Here are some examples of Water Cures taken from H. Lindhlar’s Nature Cure, which is one of the AMCC’s reference book.
Don’t Be Scared of Cold Water
Only water at ordinary temperature, as it comes from well or faucet, should be used in hydropathic applications.
Until you are accustomed to cold water, use water as cool as can be borne without discomfort.
The essentials for every cold-water treatment are:
- warmth of the body before the application,
- coolness of the water (natural temperature),
- rapidity of action and
- friction or exercise to stimulate the circulation.
No cold-water treatment should be taken when the body is in a chilled condition.
Also, excessive cold is as suppressive in its effects upon the organism as are poisonous antiseptics or antifever medicines.
The Head Bath
Loss or discoloration of the hair is generally due to the lack of hair-building elements in the blood or to sluggish circulation in the scalp and a diseased condition of the hair follicles. Nothing more effectually stimulates the flow of blood to brain and scalp or promotes the elimination of waste matter and poisons from these parts than the head bath together with scalp massage.
Under no circumstances use hair tonics, dandruff or eczema cures, or hair dyes. All such preparations contain poisons or at any rate
strong antiseptics and germcides. Dandruff is a form of elimination and should not be suppressed. When the scalp is in good condition, it will disappear of its own accord.
Whenever you have occasion to wash the face, wash also the head thoroughly with cold water. While doing so, vigorously pinch, knead and massage the scalp with the finger tips. When feasible, turn the stream from a hydrant or a hose upon the head. This will add the good effect of friction to the coldness of the water.
The Eye Bath
For the eye bath the temperature of the water should be as cold as the sensitive eyeball can stand, but not cold enough to cause serious discomfort. A few grains of salt may be added to make the water slightly saline.
Submerge forehead and eyes in a basin of water, open and close the lids under water from six to eight times; repeat a few times. Bend over a basin filled with water and with the hands dash the water into the open eyes.
Many ailments of the eyes, for instance, the much-dreaded cataract, are caused by defective circulation and the accumulation of
impurities and poisons in the system in general and in the mechanism of the eyes in particular.
Upper Body Bath
Stand in an empty tub, take water in the hollow of the hands from a running faucet or a bucket filled with cold water and rub briskly
the upper half of the body from neck to hips, for two or three minutes. Use a towel or brush for those parts of the body that you cannot reach with the hands.
Lower Body Bath
Same thing as in previous paragraph, rubbing the lower part of the body from the waist downward.
Morning Cold Rub
Directly from the warmth of the bed, or after sunbath and exercise have produced a pleasant glow, go to the bathroom, sit in the empty tub with the stopper in place, turn on the cold water, and as it flows into the tub, catch it in the hollow of the hands and wash first the limbs, then the abdomen, then chest and back. Throw the water all over the body and rub the skin with the hands like you wash your face.
Do this quickly but thoroughly. The entire procedure need not take up more than a few minutes. By the time the bath is finished, there may be from two to four inches of water in the tub. Use a towel or brush for the back if you cannot reach it otherwise.
As long as there is a good reaction, the « cold rub » may be taken in an unheated bathroom even in cold weather.
After the bath, dry the body quickly with a coarse towel and finish by rubbing with the hands until the skin is dry and smooth and you are aglow with the exercise, or expose the wet body to the fresh air before an open window and rub with the hands until dry and warm.
Evening Sitz Bath
The morning cold rub is stimulating in its effects while the evening sitz bath is quieting and relaxing. It’s therefore especially beneficial if taken just before going to bed.
Cold water draws the blood from brain and spinal cord and thereby insures better rest and sleep. It cools and relaxes the abdominal organs, sphincters, and orifices, stimulates gently and naturally the action of the bowels and of the urinary tract, and is equally effective in chronic constipation and in affections of the kidneys or bladder.
Pour into the vessel a few inches of water at natural temperature, as it comes from the faucet, and sit in the water until a good
reaction takes place–that is, until the first sensation of cold is followed by a feeling of warmth. This may take from a few seconds to a few minutes, according to the temperature of the water and the individual powers of reaction.
Dry with a coarse towel, rub and pat the skin with the hands, then, in order to establish good reaction, practice deep breathing for a few minutes, alternating with an internal massage.
Sit in a large basin or in the bathtub in enough water to cover the hips completely, the legs resting on the door or against the sides of the tub. While taking the hip bath, knead and rub the abdomen.
Dry with a coarse towel, then rub and pat the skin with the hands for a few minutes.
The duration of the hip bath and the temperature of the water must be adapted to individual conditions.
(a) Stand in water up to the calves, then proceed as above.
(b) Stand in water up to the knees, then rub vigorously or walk as directed.
The Foot Spray
Turn the full force of water from a hydrant or hose first on one foot, then on the other. Let the stream play alternately on the upper part of the feet and on the soles. The coldness and force of the water will draw the blood to the feet.
Stand in cold water reaching up to the ankle for one minute only. Dry the feet with a coarse towel and rub them vigorously with the hands, or walk about briskly for a few minutes. Repeat if necessary.
Instead of putting a hot-water bottle to the feet of a bedridden invalid, bathe his feet with cold water, adding a little salt for
its electric effect, then rub and knead (massage), and finish with a magnetic treatment by holding his feet between your hands and willing the blood to flow into them. This will have a lasting good effect not only upon the feet, but upon the entire organism.
Take up cold water in the hollow of the hands from a running faucet or a bucket filled with water, rub arms and legs briskly for a few minutes.
Walk barefoot in wet grass or on wet stone pavements several times a day, from ten to twenty minutes at a time, or less in case of weakness. The early morning dew upon the grass is especially beneficial; later in the day wet the grass or pavement with a hose.
After barefoot walking, dry and rub the feet thoroughly and take a short, brisk walk in shoes and stockings.
No lifeless instrument or mechanical appliance can equal the dexterity, warmth and magnetism of the human hand.
Hydrotherapy Treatment of Chronic Disease
While in Lindhlar’s treatment of acute diseases we use wet packs and cold ablutions to promote the radiation of heat and thereby to reduce the fever temperature, Nature Cure’s aim in the treatment of chronic diseases is to arouse the system to acute eliminative effort. In other words, while in acute disease the hydropathic treatment is sedative, in chronic diseases it is stimulative.
Internal Massage and Deep Breathing
Lie on your back on a bed or couch, knees raised. Relax thoroughly, exhale and hold the breath after exhalation. While doing so, push the abdomen out and draw it in as far as possible each way. Repeat these movements as long as you can hold the breath without straining, then breathe deeply and regularly for several minutes, then repeat the massage movements.
Lie flat on floor or mattress, the head unsupported. Relax the muscles all over the body, then inhale deeply with the diaphragm only, raising the wall of the abdomen just below the ribs without elevating either the chest or the lower abdomen. Take about four seconds to inhale, then exhale in twice that length of time, contracting the abdomen below the ribs.
The Law of Action and Reaction
As the cold water drives the blood with increased force through the system, it flushes the capillaries in the tissues and cleanses them from the accumulations of morbid matter and poisons which are one of the primary causes of acute and chronic diseases.
Cold water applied to the surface of the body arouses and stimulates the circulation all over the system. Blood counts before and after a cold-water application show a very marked increase in the number of red and white blood corpuscles. This does not mean that the cold water has in a moment created new blood cells, but it means that the blood has been stirred up and sent hurrying through the system, that the lazy blood cells which were lying inactively in the sluggish and stagnant blood stream and in the clogged and obstructed tissues are aroused to increased activity.
The first, temporary effect of warmth above the body temperature, whether it be applied in the form of hot air or water, steam or
light, is to draw the blood into the surface. Immediately after such an application the skin will be red and hot.
The secondary and lasting effect, however (in accordance with the Law of Action and Reaction), is that the blood recedes into the interior of the body and leaves the skin in a bloodless and enervated condition subject to chills and predisposed to « catching cold. »
Conclusion on the Cold Water Treatment
In accordance with the Law of Action and Reaction, hot applications drive the blood away from the feet, while cold applications draw the blood to the feet. Therefore, if your feet are cold and bloodless (which means that the blood is congested in other parts of the body), walk barefoot in the dewy grass, in a cool brook, on wet stone pavements or on the snow.
The circulation is stirred up and accelerated throughout the system and the blood rushes with force into the depleted skin, flushing the surface of the body with warm, red blood and restoring to it the rosy color of health. This is the secondary effect. In other words, the well-applied cold-water treatment is followed by a good reaction accompanied by many permanent beneficial results.
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