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HYDROPATHY.

To the Editor. Sir, —The questions of your correspondent Mr. Puddicombe, are not quite so easy to answer as it first sight may appear. It requires more information than I possess to say “ which is tho most reliable work published on hydropathy.” There are many works on it that I have not read, and of those I have read, each one has merits and demerits that will be differently estimated by different readers. I believe that the most useful information, with the least labor and expense, would be obtained from Mrs. Joshua Nichols’ i little book “ A 'Woman’s work on wafer < cure,” 2s. ; indeed all her works and i those of her husband, Dr. Nichols, are i worth reading and purchasing, and none 1 of them are large or expensive. Mrs. . Smedley’s little shilling book should he in ] every house. No mother should be with- i out it. Her husband’s book, 2s. Gd., is i reliable enough, but the most disorderly i jumble I ever saw put together ; it wants : rewriting by a more orderly person. Tho 1 Hydropathic Encyclopedia, by P. T. 1 Trail, M.D., gives a lot of information in l rather a, rough, coarse way; the price is •. not marked on the book, but I think it is 10s, “ Illness, its cause and cure,” by : Mrs. Dunovan, is a book every one should read. I think its price is Is. She was a great adorer of Dr. Barber, and extols the Turkish bath rather too much. Durham Dunlop docs tho same in his “Philosophy of the Bath,” hut gives much valuable information. There are too miny books called Hydropathic, written so’ely in the interest of the Turkish Bath and others (as Smedley’s) are too much prejudiced against it. Priessnitz practising much on Indiamen and good constitutions injured by warm climates, was led to extremes in the use of cold. Smedley’a is an excessively cautious practice, shunning both heat and cold, but very safe and successful. His chief errors are supposed to be his fondness for soap : and mustard. Drs. Gully, Johnson, and Wilson’s are learned and useful books in the practice of hydropathy, but promulgate some very mischievous old school errors, especially on diet. I don’t know Dr. Shaw’s works which are highly spoken of. Sylvester Graham, who began as a school master, though he ended as an M.D., writes truth and common sense about diet, and saved every one of his deciples from cholera during its prevalence in New York in 1832 by prescribing exactly the opposite diet to that prescribed by the legally qualified medical practitioners. But ids “science of Human Life ” is spun out very tediously, and wants condensing into a tenth part of the space it occupies. Although not a hydropathic hook, every one who wants to understand what he is about with any kind of treatment should read Huxley’s “ Elementary Physiology.” Mrs. Nichols has perhaps put hydropathy to its most severe test amongst the yellow fever in the Southern States of America, where she has saved thousands by its' practice, and displayed the courage and devotion of a Howard. Her writings are severely practical, and give the idea that her sphere of work has been a rougher one than Mrs. Smedley’s, though, after coming to England, she has never attained the eminence at Malvern as a medical adviser that Mrs. Sraedley had done at Matlock. Now fer the second question, “Are there any doctors in the colony who practice hydropathy alone ? ” I think not. The leading Christchurch doctors have long practised it in a left-handed way in the treatment of fevers, which have become far less fatal since they did so, but they all mix it up with real or fictitious medicine. Ileal, honest, hydro-pathy-offers no facilities for a doctor to get rich at it. As Mrs. Joshua Nichols says, “ The first time I enter a house I show them all my secrets. I leave the patient wilh a clear, good working' skin, instead of with a disabled drug-deluged stomach, and therefore far less liable to be ill again, and if he should be, the whole family know how to go to work at the cure so that I am not likely to he wanted there again.” The very nature of hydropathic treatment makes it quite impossible that it can be practised as drug medication can be. A hydropathist will never bo able to call on hundreds of patients in a clay and satisfy,, them all with a pill or a There is real work to he dpne, of work that every one dislikes, npcTthat a p ysician could not get strangers to do out of his sight. Hitherto hydropathisis who attenipt to live by their profession, have dope sp almost exclusively by receiving patierts at their own estabji'shinei.t fpr treatment, but what is wanted is" {hat they simple! tyaip a large hand of nurses of both sexes, who could be sent tp faithfully administer the treatment at the

■ patient’s home, and instruct the inmates ; of such homes in the beneficial art. The 1 nurses would bo apt to got the pay and the praise, and the doctor would find little 1 grist brought to bis mill. In allopathy or homeopath} we are made to believe that it is iudcspensable to know exactly the name and nature of the disease in order that the allopathist may administer a poison that produces a disease of the opposite character, and the homeopalhist ■ a poison that will produce a dissase of the same character as that from which the patient is suffering. It is not necessary now to enquire which of them is right, and it does not require a veiy powerful intellect to see that they cannot both be right although both “ legally qualified,” but as long as they can make us believe that an accurate knowledge of the exact disease is necessary, and an accurate administration of the exact poison to c u e it, they stand a good chance to keep matters in their own hands, as, although they make giicvous mistakes in such matters themselves, they never tell tales of each other, and no one else would be listened to. Hydi'opathists do not pretend that any such accurate knowledge is necessary, as they rely upon poisons of no kind, but on the contrary offer every possible assistance to nature, andonly resort to every known method of invigorating the body to throw off the disease, whatever it may be, more especially relying on the purification of the one great safety valve which they can see, handle, and safely assist at its work. There is no room for mystery about such common sense treatment, there is no need to walk the hospitals to learn it, and under it a good nurse is soon seen to be of more value than a mere prescribing doctor. I know of no instance in any part of the world where a legally qualified medical practitioner has proved a first rate hydropatbist. No one of them has ever effected flic cures that were performed by farmer Priessnifz, or manufacturer Smedlcy, or Mrs. Nichol. In the largest hydropathic establishment I know the unqualified ” proprietor or his wife, or both find the brains and the energy necessary to effect the cures, and pay some harmless gentleman with an M.D. at the end of bis name to hold a consultation with these patients who will believe n othing else, and to give a certificate of the cause of death if any of their patients die.—l am, Ac., Alfred Sauxders.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18800226.2.16.3

Bibliographic details

HYDROPATHY., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 66, 26 February 1880

Word Count
1,259

HYDROPATHY. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 66, 26 February 1880

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