Heating and cooling apparatuses for use in the sick-room

Top: Fig 1 and 2 - Hot air apparatus for bed and stove. Fig 3 and 4 - Cloak and frame for steam or hot-air therapy in a chair. Note the small additional stove under the chair, should additional warming be needed.

Bottom: Caps for cooling the head - Fig 2- Still water (suitable for <1 hr cooling sessions), Fig 3 - Flowing water. Additional water pump required.

"Personal Saunas" were not just a thing of the 1970s, though by that point in time, at least open flame wasn’t being used to warm people up.

For a while (and even in some psuedoscientific settings today), heating and cooling the body was believed to have therapeutic effects beyond what we know it to do today (lowering or raising body temperature, relieving sinus blockage, muscle relaxation, and a few other isolated effects). Those effects can, and often are, still be used to great benefit for many patients.

However, "therapeutically" sweating out a patient until they faint has no benefit and many risks, but was not uncommon for both internal and external disease treatment for a short period in the 1890s.

Aside from the truly beneficial uses, cooling apparatuses were most often used to discourage “lascivious behavior”  or masturbation in boys. Both genital and head-cooling apparatuses were employed in this attempt to curb what was (wrongly) considered to be one of the most harmful habits for someone to develop.

Catalogue of Surgeons’ Instruments and Medical Appliances, Electro-Therapeutic Apparatus, Sundries for Surgery and the Sick-Room &c. James Woolley, Sons & Co., Ltd., 1896.

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