This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
These embrace those only which are of slighter degree, and of idiopathic origin. They are usually acquired more or less early in life. Not unfrequently they result from bad management of the infant, having its head always too highly bolstered up, and the chest compressed by tight clothing. The school-room, however, is the arena where the human form is robbed the most of its symmetry. It is gratifying to know that greater attention is now paid to this evil, but still to a great extent the seats and desks provided for the pupils are perfect outrages upon their physical natures. The seats are invariably too high and the desks too low, obliging the pupil, for five or six hours, to sit with his head down, his spine curved backwards, and his feet dangling in space. This unnatural position soon causes a loss of erect carriage, and induces stooped shoulders, and incapacious chests. It is but rarely that we see persons having an erect posture in standing or walking, and but few have that prominent chest, so necessary to the perfection and elegance of the human form, and to the full breathing capacity for the lungs. The shoulders should be in the perfect form thrown backwards, and the body erect, the only curve in the spine being the natural inward one in the lumbar portion.
TREATMENT. -- Elegance and symmetry of form can only be gained by proper gymnastic and calisthenic exercises. These should be of such a character as to be best adapted to overcome the particular deformity. In all cases suitable braces should be worn. These gently force back the shoulders, thereby increasing the volume and capacity of the chest, and enable the wearer to maintain the erect posture without fatiguing effort. In all pulmonary disease, or where there exists an insufficient capacity of the chest, these braces should be worn. In the male they take the place of suspenders and in the female they can be made to serve the purpose of sustaining the weight of the skirts. Nothing could be more conducive to health than these appliances; they often prevent the onset of consumption in those predisposed hereditarily to that disease. It is a well-known fact that the man or woman having an erect form and expanded chest is much less liable to disease, and at all events possesses greater vigor of health. The reason of this is obvious.
It is particularly advisable that every person having a defective form should wear a shoulder brace. The braces represented in the above cuts are of the author's own invention, and he does not hesitate to claim for them a decided superiority over all other braces for this purpose. They are worn with great comfort, gently obliging the wearer to maintain the erect posture, and enabling him to thoroughly inflate his lungs, which in course of time will lead to permanence of the upright stature with an expanded chest.
All persons desiring these superior braces can obtain them by addressing the author. Price two dollars.