Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/749

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731
MASSAGE.

of the first importance, and will alternate with friction and manipulation. Percussion is in massage what faradization is in electricity, and will often answer the same purpose; manipulation, or deep-kneading, is to massage what the constant current is to electricity, and the ultimate effects of each are very much alike. In "Schmidt's Jahrbücher" and elsewhere numerous instances are given in which massage has succeeded, after electricity and other means had failed. The reverse of this may be true, but as yet I have not seen any proof of it. Let us now speak of the general effects of massage, and, further on, its influence more in detail. And, first, it may be well to premise that it requires, on the part of the patient a certain amount of latent energy, if one may so call it, in order to undergo even a minimum séance of massage; for a patient may be so weak as to preclude the possibility of its being applied without harm resulting. In properly selected cases, instances of which are frequently seen in individuals suffering from overwork, or want of work, worry, depression of spirits, and loss of sleep, together with feeble and tardy digestion—those who can not get or take rest, no matter how favorable the opportunity—the effects of massage are generally as follows: While it is being done, and often for several hours afterward, the patients are in a blissful state of repose; they feel as if they were enjoying a long rest, or had just returned from a refreshing vacation, and not a few say that it makes optimists of them for the time being. It produces warmth, comfort, and sleep; relieves or cures constipation, muscular pains, and stiffness. At the same time it exerts a peculiarly delightful and profound effect upon the nervous system, its influence being tonic, sedative, and physiologically counter-irritant, making more blood flow through the skin and muscles, and consequently less to the brain, spinal cord, and internal organs. To those to whom exercise would be injurious, massacre affords the advantages of exercise without exertion while the subjects of it are resting, their over-taxed will and used-up nervous energy not being required to express themselves in voluntary motion. For reasons such as these, we find no less an authority than the British "Journal of Mental Sciences" (for April, 1878) recommending "massage for certain melancholies, with trophic and vaso-motor affections, and also where dementia is threatened after an attack of excitement. Under this treatment mental comfort and a sense of well-being take the place of apathy and lassitude."

Lord Bacon has quaintly remarked that "repair is procured by nourishment, and nourishment is promoted by forwarding internal concoction, which drives forth the nourishment, as by medicines that invigorate the principal viscera; and, secondly, by exciting the external parts to attract the nourishment, as by exercise, proper frictions, etc." Massage excites the external parts to attract and assimilate the nourishment, brought thither by an increased volume of blood, and this, at the same time, favors absorption of the natural worn-out