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.
This is given with about six inches of water in a bath long enough for the patient to sit with the legs in, though he need not lie down. The water should be splashed, and rubbed, and thrown over the body by means of a towel used by an attendant at the back, while the patient splashes his front for from one to five minutes, according to the reactive power. The frequent change of the splashing water against the body lowers temperature for the moment, and rigorous friction is required afterward, or walking exercise. The same bath more or less completely given, is the ordinary morning "tub" of average Englishmen, and exerts an excellent tonic and anticatarrhal effect. During acute febrile disorder the shallow bath may be used at 70° to 80° F., and much exertion is not desirable, nor is friction required; but in the absence of acute disorder it should always be taken cold in summer, or at about 60° F. in winter, and be followed by exercise. Its ultimate effect is to equalize circulation, but it encourages it especially in the lower extremities, and so relieves the head and the viscera.
The Pail Douche is administered by throwing two to four pails of water (six or eight gallons at a time) over the shoulders, against the back, or the front of the chest, as the patient sits in a long bath. A dry towel friction follows. This process adds the shock of dashing water to the splashing of the shallow bath, and imitates, to some extent, the wave-stroke of the open air sea-bath. It needs more power of reaction than the baths already mentioned, and, if well borne, has much more effect in relieving internal congestion, whether of the liver, the uterus, or the nerve-centres. The amount of force used, and the number of pails, should be varied with the vital conditions of the patient. In chronic hepatic and cerebral congestion, usually much force will be borne.