This section is from "Scientific American Supplement Volumes 275, 286, 288, 299, 303, 312, 315, 324, 344 and 358". Also available from Amazon: Scientific American Reference Book.
When Vierordt was performing his experiments upon himself in rapid breathing from six times per minute to ninety-six, I cannot understand why he failed to observe and record what did certainly result--an extreme giddiness with muscular prostration and numbness in the peripheries of the hands and feet, with suffusion of the face, and such a loss of locomotion as to prevent standing erect without desiring support. Besides, the very great difference he found in the amount of carbonic acid retained in the circulation, the very cause of the phenomena just spoken of.
One thing comes in just here to account for the lack of respiration the minute after the violent effort. The residual air, which in a normal state is largely charged with carbonic acid, has been so completely exhausted that some moments are consumed before there is sufficient again to call upon the will for its discharge.
As to hyperaemia you will also assent, now that my second factor is explained; but it is so nearly allied to the direct effect of excessive respiration that we can well permit it to pass without argument. If hyperaemia is present, we have a more certain and rather more lasting effect.
In conclusion, I will attempt to prognosticate the application of this principle to the cure of many diseases of chronic nature, and especially tuberculosis; where from a diminished amount of air going into the lungs for want of capacity, and particularly for want of energy and inclination to breathe in full or excess, the tissues cannot get clear of their excrementitious material, and particularly the carbon, which must go to the lungs, this voluntary effort can be made frequently during the day to free the tissues and enable them to take nutritious material for their restoration to their standard of health.
Air will be found of far more value than ever before as one of the greatest of factors in nutrition, and which is as necessary as proper food, and without which every organization must become diseased, and no true assimilation can take place without a due amount of oxygen is hourly and daily supplied by this extra aid of volition which has been so long overlooked.
The pure oxygen treatment has certainly performed many cures; yet, when compared to the mechanical mixture and under the direct control of the will, at all times and seasons, there is no danger from excessive oxygenation as while oxygen is given. When every patient can be taught to rely upon this great safety valve of nature, there will be less need for medication, and the longevity of our race be increased with but little dread by mankind for that terrible monster consumption, which seems to have now unbounded control.
When this theory I have here given you to-night is fully comprehended by the medical world and taught the public, together with the kind of foods necessary for every one in their respective occupation, location, and climate, we may expect a vast change in their physical condition and a hope for the future which will brighten as time advances.
I herewith attach the sphygmographic tracings made upon myself by another, showing the state of the pulse as compared with the progress of the respiration.