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Sources: A Newly Discovered System Of Electrical Medication

For healing wounds, burns, ulcers, irritation of mucous membranes, and

cutaneous eruptions, the A D current is by far the best. Recent

wounds, contusions and burns are electrically positive. Old ulcers and

irritations are generally negative.


To make a correct diagnosis, it is needful to bear in mind the following

general principles:

1. Wher
the organism is in health, the momentary application to the

patient of the negative pole of the double Faradaic current B D--the

best for diagnostic use--in good medium strength,[D] will be directly

felt, yet will cause no pain. Whatever muscular contractions may be

produced for the time, they are harmless, and need not be noticed.

Wherever the electro-vital fluid is in excess, producing

hypersthenia--too much vital action--the part is morbidly positive;

and, excepting sometimes in the stomach and bowels, the B D current, of

medium force, directed to that part under the negative pole, will

produce sharp pain. But where a current of full medium strength can

not be felt under the negative pole, there is a morbidly negative

state--a deficiency of vital action--a condition of at least partial


2. In a state of health, different persons will have different degrees

of sensibility to the electric current, depending on their varied

nervous susceptibility. Again, the same person will be much less

sensitive to the current when directed to the spine, particularly the

lower part of it, and to the stomach, than when directed to most other

parts. Also, where bones lie near the surface, the periosteum--the

membrane immediately investing the bone--is apt to feel more sensibly

under the electrodes than the muscular parts. But these variations soon

become so familiar to the practitioner that he finds no difficulty in

making the proper allowances for them.

In making an electrical examination, the two following questions present

themselves to be answered: First, whether anywhere, and, if so, where is

there a morbid electrical state in the body of this patient? Second,

what is the electrical condition of that unhealthy part? Is it

positive or negative?

These questions being answered, according to the tests just given, the

well-instructed practitioner is prepared to go on and treat the patient

judiciously, and with success, if success be attainable by any form of


Let me next say, It is best, as a general rule, to make examinations

with the negative pole. The reason of this is that, since the current

is always more energetic under the negative than under the positive

pole, it makes itself more sensibly felt there than under the

positive pole. Indeed, it will commonly be felt even to painfulness

there, if the part were overcharged and inflamed before. Thus, under the

negative electrode, the current readily detects any active disease. But,

if we be making the examination with the positive pole, as we come

upon any point more or less inflamed, the current, quick as lightning,

rushes away from such inflamed part to the part under the stationary

negative pole, carrying with it, for the time being, more or less of

that excess of electro-vital fluid which was in force at the inflamed

point; so that no pain, perhaps, is experienced there; and thus the

disease escapes detection.

I am aware that it has been said by some of our practitioners, with, if

I rightly remember, the able discoverer of the grand practical

principles of our system, Prof. C. H. Bolles, at their head, that it is

not quite prudent to use the negative pole in hand for diagnosis, lest

we possibly contract the disease from the patient; since, in that case,

the current runs from the patient to the practitioner. They think it

safer to use the positive pole in hand; so letting the current run from

the practitioner to the patient. There is force in this consideration,

without doubt, where the patient is affected with a poisonous or

malignant disease. And where any thing of this nature is apprehended, I

would never examine with the negative pole in hand. But these cases are

commonly so manifest, or so easily determined by colloquial inquiry,

that examination with the electric current is rarely if ever necessary.

And when the disease is plainly not of a poisonous or infectious nature,

I do not think there is any danger to be apprehended from the cause

stated. I therefore prefer, as a general rule, to examine with the

negative pole; and for the reason given above.

The temperature of the room and the adjustment of apparel should be the

same as for treatment. To prevent improper chilliness, the room ought to

be of such temperature that clothing is not required for bodily

comfort--say, from 70 to 80 degrees, Fahrenheit. Seat the patient on a

stool or chair, (a stool is most convenient), and yourself at his side,

with your machine, ready for use, on a table or bench before him, and a

vessel of warm water within easy reach. If the patient be a man we let

his trunk be disrobed, giving free access to the back, chest and

abdomen. If the patient be a woman, let her be covered with a

treating-robe, of which garments the practitioner should keep a supply.

They are made much like a lady's plain nightgown; but large and loose,

so as to serve ladies of any size, and give ample room to work the

electrodes under them. Her skirts should be dropped below the seat, so

far that their bands shall lie across her lap.

Let us now suppose the machine to be working. We will take the B D

current. Let it be of good medium strength. We regulate the strength by

the quantity of fluid in the battery, so far as volume is concerned,

and by means of the plunger as respects intensity. The electrodes

should be dampened with warm water. Let the sponge-roll, [a very thin

expansion of sponge, quilted upon a muslin lining, and enveloping one of

the tin electrodes], be made the positive pole, and be placed under the

coccyx--lowest part of the spine. Then attach the positive cord; that

is, the cord connected with the negative post, to another sponge-roll,

to be held in the operator's right hand; or, what is better, attach it

to a thin, flexible, metallic wristband, (brass is good, but metallic

lace--such as is used in trimming regalia, is best), underlaid with

wet muslin, and fastened around the right wrist. This brings the

operator's hand into the circuit as the negative electrode or pole.

Next, pass a moist, warm sponge all over the patient's back. Now, before

the back becomes dry, press the points of two fingers firmly, yet not

uncomfortably, upon the back of the neck at the base of the skull;

thence move gradually downward, by frequent touches of the same firm but

gentle character, keeping one finger on each side of the spinous

processes, until the whole length of the spine has been, in this manner,

passed over. If sharp pain or soreness be felt at any point, note that

point; there is inflamed irritation there. Then return up to the right

or left shoulder, and pass, in like manner, by frequent touches with one

or two fingers, over all parts of the back on that side of the spine,

down to the hips. Then, in the same way, examine the shoulder and back

on the other side of the spine, noting, as before, every point, if there

be any, where soreness and pain appear. After this, pass over the entire

neck, then over the front parts of the thorax and abdomen, down to the

pelvic bones, everywhere watching for soreness and pain. Next, go to the

head. Wet the hair through to the scalp, (because dry hair is a bad

conductor,) and change to a very soft B C current. Then go over all

the head in the same manner as over the neck and trunk. Better reverse

the poles on the head, by transposing the cords in the posts, so as to

make the manipulating hand the positive pole. The head is, or ought to

be, extremely sensitive. You need not do this, however, if the negative

pole can be received on the head without discomfort, as it sometimes can

be. Commence on the cerebrum, and then pass to the cerebellum.

If, in the examination of the spine, the practitioner finds it

uncomfortable to bear in his fingers a current of sufficient strength to

be distinctly felt in that part of the patient, he may use the

side-sponge cup on the spine. But let him never use a current on

another person which he does not first apply to his own nerves, so as

to know its intensity. Indeed, if one prefer to use the side-sponge cup

through the whole process, he can do so; although there is advantage in

using the fingers, since, by their concentrated impressions, he is more

sure to detect disease than by the broader face of the sponge cup.

[->]Now, wherever there is found soreness or lancinating pain under

the touch, it is sure that the part is preternaturally positive--more

or less so, according to the degree of painful irritability. On the

other hand, if there be found a part evincing much less than the usual

sensibility found in the healthy corresponding part of other patients,

it may safely be pronounced torpid or paralytic, more or less. It lacks

sufficient electro-vitality--is improperly negative, and needs to be

treated with the negative pole.

It will often happen that diseased action is found in parts where the

patient was entirely unaware of its existence until the practitioner's

fingers or other electrode revealed it. Again, it will sometimes be

found that there is no disease whatever in parts where the patient

supposed disease to be active. But when we find patients to be

especially nervous, it is not always best to tell them immediately just

what our examinations have revealed to us--how severely or how little we

think them diseased. It is sometimes better to humor, more or less, the

patient's own views for a time; lest, by exciting him or her, we make a

difficult case out of one that might have been mastered with comparative

ease. In this matter discretion should guide us.

But let me say farther, what I deeply feel, that neither do I think it

right to persistently conceal from patients, especially those who are

dangerously affected, a knowledge of their true condition. In my

opinion, physicians often unwittingly incur an awful responsibility in

this way, wronging their patients in the most vital and momentous of all

interests--the interests involved in a due preparation for death. I

believe the true way, in every such case, is for the physician himself,

in a kind and soothing manner, to reveal to the patient, little by

little, if need be, what he really thinks, or to ask the patient's

pastor, or some other calm and judicious person to do it for him. I

believe the visits of a discreet and affectionate pastor, or, in the

absence of a pastor, of some other mild and Christian friend, to the

bedside of the sick is, nine times in ten, not only no embarrassment to

the patient's recovery, but positively favorable to it, and ought to be

habitually encouraged, rather than restrained, by medical