A Treatise on the Eclectic Southern Practice of Medicine Page: 38 of 724
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be applied with success in reducing fever and inflamma-
tion, counteracting the necessity of the lancet; it pro-
duces no actual loss of strength to your patient, which
is quite the opposite from bleeding, and which latter
remedy is almost always followed by debility. You will
frequently find cases where it will only be necessary to
apply the wet sheet over the body, leaving the extremi-
ties covered with a blanket; for there are persons whose
organic energy may suffice to supply the surface imme-
diately over the vital organs with caloric, but would
fail to do so in regard to the extremities; these are the
cases where you are required to exercise judgment. I
have never had a case requiring its application over
thirty-five minutes, but have frequently suffered them
to remain an hour, followed by good results. Whatever
may be the principle upon which the wet sheet acts, the
southern physician will find, during the treatment of
most of our diseases, that it is an indispensable remedy,
and one on which he can safely rely. The wet sheet,
in a great variety of cases, will be found an excellent
substitute for the vapor bath.
Water, in the state of warm vapor, exerts a very
powerful and depressing influence over the animal
economy. There are a great variety of modes for its
application, none of which has precedence over another,
and all so simple that any one is capable of giving it.
I am fully sensible to the fact, that this powerful reme-
dial agent has been badly abused, and carried, to a very
ridiculous extent, under the old application of "steam-
ing." Nevertheles, when properly applied, it has con-
sideralle claims in allaying inflammatory excitement,
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Massie, J. Cam. A Treatise on the Eclectic Southern Practice of Medicine, book, 1854; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143817/m1/38/: accessed November 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.