Bath Treatments at

 "The Clifton Springs Sanitarium"  Part 2


Imagine a place where they put people up against a wall and spray them with 98 to 105 degree water and then with cold water down to 70 degrees or less. A place where they put people into a tub with water then turn on an electro current to plates under the neck and feet. Or after spraying a person with 100 to 105 degree water they are rubbed down with wet salt until the skin shows a good glow. And these people pay to have this done to them. These are all part of the medical treatments that were done at the Clifton Springs Sanitarium. For those of you that are new to the village I am sure that when you hear the name sanitarium different definitions of the word come to mind, the word sanitarium actually means "a building for patients". When you here about the "treatments" as described above it is hard to think of the Clifton Springs Sanitarium as a health resort where people came from all over the world for healing, rest and rejuvenation. The use of hydrotherapy is the application of water in any form, either externally or internally, in the treatment of disease and the maintenance of health. . The use of hydrotherapy was the center of the original Clifton Springs Water Cure founded by Dr. Henry Foster in 1850. The baths used for medical treatments began with the sulphur baths because of the healing capabilities of sulphur water, which were plentiful here. As new practices in the science of hydrotherapy evolved so did the types of baths prescribed to patients by their physicians. By the 1880's there were 20 variations of baths being offered to patients as part of their treatment along with diets and exercise. Some of the baths listed were: Sponge, Pack, Health Lift, Falling Douche, Pail Dash. Turkish Bath, Air Bath, Sulphur, Sitz, Vapor Bath, Electro-Thermal, Electro-Chemical, Compound Oxygen, Battery, and Foot. In the 1880's the patient was given a ticket from the physician indicating which bath was prescribed, at which hour it was to be taken, at what temperature and for how many minutes.

This "ticket" came with a list of "RULES For BATHING" for the patient:

1- Wet the face and neck in cold water before every bath; and in full warm baths bind a wet towel about the head.

2- Take no cool baths when chilly, when perspiring, or when greatly fatigued. If fatigued, rest; if perspiring, use dry sheet rubbing first; if chilly, warmth must be restored.

3- Exercise in the cool baths by rubbing as much as possible.

4- In taking the Douche or Flow, do not let the stream fall upon the head, and hold up the arms to break its force upon the chest and stomach.

5- Bathing hours are from May to November at 5 to 6 o'clock in the morning, from November to May, 5:30 to 6:30, the other hours are from 10 to 12 o'clock, forenoon: 3 to 5 o'clock, afternoon and from 8 to 9 o'clock, evening.

6- Patients not prompt to the hour, lose for that time their right to the bath.

7- Exercise at once after all cool baths. If not able to exercise rest under covering.

8- After full warm baths rest thirty or forty minutes, under covering; exercise as usual.

Reading the "General Instructions for Treatments" booklet, we get a glimpse of the information about the baths operations. This small booklet states: "Those giving baths found that there first duty was to thoroughly familiarize themselves with the details of each treatment, so that upon receipt of an order they may know how to carry out the prescription perfectly." (It talks about what we now call bed-side manner) "Many persons are afraid of electricity in any form and great care should be exercised in the administration of electrical treatments. The patient should be re-assured and only the mildest currents used, until their confidence has been gained, when the current may be increased gradually until the prescribed limit has been reached, but this limit must not be exceeded under any circumstances. Special mention is made of the necessity of

polite attention and a sympathetic manner in dealing with each patient, showing no partiality or preference, but doing the utmost for each case, thus insuring the good will and hearty appreciation of all efforts, and a ready response to the treatment given. Your personal influence will count for or against the speedy recovery of every patient."

In the next article I will continue on with information about the baths.

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