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Source: Papers On Health
This is applied as follows. Over a large
armchair spread a folded sheet. Provide a good large blanket prepared
as above in Fomentation. Then rub the haunches, thighs, lower back and
abdomen of the patient with a little olive oil. Wrap these parts in a
warm dry towel. Open up the hot blanket and spread it (still some
three-ply thick) on the sheet on the armchair. Let the patient sit down
upon it as soon as it is cool enough not to hurt. Fold the blanket all
round the patient's lower body and thighs. Draw the sheet over all, and
cover up well to retain the heat. At the end of an hour, or such less
time as the patient can endure, a smart washing with hot vinegar, and a
gentle rub with warm olive oil, will complete the treatment. This is
best done at bedtime, as the patient must go to bed immediately after
In cases of failure of the large hip-joints, or of the lower limbs, in
sciatica and lumbago, the armchair fomentation is of great use; also
when running sores exist from one of the hips or lower back, or even in
numbness or lack of vitality in the feet and toes. It is referred to
under the headings of the troubles in which it is of advantage.
Suppose that we are dealing with lack of vitality in some organ in the
lower part of the body. We argue that the nerves supplying this organ
are needing in some way to be increased in force. This is to be done by
getting them heated. There is an arrangement in nature which hinders
this being quickly done. The rapid circulation of the blood which is
going on all round these nerves tends to keep them about the same
temperature. The heat, as it is applied, passes off rapidly in the
stream of the blood. But if the heating process is carried on long
enough, the whole blood of the body becomes gently raised in
temperature, and by-and-by the heat applied to the surface reaches the
roots of the nerves, not only by means of the circulation, but by
gradually passing through the skin muscles, and the bones that are near
it. New life is infused, and that where it is specially required. The
flagging organ soon shows that it responds to this true stimulant.
After a few such fomentations it begins to act as perhaps it has ceased
to act for months, and even for years. We speak of what we have seen
again and again in cases where distress was caused by what is called
"sluggishness" in some important organ, or when such an organ was
altogether ceasing to act properly. The armchair fomentation is more
successful than the hot sitz-bath, though this is by no means to be
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