The following is a convenient method of placing one's self in position upon the table: Standing upon the left side of the table grasp the strap with the right hand. Sit down upon the table and swing up one foot and place it under the strap and then bring up the other foot in the same way and then grasp the sides of the table or the handles and let the trunk fall down into position. While an ordinary ironing table may be used, the strap for the feet and the handles for the hands are really essential for convenient use.
After getting into position upon the table, the patient takes a few very deep breaths, holding the chest high while breathing out.
The Exercise Table.
Grasping the handles, bend the head backward as far as possible, at the same time widely opening the mouth as in yawning.
Patient lies upon an inclined table grasping the handles, (a) Right arm, left leg stretch, (b) Grasping handle with left hand raise the right arm above the head and at the same time point the toe of the left foot and reach as far as possible in opposite directions, (c) Do the same with the left arm and right leg.
Lying on the inclined table with feet under the strap, place the hands upon the lower abdomen and breathe deeply; with each expiration press hard upon the little-finger side of the hands and draw the hand upward so as to push the contents of the abdomen toward the diaphragm. Hold the hands firmly in position during the inspiration. Repeat ten or twelve times.
Compress the abdomen firmly with the hands and take a slow deep breath. Repeat fifteen or twenty times.
Lie upon the face over a folded pillow or cushion with the feet under the strap and the head resting upon the folded arms. Take deep breaths. This is an exercise for relieving congestion of the abdominal viscera, strengthening the breathing muscles. At each breath the diaphragm is compelled to lift the weight of the trunk.
Grasping the handles, rise from the position of the preceding exercise to a kneeling position, pushing the pillow forward a little and then take the knee-chest position; take ten to fifty deep breaths. This is a most effective means of draining the overfilled blood-vessels of the abdomen and pelvis, and sets gravitation to work pulling the prolapsed organs into position. The exercise is still more effective if taken after filling the colon with water, as the added weight of the prolapsed organ assists in restoring it to position.
Lying on the back, hands grasping the handles, while holding both legs straight and toes pointed, raise them to vertical position while counting four. Lower at the same rate. Repeat eight to twelve times, taking one or two deep breaths after each movement.
Back lying, feet under strap, throw the extended right arm over to the left, at the same time turning the face and shoulders in the same direction. Return to position, and repeat eight or ten times. Do the same with the left arm.
Back lying, draw the knees up as far as possible, then extend the limbs vigorously as far as possible toward the left, rolling the body in the same direction. When the legs are completely extended, carry them straight across to the opposite side, rolling back toward the right side. Complete the movement by drawing the legs back to the flexed position and returning to the starting position. Repeat ten or twelve times, pausing long enough after each movement to take one or two deep breaths. This is a most excellent exercise for all the muscles of the trunk.
These are exercises which may be taken while one is engaged in study, writing, book-keeping, or some sedentary occupation, without interfering with the work in hand. The purpose being to combat the pernicious effects of any form of confining work.
With the chest held high, the abdominal muscles well drawn in, and the body supported in a correct posture, deep breathing may be practiced with most excellent results. The breathing may often be made rhythmical with the work, especially in typewriting, adding and similar work which is more or less mechanical in character. In this way exercise may become a means of increasing efficiency directly, as well as through better aeration of the blood and the resulting improvement in mental and physical activity.
This deep breathing may be practiced under almost any conditions without interfering with the work in hand. When riding on the street cars or in an automobile, even when sitting in church or at a lecture, deep breathing may be practiced almost continually. The practice will be found to promote bowel activity, and to enormously increase efficiency and endurance. When the habit is once formed the deep breathing becomes automatic. Typists, printers, and persons engaged in similarly unhealthful occupations may, by this means so strengthen their resistance, and maintain such a high state of vital efficiency, that they may possibly escape the dreaded pulmonary tuberculosis, the malady above all others that is the most fatal to this class of workers.