This section is from the book "Shampooing Or Benefits Resulting From The Use Of The Indian Medicated Vapour Bath", by Sake Dene Mahomed. Also available from Amazon: Shampooing: Or Benefits Resulting From The Use Of The Indian Medicated Vapor Bath.
The palsy is known by the loss or diminution of voluntary motion, affecting certain parts of the body, often accompanied with drowsiness. In some instances the disease is confined to a particular part; but it more usually happens, that one entire side of the body from the head downward is affected. The species are,
1st. Paralysis partialis, partial, or palsy of some particular muscle.
2d. Paralysis hemiplegica, palsy of one side longitudinally.
3d. Paralysis paraplegica, palsy of one half of the body, taken transversely, as both legs and thighs.
4th. Paralysis venenata, from the sedative effects of poisons. Paralysis is also symptomatic of several diseases, as worms, scrophula, syphilis, etc.
It may arise in consequence of an attack of apoplexy. It may likewise be occasioned by any thing that prevents the flow of the nervous power from the brain, into the organs of motion; hence, tumours, over distension and effusion, often give rise to it. It may often be occasioned by translation of morbid matter to the head, by the suppression of the usual evacuations, and by the pressure made on the nerves by luxations, fractures, wounds, or other external injuries. The long continued application of sedatives will likewise produce palsy, as we find those, whose occupations subject them to the constant handling of white lead, and those who are much exposed to the poisonous fumes of metals, or minerals, are very apt to be attacked with it. Whatever tends to relax and enervate the system, may likewise prove an occasional cause of this disease.
Palsy usually comes on with the sudden and immediate loss of the motion and sensibility of the parts, but in a few instances it is preceded by a numbness, coldness, and paleness, and sometimes by slight convulsive twitches. When the head is much affected, the eye and mouth are drawn on one side, the memory and judgment are much impaired, and the speech is indistinct and incoherent. If the disease affects the extremities, and has been of long duration, it not only produces a loss of motion and sensibility, but likewise a considerable flaccidity and wasting away in the muscles of the parts affected.
When palsy attacks any vital part, such as the brain, heart, or lungs, it soon terminates fatally. When it arises as a consequence of apoplexy, it generally proves very difficult of cure. Paralytic affections of the lower extremities, ensuing from any injury done to the spinal marrow, by blows and other accidents, usually prove incurable. Palsy, although a dangerous disease in every instance, particularly at an advanced period of life, is sometimes removed by the occurrence of a diarrhoea or fever.
The morbid appearances to be observed on dissections in palsy, are pretty similar to those which are to be met with in apoplexy: hence collections of blood, and of serous fluids, are often found effused in the brain, but more frequently the latter, and in some instances, the substance of this organ seems to have suffered an alteration. In palsy as well as apoplexy, the collection of extravasated fluid is generally on the opposite side of the brain to that which is affected.
In the treatment of this disease, there exists great contrariety of opinion among the faculty; sometimes, where the attack is sudden, and the disease arises in the head, the patient being of a plethoric habit, copious bleeding and cupping are resorted to, and the usual means as applied in apoplexy. But where the patient is advanced in life, of a debilitated constitution and not too full of blood, an opposite mode of treatment is adopted: Many local means of increasing the circulation, and soliciting nervous energy into the affected parts, are resorted to in this complaint with various success. In all cases it is proper to keep up sufficient warmth of limb, and by what better means can this be effected than by the operation of Shampooing, accompanied by the usual application of the Vapour Bath? Every physician who has written on the subject, invariably recommends the warm Bath, of course not knowing the nature of my process, which embraces all the soothing qualities of the common bath, added to a much greater power of emollient efficacy, and causes a. quick and an active circulation locally, as it may be applied, or generally through the system.
Those who have experienced its effects in instances of this disease, can never forget the relief it has invariably afforded.