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to enjoy what one would almost think some people thought not worth having, I have been long accustomed to this remedy, and have the greatest reason to think I owe much comfort to its friendly aid. Sea-bathing, if my attentive observation has not deceived me, in general has been more certainly advantageous in its tonic powers; but whether that superiority arises only from its holding saline particles dissolved, or whether the large body of water the sea contains is at all contributing, or if any thing is particularly due to its comparative specific gravity ; whether the purity of the air breathed during its use, compared with that of a crowded city, and the relaxation of the mind froin business, and the amusement enjoyed in a large society, where every member seems disposed to be and to make happy, has not each its demand; which separately has the greatest claim, it would perhaps be hard to determine, while it must be allowed that each has its merit. Something probably is due to its impregnation; but the sum of all these circumstances co-operating, no doubt, fills the measure of its effects; and in its use likewise, as well from my own observation as from the information of others, whose constitutions were alike tender, I have learned there is much less chance of taking cold, an accident to which the most tender are, even with the greatest care and circumspection, occasionally exposed in using the cold bath in the usual way. This circumstance has induced me for some years past to recommend, in the dipping weakly children at a distance from the sea, the addition of as much sea or bay salt to the water as would make the solution nearly as salt, or rather a little salter than seawater; and the event has ever fully rewarded the practice, and substantiated the preference; for I have seen some unhealthy children more benefited by a few weeks bathing in this way, than by months in fresh-water; and others, who have received no benefit by fresh long continued, very soon get colour, spirits, and strength, from a change to the salted. The formation of such a bath was easy for infants, but less manageable for adults. To avoid, therefore, in the common method of using the cold bath, such temporary interruptions to its use, and their disagreeable consequences, which I have frequently known to be a continual distress to the too quickly apprehensive mind of the valetudinarian; and studious myself to enjoy that luxury as often as possible, with every advantage to be derived from any improvement my fancy could suggest; it claimed much of my attention : and many schemes, some inconvenient, and others impracticable, occurred, till the following presented itself
to my mind; and, after long use, I have the pleasure to think it highly deserving of notice, as it seems to give the fresh-water cold bath some of the properties of sea bathing, and to me that satisfactory incentive to its use, the recollection of never having caught cold since it was adopted. It has still another advantage or two of its own; the first and not the smallest of which is, that by it, the towels being rendered rougher, the friction in drying after the bath is increased; and what is, I fear, too often neglected, I mean the rubbing by those with whom it should be particularly a matter of the first consequence (the tender and chilly,) who are generally those who are apt to be too much in a hurry to get on their clothes, and by that means frequently take cold. For their sakes, now that friction is the subject, viewing the importance of that part of the operation, it would seem wrong to proceed without urging the practice of it to a much greater extent than is customary, and that immediately before as well as after bathing. I believe, from my own experience, that the good effects of this remedy will, in many cases, be considerably increased, if, before the immersion, the body and extremities be well rubbed for a few minutes with a flesh-brush. To the notice of those afflicted with chronic rheumatism, as well as to the shivering bather, it is very earnestly recommended. The stay of the delicate and those with tender bowels, in the water, should be very short; the more robust may indulge longer. The other, and perhaps not less important advantage, is that of using their own towels (which should be coarse and rough as can be borne,) untainted with the excrementitious discharges of the skins of a multitude, and perhaps often negligently washed; the truth of which no very nice degree of perfection in the olfactory nerves, is necessary to discover in the clean towels of a public bath. Except in this circumstance, perhaps no public baths in the world exceed in their conveniences and perfection those of London, as far as I have been able to learn.
The practice alluded to, and which I can now with con. fidence recommend, is that of impregnating the towels with sea salt, by dipping them in a solution of that salt in water, and then drying them. The solution I have used is four ounces to a quart of water : a coarse hand-towel of the common size, by being thoroughly wetted in this solution, when dried, acquires an increase of weight of about an ounce; consequently contains that quantity of sea salt, which is as much perhaps as is necessary, or as would be pleasant. The solution may be repeated, after three or four
times using them, by those who are satisfied with one set of towels some time, as easily as once by the more nice. The roughness given to the cloths, when dry, by the salt, assisted probably by the stimulus of the salt itself, adds very considerably to the much-to-be-wished-for glow. And as, in the action of rubbing the body, some of the salt becomes dissolved by the drops hanging to the skin, and is of course spread over the whole surface of the body, and is partly absorbed; to that absorption, which is perhaps more alive during the empty state in which bathing is generally recommended, are to be attributed the good effects of medicated baths, both natural and artificial. The common shower-bath will be much improved in its efficacy by the addition of a proper quantity of salt in its water.
What is in the present case the immediate rationale of its action, or to what cause is to be attributed the preference of sea over fresh water, as it is not the professed design of this paper, we wish to leave undiscussed. The safest means of applying a powerful and pleasant remedy to the diseased, the result of experience, being all we intended, the modus operandi is left for a more ably-directed pen.
may be that the stimulus given by the saline spi. cula to the cuticular glands, by its absorption, may not be the smallest of its causes, especially when it is recollected how extensive is its application, and at the same time the great importance of the functions of the absorbing surface. How powerful frequently is the application of a solution of some of the neutral salts in local glandular affections topically applied! Another circumstance, worth notice in an inquiry of this kind, is the effect of some neutral salts in fresh-drawn blood; an example of which every winter affords in a well known culinary preparation of hog's blood; I mean, that of preventing its coagulation. In the extreine and minute sanguiferous vessels, where the circulation must necessarily be very weak and slow, on account of their great distance from the source of its motion, its moving power, and especially in those of the skin, when exposed to cold air in such situations, may not soinewhat like a disposition to coagulation exist? and may not the introduction of such particles do away an approaching evil? Perhaps instinct first recommended the use of that material with our food for some such wise purpose : the practice will be found, upon recollection, very general, and gives a probability to such an idea. The learned and ingenious Bishop of Landaff has said, in his “ Chemical Essays,” that the salt in sea water applied to the skin is not absorbed. I confess myself of a
different opinion. That some of it is absorbed I am con, vinced; or why is not rain, or any other pure water, equally efficacious, applied to scrophulous glands?
Before the subject be entirely quitted, the writer wishes to submit it to the experience of the medical world, to determine how far this mode of absorption may be usefully applied in a variety of cases requiring the various baths which nature has, probably for human ills, provided in different parts of the world, and which are too frequently, from some circumstance or other, not within the reach or power of those to whom they would no doubt be of great service; and to add that, in more than one instance, he has applied, with the above saline solution, some few drops of the tinct. ferri mur. he thinks with some success in some cases where chalybeates seemed to promise relief. The Materia Medica will readily supply, through the medium of Chemistry, a fund of powerful topics to the ingenious physican,
LXXXV. Sufferings of Lieut. George Spearing, in a Coal Pit.
Greenwich Hospital, Aug. 1, 1793. On Wednesday, September 13, 1769, between three and four o'clock in the afternoon, I went into a little wood called Northwoodside, (situated between two and three miles to the N.W. of Glasgow,) with a design to gather a few hazelnuts. I think that I could not have been in the wood more than a quarter of an hour, nor have gathered more than ten nuts, before I unfortunately fell into an old coal-pit, exactly seventeen yards deep, which had been made through a solid rock. I was sone little tiine insensible. Upon recovering my recollection, I found myself sitting (nearly as a tailor does at his work,) the blood Howing pretty fast from my mouth ; and I thought that I had broken a blood vessel, and consequently had not long to live ; but, to my great comfort, I soon discovered that the blood proceeded from a wound in my tongue, which I suppose I had bitten in my fall
. Looking at my watch (it was ten minutes past four,) and getting up, I surveyed my limbs, and to my inexpressible joy found that not one was broken. I was soon reconciled to my situation, having from my childhood thought that something very extraordinary was to happen to me in
the course of my life; and I had not the least doubt of being relieved in the morning; for, the wood being but small, and situated near a populous city, it is much frequented, especially in the nutting season, and there are several foot paths leading through it.
Night now approached, when it began to rain, not in gena ile showers, but in torrents of water, such as is generally experienced at the autumnal equinox. The pit I had fallen into was about five feet in diameter ; but, not having been
yorked for several years, the subterranean passages were choked up, so that I was exposed to the rain, which continued, with very small intermissions, till the day of my release; and, indeed, in a very short time, I was completely wet through. In this comfortless condition I endeavoured to take some repose. A forked stick that I found in the pit, and which I placed diagonally to the side of it, served alternately to support my head as a pillow, or my body occasionally, which was much bruised; but, in the whole time I remained here, I do not think I ever slept one hour to: gether. Having passed a very disagreeable and tedious night, I was somewhat cheared with the appearance of day: light, and the melody of a robin-redbreast that had perched directly over the mouth of the pit; and this pretty little warbler continued to visit my quarters every morning dur. ing my confinement; which I construed into a happy omen of my future deliverance; and I sincerely believe the trust I had in Providence, and the company of this little bird, contributed much to that serenity of mind I constantly ene joyed to the last. At the distance of about a hundred yards, in a direct line from the pit, there was a water-mill. The miller's house was near to me, and the road to the mill was still nearer. I could frequently hear the borses going this road to and froin the mill; frequently I heard human voices; and I could distinctly hear the ducks and hens about the mill. I made the best use of my voice on every occasion ; but it was to no manner of purpose; for, the wind, which was constantly high, blew in a line from the mill to the pie, which easily accounts for what I heard ; and, at the same time, my voice was carried the contrary way. I cannot say I suffered much from hunger. After two or three days that appetite ceased; but my thirst was intolerable; and, though it almost constantly rained, yet I could not till the third or fourth day preserve a drop of it, as the earth at the bottom of the pit sucked it up as fast as it ran down. In this distress I sucked my clothes; but from them I could extract but little moisture. The shock I received in the fall,