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Source: A Newly Discovered System Of Electrical Medication

I have said that every disease is preternaturally either positive or
negative. I have further said, that the application of either pole to a
given part produces an effect the opposite of what would be produced in
the same part by a reversal of the poles. The way is now prepared for me
to announce THE CENTRAL PRINCIPLE of our system of practice. The reader
will bear in mind that all acutely inflammatory or hypersthenic
affections are electrically positive in excess--having too much vital
action--being overcharged with the electro-vital fluid; and that all
paralytic diseases, or those of a sluggish, azooedynamic character, are
electrically negative--having too little electro-vital fluid--too
little vital action. It is a universal law of electricity that positives
repel each other, and that negatives repel each other; but that
positives and negatives attract each other. This is a principle of
electric action everywhere known, where any thing is known on the
subject. We appropriate it practically to therapeutic purposes.
Therefore, when I wish to repress or repel inflammation, which is
electrically positive in excess, I put the positive pole to it; or, at
least, I bring it under that half of the circuit with which the positive
pole is connected, and as near to the pole or electrode as possible. And
because two positives repel each other, and also because the direction
of the current is always from the positive to the negative pole,
carrying the electro-vital fluid with it, either I must withdraw my
positive electrode, or that excess of electro-vitality in the diseased
part which makes it morbidly positive, and thus produces inflammation,
must give way. I will not withdraw my positive pole, and therefore the
positive inflammation must retreat and be dispersed. In treating this
case, I will place my negative electrode either on some healthy part,
or, if there be perceptible anywhere in the system a morbidly negative
part, as is often the case, I will place my negative pole there. For
example: if I am treating for nephritis--inflammation of the
kidneys--when I do not perceive any part to be abnormally negative, I
manipulate with my positive electrode over the inflamed kidney, having
the negative electrode placed at the coccyx--lowest part of the spine.
My positive pole repels the positive inflammation from the kidney; or,
rather, repels from it that excess of electro-vital fluid which makes it
morbidly positive and induces the inflammation, while the negative pole
attracts the same towards the coccyx. On its way, it becomes more or
less diverted to adjacent nerves; or, if gathered in the healthy part,
under the negative pole, it is immediately dispersed by the normal
circulation as soon as the electrode is removed. But if I find a spinal
irritation, say in one or more of the cervical or dorsal vertebrae, and,
at the same time, a stomach affected with chronic dyspepsia,
accompanied with constipation of bowels, I will work over the inflamed
or irritated spine with my positive pole, because I know from its
irritation that there is an excess of electro-vital fluid in the part,
making it improperly positive; and, with my negative electrode, I will,
at the same time, treat over the stomach, bowels and liver; because I
know, from the inaction of these organs, that there is a lack of the
vital force--a deficiency of the electro-vital fluid--there, and that,
consequently, they are too negative. Adopting this method, I accomplish
two objects in the same treatment. First, my positive pole, applied to
the spinal disease, repels from it the excess of electro-vital fluid
which was there doing mischief; and, second, my negative pole attracts
the same, along with the artificial or inorganic electricity, to the
stomach and bowels where it is wanted, since negatives attract
positives. Or I wish to rouse to action a torpid liver. Now, if I find
inflammation, or enlargement of the spleen, as is commonly the case in
chills and fever, I place the positive pole upon the spleen, at the
left side, just below the false ribs, and the negative pole on the
liver, which is best reached immediately below the ribs on the right
side, and around backward and upward as far as to the spine. The
positive pole repels the excess of electro-vitality away from the
positive spleen, and so reduces the improper excitement there, while at
the same time it rushes, by attraction, to the negative liver, under the
negative pole, and makes that more positive, and so more active. In this
way, I change the polarization of the parts, and, in so doing, remove
the sustaining cause of the disease. You here perceive that I treat a
positive part with the positive pole, so as to repel the excess of
electro-vitality from it, and thus repress its excessive action; and
that I treat a negative part with the negative pole, so as to attract
the electro-vital fluid, along with the current from the machine, to it
from under the positive pole, and thus increase the action by making it
more positive.

But suppose I do what nearly all of the doctors do, who use electricity
with any regard to polarity; that is, if treating acutely inflamed eyes,
for example, apply the negative pole to the eyes, thinking thereby to
make them more negative; or, if treating amaurosis, apply the positive
electrode to the affected parts, thinking thereby to make them more
positive! I say, suppose I do this same thing, do you not see that, by
the fixed laws of electricity, I necessarily increase the evils that I
would remedy? Do you not see that, by placing my negative pole on the
already overcharged and inflamed eyes, I attract to them yet more of the
electro-vital fluid, and so increase their positive condition and
aggravate the inflammation? and that, by presenting my positive
electrode to the eyes already more or less paralyzed, I repel what
little electro-vitality there was there, and so make the nerves all the
more negative and dead? And yet, I repeat it, this is precisely the plan
of almost all the men who use electricity in therapeutic practice with
any regard to its polarization. They treat a positive disease--rather, a
hypersthenic disease, (for they seldom know anything of the
electrical states of diseased parts), with the negative pole, and an
azooedynamic disease, which is negative, with the positive pole!--all
directly antagonistic to science and success.

But the great mass of physicians, who attempt to treat electrically,
have no knowledge either of the electrical condition of the various
forms of disease, nor of the distinctive and peculiar effects produced
by either pole of the artificial current; and consequently all their use
of this powerful agent is entirely empirical--merely haphazard

I may have raised an inquiry a few moments since which ought to be
answered. I said, in effect, that in treating a positive disease, such,
for instance, as acute, inflammatory rheumatism or acute pleurisy, I
would use the positive pole on the inflamed parts, and the negative pole
on either some healthy part or on a morbidly negative part, if I could
find such. So, too, I said I would treat a negative disease, such as
amaurosis or torpidity of liver, with the negative pole, placing the
positive pole on either some healthy or morbidly positive part. The
query may have arisen, "By placing the one pole or the other on a
healthy part, do you not derange the normal electro-vital action there,
disturbing its healthy polarization?" I answer, yes, for the time being,
I do; and if this disturbing force were to be steadily continued for any
considerable time, the disturbance would produce manifest and serious
disease. But then, a pole or electrode, placed on a healthy part, we
generally move, or ought to move, more or less, every few moments, which
prevents the establishment of any perverted action in the part; and the
moment the electrode is withdrawn, the normal polarization and healthy
action are resumed.

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