Distinctive Use Of Each Pole

Sources: 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.