There is no individual who appreciates the value of cold water, both as the most natural and healthy drink for man and beast, and as a valuable remedial agent, than we do; but we are not prepared to admit that it will accomplish every indication in the cure of disease. There are cases in which an immediate relief cannot be obtained without the use of some medicine besides cold water. We think, however, it may be successfully applied in a great variety of cases where there is sufficient vitality to produce reaction; but much caution is necessary in its application, or serious injury might accrue from its indiscriminate use. The time is not far distant when the virtue of pure cold water will be more generally appreciated, and occupy an important place in the consistent physician's Materia Medica. If it is a fact that pure water will accomplish every indication in the cure of disease, we sincerely pray that the time may speedily come when the fact will be known to the world. Many, in whose judgment and sincerity we have much confidence, thus believe; but we cannot so believe until we have the evidence. We intend to thoroughly investigate the subject, and shall always be governed in our theory and practice by the light we receive.
A hospital has been recently established at Graeffenberg, by Vincent Preissnitz, who makes no pretensions to book learning or a knowledge of medicine. He treats all forms of disease with cold water alone, internally and externally, with a success that is perfectly astonishing. It has been stated on good authority that out of 7600 patients, the most of whom had applied to nearly every other source for relief, he has lost but thirty
But little is known in this country of his method of applying this valuable remedial agent.
Mr. Henry C. Wright, of Philadelphia, a distinguished anti-slavery and peace-lecturer, has been at Graeffenberg, and entirely cured of a pulmonary disease: he writes thus to the editor of the Liberator in relation to the Principal of the hospital and the mode of cure:-"It requires the constant exercise of a desperate resolution to carry on the cure amid such snows and ice. With such a temperature, to have our bodies packed up, twice a day, in a sheet wrung out of water, whose temperature is down to freezing-- (last evening, the sheet in which I was packed, three minutes before I saw spread out on the snow before my window, frozen stiff as ice)--to lie in that wet sheet till I get warm, and then go down into a bath-room, often full of snow and ice, and there throw all off, and smoking, plunge into that dreadful bath, and stay in it one or two minutes-- then to be rubbed dry, and have a long wet bandage tied around the whole body--then dress, and go out and face these fierce, howling tempests, the snow all blowing into your eyes, ears, hair, neck, and bosom; and then to have to sit down in cold water, and there sit fifteen minutes at a time--sure, such a fearful process must kill or cure. Strange to say, not one here seems to have the least fear of the former. It kills no one--it invigorates and strengthens all, and produces a pretty thorough indignation in each at himself, that he should ever have subjected his body to the healing process generally pursued by the medical faculty. I am certain that the process--though so fearful that I almost catch my breath and shiver all over to think of it--has done me great good.
"Four days ago, a woman who had taken cold during the day, and was not aware of the enemy lurking in her, was seized in the night with a most violent fever. I saw her in the morning, and she looked exactly like a person in scarlet fever. A wet sheet was at once wrapped about her whole body, and changed and wet again every twenty or thirty minutes. This was pursued about twenty hours, and water was applied in other ways. The next day, I saw her up and dressed, and looking as well and eating as hearty as usual. Not a particle of medicine was administered. I do not believe that out of the three hundred patients now here, or out of several thousands that have been here, there is one who has the least fear of fevers or colds. Each seems to feel that, so far as fevers and colds are concerned, a certain remedy is always at hand. I do think it is the duty of all who have young children, to learn to apply this remedy. How many diseases in little children originate in cold !
"Vincent Preissnitz is certainly an extraordinary man--has a countenance on which one loves to look--a man of unpretending simplicity, of quiet look and demeanor, but of dauntless resolution and unyielding firmness. If a patient puts himself under his control, and he assumes the responsibility of the case, the patient must conform. He is a man of very limited book learning--pretends to none, has none-- says but little to his patients--has no theory at all--and would be probably incapable of giving a written account of his system. Cold air and cold water are the only remedies with which he attempts to combat disease, and he does not pretend that he can cure all diseases with these. But he makes his patients work for health. We can't sit down in an easy chair, or stretch out on a soft sofa, in a warm room, with a warm wrapper gown on, and take little nice things, and be petted and comforted, and all that ! No--we have to work, work, work--no rest day or night --have but little heat, and no comforts at all, (comfort is unknown here, in anything.) Our food is plentiful, but of the coarsest kind--no tea, no coffee, no condiments but salt--milk and cold water for drink; dry, stale rye bread, butter, boiled beef, soup, etc., for food. To cut our rye bread is a labor of no small magnitude, and each must cut for himself; and to see barons, counts, princes, cavaliers, priests, generals, doctors, and what not, all mixed up together, cutting and gnawing away at this coarse food, like hungry wolves--you could suppose that the genius of famine had come forth from the desert of Sahara, and was at our table."