The Russian bath is the most elaborate of these and cannot be given outside of a bathing establishment, but a most excellent substitute for it is to be had in the so-called "bath cabinets." These are portable and made in two forms. One of wood, or light metal, with folding sides and top, is about a four-foot cube.
The patient sits upon a stool inside the cabinet with his head protruding through the hole in the top. Steam is furnished by a vessel of boiling water placed under the stool upon which the patient is seated. An alcohol lamp or gas stove furnishes the heat.
The other form consists of a light frame over which is hung a rubber tent. This also has a hole in the top through which the patient's head protrudes.
In using these cabinets the patient's head must always be covered with a wet towel, which should be changed frequently enough to keep the head cool.
An efficient vapor bath may be given by utilizing an ordinary bath tub, lined with blankets. The patient is seated in it with a rubber or woolen blanket fastened snugly about his neck and draped over the sides and ends of the tub. Underneath this blanket and into the tub is then introduced a rubber tube leading from the source of the steam. This may be a sterilizer or an ordinary large tea-kettle on a gas stove. Care must be taken that condensed steam dropping from the rubber tube does not fall upon the patient.
The vapor bath may also, with a little care be given in bed. For this purpose the mattress should be covered with a rubber sheet and over this a blanket upon which the patient, with all his clothing removed, lies. He should be covered with another blanket and a moist sheet, or another light rubber blanket. A "steamer" may be extemporized out of a tea-kettle, to the nozzle of which is attached a rubber tube leading to the bed. The end of the tube should be wrapped in a towel and so covered that neither it nor the condensed vapor from it can come in immediate contact with the patient. As soon as the kettle is boiling vigorously the steam will be discharged through the towel covering the end of the tube and between the blankets upon which the patient lies. With this arrangement there is not enough steam used to require any pro vision for its escape.
The duration of the steam bath will depend entirely upon the amount of sweating one wishes to produce, and perhaps the best measure is the amount of prostration caused, though to a certain extent the increased frequency of the pulse serves as an indicator. A half hour might be considered an average duration.
If during any sweating procedure headache develops or the patient complains of fulness in the head, the ice cap is indicated, or in its place may be used cloths wrung out of cold water.