This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
Nearly all cases of neurasthenia are curable if the proper conditions and treatment can be supplied; the majority of cases will recover in time with the simple abandonment of all the causes, and careful attention to hygienic measures. When the brain is the chief seat of the malady, the patient will generally be benefited by taking a large amount of exercise in the open air. In cases in which the spine is the seat of the difficulty, equal attention should bo given to securing rest Overexertion and fatigue should be carefully avoided. In the latter class of cases, the diet should be abundant and nu tritious, but unstimulating. The best authorities arc agreed that a fruit and grain diet is much to be preferred to a flesh diet for neurasthenic patients. In regulating the diet, of course the conditions of the digestive organs must be taken into consideration. As a general thing, the patient may be allowed to take milk quite freely. In some cases milk is especially to be recommended as the chief article of diet. Sweet cream, when it agrees well with the stomach, is an excellent article of food for patients suffering with nervous exhaustion. If the patient is full-blooded and fleshy, a wet-sheet pack, vapor or hot-water bath once or twice a week will be advantageous. When the opposite condition exists, all kinds of reducing treatment should be avoided.
Frequent tepid sponge baths, either with pure water or with a teaspoonful of salt to the pint, is a valuable tonic measure. In most cases a sponge bath can be taken daily with benefit.
Faradization and central galvanization, are among the most valuable of all remedial measures. Alternate hot and cold applications to the spine, ice packs of brief duration, and fomentations applied from the spine over the region of the stomach and liver and other painful points, are measures which we have used in many cases with very great success.
It is important to have the thorough co-operation of the patient. It is necessary that his entire confidence should be enlisted. Faith, hope, and will-power will do much toward securing recovery, no matter what remedies are employed. We have seen patients suffering with nervous debility gain rapidly when taking daily a single drop of medicine, the only property of which was a very bad taste, and without any other treatment; but the element of faith was strongly enlisted, and thus excellent results were secured through mental influence alone. A lengthy course of treatment is required in some cases on account of the obstinate character of the conditions on which the nervous debility depends. The measures of treatment which have been recommended should be perseveringly employed, however, and in a great majority of cases success will be attained at last.