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17 Sweating also is elicited in two ways, either by dry heat, or by the bath. The dry is the heat of hot sand, of the Laconian sweating-room, and of the dry oven, and of some natural sweating places, where hot vapour exhaling from the ground is confined within a building, as we have it in the myrtle groves above Baiae. Besides these it is also derived from the sun and through exercise. These treatments are useful whenever humor is doing harm inside, and has to be dispersed. And also some diseases of sinews are best treated thus. But the other treatments may suit the infirm: sun and exercise only the more robust, who must, however, be free from fever, whether only at the com-[p. 187]mencement of a disease, or when actually in the grasp of a grave malady. But care must be taken that none of the above are tried either during fever or with food undigested. Now the bath is of double service; for at one time after fevers have been dissipated, it forms for a convalescent the preliminary to a fuller diet and stronger wine; at another time it actually takes off the fever; and it is generally adopted, when it is expedient to relax the skin and draw out corrupt humor and change the bodily habit. The ancients used it rather timidly, Asclepiades more boldly. There is indeed nothing to be apprehended from its use, if it be timely; before the proper time it does harm. A patient who has become free from fever can safely be bathed, as soon as there has been no paroxysm for one whole day, on the next day after the time for a paroxysm. But where the fever has a regular periodicity so that it recurs every third or fourth day, when there has not been a recurrence, the bath is safe. Even whilst fevers are persisting, if they are slow and mild, and have lasted a long while, this treatment may properly be tried, so long as the parts below the ribs are neither indurated nor swollen, the tongue not furred, there is no pain in the trunk or head, and the fever is not then on the increase. And in those fevers which have a definite periodicity, there are two opportunities for the bath, one before the shivering, the other after the fever has ended: but in the case of those who have been the subjects for a long while of slow and slight fever, the time for the bath is when the paroxysm has wholly remitted, or if that does not occur, at any rate when it has mitigated, and the[p. 189] patient's body has already become as sound as it possibly can in this sort of complaint. A weakly patient who is about to go to the bath should avoid exposing himself to cold beforehand. On arriving at the bath, he should sit for a while to try whether his temples become tightened, and whether any sweat arises: if the former happens without the latter, for that day the bath is unsuitable, and he should be anointed lightly and carried home, and cold is to be avoided in every possible way and abstinence practised. But if the temples are unaffected, and sweating starts there first, and then elsewhere, his face is to be fomented with hot water; then he should go down into the hot bath, where it is to be noted whether there is shrivelling of the skin at the first touch of hot water, which can hardly happen when the indications noted above have been attended to properly: it is, however, a sure sign of the bath being injurious. Whether he should be anointed before entering, or after the hot bath, should be decided from the degree of his convalescence. Generally, however, unless it has been definitely prescribed that it is to be done afterwards, when the sweating begins the body should be slightly anointed, and then he is to get into the hot water. And whilst in it also regard should be had to his strength; he ought not to be kept in the bath until he faints from the heat, but be taken out earlier and carefully wrapped up so that no cold reaches him, and so that he may sweat there also before taking anything. There are hot foments: millet, salt, or sand, any of which is heated, and put into a linen cloth: when less heat is required the linen cloth may be used alone, but[p. 191] if greater heat, firebrands are extinguished, wrapped up in rags, and so put round him. Further, leathern bottles are to be filled with hot oil, or hot water is poured into earthenware vessels, called from their shape "lentils"; and salt is put into a linen bag, and dipped into very hot water, then laid upon the limb to be fomented. . . . and two broad-ended cautery irons are heated near the fire, and one of them is dipped into that salt, and water is lightly sprinkled upon the iron held over the part. When the iron begins to cool, it is put back into the fire, and the second iron made use of in the same way as the first, turn and turn about: during the procedure a hot brine drips down, which is beneficial for sinews contracted by disease of any kind. The common effect of all these measures is to disperse whatever is oppressing the parts over the heart, or strangling the throat, or harming some limb. It will be stated under particular maladies when use is to be made of each (III, IV).
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