Sitz-bath. - When a person sits down in a cold sitz-bath, or when he sits down in an empty bath and cold water is poured into it, until it covers the hips, the vessels of the parts exposed to the cold contract, and the blood is consequently driven into other parts of the body. It would appear, however, that not only do the vessels of the skin contract, but also that contraction of the intestinal vessels occurs reflexly through the splanchnic nerves: so that in consequence there is a feeling of warmth and fulness in the head, an increase in the volume of the arm, as measured by the plethysmography and a rise of temperature in the axilla.

A cold sitz-bath, when applied only from one to five minutes and followed by a brisk rubbing, tends to increase the amount of blood in the abdominal organs, to quicken the circu1 Pardington, op. cit.

lation in the liver and spleen, and to augment the activity of the movements of the intestine and bladder. It may therefore be used with advantage in constipation and in disorders of the bladder depending on weakness, such as either difficulty in expelling the urine or difficulty in retaining it.

In pregnancy, cold sitz-baths are sometimes useful, giving a feeling of comfort and strength, and lessening the sensations of dragging in the abdomen.

Where any tendency to premature expulsion of the foetus exists they should be avoided, as the increased circulation which they cause in the pelvic organs might lead to abortion.

When cold sitz-baths are continued for a long time, as from ten to thirty minutes, at a temperature from 8° to 15° C, the contraction of the abdominal vessels appears to be more permanent, and thus they may be employed for the purpose of lessening congestion in the intestine, and may be used with advantage in cases of obstinate diarrhoea and congestive enlargement of the liver and spleen.

The effect of a prolonged sitz-bath in lessening congestion of the abdominal organs is greatly increased if it be preceded by a wash-down, with brisk friction, so that the blood maybe attracted to the other parts of the surface as well as driven out of the abdomen by contraction of the intestinal vessels.

Cold Foot-bath. - Coldness of the feet not only causes discomfort to the person, but if it occurs at night, it may prevent sleep. Putting them in hot water may warm them temporarily, but will not do so permanently, and a much better way is to put them in cold water, rub them briskly while in it, and then dry them thoroughly with a soft towel, giving them a rub afterwards with a rough bath-towel.

Cold foot-baths are to be avoided during the menstrual period, as they have a very great power indeed to check menstruation and frequently bring on amenorrhoea. Their power to check the menstrual flow is popularly known, and sometimes great harm is occasioned by young women using them to check menstruation, in order that they may be able to attend some party of pleasure.