CHAPTER 3 [Medical Conditions]
proper evacuations; being by its own rarifaction pressing towards all the extreme parts, and must promote
the action of evacuations in every part. Hence the utility of conjoining this mineral in a dropsy,
is so far evident, that it must leave a conviction on the mind of every judicious reader, capable of comparing ideas.
The gout is a very difficult disease to cure. It may be always relieved, and sometimes nearly or quite restored, by the different modes of treating it by electricity. The old practice of giving strong shocks in the gout, is universally discarded; it was a monstrous absurdity, and discredited electricity very much. Exceedingly light shocks may be passed upon the affected part; the design of them is to induce prictional heat, and stimulate the part affected. But a strong shock will dilate and weaken; and this is opposed to every rational intention of cure.
Dr. Cavallo, in his medical electricity, states the mode of treatment lately adopted in England, and which is found to be a valuable improvement in administering for the tout. They place the patient upon an insolating stoool, the affected part being covered with one or two thicknesses of flannel, and with a metallic point extract the spark from the part affected; this should be repeated three several times in a day, and continued an hour at each time. But I do
not think it expedient to depend altogether on the extraction of the sparks; but that light shocks should be alternated with the extraction of sparks, the more readily to discharge the irrative contents of the dilated and weakened portions of vessels.
As the tout exists either in direct or indirect debility, high and constant insolations will be of undouted utility. The insolation inseparable from the extracting of the sparks may be, and undoubtedly is some benefit; but to make this supernatural insolation any effential intention of cure, it will be necessary to perpetuate the application of this invigorating power from day to day: for, notwithstanding it instantly accelerates the circulations, by its enlivening effects upon the fluids; yet it doth not restore, as hath been observed, tone and durable action, but by a secondary effect, not a little similar to the tension acquired by the gentle electrifications, whish is described (vide page 67 and 68) as arising from frictional warmth. The extraction of the spark may be considered as having some affinity to these secondary effects of the insolation and gentle electrifications.
I think it expedient for people subject to these paroxysms to attend to these prescriptions, and use the gentle shocks and the artificial insolations in their best states of health, in order to restore the habit, and prevent the paroxysms. The method, or rather practice of treating this disease so temporarily, or at the term of the
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