This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics Inorganic Substances", by Charles D. F. Phillips. Also available from Amazon: Materia medica and therapeutics.
Buxton, about thirty miles north of Derby, is situated on a lime-stone mountain range, nine hundred feet above the sea. The air is pure and bracing, but subject to sudden variation, and the rainfall is rather large. The season extends from April to November, but June is generally soon enough for a visit, for there are cold, sharp winds in the early spring, as well as in late autumn and winter. The quantity of solids contained in the mineral water is not more than 2 gr. (lime, etc.), in 16 oz. (Lyon Playfair); the gas obtained from it consists of about 99 parts per cent. of nitrogen, 1 of carbonic acid, and a trace of oxygen. Temperature, 82° F.
The water is taken internally, but used mostly for bathing at the natural temperature for about five minutes, and at a raised temperature (93° to 96° F.) for fifteen minutes (Robertson). The plunge, swimming, and douche-baths are very good. A course at Buxton is often beneficial in gout and rheumatism, especially when of a chronic character; also in old sprains and muscular contractions, and in debility, "when the vascular, nervous, or digestive systems require stimulating." It is unsuitable for hemorrhagic cases. Dr. H. Weber compares Buxton to Schlan-genbad.
Bath, Somersetshire, has four warm mineralized springs in the southern part of the town, varying in temperature from 104° to 120° F. The solid contents amount to about 10 gr., in the pound, of alkaline and earthy salts, with a little silica and iron. Nitrogen exists in rather large quantity, and oxygen and carbonic acid in small amount. From a half to two tumblerfuls are taken once or twice daily, with the usual effect of slightly raising temperature, quickening circulation and appetite, and promoting secretion. Sometimes, however, headache, depression, and pyrexia occur.
The accommodation for bathing is very good, and is available the whole year, but the greater number of visitors go between November and April, for the climate is relaxing in the summer; at other times it is mild and equable. Cases of gout and rheumatism of moderate severity, neuralgia and myalgia, contracted joints, etc., some dyspepsias, rheumatic or metallic palsies, leucorrhoea, and chronic skin diseases, as psoriasis and eczema, often receive benefit at Bath. I have, however, seen much irritation in several cases of subacute eczema sent to these baths, and there seem to be many nervous irritable subjects with whom they do not agree. It has been called the English Teplitz.
Teplitz, in Bohemia, six hundred and forty-eight feet above the sea, with agreeable surroundings, and a moderately good but changeable climate, is one of the most frequented Spas in Europe, having arrangements for four thousand baths a day. They are generally given very warm, 105° to 109° F., and followed by one to two hours' gentle perspiration in bed. They are highly stimulating and rather predispose to catching cold; a subsequent course of sea-bathing increases their value, which is certainly great in many cases of gout and rheumatism.
Plombieres, in the Vosges, in a deep and narrow valley, one thousand three hundred feet above the sea, is "the French Teplitz." The springs are but slightly mineralized, but are very warm (143° F.). The water is taken especially in chronic gastralgia and catarrh of the stomach, and the hot baths are used much in the same manner as at Teplitz, but are commonly more prolonged.
Pfaffers and Ragatz, in the canton St. Gall, have also indifferent ther-mse of the same character. The former, in a narrow ravine, two thousand feet above the sea, has warmer baths, but is much less pleasantly situated than the latter place, which lies in a broad bright valley five hundred feet lower down. The waters are taken in four tumblerfuls, and the baths used for half an hour twice daily, in nerve-irritability, neuralgia, hysteria, etc. Season, May to September.
Gastein, a few hours' drive from Salzburg, in a beautiful part of the Tyrol, is one of the highest baths, being three thousand three hundred feet above the sea-level. "The houses are grouped round the edge of a mountain torrent, which forms a splendid waterfall," and are surrounded by grand and mountainous scenery. The climate is bracing, and rather rough and rainy, but not so variable as at other mountainous resorts. The social tone is monotonous and quieting for excitable subjects. The waters are clear and soft, temperature 96° to 114°, and slightly mineralized - one pound contains only 2 1/2 gr., and more than half of this is sulphate of soda; they are used in warm baths for from ten minutes to an hour. The methods in use at Gastein are milder than at Teplitz, though there are some similar very hot baths for rheumatic exudations and atonic paralysis. The place has a high reputation in such cases, also in hysteria, hypochondriasis, and impotence. If the last-named condition be due to over-excitability of the lumbar cord from sexual excess, it may be relieved by sedative baths; but if from spinal paralysis, it is not likely to be so, and hence very contradictory results have been recorded by different physicians (Braun). Sometimes the cold water system, or that of Rehme or Schlangrenbad, will succeed better. It is especially suited for slight cases of spinal congestion or weakness, marked by fatigue on slight exertion and referred especially to the lower spine, by a sense of weight or slight anaesthesia, ataxia, or startings after much walking or standing, sometimes irritability of bladder - such symptoms may be quite removed by a comparatively short course.
Wildbad, in the Wurtemburg Black Forest, one thousand three hundred and thirty feet above the sea, is situated in a beautiful richly wooded but narrow valley, and from its excellent arrangements has become a fashionable bath in spite of a somewhat variable climate. The waters are soothing and refreshing, and are used externally, especially in paralytic cases.
Schlangenbad is close to Weisbaden and to Schwalbach, in a pleasant valley, nine hundred feet above the sea, with a mild, fresh, and equable climate, and is well suited for securing the sedative tonic results of thermal treatment. The arrangements are not on a large scale, but are excellent, the life quiet, and the surrounding forests offer varied and sheltered walks in summer, from June till August. The waters contain only a few grains of soda, lime, and magnesia, at 81° to 86° F. They are used chiefly in the form of warm baths at 87° to 92° in tabes and spinal congestions, and for allaying nervous irritability. Mud-baths are also employed for the same purpose and for improving the skin-condition.