This section is from the book "Smith's Family Physician", by William Henry Smith. See also: Natural Physician's Healing Therapies: Proven Remedies that Medical Doctors Don't Know.
Considerable benefit is said to have been derived from hot air baths, causing perspiration, and forcing a portion of the spare fluids of the body out of it by their natural channel. An interesting case, treated on the same principle, has been published by Sir Henry Marsh, which illustrates strikingly the powerful effects of copious perspiration, produced by the vapour bath and muscular exertion, in controlling and restraining the symptoms of Diabetes. Before the treatment was commenced, the patient is described as being in a state of alarming debility. On the 27th of April he was placed in the vapour bath, half an ounce of the Tincture of Opium being mixed with the water which was to be converted into steam. He remained in the vapour bath twenty minutes. This was repeated every four or five days with great benefit. It generally excited copious perspiration, followed by sound and refreshing sleep. Before this plan of treatment was commenced the necessity of assuaging his thirst and voiding his urine was so continual during the night that he could scarcely obtain any sleep. After it had been continued until the third of June, the urine was diminished to eight pounds daily, the skin perspired freely, there was a great accession of strength, and diminution of thirst and appetite. The patient was now put on laborious exercise, while the body was enveloped in thick flannel, and the weather unusually warm. The first efforts were difficult and reluctant, but, before the close of each day, when perspiration was fully established, the labour was easy, and the fatigue trifling. His ordinary diet consisted of Eggs, Beef, Mutton, Soup and Milk; and his drink Lime Water with Milk and Beef Tea. Improvement was once retarded by a severe febrile attack, but was upon the whole continuous after the commencement of this plan of treatment.
Dr. Arthur Scott Donkin, of Durham, has published some cases of Diabetes, treated exclusively with a skim milk diet, without the use of any medicine. The sugar was completely removed from the urine in twelve and fourteen days. As these cases are both interesting and instructive, I give one of them:
"Mr. J. G., aged fifty-eight, a highly respectable merchant, of large, robust, muscular build, and of regular and temperate habits. He has devoted himself very successfully to business pursuits, with all the anxiety attendant thereon.
"For two years, prior to May, 1870, this patient had grown much stouter, and showed a decided tendency towards corpulency, and to use his own expression, had been very bilious. He suffered much during this period from loss of energy and fatigue on exertion, always feeling dull, heavy, and languid, sleepless at night and drowsy in the daytime. This general indisposition he attributed to his habits having become much more sedentary, and his application to business much closer. He took no stimulants whatever during the daytime, but in the evening, at dinner and after it, he took daily a pint of bitter ale and one or two glasses of whisky, but never more than this quantity.
"This condition of general debility and suffering, just described, continued until the beginning of May, 1870, when the patient's health completely broke down, and his feeling of debility increased so greatly that he could with extreme difficulty walk in the morning after breakfast between his own residence and his place of business, a distance of about half a mile.
"This condition continued until the 14th of June, [about six weeks], when I was called in consultation with Mr. M. Francis, Surgeon to the Sunderland Police force, when we found the state of the patient to be as follows:-He was unable to attend to business, and could not walk more than a quarter of a mile without taking rest. He suffered much from a dull, heavy pain across the forehead, with a painful dragging sensation in the face, or as if something was dragging down his cheeks. There was great dimness of vision and loss of energy, no sleep at night, although he slept occasionally towards morning, coldness and numbness of the limbs, and loss of sensation on the front surface of the thighs. There was not excessive thirst nor inordinate appetite; the skin was somewhat dry and not perspiring; the gums were spongy, and the teeth loose. There was nothing unhealthy in the state of the pulse, and no organic disease could be detected.
"Such were the general symptoms; and a careful examination of the urine revealed the nature of the disease. The daily quantity of urine varied from eight to ten pints; and its specific gravity was from 1035 to 1040, and it was loaded with sugar. The case was, therefore, unquestionably one of Diabetes mellitus.
"On the following day [the 15th of June], the skim-milk treatment was begun; and, on account of the large muscular frame of the patient and his sharp appetite, from eight to ten pints were taken daily, and at the ordinary temperature. The cream was taken off carefully after it had stood a sufficient length of time, and according to directions. All other food was scrupulously refrained from; and no medicine whatever was in this case prescribed. This treatment [an exclusive diet of skim-milk] was persevered in without variation or intermission for a period of five weeks.
"And now let us consider with what result.
"At the end of the first week of the treatment, the urine had fallen in quantity to six or seven pints daily [the quantity being always in direct ratio to that of the daily consumption of milk], and its specific gravity was reduced to 1015, the quantity of sugar having undergone a very great diminution.
"At the end of the second week [June 28th], or fourteen days after the commencement of the treatment, the sugar had completely disappeared from the urine; not the slightest trace could be detected on the most careful examination. The specific gravity of the urine was now reduced to 1009 and 1010 daily, the quantity ranging from six to seven pints, according to the quantity of milk taken daily; but whenever the quantity exceeded seven pints, the specific gravity was always below 1010. From this date the sugar continued absent from the urine.