2924. In Tetanus, The Application Of Cold Water Is As Old As Hippocrates

In modern times, the cold bath has been strongly advised by Drs. Cochrane, Wright, Currie, and others; but it signally failed during the Peninsular War, and is now rarely employed, as it has appeared in several instances rather to have hastened a fatal termination.

2925. The Shower-Bath in its operation and effects is very similar to the cold bath, but the immediate shock it communicates is much more violent, particularly if the quantity of water is great, the temperature low, and the fall considerable. Its indications and contra-indications are those of the cold bath (ante), and it is applicable to the same class of diseases. When the brain and nervous system are deranged, it often proves most serviceable. (See Cold Bath.)

2926. The Douche Bath consists of a small stream of water, directed with considerable force, by means of a tube, on some particular part of the body. It varies in its power, according to the diameter of the stream, the temperature of the water, and the force with which it is projected. It is a very powerful agent, and requires to be used with much circumspection.

2927. Therapeutic Uses

Infantile Convulsions are often mitigated, if not entirely removed, by a thin stream of cold water, directed at an elevation of two or three feet, on the vertex. It is often attended with immediate effect, and is preferable to the use of the hot bath, in plethoric children. It was the favourite remedy of the late Dr. Abercrombie.

* Brit. For. Med.-Chir. Rev., July 1, 1851.

2928. In Insanity, The Cold Douche Is Sometimes Highly Serviceable

M. Foville directs a stream of cold water, through a flexible tube, immediately on the head. It was found to quiet the most violent maniacs. (Prichard.*)

2929. In Syncope, the cold douche, suddenly applied to the spine, has often an instantaneous effect in restoring consciousness.

2930. In Spasmodic Stricture of the Urethra, the cold douche on the thighs and pubes, is spoken of by Dr. Currie as having been successful in relieving the spasm and allowing the flow of urine.

2931. In Incomplete Anchylosis, Dr

Fleury considers the cold douche to the parts as the most certain and speedy application for setting up a healthy action and effecting a cure. Forced movements, unless they cause great pain, should also be employed. In Stiffness of Joints after injuries, or resulting from Rheumatism, the use of the local cold douche has often an excellent effect.

2932. The Hot Bath (98° to 112° F.) and the Warm Bath (92° to 98° F.) are very valuable therapeutic agents in many affections, when judiciously employed.

The objects for which they are employed are, - 1. To establish a sedative action on the nervous system. 2. To equalize the temperature of the whole body. 3. To modify the action of the skin, both as an exhalant and an absorbent organ, and at the same time to modify the texture of the skin. 4. To modify the frequency and force of the heart's action. 5. To equalize the distribution of blood throughout the system; thus, when a disproportionate quantity exists in the internal organs, it recalls it to the surface. 6. To relax the muscular system and all the external tissues.

They should be used with caution or are contra-indicated, - 1, in very gross habits, in plethora of all kinds, and in great obesity; 2, in persons predisposed to apoplexy, or determination of blood to the head, hAemorrhage, particularly hAemoptysis, also in organic diseases of the heart and great vessels; 3, in great relaxation of the system, with a tendency to dropsy; 4, in all febrile diseases, whether accompanied with visceral inflammations or not, where there is a dry, hot skin, and an active circulation; 5, during the menstrual period, and the later stages of pregnancy. (Forbes.)