This section is from the "Nature Cure: Philosophy and Practice Based on the Unity of Disease and Cure" book, by Henry Lindlahr.
Cooling sprays or, if the patient is too weak to leave the bed, cold sponge baths or ablutions, repeated whenever the temperature rises, are very effective for keeping the fever below the danger point, for relieving the congestion in the interior of the body and for stimulating the elimination of systemic poisons through the skin.
However, care must be taken not to lower the temperature too much by the excessive coldness or unduly prolonged duration of the application. It is possible to suppress inflammatory processes by means of cold water or ice bags just as easily as with poisonous antiseptics, antifever medicines and surgical operations.
It is sufficient to reduce the temperature to just below the danger point. This will allow the inflammatory processes to run their natural course through the five progressive stages of inflammation and this natural course will then be followed by perfect regeneration of the affected parts.
In our sanitarium we use only water of ordinary temperature as it flows from the faucet, never under any circumstances ice bags or ice water. The application of ice keeps the parts to which it is applied in a chilled condition. The circulation cannot react, and the inflammatory processes are thus most effectually suppressed.
To recapitulate: Never check or suppress a fever by means of cold baths, ablutions, wet packs, etc., but merely lower it below the danger point. For instance, if a certain type of fever has a tendency to rise to 104° F. or more, bring it down to about 102°. If the fever ordinarily runs at a lower temperature, say at 102° F., do not try to reduce it more than one or two degrees.
If the temperature is subnormal, that is, below the normal or regular body temperature, the packs should be applied in such a manner that a warming effect is produced, that is, less wet cloths and more dry covering should be used, and the packs left on the body a longer time before they are renewed. More detailed instruction will be given in subsequent pages.
Never lose sight of the fact that fever is in itself a healing, cleansing process which must not be checked or suppressed.