Loading...
Larger font
Smaller font
Copy
Print
Contents

Health, or, How to Live

 - Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "undefined".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents

    HOW TO LIVE [NUMBER FIVE]

    DR. TRALL ON CLOTHING

    PHYSIOLOGICAL NATURE OF CLOTHING. — It is an obvious physiological fact, that the more the whole surface of the body is exposed to the external air, within certain limits, the more vigorous is its functional action performed, and the better is it enabled to preserve its own proper temperature, as well as to resist all morbific impressions from vicissitudes of weather, or the extremes of heat and cold. Clothing, therefore, which the usages of society, and the severity of climates render indispensable, should, as an invariable rule, be as light and loose as possible without bodily discomfort. We must, however, recollect that comfort is very much a matter of habit, and make a due discrimination between the natural sensation of health and the morbid sensitiveness produced by false customs. Some persons wrap their whole bodies in flannel under-garments, and yet are ready to go into a “shivering fit” at every unusual breath of cold air; while others eschew those garments entirely, and endure the coldest weather of this climate, with much less discomfort.HHTL 257.1

    MATERIALS OF CLOTHING. — The substance principally employed in the manufacture of clothing in civilized countries are, linen, cotton, silk, wool, and hair or down. These materials which are bad conductors of caloric, afford the greatest immediate protection from cold, as woolens or flannels; but, for the same reason, they are more debilitating to the cutaneous function; they are only to be preferred in cases of temporary exposure, or in very cold climates, or as a “necessary evil” in persons whose external surface is debilitated by bad habits of dress, until its vigor can be restored by bathing and other hygienic processes. Cotton and linen are better adapted to temperate climates, especially during the warm season; and linen for under-clothes, is the best of the two in hot weather. Flannel next the skin, I am persuaded, is invariably hurtful as a habit. When woolen clothing is worn it should be the outside garments; these may be of any quantity or thickness necessary to keep the body comfortable, while cotton or linen only comes in contact with the skin. The discrepancies among medical authors on this subject, are almost ludicrous; some advocating the use of flannel next the skin, at all times in all seasons; others condemning it as a fruitful source of colds, coughs, pulmonic and rheumatic affections etc. “As regards the chest,” says Sir George Lefevre, “a very light woolen waistcoat should not be dispensed with even in the dog-days.” I would much rather prohibit it in winter than prescribe it in summer. In the last cholera season (1849) the New York Board of Health, by authority of their Medical Council, recommended, as among the preventive measures, “the wearing of flannel next to the skin,” during the hot weather of June, July and August. And on this hint a medical adventurer has since invented medicated aprons and bandages to keep the bowels warm, or, as the proprieter says “retain the animal heat,” and thus prevent bowel complaints. These notions are too absurd for serious refutation. Silk is a bad conductor, and for this reason females find silk dresses very uncomfortable in very warm weather. Furs are worn in this country more for ornament than use. They are the warmest clothing materials known and by overheating the part of the body to which they are applied, render it extremely susceptible to cold. Fur neckcloths, caps, etc., are very pernicious.HHTL 257.2

    COLOR OF CLOTHING. — In a strictly hygienic regulation of dress, color cannot be wholly disregarded. White colors reflect the rays of caloric; black absorbs them. Light-colored clothing is therefore more comfortable and sanatory in warm weather than dark-colored, because the former repels the heat, and the latter readily receives and retains it. Various experiments have shown that the heat-reflecting or heat-retaining property of different fabrics, varies exactly with their lighter or darker shades of color. This difference is, however, much greater in the luminous rays of light, than in the non-luminous. When, therefore, we are not exposed to the sun, the subject of color is of less importance. The absorbing power of dark surfaces renders the skins of dark-colored animals, as well as of the darker persons or races of the human family, less liable to be scorched or blistered by the direct rays of the sun, than are those of a lighter color.HHTL 258.1

    PARTICULAR GARMENTS. — Fashion seldom consults hygiene in the matter of dress. The hat is generally too stiff, heavy and hot. It ought to be as light, and soft as possible, and as thoroughly ventilated as a bed-chamber. This could easily be accomplished without marring its beauty. The common neck-stock or cravat is one of the worst articles known: by confining and heating the throat, it predisposes to colds, rheumatism, quinsy, bronchitis, etc. I have known several persons in New York city, who were habitually the subjects of two or three severe attacks of quinsy a year, entirely cured by exposing the neck in all weathers, and bathing it daily in cold water. That the natural clothing of an unshaven beard is a protection against affections of the throat and lungs, I have no doubt. But if we will render ourselves preternaturally susceptible by shaving, we would not aggravate the susceptibility by binding up the neck with tight clothing. Females are generally debilitated by too heavy an amount of clothing about the back and hips. The custom with some females of oiling the hair, then combing it very smooth, and fastening it in a bunch on the top of the head, is very injurious to the scalp and brain; in fact, a common source of headache and nervousness. Stockings of cotton and linen are better than flannel, except when the feet are exposed to both extreme cold and moisture. Garters are a common cause of varicose veins in the lower extremities.HHTL 259.1

    Fur gloves are a bad article; so are india-rubber shoes, except as over-shoes to slip on temporarily. Straps for fastening the pantaloons tightly to the boot or shoe, I believe are almost or quite out of fashion; it is well they are so, for they render all the motions of the body stiff and awkward, and cause an injurious pressure to be exerted on the knee-pan and shoulders. Several cases of synovitis, attended with extreme weakness of the muscles around the knee-joint, have lately come under my notice, produced, without any doubt, by wearing pantaloon straps. Suspenders, when the trowsers are loose and easy, are not objectionable; although the sailor, whose vocation requires the utmost freedom from all restraint in the muscles of the chest and upper extremities, finds it more convenient to support the trowsers by the tightened waistband.HHTL 260.1

    Custom has dealt more cruelly with infants than with adults in the style of clothing. Swathing, bandaging from head to foot with the view of getting the body in shape, and bandaging the abdomen to prevent the child from becoming “pot-bellied.” are fashions happily fast going into disrepute, under the teachings of hydropathic and physiological writers. The new-born infant wants no bracing or supporting from the clothes. All the clothing required in infancy and childhood is easy, loose, flowing garments, sufficient to preserve the requisite temperature.HHTL 260.2

    BED AND BODY LINEN. — It is always of importance that the bed and body linen be well aired daily, and frequently changed. Strict attention to the depurating function of the skin, requires that the under-garment or shirt worn during the day, should never be slept in during the night. The sheets, too, which collect more or less of the matters of perspiration, should be well exposed to the air every day. How often the shirts worn in the daytime require changing, depends something on the amount of exercise, perspiration etc.; generally two or three times a week are advisable.HHTL 260.3

    GENERAL RULES. — The first physiological rule of dress is, to have all garments as light in texture and as loose in fashion as is consistent with bodily comfort, and as will admit of the most perfect freedom in the exercise of every muscle of the body. The second is, to observe regularity and uniformity. Boots, shoes, hats, caps, thin and thick stockings, gloves, mittens, neck-dresses, head-dresses etc., when worn at all, should be always worn under similar circumstances — not indiscriminately changed or alternated. As intimated in a preceding chapter, inequality of clothing is a far more frequent cause of “colds,” than deficient clothing. If a person exposes a part of the body usually protected by clothing to a strong current of cold air, he will take cold sooner than by an equal exposure of the whole body. — Hydropathic Encyclopedia.HHTL 260.4

    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents