This invaluable remedial agent has been in use from time immemorial. Among the Russians, Egyptians, and Turks, it has been used for centuries as a luxury, and as a cure and preventive of disease. It is a well-known fact that for five hundred years Rome had no physician but her baths, which they frequented at least once a week, and by many daily, whether in a state of health or sickness. The Rev. W. Tooke says that he has no doubt but that the Russians owe their great longevity, their extraordinary robust health, and their entire exemption from certain moral diseases, to their daily use of the vapor bath. The use of the vapor bath is quite common among the Turkish ladies, who probably would not suffer in point of beauty and delicacy, by comparison with the females of any other country, yet they use the vapor bath, followed immediately by the cold shower bath, which gives them a ruddy, florid glow of countenance, unknown to but few females. The American aborigines have their baths, out of which they rush, and plunge into cold running water, beside which their baths are purposely built. In view of the fact, that three fifths of all we take into the system is thrown out through the pores of the skin, what can be more important to health, than an unobstructed state of that organ? and what remedial agent better adapted to remove the cause of disease than the vapor bath? which tends to remove obstructions from the skin, and arouse a healthy action is the system, determines the blood to the surface, and throws from the circulating fluid the various impurities with which it is loaded.
The modes of applying the vapor are various. The most convenient and economical mode we have ever seen, is a tin box, about four inches square, with a horizontal partition, about one and a half inches from the top, in which are inserted five tubes, the size of common lamp tubes, to come even with the top of the box, with a hole for turning in alcohol, which should be stopped tight, and the partition wiped dry before lighting the wicks; this is to be used for a lamp to generate heat, after putting in wicking and filling it with alcohol; another box of the same size, with legs about four inches long, the cover soldered on to the top, and a half inch tube inserted to allow the steam to pass off; this box should be nearly filled with water and placed over the lamp, after lighting the wicks. Place this under a chair in which the patient is to sit, divested of all his clothes. Take a blanket or a piece of oiled cloth or silk, the size of a blanket, sew the sides together, and run a string into the top, so as to draw it up, around the neck. Put this over the patient and chair; the feet should be immersed in warm water at the same time; and warming teas or composition administered while steaming. A pipe may be fixed to convey the steam from the boiler to the bed, if the patient is unable to sit up, or to apply it to any portion of the system. When there is sufficient vitality in the system to favor reaction, the last vapor bath of the course should be.followed by a cold hand-bath or washed all over with cold water; after which the patient should be rubbed briskly two or three minutes, and dressed, if able. After remaining in doors an hour or two, he may take exercise in the open air, if the weather is sufficiently mild and pleasant, and he feels able so to do.