Sources: Papers On Health

This seems a very simple thing to do, but is by no means easy

to do right, and it is very desirable that any one who can see it done

by a qualified person should take advantage of the opportunity. The

rubber must keep his attention closely fixed on the work, and though

this is fatiguing to body and mind, it is absolutely necessary if the

patient is to derive full benefit from the treatment. The skin should

first be lightly rubbed with olive oil; except in very special cases

"friction" between hand and skin is to be avoided. The hand should move

the skin to and fro over the muscles and bones beneath, and should be

always elastic, so as to go easily in and out of the hollows, and avoid

violent contact with projecting bones in the case of emaciated

patients. The good rubber should know anatomy so far as to understand

where bones and muscles lie (See Diagram, page 216). An intelligent

moving of all the muscles of a part is almost equal in benefit to

gymnastic exercise, and can of course be given to those for whom

gymnastics are out of the question. Yet such rubbing may fatigue a very

weak patient, and care must be taken not to carry it too far at one

time. There should also never be any hurting of the skin. Where the

hands are felt too rough, the back may be covered with a soft cloth,

oiled with olive oil. All strong strokes in rubbing the limbs should

be directed inwards to where the limb joins the body. The lighter

strokes should be outwards. It is always well to have a light and heavy

stroke, as a joiner has in sawing.

As an instance of how to squeeze, let us take an arm that has got wrong

somehow. If you take this arm between your two hands very gently, you

feel that it is harder than it should be. The large muscles, even when

the arm is at perfect rest, have a hard feeling to your hands, and not

the soft, nice feeling which a perfectly healthy arm has. Probably the

muscles have been over-stretched, and sprained, or they have been

chilled, and so have lost their elasticity and softness. Well, it will

be so far good if you can bathe this arm in hot water. It will be

better still if the hot water used is full of SOAP (see). You can

make this bathing ten times more effective, if you only know what is

meant by a proper squeezing of the muscles. You use your two hands in

the water of the soapy bath, and taking the arm between them, gently

press the muscles between your hands, with a sort of working upon them

that makes the blood in the stiff parts rush out and in, according as

you press or relieve the pressure. If you can only get hold of the

idea, it will not be difficult to do this right. It may be that the

cords of the arm are not only hard, but also contracted, so that the

arm cannot be straightened or bent as it ought to be, but it is still

so squeezable that you can squeeze the blood out of it, and it is still

so elastic that when you relieve it of the pressure of your hands the

blood rushes back into it. If this squeezing is kindly and slowly done,

it will feel very pleasant, and very soon its good effect will be


It is sometimes thought that there is some "magic" in one person's

hands that is not in another's. Here is a case in which one person has

rubbed, he thinks, perfectly right, and no relief has come. Another

brings relief in a few minutes. It is concluded that some mysterious

"gift" is possessed by the latter. This may do well enough for an

excuse when you do not care to have the trouble of curing your

fellow-creatures, but it is not true. If we are to "covet earnestly the

best gifts," it must be possible for all of us to get them. "The gift

of healing" is surely one worth "coveting," and we think must be within

reach, or we should not be told so to covet it. See also Head,

Rubbing the.