This section is from the "Nature Cure: Philosophy and Practice Based on the Unity of Disease and Cure" book, by Henry Lindlahr.
Altogether wrong is the application of hot water to seats of inflammation as, for instance, the inflamed appendix or ovaries, sprains, bruises, etc. Almost in every instance where I am called in to attend a case of acute appendicitis or peritonitis, I find hot compresses or hot water bottles, by means of which the inflamed parts are kept continually in an overheated condition. It is in this way that a simple inflammation is nurtured into an abscess and made more serious and dangerous.
The hot compress or hot-water bottle draws the blood away from the inflamed area to the surface temporarily; but unless the hot application is kept up continually, the blood, under the Law of Action and Reaction, will recede from the surface into the interior, and as a result the inner congestion will become as great as or greater than before.
If the hot applications are continued, the applied heat tends to maintain and increase the heat in the inflamed parts.
Inflammation means that there is already too much heat in the affected part or organ. Common sense, therefore, would dictate cooling applications instead of heating ones.
The cold packs and compresses, on the other hand, have a directly cooling effect upon the seat of inflammation and in accordance with the Law of Action and Reaction their secondary, lasting effect consists in drawing the blood from the congested and heated interior to the surface, thus relaxing the pores of the skin and promoting the radiation of heat and the elimination of impurities.
Both the hot-water applications and the use of ice are, therefore, to be absolutely condemned. The only rational and natural treatment of inflammatory conditions is that by compresses, packs and ablutions, using water of ordinary temperature, as it comes from the cold water tap.
By means of the simple cold-water treatment and fasting all fevers and inflammations can be reduced in a perfectly natural way within a short time without undue strain on the organism.