Naturopathy

  • By Swami Sivananda
  • March 2002
  • 139477 views

Water Cure       

Cold water applied to the surface of the body arouses and stimulates the circulation of blood all over the system. There is an increase in the number of red and white blood cells. A cold both has electromagnetic effect in the system. There are invigoration and stimulation.

It flushes the blood vessels and cleanses them from the accumulation of waste, morbid matter and poison. It opens the pores of the skin and throws away all impurities.

There must be a healthy, invigorating reaction after the bath. Then alone the bath has done you a real good. Water acts upon the body and the body reacts to it.

Water is a universal remedy. It revives a sluggish organ instantly.

Drink hot water in sips. This will wash out the stomach quite thoroughly, cleanse away all the acids. It will relieve heartburn, flatulence, acute indigestion and palpitation of the heart. It will stimulate a sluggish liver to activity and will cause a free flow of urine and dissolve all the gravel or stone in the urinary tract and kidneys. In gout and rheumatism it cleanses the blood stream by washing out the uric acid and waste matter in the joints.

EFFICACY OF BATHS

The Action of Cold Bath

Many people cannot understand how the application of water on the surface of the body can affect the function of the organs inside. For instance, they cannot understand how a shower bath can in any way affect the liver or the stomach or the heart.

Remedial baths are generally used to generate heat or cold to the body, and it is the heat or cold, which does the good and brings about the favorable results, not the water. The water is simply a vehicle for carrying the heat or the cold. Some baths, of course, are neutral and are used for other purposes rather than that of applying heat or cold to the body.

Cold brings about its beneficial effects on account of its abstracting heat from the body and also because it stimulates the nerves in the skin on the surface of the body. In the skin there are millions of nerve endings, which are connected with nerve fibers and nerve trunks, which in turn are connected with the spinal cord or brain. These nerves in the skin or in the nerve trunk form a pathway for the conduction of nerve impulses over the skin to the spinal cord and the brain.

When cold is applied to the body, these nerve endings in the skin are stimulated, and an innumerable number of nerve impulses are set in motion, as it were, which travel towards the spinal cord or brain, where they reach a nerve center. The nerve center, on account of this incoming influence from the skin is modified and changed in its activity. For instance, when a man takes a shower bath there are millions of nerve currents which travel up the nerve fiber and nerve trunk to the centers in the spinal cord and at the base of the brain, having control of the heart, and these impulses tell these nerve centers to makes the heart beats more forcible but slower. Other impulses are sent down to the heart and accordingly the heart beats more slowly and with greater force. This is only one of the results of the cold bath, and a change of the heart is brought about entirely through the effect of the cold, acting on the skin and finally acting through the nervous system and changing the rate and force of the heart.

There is no remedy known, certainly no medicine, which will change the activity of the heart so quickly and so decidedly as the application of cold water to the body. We are to understand, then, that the good that comes from taking a cold bath is on account of the cold which is in the water, and this cold stimulates the nervous system and in this way changes the function of the organs inside the body such as the heart, the stomach, the liver, the kidneys, etc.

Warm Bath

The temperature of a warm bath should not be below 92 degrees Fahr, or above 112 degrees Fahr. The thermometer is the best way to find out the temperature.

Warm as well as hot baths equalize the temperature of the body, soothe the nervous system, control the action of the heart, promote perspiration, equalize the distribution of the blood throughout the body and help the action of the skin.

Warm baths are good in convulsions, spasmodic cramps, measles, scarlatina and fevers. A general warm bath should last from 15 to 30 minutes and the temperature be kept the same by adding fresh hot water.

Sitz Bath

The sitz bath, also known as the hipbath, is one of the most useful baths employed in hydropathical treatment.

Fill an empty bathtub with cold water. In summer, cool the water by storing it in earthen pots. When you sit in the tub the water should come to the level of the navel. From four to six gallons of water will be necessary. The knees should be above water. The hips, the feet and the sexual organ should be in the water. You can also sit with legs and feet outside or place the feet on a small stool or in a bucket of hot water in the case of hot sitz bath.

Rub vigorously with both hands the abdomen, the groin, and the perineum for two or three minutes. Then come out of the bath, dry with rough towel and put on your dress.

Spread the knees apart and vigorously dash water over the abdomen with the hollow of the hand. Then rub briskly the abdomen with both hands. You can do like this also.

Females also can take this bath. The duration of the bath should be gradually increased when you become more accustomed to it.

The bath is highly beneficial in gaining vitality. It keeps you quite fit and healthy. It augments the general functional vigor. It strengthens all the organs that are contained in the regions of the hip or pelvic cavity such as ovaries, uterus, bladder, rectum, urethra or the urinary canal, etc. This bath is of special value in all sexual diseases. It is useful in gonorrhea, impotency, painful erection, wet dreams or spermatorrhoea, painful, excessive or insufficient menstruation, piles, diarrhea and dysentery. Women can take the bath during periods also.

The bath increases the circulation of blood in these parts very greatly and strengthens the parts. It removes constipation and helps regular movement of the bowels. It exercises a sure, strengthening effect upon the whole sexual organism. It gives sexual strength and builds nervous vigor.

II

This bath is beneficial for those females who have irregular or painful menses.

Sit on the edge of a low stool placed in a tub. Pour cold water up to the level of the top of the seat or a little higher. Rub the two sides of the sexual organ with a cloth dipped in the cold water. Rub the sides only but not the opening between. The bath may last for ten twenty minutes. If there is no tub keep the water in a vessel by the side of the seat. Repeat the bath when the pain returns.

Males also can take this bath. They should rub the foreskin of the organ or the prepuce. Rub the foreskin alone but not the organ, which is inside the fore-skin (the glands). Draw the foreskin forward a little.

Nature curists use the alternate hot and cold sitz bath also.

Spinal Bath

Stand up and pour cold water on the head by inverting a pot of water. You can pour as many pots of cold water as you can conveniently bear. Let the water flow freely along the spine.
 
It can be taken in lying posture also. The water used should be cold. Pour water in the bathing tub, two or three inches deep. Lie down in the tub with your feet outside. The feet can rest on a stool. Sit up and rub your back with a towel by holding the two ends in your two hands.

The bath can last for half-an-hour. The head, face and neck may be bathed in cold water. If the water loses its coolness, you can pour out the water and put in fresh cold water.

If you find it difficult to lie down in the cold water you can have friction with wet towel all over the back.

If there is no tub have wet cloth over the back and keep it cool by pouring cold water down the back. This will serve the purpose of a spinal bath. Spread a wet cloth on a cot and lie down on your back for ten or fifteen minutes. This is also a good form of spinal bath.

Spinal bath strengthens, cools and invigorates the spinal nerves. It tones the spinal column.

Eye Bath

Used cold water that can be borne with comfort.
Dash cold water several times with the hand into the open eyes.
Fill a glass eyecup with cold water. Bend the head forward and press the cup securely against the eyes. Then bend backward and open and shut the eye-lid several times.

Dip the forehead and eyes in a basin of water. Open and close the lids under water several times.
Many diseases of the eyes will be cured.

Mud Cure

Salutations to Mother Earth!

Earth is goddess Bhuma Devi, Consort of Lord Vishnu. She is the source for all sorts of grains and foodstuffs, for all sorts of minerals, diamonds, rubies, etc.

Mud is useful in the treatment of various diseases. In chronic constipation mud-plaster or mudpack over abdomen is highly beneficial. The plaster is formed of plastic clay, moist but not enough water to dribble off from it. The plaster is put on the lower abdomen and covered over with a plantain leaf and bandaged. The plaster must be tried patiently for weeks.

Earth is a pain-reliever. It is resolvent. It is a cooling agent. Mud is a cheap, harmless nature’s remedy. It is available everywhere.

Red earth or ordinary clay may be used. Powder it. Make it into a paste and apply it to the affected part. The paste should be semi solid. It should be at least an inch thick. It should be covered with leaf and cloth so that the moisture may be constantly kept up. When the paste dries up apply fresh paste. Do not apply the paste when the body is cold.

A thick application on the forehead is highly useful in headache. It will give great relief at once. It should be applied cold and not hot. The plaster is beneficial in all forms of indigestion and bowel complaints.

It is useful in intestinal cramps, lumbago, inflammations, spinal weakness, pain in the chest and stomach. It hastens suppuration and abscesses will burst open quickly under clay applications.

In case of boils put a thin muslin cloth between the skin and the clay.

In inflammations boiling water is used for making paste. Spread the paste evenly about half an inch thick on a piece of cloth, and apply it directly over the skin. Apply the paste as hot as bearable. Let the plaster remain for half-an-hour. If it becomes cold, change the paste.

Mudpack is useful in chronic irritating skin-affections and heat of the skin. It can be applied to the whole body. Mud is a very good substitute for soap. It is a very good cleaning material. The application of mud-paste to the abdomen reduces temperature in fevers. It is a substitute for ice bag or wet pack.

In acute and chronic inflammation of the bowels and the internal abdominal organs, in cystitis or inflammation of the bladder and urethritis or inflammation of the urethra, in all menstrual disorders and in retention of the urine, the application of the paste to the abdomen is very useful.

In piles and fistula, in rheumatic and painful joints following injury, in syphilitic and gonorrheal synovitis, hydrocele, scrofula, bubo, and enlargement of lymphatic gland, the paste is highly beneficial.

In all swellings, boils and abscesses the paste acts as a resolvent, if suppuration has not commenced. It is a cheap substitute for antiphilogistine. If suppuration has already started it helps suppuration and quickens the discharge of pus.

When water is kept in an earthen pot it is very cool. Mud vessels are healthy utensils for cooking. Use mud vessels for cooking. Give up false dignity.

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