Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/213

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201
THE LAWS OF HEALTH.

Turkish bath the body should be douched with cold water; the capillaries are thus emptied of their blood by contraction, but immediately after the stimulation causes them to resume a state of activity, and produces vigorous circulation through the skin.

7. In taking a cold bath in the morning the same conditions should be present. The surface of the body should be warm and moist; therefore, the bath should be taken immediately on rising from the bed, and before the surface of the body has had time to cool or the capillaries to contract. The shock of the cold water should cause them suddenly to contract; then quick reaction will take place in the same way as after a Turkish bath. Unless this reaction occurs after the bath, there is great danger of getting a chill; at any rate, the full benefit of the bath is not obtained. Persons with weak circulation, who cannot take an ordinary morning bath, often derive great benefit from the Turkish bath. It opens the pores and improves the circulation of the skin, so that the shock of cold water can afterward be borne. The same persons can generally bear a cold bath if they get for a few minutes into a warm bath first, and then immediately plunge into cold water. By these means an active reaction is brought about. Warm baths should, in my opinion, never be taken on rising except under the above conditions, but warm baths at night are often desirable. They should be taken just before going to bed, when they have the effect of relaxing the muscular system and of promoting sleep by soothing the activity of the brain by the withdrawal of blood from it. I do not think warm baths at night are weakening, as the depression of vital energy which may occur is recovered during sleep. In river and sea bathing, persons should be careful not to remain in the water too long, nor should they exert themselves sufficiently to cause exhaustion, as the power of reaction is much impaired thereby; neither should persons get into cold water when cooling. The old-fashioned idea that persons should wait to cool before plunging into the water is a fallacy. There is no danger in plunging into the coldest water in a state of profuse perspiration, if the heart and arteries are in a healthy state. Of course, it would be unwise to do so immediately after a full meal, as the action of the heart might be impeded by the distended stomach.

8. Many persons complain of always getting up tired in the morning. This is very often due to defective ventilation of the bedroom, or from using an undue amount of bedclothes and bedding. Feather beds are too soft and yielding, and partially envelop the sleeper, thus producing profuse perspirations. The habit of lying too much under blankets is also very pernicious, by reason of the carbonic acid exhaled by the sleeper being respired. Again, it is a common error to suppose that, by simply opening a window a little at the top, a room can be ventilated. People forget that for proper ventilation there must be an inlet and outlet for the air. In bedrooms there is often