and may, in certain advanced stages of the disease, be applied passively by massage and similar operations. Among other things, gardening and other occupations in the open air are of great benefit. Unhappily, in the large cities, where the majority of the patients live, there are only a few so fortunately situated as to be able to enjoy such employment to any considerable extent. Those who are able to go clear into the country, and work in the fields and woods in the sweat of their brows, will perhaps, if they are prudent and other conditions are favorable, effect a happy cure of their nervous disorders.

Those who have no garden to till will have to depend on gymnastics as a substitute. Among the simplest and most convenient exercises of this class are those with an instrument called the arm and chest strengthened of a German manufacturer. The apparatus is handy, cheap, durable, and adapted to a variety of exercises. Further, the resistance of the weights can be easily measured and regulated for each patient, while the operation is in other respects the same. With this little apparatus we can safely produce expansion of the chest, regulation of the activity of the heart, and strengthening of the muscles. With it the metabolism and blood formation are materially assisted in a natural way. The little