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and all of these are within reach of the general practitioner, for all the apparatus essential is procurable at a very reasonable rate from any of the battery makers of the country. My own observation teaches me that each of these currents supplies a specific purpose as well as a special action, and it is upon this basis that they should be employed.
Faradism is a great means of improving nutrition. Its action is that of a high speed massage; by its rapid stimulation of relaxation and contraction blood is carried into and out of parts so rapidly that the oxygenation of tissues is greatly improved. This is accomplished by not only distributing the blood more perfectly, but as well by increasing the red and white blood corpuscles and by increasing the percentage of hæmoglobin. That faradism does this is no longer a question, for the comparison of numerous blood counts under the influence of faradic stimulation proves this point beyond doubt, therefore this current should always be employed where the stimulating effect of alternate dilatation and contraction are desirable. The influence faradism has is always tonic and stimulating when employed in a case to which it is applicable, and is to be used in all cases where there is lack of power and want of force.
Galvanism on the other hand is entirely different in its results. Its primary effect is tissue destruction and it is especially adapted in the treatment of cases where there is need of some force that will hold in abeyance tissue development. With this rule in mind there need be no difficulty in choosing between this and faradism.
On the other hand, the sinusoidal current, which is nothing more or less than the alternating current and is produced by rapid changes of polarity, is pre-eminently a current to be employed in faulty elimination and is always best employed with the use of water, combined with the bath or in the form of an electric light bath. By this means it serves to assist overtaxed eliminative organs in unloading, and if followed by a brisk reactionary rubbing, is always beneficial in every case of nervous disturbance.
The effect of an electric light bath is two-fold. It serves not only to increase elimination, but it likewise affords a kinetic influence which is very similar to that of the sun's rays, and as its rays pierce the shadows of the body, all cells are animated with new life and power, which help materially in tissue metamorphosis.
The static current, setting free as it does, ozone, surrounds the patient with an atmosphere which, inhaled by the lungs and imbibed by the skin, serves at once as food for the tissues and life to overworked organs. It is eliminative and tonic to some cases; to others it is depressing and enervating. There is no form of electrical treatment that requires so much care in individualizing as in the employment of the static current. I have known it in many cases to so rarify the surrounding atmosphere as to cause syncope, thus causing the patient to fall from the chair in a faint from cerebral anemia. Because of this effect its employment should be guarded in cases of organic heart disease and especially following shock. Again in highly nervous individuals ordinarily it only serves to increase nervous tension, and therefore always aggravates so that in all cases of this kind it is contra-indicated.
It used to be supposed that the greatest influence of static electricity was its suggestive influence, but the discovery of the Roentgen Ray has shown conclusively that frictional electricity contains within it forces real, not imaginative, active and influential rather than simply suggestive, and when we know more of it, as we are sure to, we will find more real need for its use than any of the electrical currents with which we are now familiar.
There is no proof of a pudding equal to its eating, there is no evidence so substantial as cases in point. To demonstrate the kind of cases to which the various forms of electricity are applicable and to illustrate the possibilities of their use, I append the following report:
Case A.-J. W., age 62 years, about to be committed to an asylum, a subject apparently of senile dementia. Special form of delusion, fear of the use of water, with no desire to drink or eat because of a supposed great scarcity of both water and food. These symptoms were so marked that he could scarcely be persuaded to eat enough to sustain life, in fact, it became necessary to do artificial feeding.
The especially prominent symptoms were coated tongue, offensive breath, muddy skin, obstinate constipation, scanty urination, bloated extremities, irregular heart's action, sleeplessness and delirium. Here was a condition of a grave type, physical as well as mental. Medicines would not be taken, therefore drugs were of no avail. Here was every evidence of poor peristaltic action and of auto-intoxication.
On the ground of electricity being a great stimulator and realizing that exercise was an important factor in this sluggish condition of the body, general faradization was employed, a current of medium strength being used daily over the entire body, the speed of the interruption being fast or slow, according to the part directly affected by its application. When operating over the abdomen for the purpose of stimulating the action of the stomach and bowels, the current was slowed in its interruptions to meet the normal peristaltic action. For effect on the bowels the pendulum attachment on the switch board was placed so as to interrupt about thirty times per minute, over the stomach about sixteen to eighteen times per minute, while over the ex tremities it was increased to about seventy or eighty times per minute. In less than a month this man's mental condition began to clear up. His bowels became more active, the swelling left his extremities, his hallucination was less marked, and in three months he has fully recovered.
I omitted to state that in connection with the general faradizatior. the electric bath, consisting of the sinusoidal current, followed by massage, was also used, the purpose for which they were prescribed I think are self-apparent. Faradism, to increase peristaltic action and to improve the blood current, while the sinusoidal was employed to aid elimination and thus overcome the auto-intoxication which had numbed and befogged the brain.
Case B.- Mr. K., age 35 years. Presented in an extremely nervous condition, pupils dilated, carotids throbbing, muscles jactating, face puffed and extremities swollen. Breath had the odor of sour wine, in fact the man had every appearance of being under the influence of liquor. He staggered when he walked, his utterances were incoherent, and everything about him indicated high nervous tension. He had only been in his room a few hours when the nurse reported finding him in an unconscious condition with every appearance of an epileptic seizure.
For the following six days after his admission to the Sanatorium he was a raving maniac and so violent it was next to impossible to treat him at all. The electric light and electric bath were employed with most gratifying results and in a short time he became well and strong again.
His nervous condition was undoubtedly the result of uremia, and had we employed sedatives and drugs I feel sure the history would have been much different, for here was an eliminative condition só poor, a stomach so greatly deranged and so persistently sick that medication by the mouth was next to impossible.
I relate this case to show also that acute cases are just as susceptible as chronic ones and that convulsive disorders that are due to ptomanic absorption are most successfully treated in this manner.
Case C.--G. E. McK., age 28 years, presented with a history of syphilis, with all of the text-book symptoms of locomotor ataxia in the second stage. Patient had not been able to stand on his feet for a year. Spasmodic jerking of extremities almost continuous. Paroxysms of pain were frequent in recurrence and extreme in character. He had been under the care of many physicians, eminent and otherwise. The treatment that had been employed in his case included medicine, treat
ments at various noted springs, osteopathic treatments, sanatorium treatments, electrical treatment, etc., etc. Inquiry demonstrated that he had not given any one form of treatment time enough to be of any avail.
Under his protest medicines were discontinued, while static electricity and the alternating current bath, both electric light and water, were instituted and continued daily for a period of four months. at the end of which time the patient was enabled to go to his home and into business, and I have recently learned that after a period of two years he has continued able to work every day since discontinuing treatments.
Case D.-L. W. M., age 33 years. History of apoplexy, paralysis of left side of body, marked symptoms of clot and incident pressure, with all indications of degenerative changes taking place, which were causing the patient to become self-willed, petulant, lachrymose and generally childish, worst of all, a history of cerebral softening in case of father, who died at 37. Here was a foreign body to be overcome. Central galvanization was employed. In six months case had regained mental equilibrium and control of paralyzed side. For three years now has been following his regular vocation, that of railway brakeman, uninterruptedly.
Case E.-J. L. D., age 42 years, history of syphilis, symptoms of cerebral gummata pressure and organic changes of brain so great as to make of the patient a perfect picture of imbecility. He would lie for hours almost unconscious of any of his surroundings, he drooled at the mouth, stools passed unconsciously when at all, urine uncontrolled. Temperature almost invariably high, pulse very irregular, general eliminative power extremely poor.
Here was another instance of tissue to be destroyed. Galvanism was the current employed. As soon as he was able to be taken to the static machine a general statical treatment was used in conjunction.
After about nine months of this kind of treatment the patient had fully recovered.
It will be noted that these are all cases of a severe and grave type, and I think it will be admitted that the results are most gratifying, for there is not one of them but what the text-books from a medical standpoint enter as “Prognosis, Unfavorable."
The lesson I would convey in presenting these cases is that persistency of effort with the proper electrical current applied in a favorable way is one of the best means possible in the treatment of the graver disorders. I would assert, furthermore, that electrical treatments are equally as advantageous in functional disturbances.
As a parting injunction, I would remind you that there is only one correct way in which to make an electrical prescription. First, determine the cause of the trouble, find out its exact requirements, then apply the remedy in accordance therewith persistently, patiently and regularly.
Dr. J. Richey Horner.-In taking up the discussion of Dr. Sawyer's paper I find there is so much in it that it will not be possible to do it justice. There are two or three points, however, which I wish to emphasize. One is the necessity for selecting the current of electricity which is adapted to your case. It is not to be supposed that electricity has the same action, no matter what kind is given. The action of the faradic is different from that of the galvanic, and I would no more think of giving a patient for whom static electricity is indicated the sinusoidal or galvanic, or faradic current than I would give a patient for whom Nux is indicated Bryonia, Aconite or Veratrum. Individualization is as much a necessity in prescribing any one of the different currents of electricity as it is in the prescribing of any other remedy, for electricity is a remedy. It is not simply a palliative. It is a means for cure.
Another point which I would like to emphasize is the necessity for persistence in the use of electricity. It is not enough to give one, two or three treatments, or even to give treatment for one, two or three months in many cases, because the majority of them require much more than that. It is necessary to continue the remedy until you effect a cure.
Another point is the necessity for using--as you do with other remedies--the least amount of the remedy to effect a cure. A great mistake made by many who are using electricity is that they give a patient all that he can stand, thus many times doing great harm, and sometimes irreparable damage. It is much better to begin with a light current and increase gradually to the point where you are getting the effect you wish to produce, rather than to commence with a heavy current and be forced to reduce it to a mild one.
Now with regard to vibrations. An experiment along this line in physics is to set up a number of tuning forks of varying sizes; then striking another tuning fork we find that it will cause to vibrate that one of the tuning forks which are set up which is of its own size. The others are not affected. Dr. Sawyer has noted in his paper that the entire structure of the human body is under the influence of tonic vibrations sent out from the brain. These produce in the healthy