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BOSTON, 1849, 

nfe*. . '%> 

CHATTERTON & BROTHER, Printers, 102 Maiden Lane. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1849, 

By A . P a i g k , 

In the Clerk's office of the District Court of Massachusetts. 


The present issue of the Electropathic Guide, is quite entirely 
a reprint of a semi-annual number published in Boston, Mass., in the 
year 1849. So favorable was its reception, in that form, that seve- 
ral thousand copies were disposed of in a few months. It was then 
permitted to go out of print, as the author had in course of prepara- 
tion a full and complete treatise upon the practice to which it is de- 
voted, but which the incessant duties of his profession have delayed 
to the present time, and must still delay. 

Incomplete as it is, it will be found a valuable assistant to those 
who would inform themselves in relation to the physiological rela- 
tions, and great medical advantages of that mysterious agent, so 
nearly allied to vitality, electricity. 

The critic's eye will detect throughout the work, an apparent 
want of connection in the selections presented, which is to be attribu- 
ted to an effort to present too much in the space allotted. 

The copious extracts introduced, are from authors of high position 
in the profession, and it is hoped they alone are sufficient to protect 
the work against the derision of being an empirical enarration. 

The description of instruments and remedies employed in the 
practice, are principally in the language of their inventors, and, so 
far as possible, their application in the treatment of diseases, is in 
the language of those who have employed them. Where able to do 
so, the author's or inventor's name has been given in its proper con- 
nection, with proper acknowledgments for the liberties taken. 

The cases tested and diseases cured, under the author's own ob- 
servation, have been multiplied, since the first issue of the Guide, 


Dropped hands .... 
Drowning, restoration from 
Dynamic state of electricity 


Dysnienorrhcea ... 

Electricity, when first discovered 

" its attractive and repulsive force. 

" origin of the science 

" pervades all matter 

" necessary to vital action 

its escape in decompostion 

" how generated in the system. 

" quantity of in muscular structure 

" causes of failure in medical use 

" medical properties of 

" effects as an irritant 

" effects of opposite currents 

" and animal life .... 
Electrical phenomenon in cholera 

" condition, how determined 

" recession, discovery of 

" batteVy ' 

" dischargers 

" machines, plate and cylinder 

" action of different remedies 

" endowments of gymnotus 

Electric bath 

" fluid, how generated in the system 
Electropathy, nature of the practice 

. " surgical 

Electropathic remedies ... 
" " classification of 

" diagnosis 

" practice, its importance 

Electro-magnetic apparatus .... 
" " Davis' machine 

" " improved by Dr. Paige 

Electro-puncture, its effect, etc. 
Electro-negative state of the system 


Eyes, diseases of 
Facial paralysis .... 
First electrical instrument 
Galvanic battery 

" moxa, how effected 
Gymnotus, electrical endowments 
Headache, how treated 
Heart, palpitation of 




Hemorrhage, uterine ....,.- 

Hysterical paralysis, Dr. Bird on ... 

" " Dr. Addison on ... 

" " M. Marianini on ...... 

" " different operations in 

Illustration of attraction 

Incontinence of urine 

Inflammation . 

Influence of conducting and non-conducting substances 

Injuries from sprains 

Intercostal neuralgia 

Jar, Lcyden 

Jointed Discharger 



Life the result of mysterious combination 

Liver, affections of 

" enlargement of 

" torpid 

Local paralysis 

Machines, electrical .... 

" electro-magnetic 

Mechanical remedies 


Midwifery, etc 

Moxa, galvanic, how effected. 
Murray, Sir James, on malaria . 
Muscular excitement from two sources 

" contraction 
Narcotism, Dr. Todd on 
" Dr. Paige on . 

" M. Gorfe on . 

Dr. Barry on . 
" S. P. James, Esq., on 

Needles for electro-puncture 
Neligan, Dr., on local paralysis 
Nervous fluid, its nature, etc 


«' of the tongue . 

" intercostal 


Organizing and preserving power 
Palpitation of the heart .-..-• 
Paralysis, its causes and treatment 
" from injuries 
»' local 


Paralysis of the bladder 

" of the bowels 

" auditory 

" optical 

Poisoning by Godfrey's cordial . 
Prime conductor, when invented 
Premature delivery 
Prolapsus uteri .... 
Remedies, classification of 

" adapted to the latent state 

" chemical or soluble 

•' mechanical 

" chemical and soluble united 
Rules for operating 


Secretions of the stomach, Dr. Philip 
Shortness of vision 
Simple methods of exciting electricity 
Srnee's battery .... 

Spinal weakness ... - 
Spine, diseases of - 
" curvatures of 
St. Vitus' Dance - 
Supposed case of consumption cured 
Surgical electropathy 
Suspended animation 
Tic douloureux .... 
Tinnitus amium .... 
Tonsil glands, enlargement of 


Two principles in practice 
Urine, incontinence of 
Uterine diseases .... 
" inertia .... 

" hemorrhage, Mr. Dorrington on 
" " Dr. Radford on 

" " H. Wilson, Esq., on 

Uterus, contraction of by electricity 
" displacement of - 
*' prolapsus of ... 

Vision, weakness of ... 

Vital action dependent on electricity 
Weakness of the spine 

Weak eyes 

Womb, falling of - - ,- 




















































As a system, or branch of medical practice, Electropathy is 
based upon the principles of electricity, -which, in the hands of 
the Creator, it recognizes as the organizing, animating, and 
sustaining power. Disease is the effect of violating its prin- 
ciples, and to be removed by medicines that act in harmony 
therewith. In theory, this system calls to its aid the discoveries 
made in the science, from its earliest history ; in practice, the 
experiments and observations of the most eminent naturalists 
and physiologists connected with the medical profession, both in 
the old and new world ; to which is here added the experience of 
one, who has devoted several years of the most vigilant labor 
exclusively to the practice. 

The attractive and repulsive force of this agent, first led to 
t lie discovery of its existence. This was by Thales, of Miletus, 
000 years before Christ. " He noticed that amber, when rubbed, 
had the property of attracting light bodies ; and from the Greek 
name of this substance, (electron) originated the term by which 
this branch of science has since been known/' Some two 
centuries after this, Thcophrastus, a pupil of Aristotle, dis- 
covered the same property of attraction in a mineral called 
tourmalin. Few other discoveries, or improvements were made, 
until the 16th century, except the addition of jet and agate, to 
the two former attractive substances, when the subject was 
revived by William Gilbert, and Robert Boyle, of England, 
Otto Guericke of Germany, and new discoveries made, and 



tlie first instruments invented for exciting electricity, by 

In all early discoveries in the science, one fact is worthy of 
particular notice. The existence of electricity has been noticed 
by its exhibiting the attractive and repulsive force. True, this 
property of this subtle agent was first noticed in some of the 
more common inanimate substances ; but lately, discoveries have 
been made, which as clearly prove its existence in animate 
bodies, and that its attractive and repulsive force is there exer- 
cised, giving to the various organs of the living structure the 
power of vital action. 

No other agent is found in the universe, by the aid of which 
the various attractions can be illustrated. In either a positive, 
or negative state, it pervades all matter : and the conclusion 
seems not unreasonable, that it becomes in all the "universal 
law. 7 ' The various forms of attraction are necessarily exercise;! 
for the preservation of all organized bodies, every variation in 
their force affecting their organization ; if, then, it be admitted 
that electricity constitutes that force, it at once becomes the 
organizing and preserving power. 

These conclusions, though seemingly quite foreign, are inti- 
mately connected with our subject : nay, they even constitute 
the foundation of any system, having for its object the regulating 
and controling of the vital functions. Though mysteriously 
complicated in its structure and the combinations of its consti- 
tuent properties, and highly elevated in view of the nature anil 
destiny of its superior inhabitant, the human mechanism is 
matter, and subject to the common law of matter. Surrounding 
elements have their influence in inducing disease, and should be 
employed in effecting cures. In medical practice, matter is to 
be regulated by matter, vitality by the vitalizing power. Such 
is the importance of understanding the principles and appli- 
cations of this effectual, safe, ami universal agent. 

The identity of electricity and animal life. a. theory already 
entered upon by different naturalists', though here adopted in 
the abstract, is not received in its unqualified sense. Nor is 
the identity essential to the practice advocated. As has been 
stated, electricity exists in all matter: yet it i.- only in the most 


insignificant sense, that animal life exists in all matter. Vege- 
tables are supposed to possess much electricity, and, in their 
growth, are peculiarly under its influence, yet their life is not 
animal. In its action upon different combinations of matter, 
and its elements, its effects arc essentially different ; hence, its 
operations upon certain minerals are called magnetism, etc. 
When acting upon the constituents of vegetable matter, in its 
organism, the effect produced is called vegetable life. But the 
combination is necessary, or the life ceases ; so with animal 
existence. When electricity operates, under peculiar modifica- 
tions, upon the varied and peculiar properties of matter consti- 
tuting the animal organism, it produces the wonderful phenomenon 
called animal life. While that combination is continued, and 
its action is felt, life exists ; but if the combination ceases, or 
its action is recalled, life ceases. Distinctively, therefore, life 
is in neither, but entirely the result of the mysterious 

From numerous observations, by different authors, the opinion 
is pretty generally entertained, that, besides the electro-positiv e 
and electro-negative, electricity exists in the animal in two 
states, viz., a Latent state, and an active state. The first is that 
state in which it seems to be produced by the chemical actions 
of the nervous tissues ; the second is that in which it passes in 
currents between organs differing in their temperature and 
chemical constitution. The existence of such currents is no 
longer a question in physiology, the only questions being — how 
do they affect the vital force, and how may they be excited, or 
modified in their action? The opinion of Liebig upon this 
subject is ably presented by Carpenter, in a work called Human 
Physiology, J§ 377 and 77, where he says : "A great variety of 
evidence has been, for some time, conducting physiologists to 
the opinion, that every act of muscular contraction necessarily 
involves the death and disintegration of a certain amount of 
muscular tissue ; and it has recently been argued by Liebig, 
that this disintegration, resulting from the action of oxygen upon 
the elements of winch the tissue is composed, is the real source 
of the mechanical power, by setting at liberty (so to speak) the 
vital force, which was previously employed in a latent manner, 



in holding together components uf the structure. Certain it is. 
that the amount of muscular power exercised by an animal, 
bears a very close resemblance (other things being equal), on the 
one hand, to the measure of oxygen introduced into the system 
by the lungs ; and on the other, to the amount of those excretions 
which seem especially produced by this metamorphosis. This 
doctrine may probably be extended from the muscular system,- — 
in regard to which alone it has been urged by Liebig, — to the 
nervous, as well as to the various organs of nutrition. Many 
circumstances lead to the belief, that the nervous tissue, when 
in a state of functional activity, undergoes a rapid waste of 
disintegration, and a corresponding renewal.'' 

The waste of disintegration here spoken of, seems but the 
exhaustion of the electrical force, and is so explained by Pro- 
fessor Faraday, in speaking of the electrical endowments of the 
gymnotus. See his Experimental Researches, series XV. 
Nov., 1838. " The anatomical relation of the nervous system 
to the electric organs ; the evident exhaustion of the nervous 
energy, during the production of electricity, in that organ ; 
the apparently equivalent production of electricity, in proportion 
to the quantity of the nervous force consumed ; the constant 
direction of the current produced, with its relation to what we 
may believe to be an equally constant direction of the nervous 
energy, thrown into action at the same time — all induce me to 
believe, that it is not imposible but that, on passing electricity 
per force through the organ, a reaction back upon the nervous 
system belonging to it might take place, and that a restoration, 
to a greater or smaller degree, of that which the animal expends 
in the act of exciting a current, might, perhaps, be effected. . 
So, perhaps, in these organs, where nature has provided the 
apparatus, by means of which the animal can exert and convert 
nervous into electric force, we may be able, possesssing, in that 
point of view, a power far beyond that of the fish itself, to recon- 
vert the electric into the nervous force. 

• With respect to the nature of nervous power, that exertion 
of it which is conveyed along the nerves to the various organs 
which they excite into action, is not the direct principle of life; 
and therefore I see no natural reason, why we should not be 



allowed, in certain cases, to determine, as well as to observe its 
course. Many philosophers think the power is electricity. 
Priestley put forth this view, in 1774. in a very striking and 
distinct form, both as regards ordinary animals, and those which 
are electric, like the torpedo. Dr. Wilson Philip considers that 

the agent is electricity, modified by vital action Now, 

though I am not as yet convinced by the facts, that the nervous 
fluid is only electricity, still I think that the agent in the 
nervous system, may be an inorganic force : and, if there be 
reason for supposing that magnetism is a higher relation than 
electricity, so it may well be imagined that the nervous power 
may be of a still more exalted character, and yet within the 
reach of experiment." 

In the London Lancet for September, 1847, Professor 
Matteucci admits that " there is certainly an analogy between 
electricity and the nervous force, which, if it be not equally 
manifest, is however, of the same kind as those which Ave know 
exist between caloric, light and electricity ;" and then, instead 
contending for their identity, says, " excitability of the nerves 
can be awakened, and give rise to sensation and muscular move- 
ments, in the same manner by heat, and mechanical or chemical 
action, as by electricity." These mechanical, chemical and 
calorific actions which he concludes are not transformed into 
electrical currents before they impart vital force to the nerves. 
we have reason to believe, are each bu electricity operating 
under different modifications. As evidence of this fact, we here 
present an interesting correspondence rom J. C. Atkinson, 
Esq., M. R. C. S., etc., Westminister, pi blished in the Lancet, 
being addressed to the editor of that journal. "I am desirous 
at the present moment, of directing the attention of your 
numerous scientific readers to a very interesting phenomenon 
more or less prevalent in the collapse stage of cholera, which 
seems hitherto to have escaped the observation of medical men, 
viz., animal electricity, or phosphorescence of the human body. 
My attention was first attracted to the subject, during the 
former visitation of that fearful disease in the metropolis. It 
was indeed singular, to notice the quantity of electric fluid which 
continually discharged itself, on the approach of any condiietin"' 



body, to the surface of the skin of a patient, laboring under the 
collapse state, more especially if the patient had been previously 
enveloped in blankets ; streams of electricity, many averging 
one inch and a half in length, could be readilv educted bv the 
knuckle of the hand, when directed to any part of the body ; and 
these appeared, in color, effect, crackling; noise, and luminous 
character, similar to that which we are all accustomed to observe, 
when touching a charged Leyden jar. I may remark the 
coincidence, that simultaneously with the heat of the body 
passing off, the electrcity teas evolved ; and I am therefore led 
to ask the question — Are not heat, electric and galvanic fluids, 
one and same thing ? Does not the fact of the passing off of 
both imponderable substances, at one and the same time. 
strengthen this conclusion? 

" Again : Are not the whole of what we call vital phenomena, 
produced by certain modifications of the electric-galvanic-mag- 
netic matter and motions ? And do we not find that these vital 
phenomena are continually affected by the relative state of the 
surrounding electric medium ? To what can we attribute the 
present fluctuating condition of the barometer, if not to it ? 

" We know what wonderful decomposing action galvanism 
had on alkalies, under the hands of the illustrious Humphrey 
Davy ; but we do not know, nor have we any conception, in the 
present state of knowledge, of the decomposing action of electric 
matter of the atmospheric air, in various conditions, on the fluids 
generally of the animal body. Chemistry has failed in pointing 
out any ponderable material, as the exciting cause of epidemic 

" In the treatment of cholera, all are agreed that non-con- 
ducting substances on the surface of the skin, aid essentiallv in 
the cure ; and during the disturbed state of the atmosphere* for 
the purpose of retaining the electricity continually eliminating 
in the system, we are told to wear woolen bandages, flannel, and 
gutta percha soles, so as to insulate as much as possible the 
body, to prevent the heat — the electric fluid— from passing off." 

With our present knowledge upon the subject, it is true we 
may not be able, definitely, to explain the connection this agent 
has with the various combinations constituting the animal bodv. 



oi- the precise method in which it excites vital action ; euough. 
however, is known, to prove that such connection is indispensa- 
ble to vital action ; and that it may be influenced or controlled 
by numerous agents, producing a greater or less amount of vital 
energy. This fact, alone, enables us to give an extensive clas- 
sification of electropathic remedies, and to reduce their use to a 
system comparatively perfect. Indeed, every agent in the uni- 
verse becomes an electropathic remedy, as all matter, whether 
organic or elementary, is supposed to be under the influence of 
electricity, and to exert either a positive or negative influence 
upon our systems, when brought in contact. In view, however, 
of the two distinct forms under which it exists, already recount- 
ed, they are naturally divided into two classes. Other divisions 
will be noticed, as our work progresses. 

First, agents adapted to the latent, or neutral state of electri- 
city, which may be called a state of rest, or equilibrium. " This 
form of electricity," says Dr. Golden Bird. " is possessed by the 
living fabric, in accordance, apparently, with the general laws 
of the universal diffusion of this agent throughout all matter. 
whether dead and inert, or quick and animated with the flame 
of life." This seems to be the state in which it exerts its uni- 
versal power of attraction — the '"'strong embracing force." For 
health, this state is to be properly preserved in the human sys- 
tem, where, perhaps, from numerous causes, ii is more liable to 
l>e disturbed than in any other substance. This preservation, 
as well as its restoration, when lost, involves the various chemi- 
cal decompositions ever taking place in the body, and the dis- 
turbing influences by which it is surrounded. 

As all substances possess a given amount of electricity, their 
decomposition necessarily sets at liberty the amount they con- 
tain, when it either enters other substances and remains in its 
latent state, or is excited to action. Upon this point, Dr. Bird 
says : "It is impossible that two elements can be rent asunder, 
without setting free a current of electricity, which, insignificant 
;is it might theoretically appear, is nevertheless competent to 
the production ot many important phenomena. As one among 
many examples, 1 would cite the case of common salt, which 
plays so important a part as an article of food, aud for which. 



perhaps alone of all condiments, a universal appetite exists. En 
addition to the proportion of this substance, which enters the 
l)lood unchanged and becomes all element of all the secretions; 
a part is decomposed, and one element in union with hydrogen 
appears, as hydrochloric acid in the Stomach : another in union 
with oxygen, constitutes, as soda, an important constituent of 
the bile Under the influence of a weak cur- 
vent, salts can be resolved into their component elements. In 
this -way. a com] ound can be separated into its constituent acid 
and base. Now it is a remarkable fact, that if an acid and elec- 
tive solution be so placed, that their union be effected through 
parieties of an animal membrane, or indeed any other porous the 
diaphragm, a current of electricity is involved. This fact was 
first noticed by Becq lerel, -and has since been found to be true, 
not only with nitric : cid and potass, during whose combination 
he observed this disti rbanee of electric equilibrium, but with all 
other acids, and solul le bases. Now, with the exception of the 
stomach and coecum, the whole extent of the mucous membrane 
is bathed with an alkaline mucous fluid, and the external cover- 
ing of the body, the skin, is as constantly exhaling an acid fluid 
except in the axillary and perhaps pubic regions. The mass of 
the animal frame is thus placed between two great envelopes, 
the one. alkaline, and the other. ;icid, meeting only at the mouth, 
nostrils, and anus." 

There are, then, two grand principles in medical practice 
here established. First, the mucous membrane, and the exter- 
nal covering or skin, are to be always properly exposed to the 
chemical action of alkaline, and other acids ; and, second those 
acids are to be provided when deficient, and permitted to have 
their proper action upon the several membranes, as the case re- 
quires. If. by any means, this arrangement for the generating 
of electricity be disturbed, a deficiency for the functional sup- 
port of the systemis the result, and disease follows. The amount 
of electricity furnished the system by this process, is by no 
means unimportant, especially, if we consider the amount posses- 
sed by substances decomposed. Professor Faraday deduces 
from his experiments, published in his researches on the abso- 
lute quantity of magnetism in matter, the interesting fact thai 



the quantity of electricity, belonging to compound substances, 
is identical with the quantity necessary for the separation of 
their elements ; and that a single grain of water contains as 
much electricity, as is required to charge 800,000 Leyden jars, 
of usual capacity. If this be indeed true, and we have no reason 
to doubt his authority, cold water may well be placed among the 
first and most effectual electropathic remedies. 

But, second, the dynamic state, or currents of electricity in 
motion, sustains the organic functions ; and the manner in which 
this state is induced, and the principles upon which it is regu- 
lated, claim our attention. The nervous system seems to be the 
medium through which electricity traverses the animal organ- 
ism, exerting vital action, by whatever means its currents are 
excited. It is also well known, that it is upon the nervous energy 
that mental and organic power depends. A series of expe- 
riments has proved that all the functions of the nervous power, 
may be performed by electricity variously employed. The famil- 
iar experiment of Dr. Philip upon the nerves of the stomach 
affords a most striking illustration. The eighth pair of nerves 
was separated when the secretion of the gastric juice in the 
stomach was suspended. The voltaic current of electricity was 
passed through the divided portion of the nerves next the 
stomach, when the secretion was restored, as before the separation 
took place. For some time, the accuracy of the experiment upon 
which this conclusion was formed, was questioned, but more re- 
cently established, by its careful repetition, at the Royal Insti- 
tution, by Dr. Philip, in conjunction with Mr. Brodie. It may 
here be added, that Dr. Philip contends for the identity of elec- 
tricity, galvanism, and the nervous influence ; and that by its 
mechanical application, the stomach, when otherwise inactive, 
and the lungs when in a state of torpor, may be aroused to 
healthy action. 

When passed in opposite directions through the nerves, or 
when excited by different agents, electricity produces very dif- 
ferent results ; hence, the disappointment of many who have 
attempted its use, and hence, too, the absolute necessity of 
reducing its use to a system, that different results may be produ- 
ced as different cases may require. These results have been 



noticed as the effect of different experiments, and hare led to 
some of the most amusingly-absurd ideas, in regard to the nature 
and "medical properties" of the "mysterious agent." It has 
been called an irritant., and a tonic, by some, while others have 
declared that in it thev have found a diuretic, aud others still. 
that it affords the only real emmenagogue in nature. Upon the 
experiments from which such inferences are drawn, we might 
ascribe to it the medical properties of nearly every agent in the 
whole metaria medica, Rightly employed, it will move the bow- 
els in the most severe cases of constipation, or effect vomiting, 
when an emetic is indicated. It is one of the most active 
discutients, and may he employed in cauterizing. All these appa- 
rently different properties, depend upon the part more directly 
under its influence — the different nerves upon which its action 
is felt, the direction in which its currents pass, and the manner 
in which they are excited. To those who would attempt its use. 
this fact cannot fail of affording great assistance. It is strongly 
urged by those acquainted with the practice ; and, as it is our 
object to present as corroborative evidence the opinions of 
different authors, a few extracts will here be furnished. 

Dr. Bird, in the Medical Gazette of May 21st, 1847, says : 
" The effects of an electric current upon a nerve, and conse- 
quently on the muscle it supplies, remarkably differ according 
to the direction it pursues. This observation is one of the 
greatest interest and importance ; and in repeating it, the only 
precaution that is necessary to observe all the phenomena I am 
about to {toecribe. is that of using as weak a current as 

possible Muscular contractions are developed in the 

most perfect manner, when the positive current travels the 
limb in the presumed direction of the vis nervosa ; hence, in 
repeating Galvani's experiment, (the experiment of the frog) 
the contractions are more powerful, when the zinc is connected 
with the lumber nerves, and the copper or silver plate with the 
muscles of the toes, because in this arrangement the positive 
current traverses the arc from the copper to the zinc, and then 
down the limb back to the copper. If care, be taken to keep 
the leg of the frog sufficiently long to diminish its irritability, 
no contractions whatever will ensue, in making contact between 



the zinc and copper plates, if their direction be reversed ; but 
in this case contractions ensue in breaking contact, from the 
arrangement of the normal electricity in the direction of the 

vis nervosa If in a living frog the legs be separated 

"from the trunk, by the division of all intervening structure, 
except the sciatic nerves, by which communication is kept up 
between the several portions, and a current be transmitted, very 
instructive results bearing upon these facts are observed. For 
when a direct current is allowed to traverse the body of the animal 
along the nerves to the legs, violent convulsions occur ; whilst if 
the direction of it be reversed, no motion whatever occurs, but 
the frog will express its sense of pain by audible croaking. 
The application of the galvanic stimulus thus lends much sup- 
port to the opinion of the really double structure of the so-called 
nerves of sensation and voluntary motion, for we have seen that 
when travelling in the direction of the ramifications of the nerves. 
a centrifugal motion is excited ; and when in the opposite 
direction, a centripetal sensation is also excited, and not the 
slightest motion occurs, if all communicatian with the spine is 
cut off, — a fact which admits of ready explanation by the views 
of Dr. Marshall Hall, to whose patient ingenuity and talent, 
this portion of physiology stands so deeply indebted." 

M. Matteucci, after a series of experiments, adopts the fol- 
lowing conclusions : — " 1st. The contraction excited by an 
electric current, and transmitted through a mixed nerve, in the 
direction of its ramifications, and which is consequently termed 
the direct, is always more energetic than that which this same 
current gives rise to when traversing the nerve in the opposite 
direction. 2nd. The direct current rapidly weakens and 
destroys the excitability of a nerve, whilst, on the contrary, the 
passage of the inverse current augments it within certain limits. 
3d. To produce these effects, it is necessary that the action of 
the direct^ as well as that- of the inverse, should be continued 
upon the nerve for a certain time, which will be of longer 
duration, according as its excitability is more feeble." 

Again, in the Lancet of September 4th, 1847, he recapitulates 
the conclusions, drawn from numerous experiments, as follows : 
■ 1st. Electricity is the only irritant which has the power of 


exciting at one time, sensation, and at another, contraction, 
according to the direction in which it traverses a nerve. 
2d. The electrical current alone, when passing transversely 
through a nerve, does not produce any of the phenomena due to 
the excitability of the nerve. 3d. The electrical current does 
not produce any effects upon the nerves, or rather, it occasions 
neither contraction nor sensation, when its action upon a nerve 
is prolonged. 4th. The electric current alone has the property 
of modifying the excitability of a nerve, even of destroying it 
rapidly, if it circulate in a certain direction ; and preserves or 
augments it, on the contrary, if it circulate in an opposite 
direction. 5th, and lastly, the electrical current alone has the 
power of awakening the excitability of the nerve when much 
enfeebled, after a longer interval of time, than any other 

These conclusions, it will be borne in mind, are drawn from 
experiments with what is termed mechanical electricity, or 
currents induced by the aid of instruments, and, so far as this 
form of electricity is concerned, they are adopted as correct. 
This is the form in which it is chiefly employed in practice, but, 
upon principles which have already been more than intimated, 
it is variously induced by other means, and other, and numerous 
remedies are to be employed. 

Electrical currents are not only induced, but changed in their 
course, by the influence of conducting and non-conducting 
substances. Such influences are felt in their effects upon the 
currents supposed to be passing upon the nerves, in inducing 
and aggravating disease. In the numerous changes peculiar to 
our climate, from dry to wet, and from wet to dry, by which the 
very atmosphere, as well as our rooms and all with which we 
come in contact, almost, is changed from a conductor to a non- 
conductor, and vice versa, these influences are peculiarly felt. 
Remedies adapted to these changes -are essential, and as different 
as the changes themselves. 

But another subject presents itself in this connection worthy 
of especial inquiry. Is the actual condition of the nervous force 
to be determined by this agent ? Can its variations, and their 
effects upon <lifforent muscles ;md organs, bo ascertained Ayith 



that certainty requisite to justify a resort to remedies 1 As a 
stronger or weaker current, when passing upon the nerves 
generally, or upon a single nerve, must exercise a corresponding 
influence, and as it is evident that influence must vary as the 
force of the current varies, possessing too, as we do, the means 
of changing the tensity or intensity of such currents at pleasure, 
an affirmative answer seems but reasonable. The nerves and 
tissues when inflamed, or otherwise diseased, are found, 
invariably, to be more sensitive to the passage of electricity. 
Muscles that are weak are more easily contracted, and parts 
paralyzed, are often nearly insensible to even the strongest 
shocks. In another department of this work, this division of 
our subject will be more fully presented, and rules for electro- 
pathic diagnosis given. 

In general terms, then, we have here a system of medical 
practice, based upon what seems to be the fundamental laws of 
matter. A brief review of what has been presented, will show 
that the claims of electropathy, if not demonstrated, are at least 
justified by science, the observation and experience of able 
minds. The human system is made to occupy its proper position 
in the world of matter, and spoken of as a thing that is. Its 
various functions are explained upon principles that come within 
the comprehension of those minds that are required " to watch 
over, and to keep it in order." Disease is looked upon as a natural 
effect, and to be treated upon natural principles. Remedies are 
classified without the language of mystery, and the vital force 
brought within their influence. A system for diagnosis, or the 
examination of diseases, is suggested, through which they may 
be applied understandingly. Many centuries have passed since 
the foundation of this practice was began, the most able and 
distinguished naturalists and philosophers of the age are among 
its defenders, and by its success thus far, we may add, the Great 
Comptroler of matter and mind. 

At different times, the practice has fallen into disrepute, not 
having been reduced to a proper system, and defended by proper 
advocates. To use the words of Professor Wisgrill, when 
addressing the Medical Association of Vienna, as published in 
the British and Foreign Medical Review for April, 1845, 



" There has now a revolution taken place in favor of electricity, 
which, after its wide celebrity at the commencement of the 
present century, had fallen into disuse, not from the inefficiency 
of the means, but from the mode in which they were employed. 
With the warning of the past for our admonition, the experience 
and counsel of the wise for our guide, the abundant success with 
which our efforts thus far in the practice have been crowned, for 
our encouragement, let those of us who have commenced the 
work, go forward in a practice so safe, so valuable, and immediate 
in its results. 


As has been suggested in the preceding remarks, all sub- 
stances are more or less under the controling influence of 
electricity ; consequently, they may all perhaps be directly or 
indirectly employed as electropathic remedies. At present, 
however, our classification is more limited, in a description of 
which they will be included in three divisions. 1st, mechanical, 
or instrumental ; 2d. chemical, or soluble ; 3d, mechanical and 
soluble united. 

First. — Meehanical, or Instrumental. This involves a 
description of instruments, both simple and more complicated, 
by which electricity is excited and conducted, with their 

1. Friction, or the rubbing together of different substances, 
like amber, sealing-wax, etc., excites electricity, and numerous 
methods for thus operating in- cases of diseases are found 

2. Electrical recession, or the transmission of electricity, when 
mechanically induced. This was first discovered as a property 
of electricity by Otto Guericke, of Germany, known as the 
inventor of the air-pump, who invented a machine for the 
purpose in 1670, by mounting a globe of sulphur upon an axis. 
Hawsbee, in 1709, substituted glass for the sulphur globe, by 
which improvement he was enabled to obtain the fluid more 
rapidly, and to offer many new experiments. When to this 
invention we add the advantages of the discovery of conducting 



and non-conducting substances by Stephen Gray, in 172i>, and 
the addition to the globe machine of the Prime Conductor, by 
Professor Boze, of Wirfcemburg, in 1742, we have a machine 
comparatively perfect. 

3. The Leyden Jar and Discharger are indispensable aux- 
iliaries in the application of mechanical electricity. The first 
was discovered by Mr. Cuneus, of Leyden, in 1745, and at first, 
consisted of a bottle or vial of water only, with a nail passed 
through the cork. The discovery of this simple instrument, it is 
asserted, " produced a remarkable sensation throughout Europe, 
in consequence of the wonderful and marvellous effects attributed 
to the shock which was thus obtained." This instrument, so 
simple in its origin, like the others to which we referred, has 
been greatly improved upon by modern mechanics, to several of 
whom, in Boston, we are indebted for the description which 

The Leyden Jar. as improved, consists of a glass jar, of any 
convenient size, " coated inside and outside with tin-foil, to 
within one to three inches of the top, or mouth of the jar. The 
best jars have welts or rims on the edge of the mouth, to 
strengthen them. To the top of the jar a cover is fitted, usually 
of baked mahogany, through the centre of which passes a 
metallic rod, to which the chain is fastened, reaching down to 
the bottom of the jar, to discharge the inside coating ; the top 
of this stem, which rises several inches above the jar, terminates 
in a brass hall, to receive the fluid.'' 

For the purpose of retaining a greater quantity of the fluid, 
to be discharged in one shock, several such jars are often united 
in a box, with the inside coatings connected together by rods or 
chains, while the outside rests upon the bottom of the box, also 
coated with tin-foil, connected with a ball at the outside of the 
box, representing the outside of all the jars. This instrument 
is called an Elkctric Battery, and may be so extensive as 
to give a shock almost equal to the thunderbolt itself. In 
certain cases of disease, it becomes a highly useful remedy. 

Dischargers are indispensable in connection with the use of 
the battery or jar. For convenience they are of different 


Universal Discharger. This instrument enables us fed pass 
a full charge from th< jar or battery through a body in any 
given direction. "It < onsists of two glass pillars mounted upon 
a mahogany base, to the tops of which are movable joints : to 
these joints, tubes are fastened, through which rods slide, having 
on one of the ends points, covered with balls, and spring 
forceps at the other." Between the two is a properly insulated 
table, upon which the object to be operated upon rests. 
Important results often follow the judicious use of this instru- 
ment, not to be otherwise effected. 

" Jointed Discharger. This instrument has a brass hinge 
joint, with curved arms, like large forceps, which may be opened 
at pleasure, to permit the discharge to be made at different 
distances. The handles being of glass, the charge of 'a battery 
or jar, may be conducted to any other body without the operator 
experiencing any shack." 

The Single Ball Discharger consists of a glass handle, to 
which is attached a brass ball by means of a stem and cap, with 
a long rod and chain. These in medical -use are known as 
" directors," and when employed, the chain is placed near the 
outside of the jar, and the ball brought to the ball of the jar. 

4, Cylindek and Plate Machines. These are the instru- 
ments now generally used for exciting electricity by friction, the 
latter of which is more recently preferred. 

Those of the former consist of a glass cylinder, from six to ten 
inches in diameter, mounted with fancy-wood caps, and handles 
between two upright pillars, fixed to the base by means of 
screws and nuts, and turned by a crank attached to one of the 
axles. Upon one side of the cylinder is a glass pillar, having a 
cap upon the top, terminating in a flat brass spring, to which is 
fastened the cushion or rubber, and to this is sewed the silk flap 
which passes round the under side of the cylinder to within a 
few inches of the points of the conductor. The prime conductor 
is a cylinder of japanned tin, polished brass hemispherical ends • 
sharp pointed wires at one end, at the other a wire and ball and 
the whole is supported upon a glass pillar. In the top there is 
also a small tube, in which is placed the pith ball electrometer 

Plate Machines, which, for various reasons, are now more 



generally in use, differ much in their construction, each manu- 
facturer having some peculiarity of taste ; but their action 
is much the same. The most convenient, elegant and efficient of 
of this kind, consists of a circular plate of glass, from eighteen 
to forty-eight inches in diameter, turning vertically on an axis 
that passes through its centre, by means of a crank. It is' 
furnished with rubbers on each side, to which the silk flap is 
attached, inclosing about one half the plate. The prime con- 
ductor is of sheet brass, and highly polished, and the whole rests 
upon four glass pillars, secured upon a fine mahogany base. 
The instrument is easily worked, and not peculiarly liable to get 
out of repair. 

■'). Acting upon the same principle Avith these machines, very 
simple contrivances are often found convenient. A piece of 
silk ribbon drawn between two pieces of rabbit skin, fitted to 
cover the first and second fingers, if held over a small jar, will 
soon sufficiently charge it to give quite a violent shock. A piece 
of glass tube, two or three feet in length, if rubbed briskly with 
a piece of silk, or wash-leather covered with amalgum, will soon 
emit electricity enough for many purposes. Page's electrical 
syringe is founded upon this principle, and is quite a convenient 
instrument. The piston serves as a rubber, to excite the inside 
of a glass barrel, " from which electricity is collected by small 
points attached to the piston, and conveyed by a chain to the 
brass cap at the lower end, to which, by means of a hook, a small 
jar may be attached and charged." 

Electricity, induced by any of this class of instruments, is 
possessed of similar properties, and found peculiarly adapted to 
certain classes of disease. It may be applied in the form of 
the Electric Balk, which is by insulating the patient, or placing 
him upon a stool or chair, with glass supporters, and electrifying 
him, allowing him to remain in this state, until the electric fluid 
insensibly makes its escape ; or by drawing it out in sparks at 
such points as you please, or by concentrating it upon any single 
organ, or portion of the system, as the case requires. By the 
aid of the jars and dischargers, or conductors, it may also be 
applied in the form of shocks, of greater or less intensity, as the 
judgment of the operator may dictate. 



Each of these methods has its peculiar effect, and though other 
remedies may be adapted to a greater variety of diseases, these 
are not to be dispensed with. 

Second. Chemical or Soluble Remedies are those, which, 
when applied to the system either internally or externally, 
change or regulate the chemical actions of the system, increas- 
ing or diminishing the vital force. We have already quoted 
from Dr. Bird (see page 15,) at considerable length, upon the 
chemical decompositions of the body, and their influence in dis- 
turbing the equilibrium of electricity in the system. In con- 
tinuation of the subject, Dr. Bird says : " Within the last few 
months, the results of some researches of Liebig have rendered 
it very probable that a large proportion of the electricity of 
muscular structures, is owing to the mutual reaction of an acid 
and alkaline fluid. Every one is aware that the blood, in a 
healthy state, exerts a decided and well-marked alkaline action 
on test-paper : now it is remarkable that although a piece of 
muscular flesh contains so large a proportion of alkaline blood, 
still that when chopped up, and digested in water, the infusion 
thus obtained is actually acid to litmus paper. This curious 
circumstance is explained by the fact announced by Liebig, that 
although the blood in the vessels of the muscle is alkaline, from 
the tribasic phosphate of soda, yet the proper fluids or secretions 
of the tissues exterior to the capillaries are acid, from the pre- 
sence of free phosphoric and latic acids. Thus in every mass of 
muscle we have myriads of electric currents, arising from the 
mutual reaction of an acid fluid exterior to the vessels on their 
alkaline contents This view of Liebig on the con- 
dition of the fluid of muscles, curiously helps in explaining the 
presence of electricity in them announced by Matteucci. We 
have thus two sources of the electricity of muscles— the effects 
of metamorphosis of effete fibres on the one hand, and on the 
other the mutual reaction of two fluids in different chemical con- 
ditions. It is certainly curious thus to find a muscle, an organ 
long regarded as the motor apparatus of the bony levers of our 
frames, invested with new properties. Its agency in generating 
electricity can no longer be denied ; and I hope by-and-by to 
render it probable that the seat, of the generation of animal heat 
is also in the muscles. 



It is evident, then, that numerous agents may be employed in 
the regulation of a large proportion of the electric fluid in the 
system, upon which its vitality depends, that have hitherto es- 
caped the discriminating observations of the profession. Or, if 
those agents have been employed, the principles upon which 
they act have not been understood, and, consequently, their use 
has been only experimental. Certainly, the acids and alkaline 
fluids, so essential to the generation of this fluid, through the 
agency of the muscles, are within our control, and may be sup- 
plied, as necessity requires, in various forms. Doubtless, many 
of the remedies long in use, act upon the system as supplies, 
and consequently their use is still to be continued. Acids and 
alkaline substances constitute a large proportion of those medi- 
cinal agents so highly recommended in the materia medica, 
though, as heretofore administered, their "modus operandi" has 
not been understood. They constitute an important class of 
electropathic remedies, and are not to be superseded by mecha- 
nical electricity alone, as some are vain enough to suppose. 
And not only are such remedies known as medicines, to be re- 
cognized as belonging to this practice, but many others, which, 
doubtless, like them have their electrical influence. Those Ave 
have noticed, act and react through the various membranes of 
the body, as described ; this requires that the surface of those 
membranes be properly preserved or prepared for their action : 
and this preparation may involve the use of solutions and washes 
of different properties, for the surface, and various compounds 
as internal remedies. What those remedies are to be, depends 
upon the judgment and observations of the practitioner. They 
may be found, perhaps, in both the mineral and vegetable clas- 
sifications now extant, and perhaps, may with equal success, in 
different cases, be administered in alapathic or homseopathic 
doses. They may also be given in another form, as will appear 
from our third general division of remedies. 

Third. Mechanical and Soluble Remedies consist in the use 
of instruments not yet described, galvanic, magneto-electric, 
etc., together with solutions of different qualities combined with 
the electricity thus excited. Though electricity, whether excited 
by the electrical machine, or galvanic battery, is supposed to be 


the same, yet they modify, or give to it very different proper 
ties. Currents from the galvanic battery, as will be seen from 
their description, do not consist of electricity alone, but as it is 
modified by its association with other matter. Its effects, when 
thus induced, arc essentially different from the effects of electri- 
city when excited by friction, as in the instruments already de- 
scribed, and is varied in its modifications by different agents, as 
its use requires. 

1. The galvanic battery, therefore, constitutes the first medi- 
cal agent in this system of practice. This machine derives its 
name from Galvani^ the discoverer of the principles of its ac- 
tion. Like all other instruments of this character, it has been 
carried through many improvements and modifications, adapted 
to the taste of the manufacturer, or the convenience of the ex- 
perimenter. It is simply a combination of two metals, in such 
a manner as to be acted upon through an acid, its strength being 
in proportion to the amount of surface presented to the solution 
containing the acid. Formerly it was constructed of plates of 
metals, like zinc and silver, placed one upon the other alternately, 
with cloth or paper previously saturated with an acid between 
them. This form of battery is still in use by some, and is often 
referred to by different authors in this work. 

A more convenient form for many purposes has recently been 
constructed, and is known as Smee's battery. It consists of one 
or more pairs of platinum and amalgamated zinc plates arranged 
in glass tumblers, and for convenience is usually placed in a 
case or box. The solution employed in this battery is sulphuric 
acid, diluted with from ten to fifteen parts of water. The wires, 
which serve as conductors of the electric fluid, are connected 
with the platinum and zinc, the platinum being the positive, and 
the zinc the negative pole. If the zinc plate be well amalga- 
mated, it is not acted upon at all. except when the galvanic cir- 
cuit is completed ; hence, it is always ready for use. This bat- 
tery may be extended from a single pair of plates to any limited 
number, one or the whole being used at once. 

The Cylinder Battery is another instrument of much conve- 
nience. This consists of zinc and copper plates, of the cylinder 
form, the copper constituting a vessel of sufficient capacity to 



contain the quantity of solution required for its use. into which 
is properly suspended a zinc cylinder. In this battery, the li- 
quid employed, is a solution of the sulphate of copper, (blue 
vitriol) the action of which, according to Davis's Manual is as 
follows : — The zinc is oxidized by the oxygen of the water ; the 
oxide combines with the acid of the salt, forming sulphate of 
zinc, which remains in solution ; while the oxide of copper, which 
was previously combined with the acid, being set free, partly 
adheres to the surface of the zinc cylinder, or falls to the bottom 
of the solution as a black powder, and is partly reduced to me- 
tallic copper, which is precipitated on the surface of the copper 
cylinder, or falls to the bottom in fine grains. This reduction 
of the oxide to the metallic state takes place in the following- 
manner. The water of the solution furnishes oxygen to the 
zinc, and thus enables it to combine with 'the acid ; while the 
hydrogen, which is liberated, again forms water with the oxygen 
of the oxide of copper with which it comes in contact, leaving 
the metal free.'' 

The principal advantage of a battery thus charged, is, the gas 
which is usually given off, is here avoided, as the hydrogen is 
mostly absorbed. In the galvanic battery, the quantity of elec- 
tricity induced depends upon the size of the plates, while the 
intensity depends upon the number employed! For medical 
purposes, this distinction is essential, as quantity without inten- 
sity is often productive of much the most favorable results, and 
vice versa. Direct currents from the battery, without any other 
modification than the variation of the plates suggested, have a 
powerful influence in changing the vital functions. Their action 
is directly upon the organized fluids essential to life ; hence, it 
affects the vital condition of the blood, influences nutrition, chan- 
ges the tone of the secreting organs, decomposes calculus, etc. 
Applied through acid and alkaline substances, used as washes 
upon the surface, they also decompose these atoms, and diffuse 
their properties through the system. In testing the efficacy of 
clectropathic remedies, let this form of administering electricity 
be tried, before the practice is abandoned. 

■1. A very convenient method of modulating the currents from 
the buttery, is found in the electro-magnetic apparatus. Indeed, 


so very astonishing arc the effects of these machines in cases of 
different diseases, that many have thought they afford all the 
variations necessary. Properly constructed, they are certainly 
possessed of great advantages, and, judiciously employed, they 
are capahle of accomplishing much in the treatment of certain 
classes of diseases, but other remedies arc found to be equally 
as successful in >ther classes. Those in common use in families, 
and Avhich, at present, practitioners employ in their practice, 
maybe thus described. They consist of two concentric helices 
of wire, into the axis of which a rod of soft iron or a number of 
wires is passed. Tin currents are interrupted by the vibrating 
electrotome. which c< nsist of an electro-magnet of the U form, 
enclosed in a helix < 1' several layers of coils, above which is a 
straight armature fi'ed to a spring, and supported above the 
poles of the magnet so as to be permitted to vibrate, and the 
whole is secured upon the stand. " When the battery is applied, 
the current traverses in succession the coarse wire helix and 
the coil of the electrotome. The electro-magnet is instantly 
charged, and attracts its armature," which depresses the spring, 
and separates a little platinum disc upon it, from a point of the 
same metal above. This breaks the current at each vibration, 
and gives a rapid succession of shocks, to be experienced by 
taking hold the handles. Another method of breaking the cur- 
rent in this instrument, is by taking one of the battery wires 
from the screw-cup, and drawing it over a rasp upon the top of 
the helix. 

The most convenient and efficient instrument in use, of this 
description, was constructed by the author, in 1847, and has 
since been constantly employed by him in effecting those cures 
which have so much distinguished his practice. The battery is 
of zinc and copper of cubic form, and with the helices and arma- 
ture, is nicely fitted to portable fancy-wood cases. 

Instruments of this class are especially adapted to the treat- 
ment of those diseases which result from an enfeebled state of 
the nerves, either of the system generally, or locally. When 
the succession of shocks given by the vibrating armature 
attached to this instrument, are passed properly upon a nerve 
they exercise a powerfully stimulating influence, and this gives 



to the organ or part supported by that nerve, an increased 
energy, which is often by a single application rendered perma- 
nent. It may be so applied from the great nervous centres of 
the body, through their ramifications, to the extremities, as to 
strengthen the whole nervous system, regulating the circulation, 
assisting digestion, etc. 

For these different purposes different modes of application are 
to be observed, and different conductors or directors to be 
employed. From his extensive observation, however, the author 
has found no better method for applying this current, than 
through the the hand of the operator, especially, when the 
current indicated, is to be mild or of but little intensity. 


This division of our subject has, as yet, received but a small 
share of the attention it evidently deserves. Most of those 
cases in which it has been attempted, are from abroad ; conse- 
quently, our remarks upon the subject arc derived principally 
from foreign avthors. 

1. Electro-puncture. A paper was introduced at tli c * 
French Academy of Sciences, on the 16th of January, 1843, by 
Dr. Sinister, says the Lond. and Edin. M. J. of M. S., June. 
1844, in which he presented the following conclusions: 

1. Electricity is useful as a therapeutic agent, only when 
introduced into the substance of the affected organ by means 
of acupuncture. 

2. Galvanic electricity and the electr< -magneticjfluid, Avhen 
employed by acupuncture, constitute at < nee the most powerful 
and inoffensive medicinal agent which W3 possess. 

3. The affections for the cure of whicl eloctro-puncture may 
be employed with success, are — First, hydrocele, ascites (idio- 
pathic or symptomatic of curable lesions), hydro-thorax, and 
articular dropsies. Its use may be extended to chronic hydro- 
cephalus, dropsy of the pericardium, and the greater part of 
dropsical effusions. . Second, lissomatous, stea :omatous, athero- 
matous, melicerous, serous, and synovial eysts. Third, conges 
tionb and indurations, chiefly those of the lymphatic glands, of 


the testicles and epididymis, indurations of the cellular tissues) 
in the neighborhood of certain kinds of ulcers, and in the walls 
of pistulous passages, certain indolent tumefactions : and then' 
would be nothing irrational in attacking cancerous affections in 
the same way. Fourth, goitre. Fifth, varicose dilatations. 
especially when the electro-puncture can be aided by rest and 
compression. The author does not despair to apply with 
advantage this treatment to aneurisms and erectile tumors. 
Sixth, chronic rheumatisms, neuralgia, and certain nervous dis- 
eases. Seventh paralytic affections in general, but especially 
those of the retina (amaurosis asthenique) and of the muscles of 
the voice (mutismas paralytique) 

4. Electro-puncture applied to the ' treatment of diseases, 
acts in several ways, viz:— First as a direct stimulant of 
sensible contractility and abosorption. Second, by causing 
small eschars, thus, as it were, cauterizing and destroying in 
detail a portion of the tumor. (The cauterization galvanique, 
or sous cutanee of the author.) Third, by decomposing the 
aqueous portion of tumors. Fourth, by forming, at the will of 
the operator, minute openings for the exit of the fluid part of 
tumors. Fifth, by producing in the wall of the cyst or other 
cavity, such a degree of inflammation as will cause oblitera- 
tion by adhesion, without giving rise to any inconvenience 
if the patient be kept under strict surveillance. Sixth, by 
coa<nilatinff the blood, and causing effusion of little masses of 
plastic lymph into the cellular tissue. 

5. The success of electro-puncture depends on the method 

6. Electro-puncture properly applied, is in the majority of 
cases with slight pain only, free from inconvenience and 
danger to the patient, and frequently accomplishes a cure 
when all other means have failed. 

There is little doubt of the accuracy of the conclusions here 
arrived at, but other and more simple methods will often 
accomplish the same objects. Congestions and indurations are 
often removed by the different modes heretofore described. 
Neuralgia, rheumatism, tumors, cancerous affections, etc., i n 
numerous cases which have come under our personal obser- 



vation. have been readily cured by the more simple electro- 
pathic remedies. Yet there are doubtless cases, in which 
electro- puncture alone would prove effectual. 

This mode of operating seems to have originated with N. 
Berlioy, in 1816, and was soon after introduced into the Hos- 
pital de la Pitie, with great success. It is also practised by 
others on the continent with the most favorable results. Bec- 
querel says, " this method of applying electricity is the most 
efficacious of all those that have been employed, since it 
permits us to act directly on the diseased part.'" (See Braithe- 
waite's Retrospect, Part XV.) The instruments to be em- 
ployed in these operations, are the battery, of which Smee's 
described on page 28, is to be preferred, with acupuncture 
needles, to be made of gold and silver, and insulated, except at 
the point, by being varnished or coated with shellac. The 
needles may be made as fine as possible, and of sufficient length, 
then mounted by insulating handles, with some convenient 
method for uniting the battery wires. These needles are to be 
plunged at once into the part to be affected and in different 
cases, as in aneurismal tumors several are to be entered at 
once from different points, being so directed that their points 
do not unite, and currents passed upon them. Several cases 
will be cited in another place, where such operations have 
been made with success. Currents from the magneto-electric 
or electro-magnetic instruments are objectionable, as the 
shocks produce pain quite insufferable. 

2. Galvanic Moxa. — Sensible and insensible. — M. Fabre 
Palaprat introduced another mode of operating in surgical 
electropathy, into the French Academy in Feburary, 1831. 
Fine platinum needles wore connected with a battery of large 
plates, and the galvanic circuit completed "by thrusting the 
needles into the flesh, when they immediatly become incan- 
descent, causing a pip,c of destroyed tissue to seperate and fall 
out in a few days.'' As the platinum needles are in this ope- 
ration to be ignite' ^ without being connected save through the 
flesh, the battery current required, is one of much intensity. 
These operations are made in cases of tumors, arthritic 
intlnmmatio /nSj and various diseases of the tissues. 

: » ' KI.KCTROP ATllie OC1DB. 

Another mode of operating, for similar purposes, is «Jgge st ' 
ed by Dr. Golden Bird, in the London Medical Gazette, June, 
1847. He first produces two blisters of small size, then covers 
one with zinc foil, and the other with silver, and connects the 
two by means of a wire. The whole is then covered with 
water dressing and oiled silk. In some forty-eight hours, the 
surface under the zinc plate usually becomes white, and an 
eschar appears. In four or five days this begins to supurate, 
and the plates are removed. This leaves a healthy sore, 
which, by poulticing, freely discharges pus. Operations of 
this kind may be found necessary in some cases, but when 
other and more simple forms of electrical treatment have been 
tried, few cases, it is believed, will remain uncured. 


Of all the advantages to be derived from the use of electri- 
city, none probably, surpasses that of its application in the 
diagnosis, or examination of diseases. However effectual it 
may be in their removal, it cannot be understanding^ applied, 
until the condition ot the system is ascertained in reference 
to the state of this agent, as well as the location and char- 
acter of the disease. From what has been said of its office, 
physiologically, it is evident that in its change from health to 
sickness, the system undergoes a change electrically. That 
change may, or may not. be the cause of disease ; the judi- 
cious practitioner, before he attempts to regulate the vital force, 
should know the condition in which it exists. This would 
seem to be the only safe point from which to proceed. 

The nerves are admitted to be the medium through which 
the currents of electricity traverse the system, giving tone and 
action to the various muscles, organs, and tissues. With < un- 
improved instruments and directors, we are enabled to pass 
currents in any direction upon any nerve. Their effects 
when passed in different directions, have been presented. We 
may now ask, Are those effects the same when the system is 
diseased, as when in health? Do current/s prpdupe the same 


sensations ? And do the organs operated upon exhibit no 
change ? It' they do, may not those sensations and changes 
be indications of disease!' And, by carefully noting them, 
may not the character, as well as location of disease be deter- 
mined ? It is admitted that much experience and observation 
are necessary, in the present state of the practice, to ensure 
success. But without these, the principles are the same. The 
circulation of the blood from the heart through the arteries, 
and its return through the veins, was as true before the theory 
was asserted by Harvv. as since ; and is now equally true, 
whether the practitioner has had the experience necessary to 
detect all its variations, as indicated by the pulse, or not. 

The experience of several years, and the observations taken 
from experiments upon more than fire thousand individuals, 
have forced me to the conclusion, that electricity affords the 
only infallible test of disease ! During this period, every 
nerve in the system has been operated upon, and the effects 
upon those of every temperament, and under almost every 
variety of disease noticed. Strangers have been selected by 
the public and presented for examination, and their diseases, 
only known to themselves, definitely pointed out. The idea 
of thus probing deep-seated organs, by the aid of so wonder- 
ful an agent, is truly calculated not only to awaken inquiry, 
but, when performed, to raise the highest admiration. To 
some of the indications of disease, furnished through this 
medium, with the effects of having noticed them, reference 
will here be given. 

In the act of respiration, it is well known that the diaphragm, 
intercostal nerves, abdominal muscles, and all the respiratory 
system, are called into exercise as well as the lungs, and that 
the chest requires expansion and contraction corresponding 
to that of the lungs. Now, weakness or contraction of muscles, 
affecting the abdomen, or diaphragm, as well as neuralgic 
pains, or strictures of the chest, often causes a cough, and 
great difficulty in the act ot breathing ; perhaps as much so 
as inflammation of the trachea, or ulceration of the lungs. 
By leading to congestion, it may also lead to hemorrhage, and 
how shall we determine which organ is the seat, of disease? 



Certainly not by sounding with the stethoscope, fo* if a disease 
in other parts cause difficulty in breathings from whatever 
cause, the lungs will not be exercised aright. It is as neces- 
sary to examine other organs engaged in the same exercise. 
as to examine the lungs ; and in accomplishing this, electricity 
is entirely successful. Numerous cases, where all the usual 
symptoms of consumption have appeared, have come under 
our observation, where the disease was confined entirely to 
the organs described. 

A bricklayer came to me in June, 1847, apparently far 
gone with consumption ; and not only was it his opinion, but 
the opinion of his friends and physician, that his death was 
not far distant. The diagnosis commenced at his lungs, with 
currents of electricity from the electro-magnetic machine ; 
first, from the cervical vertebrae through forward to different 
points upon the chest, and then in a reversed order, without 
producing any unpleasant effect. Currents were then passed 
on the intercostals and diaphragm, with no other sensation 
than those usually experienced, which are sensations of con- 
traction. After this, the muscles of the abdomen were opera- 
ted upon, when it was found that those of the left side were 
peculiarly susceptible. Indeed, the least intensity of the cur- 
rent was productive of pain, and, if continued for but few 
seconds, would produce convulsions and fainting. This was 
pronounced the seat of disease ; and in proof that the 
decision was correct, it is only necessary to state, that withsza; 
operations^ of twenty minutes each, the patient was cured 
and has followed his occupation to the present writing, (Feb- 
ruary, 1849.) Had his disease been consumption, as it was 
supposed to be at the commencement, no such results would 
have followed. 

In diseases of the liver, stomach, or kidneys, similar mis- 
takes, in judging from the usual symptoms, often occur. 
Let electrical currents be passed upon the nerves connecting 
with the organ where disease is apprehended, and if it be the 
seat of disease, a pain peculiar to the organ is experienced. 
That pain will be acute, if the disease be inflammatory : if 
weakness only. th< j sensation will he tin,) ,,l ;, spasm, etc. 



The experienced and skilful operator will notice similar 
results in the most delicate nerve in the system. Diseases ot 
the eye or ear are determined by the same process. So are 
spinal diseases, and the immediate seat )f neuralgia, or rheu- 
matism, etc. 

No one can have witnessed the mo t trifling experiment 
with electricity, upon different individuals, without having 
been struck with their remarkably different capacity to bear 
its action upon their systems. Those whose systems are weak 
and enfeebled, often bear much stronger currents than the 
apparently more robust. 1 have seen misses, with chlorosis, so 
weak and feeble as to be scarcely suscep ible of the least 
exercise, who were able to receive a full shock from an electri- 
cal battery of twelve jars ! The same shock would move the 
muscles of a corpse quite as much as it would them. In this 
disease more than in any other with which I am acquainted, 
there is an absence of vital energy, and it is here referred to 
only on account of the peculiar state of the system electrically. 
To make an electropathic diagnosis, the different states of 
the system generally, is the first thing to be observed. Sec- 
ondly, the susceptibility of different parts to the electric fluid 
must be noticed ; for in health some parts are more suscepti- 
ble than others. And, third, the different effects upon differ- 
ent parts when in a state of disease. To ascertain all these 
differences requires an observation as extensive as the differ- 
ent conditions of our bodies. And in the present state of the 
science, the qualification necessary for the practice is 


1. Ei-ectro-Negative State of the System. — In noticing 
the various diseases of the system, as explained upon princi- 
ples of electricity, an electro-negative state is the first that 
claims attention. As the term implies, this state signifies a 
deficiency of electric fluid, and is opposite to the electro- 
positive, or healthy condition. This deficiency is marked by 
ii corresponding absence of vital force, and the individual is 

H8 tiLECTROI'Vrilir <,i w>K. 

capable of but little endurance. Bodily exercise produces 
general lassitude, and excitement, which is only temporary, 
leaves the spirits depressed, and the body feeble. When the 
mind is exercised, the vital force, being minimum, is exhaust- 
ed upon the brain, the functions of other organs are but feebly 
performed, and numerous local diseases are the result. So> 
too, when other organs are specially exercised, the small sup- 
ply of vital force possessed by the system, is expended upon 
the organ more particularly employed, and others are 
enfeebled and deranged. The vital action of the nerves being 
feeble, leaves them peculiarly exposed, and a long list of ner- 
vous diseases follow ; perhaps this action ceases entirely, and 
palsy or paralysis ensuses. The blood is not properly vital- 
ized, and its circulation is impaired. Perhaps it is urged 
upon organs enfeebled, producing congestion, and perhaps 
hemorrhage. Many such effects follow in their train, and 
are not to be removed, till the prime cause is understood and 
the necessary remedies applied. 

2. Neuroses. — This is the second class of diseases in Cul- 
len's nosology, and, according to Hooper, comprehends 
affections of sense and motion disturbed, without either 
idiopathic pyrexia, or topical diseases. As has been implied, 
this class of diseases belongs to the nervous system, sense and 
motion depending upon the performance of their office, and 
these again upon the vital force of the system. Its sub- 
divisions are numerous, and extend from the two extremes, of 
the most acute pain, to the entire loss of sensation, and from 
the most extreme case of chorea, or constant motion, to that 
of entire inability to move, or palsy. They are all within the 
immediate reach of electropathic remedies, and will be par- 
ticularly described in another chapter upon their treatment. 

3. Congestions. — From two apparent causes, the blood 
and other fluids are sometimes collected in superabundance 
within their vessels, producing distension, and often the most 
fatal results. This, (from congeio, to amass) is called con- 
gestion. First, this state of the fluids may be traced to a 
derangement in the decompositions of the body, by which 
the fluid masses are not properly semMed, or to an inability 



of the secretions to receive such fluids ; or, secondly, by the 
fluids being urged upon organs unable, through deficiency of 
vital energy, to excrete or eject them when thus received. 
From either cause electricity is an efficient, safe, and imme- 
diate remedy. Numerous cases will be cited in their proper 
order, in proof of this. 

4. Muscular Contraction. — It is not alone to the limbs, 
the walls, or parietes of the body, that we are to look for in- 
juries received from the contraction of muscles. The 
functions of internal organs are impaired, even by the con- 
traction of external muscles, while internal contraction is as 
liable to take place as external. Contraction of the muscles 
of the chest, variously induced, is often the chief cause of 
diseased lungs : while that of the parietes, and the included 
organs of the abdomen, produce diseases of very different 
character. Deafness and various cerebral diseases, have 
their origin, in many cases, in the contraction of the muscles 
of the neck. Organs are by such means often misplaced, 
joints dislocated, and the most severe pains produced. Every 
muscle in the system is within the influence of mechanical 
electricity. Interrupted currents will cause them to vibrate, 
and in the most obstinate cases, the contraction is often 
removed by a single operation of a few minutes. 

5. Epidemic on Malarious — It is well known that this ex- 
tensive class of diseases prevails more ihan all others, 
breaking out at particular seasons and in certain sections of 
country, in different forms, baffling the skill of the most 
experienced practitioners, and hurrying its thousands and tens 
of thousands to a premature grave. 

Many eminent naturalists are agreed in tracing this class of 
diseases to electrical changes, and their effects upon the sys- 
tem. Among the most prominent authors who have presented 
their opinions upon this point, are Sir James Murray, M. 
Pallas, and Dr. Priestley. Numerous experiments, in mala- 
rious districts, have led to conclusions as expressed by the 
first; "that the exciting cause of epidemics, which is called 
malaria, is not 'bad air' at all, as the name implies. 

2d. That marsh miasms, gases, or effluvia of vegeto-animal 


matters or putrid emanations, are not, as is commonly sup- 
posed, the exciting causes of agues or other diseases called 

3d. That in denying the usual doctrine of marsh miasmata 
I do not deny that general 'malarious' ailments proceed from 
terrestrial, paludial. or atmospheric emanations of active, 
dangerous, and subtile qualities. 

4th. But I consider these noxious emanations are disturbed 
electro-galvanic currents and accumulations, sometimes posi- 
tive, somtimes negative, causing a want ot electrical equilib- 
rium in human bodies." 

It must be admitted that great electrical changes take place 
during the seasons of epidemics, and in those districts where 
they generally prevail. As it. is known that this agent is 
intimately allied to vitality, there is certainly much propriety 
in looking to its changes for some of those disturbances of the 
vital functions, not otherwise accounted for, which are proving 
so fatal. 

6. Inflammation. — This disease may be induced by elec- 
tricity, or removed by it, as it is differently employed. 
Drawn in scintillations, or sparks, from the surface, it is highly 
irritating, and if persevered in, produces for a period a high 
state of inflammation. This often exerts a sedative influence 
upon other parts, on the principle of a counter irritant. If 
passed from a galvanic battery of many plates, through very 
delicate organs, for any considerable time, it also inflames 
them. Passed in gentle currents, and for a limited time, with 
proper intervals between the operations, it allays the inflam- 
mation, whether acute or chronic. I have known it to cure 
the most highly lflamed eyes, with even a few operations : 
while in other cases, it has cured inflammation of the throat 
where the patient had suffered for years. Its special appli- 
cations in such cases, will be described as we proceed. 

As the result of microscopic observations, Dr. W. Philip 
represents the condition of the capillaries in inflammation as 
similar to congestion, that is, of debility and distension, while 
the arterial action is i icreased. The action of electricity upon 
the capillaries in sucl cases, is that of a stimulus, by which 



inflammation is removed. Inflammation from bruises is almost 
instantly removed, even though the part be much swollen, by 
passing gentle currents from the electro-magnetic instrument 
through the inflamed part. Whether this be the result of 
restoring tone to the capillaries, or of vitalizing anew the blood 
there concentrated, is perhaps a subject as yet of inquiry. 

7. Uterine Diseases. — In this class of diseases we include 
those peculiar to the female, whether resulting from the uterus 
directly, or from organs intimately connected in the generative 
process. The functions of these organs are peculiarly under 
the influence of electricity, and by the different modes in 
which it may be employed, the greatest possible advantages 
may be derived from its use. As diseases of this character 
require the most judicious treatment, and as this agent pro- 
duces effects peculiar to the method in which it is employed, 
the utmost care is requisite in its application. In restoring 
the menstrual flux in cases of obstructions, its effects are 
surprisingly perceived: so much so, that Dr. G. Bird declares 
that in it we have i: the only direct emmenagogue which the 
experience of our profession has furnished ; 1 do not think I 
I have ever known it fail to excite menstruation, where the 
uterus was capable of performing this office." (See Medical 
Gazette, June 18, 1847.) In uterine weakness, which often 
gives rise to dysmenorrhea and other disastrous consequences, 
it is also employed with equal success. In prostration in 
accouchement, its use in arousing the energies, when strength 
is most needed, is truly surprising. Indeed, it is firmly- 
believed that at least one half the pain consequent at such 
times, may be avoided by its judicious use. Hemorrhages 
are also arrested by its timely application, even when all 
other means have failed. Several cases will be cited in 
another place, in which the life of the patient was saved after 
all the usual remedies had failed, by the timely application of 
this agent. In no case with which we are acquainted, has its 
use been attended with unfavorable results, and we can see 
no possible objection to substituting its proper application for 
those remedies which too often prove worse than useless. 

Afanv diseases not included in the classification here given, 


have been successfully treated by electricity, to which special 
attention will be given in the following sections of this work ; 
among which are cases of tumefaction, rheumatic and 
scrofulous swellings, suspended animation, etc., etc. In these, 
and in all cases where electricity is to be employed in the 
treatment of diseases, the success depends upon the manner 
in which the agent is applied. As a medical agent, it is 
entirely at the disposal of the practitioner, and with the 
remedies we have described, he may control it at his pleasure. 
Nor is it the less worthy of confidence, because it may be 
misapplied, or employed in so many different ways, for different 
purposes. On the contrary, it is more entitled to our con- 
sideration, from this single fact. It is only necessary to direct 
our attention to its various effects, and, by observing them, to 
learn its use. 


From what has been said in the preceding divisions oi our 
subject, it must be apparent, that the success attending the 
use of the remedies described, depends up >n the practitioner's 
knowledge of those general laws which govern the agent he 
is to employ, together with his judgment, skill, and experi- 
ence in the practice. Observation has taught us, that those 
practitioners who select a single branch of practice, tho- 
roughly acquainting themselves with its principles, and 
adhering to them, render themselves more useful in the pro- 
fession. In the present state of the profession, this must prove 
true in the practice of electropathy. The practice is new, its 
remedies numerous, and their effects various. No doubt new 
and important ones will be suggested, worthy of use, while 
worthless ones will he also presented, which the success of 
the practice must require to be rejected. To render the 
practice, therefore, what it should be, and what it must be. to 
prove successful, requires the whole attention of those win, 
engage in it. To combine it with all the various branches 



now connected with the usual practice, would be but adding 
to an evil already admitted to be such, and as the result, to 
deprive the sufferer of what might otherwise be to him the 
protection of health, and the preservation of life. 

With the experience and observation of many years, it is 
not presumed that the best means of treating all diseases 
is now understood ; and, in the description of cases which 
may follow, it will doubtless be seen that a difference of 
opinion exists in regard to their treatment. Nor is it sur- 
prising that it should be so. Different individuals, among 
different nations, have engaged in experimental observations 
upon the subject, with but little correspondence, or even 
fellowship in their researches, and the marvel is rather that they 
have arrived so nearly at the same conclusions. 

The cases selected for reference, will not be from our own 
notes alone, though we may have treated similar cases with 
similar results ; but from as great a variety of authors as pos- 
sible, and, when convenient, in their own language. Nor shall 
we observe much regularity in their classification, reminding 
the reader that an index will accompany each number of the 
Guide, by the aid of which he will be enabled to turn, at once, 
to any subject treated of. 

Aphonia. Hooper defines this disease to be a " suppression 
of the voice, without either syncope or coma,'' and divides it 
into three classes. 1st, aphonia guttwa/is, when proceeding 
from a tumor of the fauces, or about the glottis; 2nd. aphonia 
trachealis, when from the diseased state of the trachea ; 
3rd, aphonia atonica. when from paralysis, or want of nervous 
energy. When from either cause here named, aphonia comes 
within the reach of electropathic remedies, only requiring 
such treatment as is adapted to its peculiar form. When from 
tumefaction, or swellings, as in the first case, currents from 
the battery passed directly through, and in reversed order, are 
usually found sufficient to disperse the enlargement, and 
restore healthy action. This may be done by placing one of 
the directors from Smee's battery, or any other of similar 
effect, upon one side of the tumor, and the other opposite 
changing the order of the currents, at intervals of a few 


minutes. Currents from the electro-magndtic machine are 
also found effectual, when passed in the same order. In more 
obstinate cases, it may be found necessary to employ much 
stronger currents, than in others ; and in extreme cases, electro- 
puncture may be found necessary. Rut milder remedies are 
usually sufficient. 

When from diseases of the trachea, pass gentle electro- 
magnetic currents, through the diseased part, by placing one 
conductor over the nape of the neck, and by making the hand 
of the operator the other, passing it over the part diseased, as 
in gentle manipulations. In the earlier stages of this disease, 
I have often found one or two operations, of fifteen minutes 
each, to effect a permanent cure. Hoarseness, from usual 
causes, like colds, etc., is readily removed by such applications. 
Vocalists, having lost the power of voice, are immediately- 
restored by the same process ; indeed, their voices are always 
stronger and more distinct after its use. I have known those 
scarcely able to articulate a sound, fully restored to that degree 
necessary for a full evening's exercise, by a single operation. 
Public speakers are similarly affected. 

Aphonia atonica, or from a loss of nervous energy, or 
paralysis, requires interrupted currents from the vibrating 
electro-magnetic machine, passed from the centre of the nerves 
affected, to their termination, and that the operations be 
repeated at proper intervals, often for a considerable time. 
Such cases have been cured by shocks from the Leyden jar, 
and also, by direct shocks from a galvanic battery of immense 
power. Professor Loomis, of Waterville, Maine, described to 
me a case, which he cured by the use of the jar, where the 
voice had been for a long time entirely suppressed ; but it 
required many weeks to effect the cure. A case in which the 
latter treatment was adopted with success, is described in the 
London Lancet, May 27th, 1843 : 

" Theodore Mandurick, a Dalmatian, twenty-lour years of 
age, of sanguine temperament and robust constitution, and who 
had usually enjoyed good health, killed one of his countrymen 
in a quarrel, for which offence he was incarcerated in the 
prison at Icardona. Three days afterwards he was attacked 



by a violent fit oi epilepsy, followed by loss of voice, 
to restore which, external local and general bleedings, and 
antiphlogistic measures of all kinds were employed, without 
effect. In a few months he was removed to the central prison 
of Zara. where he was examined by the medical staff. The 
tongue was somewhat enlarged, and preturnaturally reddened, 
though dry, and the blood-vessels around its base were much 
distended. The sense of taste was uninjured, but the move- 
ments of the tongue and of the larynx were performed with 
difficulty. Leeches were now applied to the sides of the 
tongue ; tartarized antimony, in both large and small doses, 
and drastic purgatives were employed, and a tartar-emetic 
plaster was placed over the larynx ; but all these means failed 
to restore a healthy action to the parts adjacent, and Mandurick 
was still compelled to keep his mouth partially open to main- 
tain respiration, a function only performed by short and 
difficult inspirations. At length, about sixteen months after 
the attack, the voltaic pile was thought of, and a battery of 
fifty pair of plates was employed. The positive pole was 
placed over the cervical vertebra?, and the negative upon parts 
affected. On the first day two hundred shocks were given, 
and on the second three hundred, but no perceptible effect 
followed. Two days were suffered to elapse, and a battery of 
seventy pair of plates was then used, with which about three 
hundred shocks were given. The patient was found acutely 
sensitive to the action of electricity, and a lapse of five days 
was permitted to intervene before its fourth application, which 
consisted of four hundred shocks with the latter-named instru- 
ment. Whether these were administered too precipitately, or 
whether his system had become more excitable by galvanism, 
the patient, after this last application, became much agitated, 
and subsequently fainted for a short time. Next day he suf- 
fered intense headache, his face was flushed, eyes lustrous, 
pulse full and strong, from which state he was relieved by 
bleedino-. But he now, for the first time, gave utterance to 
hoarse sounds. After six more days, the battery of fifty pairs 
was again emploved, and three hundred shocks given. The 
same treatment was repeated every two or three days, and 


then, at similar intervals, lour hundred shocks were given 
with the seventy-pair battery. The voice, meanwhile, and 
the motive powers of the tongue and larynx, gradually returned 
to their normal condition, and after the twelfth application the 
patient had completely recovered. The deduction drawn by 
the surgeon who has reported the case, is, that no nervous 
affection whatever should be regarded as incurable, till elec- 
tricity in some form has been tried and found to fail." 

A very remarkable case is quoted from the Gaz. Med. de 
Paris, of a cure by electro-puncture, effected by M. Camino. 
The subject was affected by a fright in 1813, which resulted 
in the loss of sensation and movement. By degrees she 
recovered the use of her legs, but not ot her arms or head. 
From the moment of her fright she had been unable to arti- 
culate a word. Her tongue was atrophied, and remained 
immovable between her teeth. 

" On the 21st of May, 1836, a metalic needie was introduced 
into the neck, directing its point towards the occipital branch 
of the first cervical nerve ; then it was brought into con- 
nection with the zinc pole of a voltaic pile; and holding the 
tongue, elevated and stretched out on a sheet of the same 
metal, the circle was closed by presenting to that organ the 
knob of a brass director. The patient showed, by quickly 
drawing herself away, that she had felt the shock. The 
experiment was repeated, and the effect was more marked 
than before. At the end of three other shocks the patient 
exclaimed— 'Oh Dieu !' and could answer some questions in 
an intelligent manner, although with some difficulty. She also 
became able to move her tongue from side to side. 

" The next day, after some shocks given in the same manner, 
M. Camino commenced varying the points of contact, and 
giving the electricity different directions. The patient showed 
more and more sensibility, and the faculty of articulation 
followed the gradual return of the movements of the tongue. 
Two days of repose employed in exercising the organ, sensibly 
rendered the faculty of pronouncing and articulating sounds 
easier and more accurate. In a short time she was" able to 
speak as before, and acquitted herself so well, and with 


mucli ardor, that she seemed, says the author, to wish to make 
up as quickly as possible for the time lost in inaction and 
silence. Every three or four days she came back to receive 
four or five shocks with the pile, not being able, as she said, 
to bear more. On the 10th of June, she complained, without 
obvious cause, of pain in the head, and a general feeling of 
weight, an ailment which was dissipated by a bleeding. After 
some more sittings, not only was her speech recovered, but 
also the activity of the other paralyzed parts, which became 
quite fit to exercise -their functions." (See Dublin Medical 
Press, March 1st, 1848, page 133.) 

2. Paralysis. This is a genus of disease in the class 
Neuroses, and order Comata, of Cullen, known by the loss of 
the power of motion, either voluntary or involuntary, with 
which certain parts of the body are affected, often attended 
with drowsiness. The species are — 1st, Paralysis partialis, 
partial, or palsy of some particular muscle; 2d, Paralysis 
hemiplegia, or palsy of one side longitudinally : 3d, Paralysis 
paraplegia, palsy of one-half of the body, taken transversely 
as both legs and thighs ; 4th, Paralysis venemata, from the 
sedative effects of poisons. Paralysis is also often symptomatic 
of several diseases. It arises from attacks of apoplexy, from 
over distension and effusion, from excitement, as fear, frights, 
etc., and from anything that exhausts, or obstructs the nervous 
fluid, or electrical action of the system, injuries, blows, 
neuralgic pains, and scrofulous affections, tumors, etc., have 
this effect. It has been usually confined to the loss of voluntary 
motion, but we see no reason why the same causes may not 
equally affect the involuntary functions of the system. If the 
loss of nervous power in a nerve through which voluntary 
motion is performed, deprives the organ it supports of action, 
surely, there is no reason why the weakness or loss of action 
in a nerve supporting the involuntary functions of an organ, 
may not deprive it of its action ! Though the idea has not 
been dwelt upon, it seems that this may prove to be the real 
cause of many of those sudden deaths, reported from diseases 
of the heart. The suggestion is entitled to inquiry. If it 
should appeal- that every function of the system is performed 


through the energies or power of the nerves, as they ait* so 
directly within the control of electricity, the advantages of a 
practice founded upon its principles, will appear more and 
more important. 

In all the varieties of this disease, so far as has been tested, 
electricity has been remarkably efficient. Practitioners gene- 
rally have borne witness to its usefulness in some forms of 
the disease, while others have placed it among its only curative 
remedies. Dr. Bird says, " It is the actual curative agent in 
some of the forms of this disease ; that in all it expedites the 
cure, and in none is it injurious." Of course, much depends 
on the manner in which it is employed. The nerves are the 
medium of communication. In no particular do the systems 
of individuals differ more, than in the condition of their 
nervous power. Hence, it would be impossible to give rules, 
as to the strength of the currents to be passed, in all cases, 
even upon the same nerve ; and more difficult still, if the thing 
could be, to determine the intensity of those currents required 
to be passed upon different nerves in the same person, as 
different nerves in the same individual bear much more 
intense currents than others when in health. 

But notwithstanding these difficulties, there are rules in the 
application of electricity, to be carefully borne in mind in the 
treatment of this disease. They have been already intimated, 
but in their direct application it may be well to be more 

First, ascertain the seat of disease, and the strength of the 
current to be applied, by employing the electro-magnetic ma- 
chine, which, as has been said, is preferable in making the 
diagnosis. This may be accomplished by passing currents in 
different directions through the part examined. These cur- 
rents should at first be as light as possible, and increased in 
strength, until the condition of every nerve where disease is 
apprehended, be determined. Second, never pass a current 
upon any nerve, but for a few minutes at a time. Experi- 
ence has established the fact that this is calculated to destroy 
the nerve, or to paralyze it. It is always preferable, in usino- 
the electro-magnetic machine, that one of the directors 



through which the communication is made, be kept in mo- 
tion, that is, in making manipulations over the part affected. 
Third, pass inverse currents. "We may, in fact, admit," 
says Matteucci, " that in some cases of paralysis, the nerves 
of the affected limb are in a condition similar to that pro- 
duced by the continued passage of an electric current. We 
have seen, that to restore the excitability of a nerve which 
had been deprived of it by an electric current, it is requisite 
to conduct the current in the opposite direction. Hence, to 
cure paralysis, the current should be passed in a direction 
contrary to that which has produced it. In a paralysis of 
motion, the inverse current should be employed ; while, on 
the contrary, in a paralysis of sensation, the direct current 
should be used, in a case of complete paralysis (that is, of 
both motion and sensation,) there is no reason to induce us to 
prefer one current to the other." 

By passing a current too long in one direction, we are liable 
to augment the disease we might design to cure. Hence, 
the more intense the current, the shorter should be its dura- 
tion ; and as we have seen that the passage of the electric 
current in the nerves, repeated at short intervals of time, 
considerably enfeebles their sensibility, when continued for a 
long time, we must take care and not pass from one extreme 
to another. Theory teaches us to apply the electric current 
of an intensity which should vary with the degree of the 
malady, and continue its passage for two or three minutes, at 
intervals of some seconds. (See Medical Chirurgical Review, 
April, 1845. p. 320.) 

Fourth, adapt the strength of the current to the organ op- 
erated upon, and the condition of the patient. Both theory 
and practice teach us that some cases require the use of very 
strong currents, while others are equally affected by the 
slightest we are able to employ. The judgment and expe- 
rience of the practitioner must here be called in question. 
Dr. Grapengiesser found it necessary, in the case of a young 
lady who was entirely deprived of her senses by "sorrow 
and vexation," and whose right side, aftertheir return, 
remained paralytic, for the recovery of her arm, which was 


bent by the spasmodic contractions of the muscles, " until her 
fingers were so contracted that no power was able to open 
her hand," to apply the full force of a battery of one hundred 
pair. Whenever this current was applied, the stiffness of the 
elbow and fingers, to use the author's words, "disappeared in 
a moment, and she could wilh ease stretch her fingers and 
arm." As paralytic affections are numerous, assuming many 
forms, and requiring different treatment, it is thought best to 
cite a variety of cases, with the manner in which they are to 
be treated. The general principles presented, however, will 
be observed in them all. 

Paraplegia. Dr. Constantine James gives the details of an 
extreme case of paraplegia, in the Gazette Medicale de Paris, 
of 1848, in which electriciiy proved entirely successful. 
The patient was a girl of seventeen, who was first injured by 
falling at full length while walking. From this she suffered 
pain in the knees and subsequent weakness. The usual reme- 
dies, local and general, were resorted to without relief. She 
was then placed under the water treatment at Neris, where 
she remained for six months. From this, complete paraplegia 
followed, and on her return to Paris the most powerful treat- 
ment was resorted to, but with little benefit. After three 
years from the first accident, electro-magnetism was applied. 
The lower extremities were now much wasted away, and 
without assistance could not be raised from the bed. 

The treatment was commenced with much care, being evi- 
dently resorted to as an experiment. The negative pole was 
brought in connection wiih the first lumbar vertebrae, while 
the positive was placed over the head of the tibia of each 
limb successively. Eight applications in this way, gave evi- 
dence of a decided improvement. Electro-puncture needles 
were then Introduced into the middle and posterior part of the 
lumbar region, with which the negative pole was connected. 
Twenty of these operations enabled the patient to take some 
steps, with the aid of a cane. After this, needles were insert- 
ed in each limb a little below the head of the tibia. The 
treatment was wholly suspended during the menstrual periods, 
and at other times, by reason of nervous excitement, and yet 



in four months the patient was entirely restored. She has 
since married, and remains permanently well. 

Much more time was required in this case, than would have 
been, had the operator been experienced in this branch of 
practice ; but, under the circumstances, the treatment proved 
all that could have been desired. It would seem, however, 
that the inconvenience of electro-puncture might have been 
avoided. The first eight operations gave evident relief: and 
if these, which were made without this process, had been 
continued, doubtless they would have proved equally as suc- 
cessful. In my own practice, I have adopted in such cases, 
and with great success, the method of placing the positive 
pole in connection with the feet, by means of the metallic 
slipper, while with the negative attached to a moistened 
sponge, I have made manipulations across the lumbar region 
and down the limbs. The first two or three operations made 
in this way, usually afford relief, and seldom do those cases 
in which I have employed the treatment require more than 
three or four weeks for a cure. 

Another case of paraplegia is reported by Dr. Turtelli, in 
the Revue Med., May. 1S25. This was induced by cerebral 
inflammation. After other remedies had failed, shocks from 
a battery of thirty pair of plates were passed from the hand 
to the foot of the patient. This being too intense, caused 
headache, thirst, and anxiety, when the number of plates was 
reduced to twenty. From this some thirty shocks were given 
at a time. Improvement was manifest from the first, and by 
the seventh the cure was complete. 

In all cases of this kind I have found the electro-magnetic 
currents all that were required. With currents passed for 
from fifteen to twenty minutes in a reversed order, patients 
have often been enabled to use the limb with ease, even from 
the fiist operation, which they had been unable to control 
before for years. In all cases the current should be gentle at 
first, and increased in intensity as the patient can bear. 

Hemiplegia. Some thirty-five cases of this disease have 
come under my observation within the past four years, in 
which electropathic remedies have been tested. Shocks from 


the Leyden jar have, in some cases, proved of service, but 
in nearly all, the electro-magnetic currents have proved ef- 
fectual. Some have derived advantage from sparks drawn 
from the spine, while insulated, but this method of operating 
is comparatively useless in such cases. 

In October, 1847, a gentleman was put under my treatment, 
who for two years previous had been laboring under this dis- 
ease in its worst form. For some six months from his first 
attack, which was from an injury to the spine by a fall, he 
had been unable to control any of the muscles on his right 
side. His mouth was drawn round on one side by the con- 
traction of the portio dura, and the senses of taste and smell 
nearly lost. By degrees, he had so far recovered before he 
came under my treatment, that he could use his foot a little, but 
his arm hung useless by his side, his fingers were clinched, and 
the whole side had perished away. By electric currents passed 
through the arm from the electro-magnet instrument, the nega- 
tive pole being in connection with his hand, and the positive 
employed in manipulations from the cervical vertebrae across 
the shoulder and down the arm, in three days he was enabled to 
take his pencil and write his name. Similar currents were 
passed through his limb, and his side generally for some five 
weeks, each operation occupying in all a half an hour, when he 
was quite restored. 

Cases of this disease have also been very successfully treat- 
ed by other practitioners. One of considerable importance is 
reported in the Revue Med., Nov., 1834, of Madame B., where 
the hemiplegia was the result of apoplexy. Speech difficult, 
taste and hearing impaired, saliva escaping from her mouth, 
constipation obstinate, bladder distended, cramps in the para- 
lyzed limb frequent. At length oedema throughout the left 
side. From the first operation, Madame B. was enabled to 
stand, to stoop and rise again, and on the second day the oedema 
diminished, and perspiration was felt upon the left side. The 
hearing was improved, and her features became more regular. 
With twenty applications she had quite recovered, when she 
left Bordeaux, and M. Bermond, the operator, presents it as his 
opinion, that two weeks longer would have removed every trace 
of the disease. 



Dropped Hands. Five cases of this disease have been 
under treatment the past year. Two were laborers. The 
first had been bled the day previous to the attack, and to use 
his own words, when he awoke in the morning, he found he 
could not raise his hand "at all at all." Electro-magnetic 
currents of considerable intensity were passed and reversed 
through the hand and arm from the spine. The first opera- 
tion gave much relief, and the third effected a cure. The 
second was treated in the same way ; and with two opera- 
tions, the Irishman went about his labor as before. Other 
cases have required from five to ten operations for a full cure. 

Dr. Golden Bird reports eleven cases, mostly connected 
with colica pictonum, in which the treatment was sparks 
drawn from the cervical part of the spine, while the patient 
was charged upon the insulating stool. Medicines were also 
given in connection with the other treatment, adapted to the 
associated complaints of the patients. Five out of the eleven 
were cured, three were relieved, one improved, and two were 
not benefitted. One was from lead colic ; extensors of both 
hands paralyzed, with amaurosis. Paralysis cured by four 
months' treatment, but the amaurosis remained. Second was 
paralysis of extensors; in one month was able to resume labor. 
Treatment, gentle shocks, from the spine down the arm. 
Third, total paralysis of extensors ; the right hand for three 
years, the left for one. Treatment, first, shocks down the 
arm, on each alternate day, for twenty days, without success. 
Second, sparks taken from the spine thrice a week, fur six or 
eight minutes ; in two weeks able to resume labor. It is the 
opinion of Dr. Bird, that sparks drawn from the spine, in chro- 
nic cases of this disease, are more effectual than shocks down 
the arm ; and though we have not in cases brought within 
our observation found it necessary to adopt that mode of 
treatment, we are satisfied that the conclusion is correct. 

Rheumatic Pai~alysis. Under this term, Dr. Bird includes 
all cases where the palsy follows the application of cold, inde- 
pendent of any evidence of spinal lesion. Such cases are very 
common, and are usually attended with peripheral pains of a 
rheumatic character, sometimes even with redness and tume- 


faction of the joints, which, however, are always evanescent. 
There is, indeed, but little difference between this form of 
disease and rheumatism. In my practice for the past five 
years, I have treated a large number of patients with this 
disease, and seldom have the remedies employed failed of giv- 
ing relief. In June, 1848, a man was brought into my office, 
unable even to move his limbs at all, suffering with what his 
physician had called rheumatism in an aggravated form. His 
treatment was electro-magnetic currents passed from the lum- 
bar vertebras through his limbs, for half an hour. After the 
first operation, he arose and walked to his carriage with ease ; 
and without even the second operation, he continued to gain, 
and is now well. A lady who had suffered much from pains 
in her arms, supposed to be rheumatic, called on me in 1847, 
and was then unable to raise her hands to her face, from 
paralysis. Two operations of fifteen minutes fully restored 
her. Capt. B. keeper of a hotel, in Saco, Maine, had not put 
his hands to his face for eighteen months, nor written his 
name. Currents passed from the cervical vertebras, through 
his arms, for twenty minutes, restored them fully to their use. 
Such results have now become every day occurrences ; but 
lest it seem too egotistic to confine my remarks to my own 
practice, cases reported by others will be cited. 

Dr. Bird reports a case under the care of Dr. Addison, as 
follows : — R. E. admitted September 27th. Ten months pre- 
vious, while off the coast of Africa, the patient was the subject 
of fever, for which cold affusion was copiously used ; to this 
he attributes the paralysis of the right forearm, and both 
hands, which appeared when convalescing from the disease. 
Is quite unable to move the paralyzed limbs; health otherwise 
good. Sept. 27th, sparks to be drawn thrice a week from the 
spine and paralyzed muscles. Nov. 14th, has improved daily; 
and being now in possession of full power over the previously 
paralyzed limbs, he was presented cured. 

J. Y., aged fifteen, admitted into the hospital in the middle 
of January, 1837, stated that sixteen months back he suffered 
from pain and swelling at the upper part of the neck ; this 
was followed in two months by loss of power over the right 


arm, for which he continued under treatment during nine 
months, without deriving any benefit, so far as power over 
the paralyzed limb was concerned. It was then determined 
to try the effects of electricity ; and in the middle of August, 
twelve shocks were ordered to be passed from the region of 
the cervical vertebra? to the fingers of the right hand, daily. 
Oct. 8th, has gradually improved, and has now considerable 
power over the affected limb. Oct. 26th, recovered com- 
pletely the power of moving the arm, and was discharged 

W. E., aged thirty. This man had been employed in load- 
ing and unloading cargoes of coasting vessels at one of the 
wharves ; and a few weeks ago, whilst unpacking salmon, the 
cold water from the melting ice burst from one of the pack- 
ages and drenched him completely. He took no notice of 
this, but on the following day the little finger of the right 
hand became numb ; this gradually increased, and in a week he 
lost all power over both his hands, sensation remaining unaffect- 
ed. Oct. 19th, 1840, sparks to be drawn from the spine and 
the affected hands. Under this treatment he rapidly improved ; 
and after attending a few times, he became so much improved 
as to be able to return to his work. 

The process of taking sparks from the part affected, so often 
referred to by Dr. Bird, with success, has been adopted in 
some cases under our treatment, in connection with electro- 
magnetic currents ; i. e., we have first taken out sparks by 
this process, and then followed with the passing of currents, 
and with success. 

Facial Paralysis. From exposure to draughts of air, as by 
sitting near windows with broken panes of glass, or by half- 
open windows either in carriages or heated rooms, or by 
sleeping where currents of air pass directly over the face, the 
portio dura, and other nerves of the face, are often deprived 
of their vital energy, giving pain, sometimes rheumatic, and 
not unfrequently resulting in entire paralysis. In such cases, 
electricity proves itself peculiarly efficient ; and in the lan- 
guage of Dr. Bird, it scarcely matters what form of electricity 
is applied, so long as it is sufficiently effective to induce con- 


traction of the paralyzed muscles under its influence. Weak 
shocks from a charged jar, the passage of a series of currents 
from an electro-magnetic machine, or the direct irritation pro- 
duced by drawing a series of sparks from the cheek, when the 
patient is insulated and connected with the prime conductor of 
an electrical machine, seem to answer equally well. 

In some fifteen cases, I have found the most effectual treat- 
ment to be, to pass the current from the electro-magnetic 
machine, through the cheek affected, from the hand of the oper- 
ator. Let the positive pole be in connection with the hand of 
the patient, and while the negative is holden by the operator in 
one hand, let him employ the other in making manipulations 
over the part affected, with as strong a current as the patient 
can well bear. This process is simple, and very effectual. 

In the Revue Medicale, of January, 1830, H. Mentault 
describes a case of this disease with which he had been afflicted. 
The portio dura on the right side of the face was paralyzed ; 
active treatment, such as depletion, local irritants, etc., immedi- 
ately resorted to, but Avithout success. In a week the symptoms 
had become much aggravated, pronunciation and deglutition 
being almost impossible. Electrical treatment was then com- 
menced by M. M. Sarbandiere and Pictionniere. The sparks, 
shocks, brush, and finally, galvano-puncture succeeded each 
other. Needles were passed into the face, and currents from a 
battery of thirty pair of plates transmitted, in the course of the 
facial nerve and its branches, for thirty minutes each time. By 
this process, relief was obtained at the second operation, and 
by the sixth, eleven day.- from the first, a full cure effected. 

Dr. Bird cites several cases of this kind, (See Med. Gaz., 
Aug. 6th, 1847,) from which we select the following : — " A bar- 
rister, in full and influential practice, became the subject of 
paralysis of the portio dura on the left side, from exposing the 
cheek to a current of air from a broken window in a crowded 
court. He applied to me in a week or two afterwards, the para- 
lysis continuing, and the distortion of the face hideous. As his 
general health was excellent, I ordered him to apply currents 
from the electro-magnetic machine, which was done, and in a 
fortnight all distortion vanished." 


" A young gentleman, sixteen years of age, became paralyzed 
from the influence of a draught of cold air upon the cheek while 
asleep. I saw him two or three days afterwards ; there was no 
local tenderness in the course of the portio dura, but the dis- 
tortion was extreme. I requested his father, himself a zealous 
cultivator of physical science, to place him upon an insulated 
chair, and, connecting him with the electrical machine, to draw 
sparks from the affected side ; this was regularly done daily 
and he rapidly recovered. 

"An instance lately occurred to me in the person of a clergy- 
man, who had suffered from paralysis of the seventh pair of 
nerves a dozen years previously, and the paralysis had never 
completely disappeared ; the face when I saw him was not sym- 
metrical, the saliva often flowed from the corner of the mouth, 
and his intonation was impaired. He set sedulously to work 
with the electro-magnetic current, and I saw him some months 
afterwards entirely restored." 

Paralysis from Injuries. Of course, the cure, in such cases, 
depends upon the nature of the injury done. If the structure 
of a nerve has been injured, by a blow or otherwise, it could not 
be expected that electricity would effect a cure. But if the 
paralysis be the effect of a blow, or other violence, without any 
essential disorganization of the nervous fibres it will prove itself 
an effectual remedy. Or if it be from concussion, as it often 
is, electrical treatment will prove useful. In such cases, Dr. 
Bird prefers the use of electro-magnetic currents, from a single 
current machine, to be passed in the course of the vis nervosa, 
or, in other words, in the direction of the nervous ramifications. 

A young mariner was brought to my office in July, 1848, who 
had, some & five weeks previously, while at sea, fallen from the 
rigging of the vessel on which he was engaged, to the deck, 
Striking upon his back. From the time of the accident to the 
day I first saw him, he had been unable either to assume the 
erect position, or to walk. Electricity was applied for some 
twenty-five minutes, from the electro-magnetic machine, the 
negative pole being connected with a moistened sponge, and 
pkced under the coccyx, while the positive was passed from the 
cervical to the lumbar vertebrae and the connecting parts, by 


manipulations. After the first operation he could stand erect, 
and from its being repeated some three or four days in succes- 
sion, he was enabled to walk for miles. 

Two cases are described by Dr. Bird ; the first, a shoe-make^ 
aged fifty, fell with his left arm under him, from which complete 
paralysis of both motion and sensation ensued. June 27, three 
weeks after the accident, feeble shocks were given from the 
neck to the fingers. July 17, sufficiently restored to resume 
labor. The second was from a fall, in which the shoulder was 
the seat of the injury. Six weeks from the accident, sparks 
were ordered to be drawn from the shoulder, and in twenty days, 
by this process, the patient was so far restored as to cease to 

Hysterical Paralysis. Upon this subject, Dr. Bird says : 
" I feel a great difficulty in expressing an opinion regarding the 
remedial influence of electricity, in consequence of the nearly 
impracticable task of distinguishing between the mere assump- 
tion and the reality of the existing paralysis in hysterical 
women. It is really difficult to believe that girls and women, 
whose very means of living decently, much less the possession 
of the comforts of life, depend upon their being able to exert 
themselves, should simulate paralysis ; and yet we know that 
such is too frequently the case. The morbid state of mind 
which predisposes to such impostures presents a curious enigma 
for solution. Admitting the existence of such cases of imposture 
and deception, we too often run the risk of becoming uncharita- 
ble, and to consider many forms of functional paralysis as purely 
simulative. It is not for me to enter into the interesting pro- 
blems of the vagaries of such cases. I will content myself with 
pointing out the high importance of the electric shock, or inter- 
rupted current of an electro-magnetic machine in such cases. 
If the patient simulates paralysis (and, when she does, it much 
more usually is in the form of rigidity of a limb, than any other), 
she can seldom resist the pain and surprise of the shock, and 
the previously rigid limb will generally instantly move. On 
the other hand, in hysterical paralysis, where the affection, 
however excited at first, is now uninfluenced by the patient's 
will, there are few curative remedies so important as the electro- 



magnetic current. I have seen a young woman, the subject of 
hysterical paraplegia for months, move the limbs and walk, al- 
though unsteadily, in an hour or two after the application of 
electricity ; and very lately, another was in Guy's Hospital 
under my care with paralysis of the right arm, in which the 
same successful results occurred. In neither of these cases 
could I detect simulation ; and not only was there no motive for 
it, but the interests and desires of the patients were opposed to 
it, for the paraplegic girl was prevented from becoming. a wife 
by her paralysis, and the young woman with the palsied arm 
had an aged mother, to whom she ' appeared deeply attached, 
depending upon her exertions for her means of support." 

In Guy's Hospital Reports, Oct., 1837, Dr. Addison cites the 
case of a girl of sixteen, who, in consequence of suppression of 
catamenia, was seized with hysterical paroxysms, terminating 
in paralysis of the left side, with coldness, and amaurosis of the 
left eye. Sparks drawn from the spinal column enabled her to 
bend the fingers of the palsied arm, after the first operation. In 
ten days she could walk without difficulty. Shocks were then 
passed through the pelvis, and in seven weeks the catamenia 
reappeared, and her general health was restored. The eye, how- 
ever, remained amaurotic. 

M. Marianini reports several cases in which he has been suc- 
cessful with the battery, by placing the negative conducting 
wire on the instep, and by carrying the positive around the 
paralyzed limb, and at times touching the skin, at points, occa- 
sioning a prickling sensation. By gently increasing the battery 
currents, the cure was effected with some twenty operations. 

Different methods of employing electricity in this disease, 
therefore, prove, in different cases, successful. Shocks, sparks, 
battery and electro-magnetic currents, have all been found of 
service ; though, where they have been properly tested, it is 
believed the latter have proved the most efficient. There is no 
objection, however, to either of the modes of operating, and per- 
haps it might be well to combine them in the treatment of ob- 
stinate cases. 

Local Paralysis. A young man, aged about sixteen, was 
placed under my treatment in January, 1846, who, from rheu- 


matic fever, had experienced a paralysis of the left stemo-mastoid 
muscle. His head was drawn down upon his shoulder, and; from 
the contraction, great pain was experienced in the anterior portion 
of the head. Interrupted currents from the vibrating electro- 
magnetic machine were passed through the cerebellum, and from 
the head through the neck and shoulder, for fifteen minutes, 
when the pain ceased, and the contraction was found to be much 
less. The operation, repeated on seven successive days, com- 
pletely restored the patient. Several similar cases have come 
under the observation of the writer, and have been treated with 

Dr. Neligan has had experience in the use of electricity in 
cases of palsy, and among other cases in which he has found it 
effectual, he cites the following : A girl, aged nine years, expe- 
rienced paralysis of the right sterno-mastoid muscle, from inflam- 
mation of the cervical fascia, in Nov., 1843, which resulted in 
wry-neck. The treatment was commenced with small doses of 
saccharated carbonate of iron, with the view of improving the 
general health of the child, and this was followed with electri- 
city. Of its use and success, he says : " I commenced the use 
of the magneto-electric machine with the child, by applying the 
conductors of the instrument, in which, pieces of sponge, moist- 
ened with salt and water, were fastened, one to the origin, and 
the other to the insertion of the right sterno-mastoid muscle. 
The application was at first for only a quarter of an hour, but 
was gradually prolonged until she could bear it for half an hour 
at a time, which period I never exceeded. The weakest power 
of the instrument was used, and it was applied only twice a 
week. After the third or fourth application, a decided amend- 
ment was visible ; the sternal end of the muscle being the first 
to regain its power, as was evident from its becoming fuller, 
and contracting more strongly under the shocks. The head 
gradually assumed its natural position, and was perfectly straight 
on the 20th of May, at which time, also, not the least difference in 
the development of the muscle of either side could be perceived. 
" In this case, the result of subsequent experience," he adds. 
"leads me to believe that the cure would have been much accel- 
erated had the electrical shocks been more frequently applied ■ 


but as it was the first case in which I employed the electro- 
magnetic machine, I was cautious in its application." 

Another case in which Dr. Neligan succeeded with this agent 
was one of almost complete palsy of the forearm, succeeding 
painter's colic. When the colic pains were removed and the 
bowels opened, magneto-electricity was applied. Though pre- 
viously he could not stir his hands, they immediately closed up- 
on the conductor. The applications, being repeated for half an 
hour at a time, quite restored him in four weeks. A sailor, also 
under his treatment, had experienced a paralysis of the shoulder, 
by sleeping for nights together in wet clothes on deck. His 
right arm first began to feel heavy and numb ; it pained him to 
stir it, and he gradually lost all power over it. Blisters and 
moxas proved of no advantage. Electro-magnetism was resort- 
ed to on the 20th of December, and by the 30th he could use 
his arm nearly as well as ever. (Sec Monthly Journal of Med. 
Science, April, 1846, p. 225.) 

Paralysis of the Bladder — Incontinence of Urine, etc. Nu- 
merous cases of this kind have come under our personal ob- 
servation. Our treatment has usually been to pass currents of 
electricity through the pelvis, from the electro-magnetic ma- 
chine, in different directions, as we have had reason to believe 
that other parts were affected as well as the bladder ; and 
external applications, thus made, stimulating every part, have 
seldom failed to effect the desired relief. Others have adopted 
other modes for operating, whether with or without the more 
simple method suggested they do not inform us, and have been 

A case is cited in the Nouv. Encyclo. des Sc. Med., Aug., 
1846, by M. Heller of Stuttgard. The subject was a carpen- 
ter, who fell from the roof of a cottage in the autumn of 1845, 
affecting principally the cervical vertebrae. No external injury 
appeared, but paralysis and tumefaction of the right leg, par- 
alysis of the bladder, partial paralysis of the rectum, contrac- 
tion of the fingers of both hands, and inability to change 
position. Notwithstanding the free use of calomel, arnica, and 
nitre, this remained for fifteen days, when M. Heller resorted 
to the use of electro-magnetism. It was applied to the hands, 


neck, bladder, sacral region, and right foot. The applications 
made to the bladder, were by means of passing an insulated 
catheter, with a metallic stilette, into the organ per urethra, 
upon which gentle currents were passed from the electro-mag- 
netic machine for from three to six minutes. This completely 
restored the palsied organ, with seven operations. With seven- 
teen operations, the patient was fully restored, and resumed 

M. Hoering relates a case in the same Journal, June, 1847, 
of a woman, aged sixty, who, while suffering from prolapsus 
uteri, was attacked with paralysis of the bladder. Eight ap- 
plications, with one of the conductors introduced into the 
bladder, as in the above case, resulted in a perfect cure. 

In a lecture delivered in 1844, (See Prov. Med. Jour., Dec, 
1844,) Dr. Radford reports a case, treated by himself in con- 
nection with Dr. Goodwin, of a woman, who recovered after 
protracted labor, but was unable to pass her urine. Galvanism 
once applied to the bladder gave permanent relief. A lady in 
Maine, under the writer's treatment, was as mysteriously 
relieved by a single operation, who had been troubled with the 
same difficulty for years, and from the same cause. 

Miss S. V. D , a lady aged nineteen, was placed under 

treatment Dec. 26th, 1847, who, from the most immoderate leu- 
corrhcea, was reduced in bodily health ; — catamenia suspended, 
limbs paralyzed, and urine retained, and for several weeks had 
suffered the most intense pain in voiding the least, which was 
represented as " black and foetid." Electro-magnetic currents 
passed through the pelvis, from different points on the pubis to 
the lumbar vertebrae, gave immediate relief, and for the first time 
for weeks, the patient voided urine with ease, and obtained rest. 
With eight repetitions of the operation she was restored to her 
usual health and regular habits. In incontinence of urine, the 
same treatment often proves effectual. Enuresis of children, 
resulting from weakness, may be cured by the same method. 

Paralysis of the bowels. It is stated in the Revue Med. 
July, 1826, in a report by M. M. Emery, Cloquet, and Dubois, 
that a battery current of considerable intensity, passed from 
the mouth to the anus, produces a sensation of heat at both ex- 


tremities, with flashing before the eyes, and an action through- 
out the whole intestinal canal, which is felt after the current is 
suspended, and which usually terminates with evacuation. In 
one instance this took place after only momentary contact. M. 
Magendie had also made similar experiments. Dr. Bird says 
that Aldini, by placing a single zinc and silver plate, connected 
by a wire, respectively in the mouth and anus of an ox recently 
killed, produced convulsions of the abdominal muscles and a 
discharge of faeces. Ackard, of Berlin, produced a similar 
result upon himself by repeating the experiment. 

This peristalic action of the bowels may be produced by 
either the electro-magnetic shocks, or by battery currents. In 
constipation, I have found great advantage from both, as used 
in connection with medicines. In those cases where purgatives 
are inefficient, by applying gentle currents from the nape of the 
neck, instead of the mouth, to the anus, they are found to take 
immediate effect. This is also true in respect to the operation 
of different medicines. Place the negative pole in connection 
with a moistened sponge, under the coccyx, and apply the posi- 
tive at the back of the neck, and the effect will be much the 
same, whether passed from the battery or electro-magnetic in- 

Colica Pictonum, which seems to be but a painful paralysis 
of the bowels, may be equally as well treated by these opera- 
tions. To relieve the spasms consequent to the disease, and 
the pains which extend through the hips and clown the limbs, 
the currents may be passed through the abdomen and down the 
limbs, from the lumbar vertebrSe. 

Ancssthesia. J. C. Christopher, Esq., of London, describes 
a case ef anaesthesia, or loss of the sense of touch, which came 
under his observation. The patient had been instructed to 
make use of a cold hip bath every morning, for a slight leucor- 
rhoeal discharge, with which she had been afflicted. On leaving 
the bath she observed a loss of feeling in the skin, which gene- 
rally subsided in about half an hour, but which after the twelfth 
bath became permanent. When Mr. Christopher was called to 
her, she had no feeling from her toes up as high as the water 
came when in the bath ; she could not fully evacuate the 


rectum, and complained of the urine slowly dribbling away. 
The temperature of the parts was below that of the rest of 
the system, otherwise she was in good health. .Numerous 
remedies had been tried without success, when electro-galvan- 
ism was resorted to. 

" An improvement Was observed," says Mr. Christopher, 
" after the second application. The rectum and bladder were 
the first to regain their normal condition, the thighs and legs 
next, and the feet and abdomen last. It was interesting to 
note, during the progress of the cure, that on those days when 
the wind was in the east, and the atmosphere cold, the legs 
and feet were always worse if the patient left her warm 
drawing-room and went abroad — a circumstance pointing to 
the cause of the malady. Electro-magnetism was used on 
twenty-two occasions, from an hour and a half to two hours 
at each sitting. It was most interesting to watch the gradual 
return of sensation under its influence. The method I 
adopted was, first, to pass a current down the whole spine, for 
half an hour ; then from each side of the sacrum to each foot, for 
half an hour; then from the spine to the abdomen, for the 
same period. At the end of twenty-two days the patient was 
quite restored ; no trace of the malady remained." (see 
Lancet. Aug. 8, 1846, p. 144.) 

In several cases of the loss of feeling in the fingers, feet, 
cheeks, and other local affections of this class, it has been my 
custom, to pass currents of electricity through the part affected 
either from my hand or a moistened sponge,, and in numerous 
cases this has proved effectual 

Mrs. L., wife of Dea. L., of Boston, was placed under my 
treatment in July, L847, for paralysis of the right side. The 
limb pained her on the least attempt to use it; a general 
numbness through the side, from the head to the foot : per- 
spiration entirely obstructed upon just one half the body. 
From the first operation with the electro-magnetic machine, 
relief was felt in walking; after the third, perspiration and 
sensation were improved ; and after the tenth, she ceased to 
call, feeling, as she said, that she was well. Application, 
general upon the side affected. 



Diseases of the eye. Different diseases of this delicate 
organ are most effectually treated by electricity, to which we 
shall here briefly refer. 

I, Amaurosis. This disease is a paralytic affection of the 
retina and optic nerve, followed by either a total or partial loss 
of vision. It arises from injuries done the head, compression of 
the optic nerves, debility, spasms, and from poisons. Its symp- 
toms are very irregular, from which fact amaurosis is confounded 
with other diseases of the eye. Loss of sight from this disease 
is usually preceded by the appearance of numerous insects, 
or substances like cobwebs, interposing themselves between 
the objects and the eye. The pupil usually retains its natural 
color, but is sometimes much dilated, at other times contracted, 
and sometimes it retains its natural size, but in all cases 
is firmly set, and of a glassy appearance. Of all the remedies 
yet discovered, electricity is certainly more successful in this 
disease, than any other. It is variously employed, and with ad- 
vantage, as will appear from the folloAving cases : 

Mrs. B. presented herself for examination in July, 1848 ; 
had been afflicted with headache and general debility for years ; 
pupil of the eyes firmly contracted for six months, with ability 
only to discover larger and moving objects. Electro-magnetism 
applied, by the positive pole being connected with a moistened 
sponge, and held upon the back of the neck, while, with the 
negative in one hand, the operator employed the other in manip- 
ulating over the temporal and frontal regions of the head, 
occasionally touching the orbits of the eyes, the hair and surface 
being previously saturated. With three operations, perceptible 
relief; with seven, headache cured, and eyes so much relieved 
as to be able to return to her residence, her friends continuing 
the treatment with success. 

A large number of cases from different authors might be 
quoted, in some of which they have met with success, and in 
others with none, but space will not permit, nor is it necessary. 
In most cases it is admitted that the failures were to be attri- 
buted to an unwillingness to continue the treatment. 

At the sitting of the French Academy, in June, 1826, M. 
Magendie reported several cases, cured by electro-puncture. 


His attacks were upon branches of the fifth pair of nerves, 
instead of the optic, the ophthalmic, the frontal and suborbital, 
each being punctured in different cases, and feeble currents 
from the battery employed. In one case he even punctured the 
frontal nerve, within its orbit, and the lachrymal nerve, and 
with success. (See Revue Med., July, 1820.) 

He again recommends this treatment in his lectures before 
the College of France, (See Lancet, May, 1837,) in" which he 
declares the treatment to be entirely safe. In the incipient 
stages, and even where any perception of light remains, he finds 
the treatment successful. In complete amaurosis, up to that 
period he had never effected a cure. 

Becquerel related a case to the French Academy, in Dec, 
1837, published in the Revue Med. in January following, in 
which a man with almost complete amaurosis, was treated by 
electro-puncture. The frontal and suborbital branches were the 
immediate seat of the operation. After three months, a decided 
improvement in the sensibility of the eyes had taken place, and 
the treatment was committed to the patient's wife, who continued 
it with success. 

The Gazette Medicate de Paris furnishes the particulars of 
twelve cases of this disease, treated by electro-puncture. In 
different cases the needle was inserted into the orbit of the eye, 
affecting the vitreous humor, by which process light is immedi- 
ately restored, and continued while the current passes, but no 
longer. In several cases this operation was repeated many 
times before relief was obtained, and often for months, before the 
cure became permanent. 

Dr. Grapengiesser's mode of operating for amaurosis differs 
from Dr. Person's just described. He excites the paralytic 
optic nerve, by irritating, with galvanism, the branches of the 
fifth pair. To accomplish this, a silver probe, in connection 
with one pole of the battery, " is introduced into the nose by the 
patient himself, while the operator touches the region of the 
frontal nerve, previously well moistened, either without 
interruption or at momentary intervals." In cases where a 
stronger irritation is intended, a small blister is previously ap- 
plied. But it is questionable whether any of these methods 


certainly attended with much pain and inconvenience, are to be 
preferred to the milder mode of exciting the nerves, by currents 
passed from the hand of the operator. They are referred to 
merely to show what has been accomplished by various methods 
of operating, and that the agent is approved by high authority. 
2. Weak Eyes. Under this term, it is our object to include 
impaired vision, from various causes, the more common of which 
is, perhaps, the exhaustion of the optic nerve. Nothing is more 
common than for those who are weak from disease, or otherwise, 
to engage in reading, or fine work, exerting their eyes to the 
utmost of their strength, until at last, the vision becomes feeble, 
and the least effort of the eye gives pain. To protect the eye, 
the lid closes over it, until it becomes exhausted, and finally 
inflamed ; and, perhaps, films upon the orbit, or tubercles upon the 
lid, are finally formed. Cases of this kind are under our daily 
observation. Their treatment is simple, and their recovery im- 
mediate. As illustrations, a few cases may be cited. 

Mrs. D , with weak eyes of some three years' standing, 

called on me in October, 1848 ; was unable to bear the light of 
the lamp, or to read by that of the sun ; unable to sit up for 
days in succession with pain in the head. Treated by currents 
from the electro-magnetic machine. Negative handle held by 
the patient, the positive by the operator, in one hand, while the 
other was employed in manipulations over the frontal and tem- 
poral regions, and occasionally through the eye. The hair pre- 
viously saturated to render the communication more direct. 
From the first operation, the eyes were strengthened, and from 
the eighth, she ceased to call, feeling, as she said, that she 
needed no more treatment. 

A little girl, aged ten, in 1847, was operated upon in the same 
manner, for twelve successive days, and cured of a weak eye 
she had not been able to open in a lighted room for three mont 1 ^ 
Cure permanent, one year afterwards. 

Mr. T , engraver, from close application 

was subject to weakness of the right eye, and froi 
effort to use it, suffered violent pain. Had tried variou. 
without success. When examined, the eye was highly . 
with tubercles upon the lid, etc. First operation as abo\ 
relief, and from the eleventh the cure became complete. 


3. Shortness of vision, when from disease, and not from mal- 
formation, is soon relieved by electricity. Currents to be passed 
through the eye, from the finger of the operator, with slight 
currents from the hand, as it is passed over the frontal and tem- 
poral regions. Several cases, with deafness, have been entirely 

cured by a few operations. Mr. M was unable to see 

but a few inches from his face with sufficient distinctness to 
read ; was cured by a few operations, while being treated for 

other diseases. Miss L also cured by a few operations, 

while being attended for deafness. Electx*icity is peculiarly 
adapted to such diseases of the eyes, and when properly em- 
ployed, is neither unpleasant nor unsafe. 

Auditory Paralysis, Deafness. A large number of cases may 
be cited, of cures of paralysis of the auditory nerves, and deaf- 
ness from other causes, but enough to give the results of differ- 
ent experiments will here only be given. 

Dr. Finella has reported to the Scientific Congress of Genoa 
several cases of deafness cured by him with electricity. One 
was of a sexagenarian, who in his youth suffered from atorrhoea, 
afterwards night-blindness, and finally deafness. The positive 
conductor was applied to the tympanum, and the negative to the 
tongue. From the first operation, a slight discharge at the 
ear took place. The same effect followed the second operation, 
with a slight improvement in hearing. On the third, both hear- 
ing and sight were improved. With twelve operations, the cure 
became permanent. 

Another had become deaf from inflammation of the ear, follow- 
ing rheumatism, and was restored by eleven operations, as in the 
first case. Other similar cases were treated in the same manner 
and with similar results. (See Annali Universi di Medicina, 
Dec, 1846.) 

Several cases are reported in the Bulletin general de Thera- 
peutique, in which M. Johert de Lamballe effected cures by the 
following process : A needle was passed into the Eustachian 
tube, through a sheath, and made to transfix the walls. Another 
was introduced into the external ear, and made to transfix the 
tympanum. Galvanic currents were then passed, for a moment, 
through these, and the operation repeated once in eight days. 


M. Hoering reports a case, in the Encyclop. des Sc. Med., 
June, 184T, in which a man, sixty years old, was cured of deaf- 
ness of a year's standing, by means of an insulated conductor 
passed into the external ear. The operation was repeated 
eighteen times. 

In the summer of 1847, C. M., a German laborer, 1 was pre- 
sented for treatment. Six years previous he had met with a 
fall, striking upon the occipital part of the head. Profuse hemor- 
rhage from the cars and mouth followed, which was arrested 
with difficulty. Severe headache had since attended him, and 
from the moment of the fall he had not heard a sound I Opera- 
tions with the electro-magnetic current were first made upon his 
head generally, the hair first being thoroughly saturated, and 
the positive handle held in the hand of the operator, while the 
negative rested upon a moistened sponge, placed upon the cervi- 
cal vertebrae, and the communication being made to the head 
through the hand. From the first, the headache became less 
violent. After the tenth operation, sounds were heard indis- 
tinctly, which were represented as " singing in the ears." With 
twenty, he was able to hear his own voice. These operations 
were continued, with currents passed through the ears by means 
of a fine sponge placed upon the tympanum, to which the cur- 
rent was communicated by an insulated director, until he could 
hear so as to converse quite well by the aid of a hearing trum- 
pet, when he fell and broke his leg, and ceased to attend. In 
all some thirty-five operations were made. 

E. W., mariner, came into my office January 15th, 1849, being 
quite unable to hear the loudest tone of the voice when placed 
near his ear, the result of a cold which had afflicted him a month 
or six weeks before. An operation was made by placing a fine 
sponge in one ear, and a larger one upon the external ear op- 
posite,' and gentle currents were passed through for five minutes, 
and then reversed for five minutes. After twenty minutes he 
heard nearly as well as ever ! A second operation on the fol- 
lowing day effected an entire cure. 

Mrs. S. H. S had been gradually losing her hearing for 

several years, and for the past year more rapidly than before. 
When first presented, could hear a common English watch, 


about three inches from the ear, on each side. With the hand 
as the conductor, the temporal region and external surface 
around the ear were gently operated upon, and then currents 
passed upon the inner ear, as in the above case, for three min- 
utes. After the first operation, the ticking of the watch was 
heard distinctly, one foot from the ear, the relief being perma- 
nent. Seven operations already made, up to the time of writing, 
have given additional relief, her hearing being now quite 

Deafness, from various causes, has been cured by Dr. W. 
Wright, of London, by the use of battery currents, among 
which he names the secretion of wax, abuses of mercury, etc. 

Tinnitus Amium, or ringing in the ears, which is often the 
precursor of deafness, is also speedily cured by electricity. 
Dr. Hoering cured a patient thus afflicted after recovering from 
typhus fever, who had been under other treatment for three 
months, without relief, the first operation giving relief, and 
twenty -two only being required for a complete cure. The con- 
ductor, in this disease, may be passed into the ear, as in deaf- 
ness ; passes with the hand also being made over the surface 
producing external excitability. 

St. Vitus' Dance. (Chorea Sancti Viti) By some phy- 
sicians this peculiar disease has been attributed to weakness, or 
relaxation of the muscles ; it may also arise from extreme exci- 
tability of the nervous system, from violent affections of the 
mind, as anger, fear ; or, it may be symptomatic of other dis- 
eases, in which case they are to be removed before it can be 
cured. From whatever cause it may arise, electricity, in certain 
forms, has proved highly useful in its treatment. 

Guy's Hospital Reports, of different dates, contain the most 
flattering recommendations of its use, as there employed by Dr. 
Bird, and his colleague, Dr. Addison, 

The following cases, quoted in the Medical Gazette, June 18 
1847, p. 1,065, will give an idea of the high reputation the 
practice has already attained in that popular institution. 

1. A little girl, aged eight, was admitted November 2d, with 
chorea, which had supervened upon rheumatism, and with which 
she had been afflicted for two weeks. " Her existing symptoms " 



as described by Dr. Bird, "were continual involuntary jactita- 
tion of the legs and arms, with continual contractions of the 
muscles of the face. She complained of stiffness in the neck, 
and spoke with extreme difficulty. She took vinum perri and 
sulphate of zinc, for some time ; but getting no better, electri- 
city was ordered on December 2d. 

Dec. 8th. The sparks had been taken daily from the spine. 
She now speaks and swallows without the slightest difficulty ; 
the involuntary movements are much diminished. 

Dec. 18th. She left the hospital quite free from all trace of 
chorea. She remained well until June 20th, 1838, when she 
was brought to the hospital, affected with chorea, confined now 
to the upper extremities. The electricity was again ordered, and 
she rapidly got well. That chorea is often excited by intestinal 
irritation is well known^ and the possibility of curing such a 
disease with purgatives is notorious. It will, however, some- 
times happen, that, although the exciting irritant is removed, 
the effects on the nervous system remain, and chorea persists. 
In such cases electricity soon effects a cure. 

2. The next case is that of a boy twelve years old, with chorea 
of ten months' standing, which appeared to have arisen from the 
irritation of a tape- worm. Purgatives and the sulphate of zinc 
were employed for two months without benefit, January 6th, 
Dr. Bird notes his symptoms as follows :— " Involuntary move- 
ment of almost every muscle, so that he had considerable diffi- 
culty in walking, and was quite unable to support himself on one 
le<r ; his arms were in constant motion, and he had so little con- 
trol over his fingers that he could not retain anything in his 
grasp, even for an instant ; the muscles of his throat were also 
in a state of constant involuntary motion, so that his articula- 
tion was imperfect, and his words frequently unintelligible ; his 
head was constantly moving, being, with his neck, alternately 
thrust forward and retracted in a jerking manner. Sparks 
were ordered to be taken from the spine on alternate days." 

January 9th, much improved. Involuntary movement of the 
less and arms much less. L3th, rapidly convalescing. Feb. 9th, 

x CD 

presented well. 

Where chorea exists in girls as a result of the disturbance of 


enervation from amenorrhea, anaemia either not existing, or 

cured by iron, it is a good practice to transmit a few shocks 
through the uterus, in addition to the sparks from the spine. 
In this way the catamenia will be generally excited, and the 
rapidity of the cure be increased. 

3. E. R., aged sixteen, of previous good general health, menstru- 
ated for the first time three months ago. After the disappearance 
of the discharge, she became the subject of involuntary motions 
of the right arm and hand ; these have increased in intensity 
up to the present time. She appeared at the electrical room in 
July, 1838 ; sparks were taken from the spine, and a few shocks 
passed through the pelvis. After the electricity had been ap- 
plied five times, the catamenia occurred and the chorea van- 
ished. She continued well until September 19th, when, as the 
discharge had not appeared at its proper time, she again applied 
at the hospital. A few shocks through the pelvis excited the 
deficient function, and she left quite well. I have never seen 
any good effects to result in cases of chorea from the transmis- 
sion of electric shocks along the affected limbs ; on the contrary, 
in every instance the involuntary movements have been in- 
creased, often to an alarming extent ; and, if employed when 
the patient was convalescent, it has invariably aggravated every 
symptom, and often rendered the patient as bad as when first 
admitted under treatment. 

•4. Other cases are related of partial convulsive movements, 
affecting different muscles, as the result of fear, in all of which 
electricity affected the cure, after other remedies had failed. 
Thirty-six cases are described in one report of this disease, from 
various causes, of which twenty-nine were cured by electricity 
when other treatment had failed, five were relieved, one left 
from alarm, and one found no relief at all. Dr. Bird concludes 
by saying— 

The results of my trials of electricity in chorea may thus be 
deemed very satisfactory. I am quite aware others have not met 
with the same success, and this is easily accounted for, in their 
merely seeking the aid of the remedy in cases which obstinately 
resisted all other means, instead of using it as a primary 
remedy. Of all the remedies i have hitherto used, except perhaps 


the sulphate of zinc, electricity seems most successful in chorea, 
and I have invariably employed it wherever I possibly could, 
since I first saw it employed by my friend and colleague, Dr. 
Addison, who, I believe, first suggested its use in this disease. 
It might now be inquired, In what manner does electricity 
cure chorea? Having reflected much on this subject, I have 
adopted the conclusion that, as a counter irritant over the spine, 
it is of more value than other remedies of this class, from its 
ready application, and the intensity of its action, and the capa- 
bility of renewing it daily. It exerts a very important influence 
over the spinal nerves, and thus aids in submitting them to the 
dominion of the will. In addition to this, I believe the remedy acts 
by exciting powerful contraction of the muscles, and thus aids 
in overpowering their irritability. Indeed, in this way, even 
independently of all countervention, I have more than once seen 
electricity cure chorea. A remarkable instance of this is at 
this moment in Guy's. A girl, aged fourteen, was admitted 
under my care, in Miriam ward, with obstinate universal chorea. 
I never met with a case in which there was more reason to sus- 
pect organic mischief, and which so completely resisted all 
remedies, the chorea movements continuing long after the resto- 
ration of her general health. I therefore left all treatment, and 
requested my clinical clerk to pass a series of electro-magnetic 
shocks through the arms. In a few days the movements les- 
sened, and in a few weeks quite ceased. 

To this might be appended several cases which have come 
under the observation of the writer. At present, however, a 
single case will be given. 

W. T , a shoemaker, was presented for treatment in June, 

1846. From childhood he had been subject to slight attacks of 
chorea, up to the present time. Age twenty, general health 
good, system stout and muscular. Chorea general, feet and 
hands in constant involuntary motion ; cannot sit in a chair, so 
general is his movement ; head thrown forward and back by 
constant jerking ; the wildest gestures and grimaces of the face 
imaginable. Has been in this state constantly for six weeks. 
Currents from the magneto-electric machine passed first through 
the spine, a wet sponge being attached to the conducting wire 


from the negative pole, and placed under the coccyx, with the 
positive applied to the occipital part of the head and back of the 
neck. In five minutes the jerking of the head became less. 
Currents were then passed through each limb, from the lumbar 
region, to the feet, and from the cervical, to the hands. These, 
with the currents through the spine, were continued for half an 
hour. Involuntary motion quite ceased, and the patient conver- 
sed with ease. On each successive day, these operations were 
repeated for the same length of time. No return of chorea, and 
the patient discharged cured. 

As chorea arises from a variety of causes, different applica- 
tions of electricity will be found necessary in its cure. The 
direct relief, experienced in some cases by one operation, while. 
perhaps, another is not relieved at all, but is speedily cured by 
some other mode of operating, accounts for the success of some, 
and want of success by others. In this, as in other diseases, it 
is not enough to try electricity ; it must be tried in a manner 
adapted to the nature of the disease, and to the condition of the 
patient. In many cases, the treatment is to be followed for 
days, perhaps weeks or months, and varied, as other treatment is 
varied, by its effects and the changes through which it is perhaps 
necessary for the patient to be carried before a cure can be 
expected. Such allowances are made for other systems of prac- 
tice, often extending to years, and yet the patient and practitioner 
persevere ; with this system, why should we not be willing to 
persevere, if necessary, for months ? 

Neuralgia. {Tic Douloureux.) This disease is defined " a 
pain in the nerve," and some have given to it, when in the facial 
nerves, the name tic douloureux ; and when in the sciatic, the 
name sciatica. Others have represented the condition of pain 
or uneasiness as allied to neuralgia, in whatever part. The 
various causes, nature, and treatment of this disease, will 
appear by reference to different cases, in which electricity has 
been employed. As will be seen, the disease is sometimes pri- 
mary in different nerves, and sometimes symptomatic, or con- 
nected with other diseases, requiring quite different treatment. 
I have known it to attack the nerves that have their origin in 
the cervical portion of the spinal cord, and which distribute 


themselves through the neck and back of the head, with such 
violence, as to drive the sufferer to the most desperate acts. 
Indeed, in its attacks upon any nerve, in its most violent form, 
it is quite insufferable. 

1. L. H., sea captain, aged forty-five, of stout muscular form, 
and general health excellent, -was seized with this disease, in 
June, 1846, in the left occipital part of the head. The pain was 
most intolerable, affecting the mind, and driving the patient 
almost to madness. Different remedies were employed, but 
without the least relief. For two weeks the patient obtained no 
rest, but spent each night in the greatest agony. First saw him 
at 10 o'clock in the evening, tossing from side to side upon his 
bed, and groaning most mournfully. Electricity was at once 
applied. The hair was saturated, the foot placed in the metallic 
shoe, to which the negative pole of the electro-magnetic machine 
was attached, and currents passed from the hand through the 
operator, from the positive, through the head to the feet, for half 
an hour. The patient seemed quite easy, and for the first time 
conversed freely for twenty minutes, when he was left in charge 
of his attendants, who reported that soon after he fell asleep, 
and rested quietly for an hour ; that they then also fell asleep, 
and that all slept undisturbed until 7 o'clock the next morning. 
The patient then felt no return of this distressing disease, but 
on the second day following, called, with an unpleasant sensation 
in his ear, which was at once relieved by electricity, after which 
hot the least trace of the disease remained. 

In more than three hundred cases of neuralgia, I have wit- 
nessed the benefit of this agent, and in no case, when properly 
employed, have I known it to fail of imparting relief. It has 
been differently applied by different practitioners, and with suc- 
cess, to some of whom we take the liberty to refer. 

M. Magendie recommends its use in neuralgia, by electro- 
puncture, the magneto-electric machine being employed. From 
the Medical Gazette, the Medica-Chirurg. Review, July, 1841, 
quotes the following : — 

M. Thelin had been subject to frequent attacks of most severe 
neuralgia, affecting the superior maxillary nerve of the left side, 
when he first consulted M. Magendie. The pain in the gums, 


lips, cheek, and alamasi, was insupportable. The patient could 
scarcely utter a word ; and as for mastication, it was impossible. 
All methods of treatment had been tried, and all tried in vain. 
But with having many of his teeth extracted, and being leeched, 
and blistered, and physicked for months and months, at a time, 
his constitution had suifered severely. He consulted M. Mag- 
endie on the 5th of March, 1838. At one sitting of a few min- 
utes, the pain was chasse. Since that period, whenever the 
neuralgia returned, he repaired to M. Magendie, and always left 
him cured of his suffering. It is now several months since lie 
had an attack. 

M. James states that the following mode of applying galvan- 
ism or electricity to nerves suffering from neuralgic affections, 
rarely fails of effecting a cure. He is inclined to think the 
numerous failures Avhich other practitioners have met with in 
the use of this remedy, are owing to the circumstance, that the 
electric fluid was never made to pass through the nerve at all, 
but along the skin merely,— rarely, if ever, being made to pene- 
trate to the affected nerve. A. fine needle, about two inches and 
a half long, made of some metal that is not easily oxidized, plati- 
na or gold being the best, and finely polished, is introduced into 
the seat of the affected nerve. The needle is recommended to 
be pushed straight down to the affected nerve at once, and not 
to be turned round, as is often done in introducing needles into 
rheumatic parts. All needles composed of metals which are 
oxidizable are condemned as hurtful, both because they give 
pain from their loss of polish, and from their causing an indelible 
stain in the spot where they are introduced — a circumstance 
which is especially to be avoided when operating upon the face 
or other exposed parts of the body. The neighborhood of 
important blood-vessels, is, if possible, to be avoided ; at least 
they should not be transfixed. It is not, however, indispensable 
to pierce the nerve ; it is stated that it is sufficient if the needle 

be in contact with it. Two needles are generally requisite 

one at the origin of the affected nerve, the other towards its 
affected terminating branch. The introduction of the needle 
rarely gives pain. 

The needles being fixed, a current of electric fluid is made to 


pass along the nerve, the positive pole being put in communica- 
tion with the needle fixed in the origin of the nerve, and the nega- 
tive pole with the needle inserted at the extremity of the branch. 
The voltaic pile of five or six plates, usually furnishes a suffi- 
ciently powerful current for the first sitting. The electro-mag- 
netic apparatus of Mr. Clarke of London, is recommended as 
that which is both most convenient, and whose intensity can be 
increased most easily at will. The wires of the electric apparatus 
are only to be kept in contact with the needles for a few seconds ; 
in some cases, however, a continued current of the electric fluid , 
is made to pass along the nerve. A kind of pricking pain is 
experienced under the influence of the electricity, most acute at 
the negative pole. 

Several sittings are required 'before the neuralgic pain leaves 
the nerve ; after it does leave it, however, the application must 
not be immediately discontinued, as sometimes it returns. It 
is, therefore, recommended, before withdrawing the needles, to 
wait for a few minutes, and direct the person to make the 
motion which usually brought on the pain ; if it returns, 
one or two additional shocks, passed through the nerve, will 
make it entirely to disappear. No after treatment is necessary ; 
and when properly performed, the punctures give no uneasiness, 
and require no treatment. 

M. James relates a number of instructive cases of neuralgic 
affections of the nerves, which occurred chiefly in the practice 
of M. Magendie, who is the great advocate of this mode of treat- 
ing neuralgia, which were relieved by the use of electricity. 
(See Edinburg Med. and Surg. Journal July, 1841.) 

Doubtless many have failed in their operations to pass the 
electric fluid upon the nerve at all, as intimated by M. James, 
but it remains to be proved that electro-puncture is the only, or 
even the best method, by which such failures are to be obviated. 
In our own practice, in such cases, we have not failed of success, 
by making the communication upon the surface, giving proper 
direction to the current, through the location of the directors 
through which communication is effected. In this, as in other 
diseases, there is a guide by which the operation should be con- 
trolled. When the current first reaches the diseased part, the 


patient will complain of a pain, much the same as that produced 
by the disease, a sensation which will usually lead him to ex- 
claim, " that is the place," " there it is," etc. The direction of 
the current may be varied until such effects are produced ; 
and when you have succeeded in thus affecting the diseased 
nerve, it is better not to pass the current constantly, but to 
employ one of the directors in gentle manipulations. At every 
hour in the day, I am employed in making operations by this 
method, with the most favorabie results. The inconvenience 
of electro-puncture is avoided, and in no case does the opera- 
tion give more pain than that experienced from the disease 

Sciatica. This form of neuralgia, so difficult to treat with 
the usual remedies, yields at once to the use of electricity. 
Numerous cases are on record, in which electro-puncture has 
proved successful, it being the first resort by some, when 
electricity is indicated, while from observation in a large 
number of cases, we have found the method above described 
equally as effectual. Channing, in his notes, just published, 
cites several cases, treated by Dr. E. Hermel, published in the 
Annates Medico Psyckologiques, March. 1844, and noticed in 
the Lond. and Edin. Month, Jour, of Med. Sc, June, 1844, 
which we take the liberty to copy. 

"I. A man, in the Hotel Dieu, aged 44, afflicted with trau- 
matic neuralgia of the sacro-lumbar and lesser sciatic nerves, 
of five months' duration. Vapor baths had been very useful. 
Subsequently, rnoxas had been employed without benefit. 
The needle, connected with the positive pole of a battery of 
twenty pairs, was inserted into the sacro-lumbar region, and 
the negative needle, a little below the external malleolus. The 
applications, which were of ten minutes, excited copious per- 
spiration in the limb, which could immediately afterwards be 
bent with less pain. After the fourth or fifth application, the 
pain did not return, but electro-puncture was still repeated 
on the three subsequent days. 

"II. A man in the Hotel Dieu, aged 26, with neuralgia of 
the right peroneal nerve, of fifteen days' duration, accompa- 
nied with convulsive movements. Exacerbations at night. 
The first application removed the night pains, and lessened 
the movements. After the third, the punctures became pain- 



ful, and a suppurating pustule appeared later, which was 
speedily healed. No further application was made, and he 
left the hospital cured. There was no perspiration of the limb 
in this case. 

" 111. A man with sciatica, of four months' standing, was 
the subject of a single application. It is referred to as having 
produced a copious sweat. 

" IV. A woman at the Hotel Dieu, aged 70, laboring under 
sciatica, of a very aggravated character, of six months' stand- 
ing. One application caused copious sweating, and effected a 


"V. A harness-maker, aged 33, at the Hotel Dieu, with 
neuralgia of the lumbar plexus, of a month's standing. It had 
been relieved by leeching and cupping, but had returned. One 
needle was inserted in the right lumbar region, the other just 
within the anterior superior spine of the ileum. Twenty pairs 
of plates were used for twelve minutes, which gave relief Some 
slight shooting pains remaining, the application was repeated, 
three days later, with thirty pairs of plates. From this time 
he remained well, and was dismissed eight days after. 

" VI. A butcher's boy, at the Hotel Dieu, with double sci- 
atica and paralysis, of five weeks' standing. The first applica- 
tion brought the pain to an end, and was followed by involun- 
tary discharge of urine during the night. Several applications 
were made afterwards, and in thirteen days he was cured, and 
in twenty-one days dismissed. 

« VII. A laborer, aged 45, in the Hotel Dieu, with double 
sciatica and partial paralysis, of a month's standing He com- 
plained of almost total want of sleep. After the first applica- 
tion of electro-puncture, a copious sweat occurred m both limbs, 
with immediate relief to the pain, and increased power of mo- 
tion He also slept well. On the next day, it was repeated 
with equal advantage, Application was suspended for sixteen 
days, the vapor bath being substituted. He was then able to 
walk with only a stick ; but, on account of a four hours return 
of pain in the right thigh, electro-puncture was used for the 
third time, with the effect of permanent relief, until his dismis- 
sal, nine days later, a slight numbness only remaining. 

" VIII A man aged 27, with severe sciatica, ot fifteen days 
standing 'following meningitis. Electro-puncture, beef tea, and 
an anodyne were prescribed. The first application was with 
difficulty borne for four minutes. The next day, the patient 
better, and electro-puncture applied for ten minutes. The pain 
ceased, but he was still unable to stand. The next day, electro- 
puncture for the third time. He stood and walked. Two days 
later ho was dismissed, cured." 


Again, cases are noted by the same author, of cures byM. M. 
Bally and Meyraux, as published in the Revue Med., Oct., 
1825, which we also copy. 

" I. A man, aged 63 years, in the Hospital de la Pitic, in 
1825, having femoral neuralgia of eight years' standing, was 
subjected to electro-puncture. One needle was inserted in the 
lumbar region, the other in the middle of the inner part of the 
thigh. The patient's constitution was irritable, and .strong con- 
tractions were produced by a current from four to six pairs. 
After the second application, the intervals of paroxysm became 
longer, and the paroxysms themselves shorter. After five appli- 
cations, he was completely cured. 

" II. A man, aged 26 years, with sciatica, which had pre- 
vented an upright position for six months, and on which the 
usual treatment, including simple acu-puncture, had been ex- 
hausted, was subjected by the same physicians to electro- 
puncture. In ten applications, the cure was complete. 

"III. A man entered the Hospital de la Pitie with femoral 
and perineo-tibial neuralgia. The paroxysms and spasms were 
very frequent and severe. One needle was inserted above the 
great trochanter, the other in the ham. The first application 
occasioned relief, and a cure followed the eighth. 

"IV. A man, aged 34, with neuralgia in the inferior and 
inner part of the foot, of a very severe and paroxysmal charac- 
ter. Cured by eight applications." 

Numerous authors might be cited in proof of the utility of 
electricity, in sciatica, but space will not here permit. Nor is it 
necessary. The question is no longer, " Is it useful ?" but, how 
may it be best employed 1 As we have stated, our own expe- 
rience has taught us that currents properly passed from the 
electro-magnetic machine, without electro-puncture, are sufficient. 
Others may prefer different methods. 

Dr. Merchant, of Hemsworth, relates his own case, (See 
Lancet, July, L827,) in which the cure was effected by drawing 
out sparks from the diseased part, while insulated. The pain 
extended from the sacrum to the hip, and long resisted the 
usual treatment of blisters, leeches, and opium, when Dr. Mer- 
chant resorted to eleetricity. Night and morning, for fifteen 
minutes, the affected part was subjected to electrical treatment 
and materially improved in one week, and entirely cured in 


three. In the Reports of Guy's Hospital, this mode of operating 
in sciatica, is highly recommended, and for simplicity, at least, 
is to be preferred to electro-puncture. 

Neuralgia of the Tongue. A lady afflicted with this disease, 
in connection with dyspepsia, has lately been under treatment. 
For several years, she has been subject to violent pains through 
the thorax, affecting the tongue to such a degree as to render 
articulation quite impossible. At times the pain extended from 
the tongue, through the glands to the ears, rendering it difficult 
to turn the head, or to swallow .The various remedies of one of 
the most skilful practitioners had been tested without success, 
when, as the last resort, she was presented for electropathic 
treatment. Electrical currents were passed from the electro- 
magnetic machine, first through the thorax, in reversed order, 
then through the glands, with passes of the hand, when charged, 
over the surface of the face and neck, for twenty minutes. 
Relief was experienced at the first operation ; with fifteen, the 
patient was quite free from pain : dyspepsia improved, and 
general health better ; in six weeks, with gentle purgatives and 
tonics, the patient was restored. In other cases, two or three 
operations have been sufficient to remove the disease, and but 
few are required, except in chronic forms of the disease. 

M. Magendie has cured diseases of this kind by electro- 
puncture, which seems to be with him the principal mode of 
operating. Needles were inserted into the affected side of the 
tongue, and the trunk of the facial nerve where it enters the 
parotid gland, and, by a current passed for a moment between 
them, the pain removed immediately to the mental branch of 
the inferior maxillary nerve. It was then driven into the infra- 
orbital nerve, and thus pursued, until by a single sitting it was 
expelled, in one case, and in another, ultimately. (See Med. 
Chirug. Rev., April, 1846.) 

As has been intimated, every nerve in the system is liable to 
suffer from neuralgic affections. Dr. Hoering reports a case of 
neuralgia in the bladder, occasioned by cold, and aggravated by 
the frequent voiding of water. An insulated conductor was 
passed into the bladder, to which one of the poles of the battery 
was attached, and the other applied to the epigastrium. Six- 
toon operations effected the cure. (See Encyclop. des Soc. Med., 


June, 1847.) I have cured the same disease, in differenl oe 

by passing currents through the pelvis, in opposite directions. 

Intercostal Neuralgia. From their constant exercise in the 
expansion and contraction of the chest, the intercostal nerves arc 
specially liable to become diseased. From exhaustion or weak- 
ness they often give rise to difficulty in breathing, or the proper 
expansion of the chest, and from neuralgic pains to suffering the 
most excruciating. From an extensive observation, I have rea- 
son to believe that four-fifths of the pulmonary diseases of the 
day have their origin in diseases of the intercostals. In many 
cases of cough and labored respiration, it is truly wonderful to 
witness the instantaneous relief experienced by operations upon 
these nerves. In whatever state of disease they are found, 
electricity may be employed with advantage. For the past 
three years more than one half the patients under treatment, 
have been benefitted by operations affecting the intercostal 
nerves and muscles. Such operations relax the chest when 
contracted, give freedom to the vital organs, and regulate 
their functions. Under no circumstances, are they, if pro- 
perly made, found to be injurious. 

Dr. Ranking reports a case of intercostal neuralgia, in which 
he found, in the use of electro-magnetism, the only curative 
remedy. The patient was subject to attacks of excruciating 
pain, referred to each side of the thorax, at the union of the 
ninth ribs with their cartilages. These attacks were periodic 
in character, symmetrical in locality, and with the absence of 
fever. Quinine, iron, colchicum, and arsenic, were each tried 
in turn, but without success. Ether was inhaled during the 
paroxysm, but on the return of consciousness, the pain re- 
turned. Morphia gave relief, but only temporary 

" Under these circumstances," says Dr. R., " 1 determined 
to give littleor no medicine, merely bismuth and rhubarb, and 
to have recourse to electro-magnetism. This agent was 
perated with every day during twenty minutes, and a lew 
days only had ei .lien decide;! benefil was declared. 

The intervals between the paroxysms were j 1, and 

the paiu gradually became so tolerable, that the patient was 
enabled to dispense with his morphine. In the course of a 


month it had entirely left him, and to this time (nearly eight 
months,) he has not had the slightest return. 

The instrument employed, was that recommended by Dr. 
Golden Bird, (the common electro-magnetic machine). The 
currents were passed through the arms first, for the space of 
twenty minutes, the patient holding the conductor in each hand. 
It was subsequently made to traverse the intercostal nerves, 
by placing one conductor over the spine, and the other alter- 
nately over the painful spots. The tension was preserved as 
high as it could be borne. (See Prov. Med. and Surg. Jour., 
April 19, 1848, p. 206.) 


In this class of diseases, a careful discrimination should be 
made between those affecting the chest only, and those ex- 
tending to the various internal organs — in other words, be- 
tween those of the chest, and those of its contents. From 
many causes, the chest is especially liable to attacks from 
disease. To some of these attacks allusion has already been 
made, but in their treatment it is well to be more definite. 

1. Contraction. It is surprising to what an extent the 
variations in size of the chest may be carried, and hu\v many 
causes combine to produce such effects. From weakness, and 
the stooping position which many assume in business and from 
habit, the chest may be contracted one-third in its circumfer- 
ence. The effects of dress in accomplishing the same object, are 
well understood, with the diseases which follow therefrom. 
Now, in the treatment of different diseases, this condition of 
the chest should be observed. A wise dispensation has made 
this part of the system the deposit of the most delicate organs 
— vital jewels. To preserve their various functions, each 
requires its proper space and location ; and, though no other 
inconvenience may be experienced at first, by attempts, either 
voluntary or involuntary, to make it of less than its proper 
size, than general weakness, a long catalogue of evils will 
surely follow in their life-destroying train. Nor can these 
evils be remedied until the first and principal evil be removed. 


Electricity, properly employed, in connection with other 
treatment, is of the greatest value in the expansion of the 
chest. Its effects are most instantaneous, and in all cases it is 
safe. The negative communication should be at the nape of 
the neck, and over the cervical vertebrae, while the positive is 
at the pit of the stomach, and along the sternum (os pectoris). 
Jn different cases, the application should be different, as will 
appear from the following : 

2. Injuries from Sprains, etc., often produce pain through 
the shoulders, and strictures across the chest, causing much 
difficulty in its proper expansion and contraction. These are 
readily relieved by passing currents from the electro-magnetic 
machine through the chest in an opposite direction. Timely 
attention to such injuries, saves much suffering, and protects 
against more fatal diseases. I have frequently seen those ap- 
parently far gone with consumption, entirely restored by the 
most gentle operations, in which cases their disease was traced 
directly to some injury done the chest. A case has been des- 
cribed (page 36,) of a young man given up by his friends and 
physicians, who was speedily cured. His disease proved to 
be the result of a fall, where he was required to hang upon 
his left arm, to prevent falling some fifty feet upon rocks, for 
some fifteen minutes. Similar cases are often the result of 
injuries, scarcely perceptible at the time, but which by degrees 
weaken and reduce the strength of the chest, through which 
its contents are sooner or later impaired. 

3. Palpitation of the Heart. When from contraction of the 
chest, as it often is, palpitation is speedily and permanently 
cured by those means which give expansion and strength. So, 
too, when from deficiency of nervous energy. Indeed, from 
whatever cause, palpitation is successfully treated by electri- 
city. From many important cases, a few may be selected. 

Miss C , of Portland, was presented for examination in 

Dec, 1845, with palpitation, with which she had been afflicted 
for several years. From the least effort, the blood apparently 
forsook the extremities, and rushing to the heart, produced the 
most violent palpitation, and to ascend one flight of stairs, 
would so much increase it as often to cause fainting. So 



violent was the heart's action, that the whole system was 
shaken by its pulsation. The sensation of distress and suffo- 
cation, seemed quite insufferable. , Extremities cold, lips and 
face purple, etc. Currents from the electro-magnetic machine 
were first passed through the chest, from hand to hand, then 
from the back of the neck to each foot, and finally, from the 
pit of the stomach, and through the region of the heart, to the 
cervical portion of the spine. Relief from the first operation, 
and from a week's treatment, quite restored, at which time her 
friends obtained a machine, and continued to make the appli- 
cations from time to time, as found necessary. 

Mrs. D , of Charlestown, November, 1.848, had been 

subject to attacks of palpitation for several years, which, for 
some two months, had been greatly increased ; quite unable 
to exercise, and on falling asleep, suddenly aroused by violent 
palpitation, accompanied with distress, and a sense of dying. 
Currents as above described, were passed through the region 
of the heart, each operation giving relief, and the tenth effect- 
ing a permanent cure. When this disease is attended with 
general debility, as in the first case cited above, the object 
should be to regulate the circulation through the system gen- 
erally, which requires a general, as well as local application. 

4. Consumption. (Phthisis.) So many are the curative 
remedies, put afloat for this incurable disease, that it is with 
much hesitation that we are led to suggest the use of elec- 
tricity at all. And, now, it is in only the incipient stages of the 
disease that it is to be recommended as a curative agent. 
When once ulceration has taken place, it is believed that but 
little hope of recovery can be realized, though some give full 
assurance, that electricity has effected cures, in such cases. 
Their mistake is probably to be attributed, not to the fact that 
people have recovered when supposed to have consumption, 
but to the error in supposing that in that disease their lungs 
had ulcerated. 

There can be no objection, however, to the passing of 
o-entle currents of electricity for the purpose of alleviating 
the sufferer's distress. When the respiration is difficult, the 
extremities cold, and even when the patient becomes delirious, 



a judicious application of this vitalizing agent, is found to in- 
vigorate the system, temporarily restoring the mental powers 
to the last, and, comparatively, to give ease in the dying 

Previous to ulceration having taken place, much may be 
anticipated from a judicious treatment upon electrical princi- 
ples. Dr. Wilson Philip, in his treatise on the vital functions, 
says, pp. 340-1, 2d Vol. : " In some, laboring under the most 
chronic forms of phthisis, in whom the symptoms had lasted 
several years, and habitual asthma had supervened, the relief 
obtained from galvanism was very great, notwithstanding the 
admixture of a pus-like substance in what was expectorated." 
In cases of inflammation, it should be employed as a counter 
inatant, by exciting action in the extremities and upon the 
surface. In tuberculation it may also be employed, with 
some degree of assurance, in promoting absorption ; and for 
increasing vital action, in some cases where the disease is 
confined to the mucous membrane. 

In all cases, the general tone of the system may be im- 
proved, as has been intimated, even to the latest moment of 
life, by its vitalizing power. Its use, however, like every 
other remedy, is the most salutary, in the first stages of the 
disease, and even then, when applied through the cavity of the 
chest, its application should be gentle, and well directed. 
The greatest advantage of the agent, as it stands connected 
with consumption, is its use in diagnosis. It does afford a 
medium through which to determine for a certainty, the ab- 
solute condition of the lungs as well as other parts affected 
in this disease. With this information there is but little diffi- 
culty in determining the question of recovery. 

5. Bronchitis. {Laryngitis.) In the first, stages of this 
disease, too. electricity affords great relief, and, perhaps it 
may with safety be employed in all cases. Its influence upon 
the mucous membrane is direct, it gives tone to the organs of 
secretion, and strengthens the system generally. An extreme 
case of this disease came under observation some months 

since. Mr. O , of this city, aged about forty, had been 

for eight months, subject to bronchitis in its worst form. The 



usual remedies had failed to give the least relief: on the con- 
trary, he had been all the time on the decline. As a last 
resort he had been advised to seek a more favorable climate, 
and was about to leave for the Southern States, when a friend 
suggested electropathic treatment, and he was induced to 
call on me. System very much emaciated, countenance 
haggard, pulse almost imperceptible, cough violent, and for 
hours at a time, almost incessant, larynx and trachea much 
inflamed and swollen, voice feeble, articulation scarcely 
audible ; from 10 o'clock, until about 3 o'clock, P. M., each 
day, for the past few weeks, has felt a sense of coldness, or 
death, so much that the extremities became cold and rigid, 
" night sweats," etc. Treatment. — First, currents from the 
electro-magnetic machine passed through the system, from 
hand to hand, for five minutes, then through the spine for ten 
minutes, then through the limbs, from the lumbar region to 
the feet for five minutes, then through the chest, from differ- 
ent points, for ten minutes, and then through the larynx and 
trachea, for from five to ten minutes. In all these operations, 
the positive conductor was the hand of the operator, and the 
current, which was feeble, gently varied to the condition of 
each part affected. The trachea, larynx, and intercosfals, 
were at first very sensitive to electricity, but from the first 
became less so. From the first sitting, respiration and expec- 
toration more free. Dr. Paige's cough drops and purgative 
powders were ordered, in connection with the operations, 
which were to be repeated each day at 10 o'clock, A. M. 
After the fourth operation, no return of the cold turns were 
felt, and but little insensible perspiration ; the cough, too, 
was less, and expectoration free. In three weeks, voice 
quite restored, pulse distinct and regular, cough but slight, 
appetite good, extremities of normal temperature, and less 
emaciated. Operations only on each alternate day ; continues 
to improve, but having made arrangements to go south, and 
from fear of the changeable climate at home, it was deemed 
advisable to leave. An instrument was taken, with medi- 
cines, and the treatment continued, which, as we learn, has 
quite restored the patient. Less obstinate cases have yielded 


to the use of electricity alone ; in a few days or weeks, the 
immediate change in the tone and strength of the voice show- 
ing, most conclusively, the adaptation of this agent to this 
fearful disease. 

6. Affections of the Liver, of different kinds, are effectually 
treated by the use of the electro-magnetic machine. They 
may also be detected by its use, to a certainty, in the hands 
of an experienced practitioner. As moderate currents pro- 
mote absorption, and increase the vital action in the tissues, 
its use is important in cases of enlargement of the liver ; and 
as its stimulating power gives tone and energy to the part to 
which it is applied, it may be employed with great success 
when the liver is in a torpid slate. The current should be 
passed from the hand of the operator, through the liver, and 
the nerves with which it is connected, from the pit of the 
stomach and over the liver, to the cervical vertebra?, the 
intensity being varied to the strength of the patient, or the 
sensitiveness of the part operated upon. Thus employed, its 
effects are as immediate, and much more permanent, than 
that of the c6mmon remedy, in such cases, calomel. Dr. 
Philip says of its use, " I have repeatedly seen the same effect 
upon the biliary system which arises from calomel ; a copious 
dischai'ge from the bowels coming on within a few hours after 
its employment." 

7. Asthma. The observations of numerous practitioners, 
combine in placing electricity among the first and most 
efficient remedies ever to be employed in this distressing 
disease. I have seen those who for days and weeks were 
unable to recline for an hour's rest, from habitual asthma, by a 
single operation of some thirty minutes, so fully relieved that 
respiration became easy, and they could sleep with the utmost 
composure.' Often, however, to protect against asthmatic 
paroxysms, or to effect a permanent cure, the treatment is to 
be followed for several weeks. Weakness of the chest, 
affecting the eighth pair of nerves, more especially, seems to 
be the more direct cause of this disease, and to this part of 
the system the treatment should be directed. Currents from 
the electro-magnetic machine should be passed from different 


points across the pit of the stomach and around the sides, to 
the upper cervical vertebrae, varying the time of operation 
and the intensity of the current to the necessity of the case. 
Several cases are referred to by Channing, in his Notes 
of cures effected by Dr. Wilson Philip, as follows : 

'•' 1. A lady, aged 35, for many years subject to habitual 
asthma ; — breathing very much oppressed. The immediate 
effect of the application was to give greater ease than she had 
experienced for years. Part of this relief remained perma- 
nent, and when galvanized for ten minutes daily, she suffered 
little dyspnoea. On one occasion, to try the effect of imagina- 
tion, he deceived the patient by scratching the wire upon the 
neck, without allowing the passage of the galvanic current. 
No relief was felt. He then passed it from the neck to the 
upper part of the chest, when slight relief was obtained. 
Finally the current was passed to the pit of the stomach, 
when the usual effect of former applications was experienced. 
" II. A young woman, who had been several times galvan- 
ized in the usual way, was treated by a current passing down 
the spine. The breathing was easier, but less so than on 
former occasions ; and after exertion, she was obliged to have 
recourse to galvanism, as previously administered. This 
patient remained free from the disease for half a year, when 
she returned with a slighter attack, which yielded immediately 
to galvanism, in connection with remedies, which alone had 
proved inactive. 

" III. A blacksmith, aged 50, with severe habitual asthma 
of seven months' standing. Cough troublesome, with thick, 
yellowish expectoration. After three applications of galvan- 
ism, for about ten minutes each time, he declared himself well, 
and resumed work. Several weeks later, the disease was 
renewed by intoxication, and he was again relieved with equal 
facility. During ten months, several slighter attacks occurred, 
following exposure, which were immediately relieved in the 
same manner. 

" IV. A gloveress, aged 28, with asthma of four years' 
standing. The breathing was rendered easy, in a few min- 
utes, by galvanism, and, after the second application, contin- 
ued so. Three weeks later, she experienced some return of 
dyspenoea, which was relieved by a blister, which had been 
previously tried with slight effect. During several months 
alter, she remained well. 

"V. A female domestic, aged 30, with asthma of two 


months' standing. She was relieved in a few minutes, and, 
after three applications, remained well for several weeks. 
Reference is made by Wilson Philip to several other similar 

" VI. A laborer, formerly a soldier, aged 68. He was 
unable to walk, save at a slow pace, and sometimes had been 
obliged wholly to abandon work. During his most severe 
attack, he was relieved in a few minutes by galvanism ; and 
after three weeks of daily application often minutes each, the 
relief became permanent. A sense of sinking in the stomach 
was perceived in this as in the previous case, after the appli- 
cation of electricity (probably from the stimulation of that 
organ), which was removed by carbonate of iron. After two 
years, this patient had experienced no return. 

"VII. A female domestic, aged 40, with asthma of five 
years' standing. The first application of galvanism gave great 
relief; but this proved unequal in subsequent administrations. 
Her attendance was irregular, and her consumption of malt 
liquor excessive. Her breathing and digestion were both 
improved, though the former continued oppressed. 

" VIII. A female domestic*, aged 24, with asthma of a year's 
standing. She was quickly relieved by galvanism, but the 
effect was not permanent. She was cured, subsequently, by 
an alterative course of medicines — in part, as Wilson Philip 
suggests, a result of the previous electrical treatment. 

"IX. A domestic, aged 29, with severe asthma of a year's 
standing, and an inflammatory tendency. She was much 
relieved by a few minutes' application, and her case improved 
for ten days, when galvanism failed of its effect. The epigas- 
trium was now tender on pressure. This was removed by 
blood-letting, blistering, and small doses of calomel. Gal- 
vanism became then more efficient even than in the com- 
mencement, and she finally left, much, though not entirely, 

"X. A woman, who had for many years labored under 
habitual asthma, was galvanized incautiously with such power 
as to occasion severe pain, and a refusal to submit herself 
again to the application. She had obtained, however, imme- 
diate relief to her breathing, a part of which remained perma- 
nent many months afterwards." 

In the Revue Med., Feb.. 1824, we also find notices of a 
paper read by M. Pascalis before the Royal Academy of 
Medicine, also noticed by Channing. 

" I. A woman, aged 32, an enamel worker, had been asth- 
matic for ten years. Of late, the disease had increased, and 


for periods of fifteen or twenty days, there would be a diurnal 
access of alarming severity. This would be followed by an 
interval of comparative rest for two or three weeks. The 
current from a galvanic pile was passed from the back of the 
neck to the stomach. With the first application, the inspira- 
tion, cough, and expectoration, became easier ; the rale, pre- 
viously loud, was hardly to be heard. After eight sittings, in 
the course of fifteen days, she was presented in the following 
condition : The specific attacks had ceased. The patient, 
for the first time, could assume a horizontal position. She 
could walk without suffocation. A goitre sufficient to embar- 
rass respiration, had diminished, within these few days, an 
inch and a half in circumference. The patient was able to 
laugh, without distress, from which she had been long pre- 
vented. As a last effect, the application had determined fre- 
quently daily discharges from the bowels. 

"II. Le General d' Aigremont, aged 55, had been asthmatic 
for a long time, and to a very high degree. Hearing of the 
preceding case, he submitted to galvanization. After the first 
sitting, he was able to ascend three flights of steps without 
stopping, although previously he was obliged to stop several 
times in ascending one. After several applications, the amel- 
ioration was sufficient to permit singing, dancing, and ascend- 
ing several flights of stairs without trouble ; but it did not 
remain constant, owing to the full habit of the patient, to im- 
prudences, and intractability, and to the date of the disease. 
It resulted, however, in great and permanent relief over the 
previous state. 

" III. The wife of a chef de bureau, at the treasury, had 
been asthmatic for three years. The asthma was continual, but 
with frequent exacerbations of three to five hours, or longer, 
during which she did not expect to live ; cough, convulsive, 
rale excessive, appetite null. There was a painful condition of 
the larynx, engorgement of the epigastrium, and frequent pal- 
pitations of the heart. She had been attended by the best 
physicians in the capital. M. M. Fouquier, Orfila, Leroux, 
and Bertin, had been called in consultation, and medical treat- 
ment exhausted. Improvement commenced with the first 
exhibition of galvanism. After five applications, the patient 
assumed a horizontal position the first time for three years. 
The pain at the heart was less severe ; appetite good. After 
eight days, she ascended and descended the stairs, and walked 
in the court. Gradually the patient, who was in an advanced 
state of marasmus, recovered a portion of her embonpoint, 
and her other symptoms were much improved. This was 


her condition at the date of publication. An examination of 
the lungs, by several physicians, at this time, showed the 
existence of emphysema, highly developed. 

"M. Pascalis speaks of a metallic taste, of flashing before 
the eyes, of rubefaction, and the formation of pustules on the 
skin under the metallic conductor, and some movement of the 
stomach, as attendants on the galvanic application ; also a 
strong titillation of the throat, by which the secretion of mucus 
is favored. Respiration becomes deeper, and expectoration 
free. The patients are left in a state of vigor, contrasting in 
a sensible manner with previous depression." 


Different methods for treating the various affections of the 
spine, head, and other portions of the system are found neces- 
sary, to some of which we may briefly allude. 

Curvatures of the Spine, which are often but the result of 
muscular contraction, either from weakness, or the position 
assumed by habit, are readily relieved by passing currents of 
electricity through the muscles contracted, causing them to 
vibrate rapidly for a few moments, and then, by changing to 
the opposite muscles, and finally, by passing currents through 
the spine generally. In connection with this treatment, it is 
sometimes found necessary to resort to the inclined plane, 
and sometimes to spinal stays, or supporters. 

Spinal Weakness is directly within the practice. I have 
found more advantage from applications of electricity to the 
spine, in cases of debility and general weakness, than from 
any other operations I have made ; indeed, in all such cases 
it is to be applied chiefly through the spine. Such applica- 
tions are also necessary for the permanent cure of many local 
weaknesses. The negative conductor should be attached to 
a moistened sponge placed under the coccyx, and currents 
passed from the positive through the spine, by manipulations. 
Jn nearly all cases which have come under observation, and 
these are many hundred, we have found more permanent relief 
from moving the positive conductor from point to point along 
the spine, than by allowing the current to pass long from a 



single point ; and this is equally true in other diseases. Inter- 
rupted currents keep the nerve upon which they are passed 
in constant spasmodic action ; and if the nerve be weak, it is 
soon exhausted, and is perhaps soon convulsed, injuriously 
affecting different organs, and prostrating the system. Gentle 
currents, or those only transmitted for a short period, on the 
contrary, strengthen the nerve, and if properly directed will 
at once remove convulsions. 

Headache. {Cephalalgia.) Whether primary or symp- 
tomatic, headache may be treated with success by electricity ; 
but in all cases, the treatment should correspond with the 
peculiar character of the disease. If primary, as when from 
mental exhaustion, or from a determination of blood to the 
head, etc., the hair should be first thoroughly saturated with 
water, or some other fluid, that the current may be passed 
without interruption, and then, with the negative conductor 
either at the feet, hands, or termination of the spine, the 
operator should hold the positive in one hand, while the other 
is employed in manipulating the head. These operations 
should be commenced with the slightest possible current, as 
the head is often peculiarly susceptible, and in no case should 
the hand be allowed to rest steadily upon one point, but be 
constantly engaged in making passes over the most sensitive 
parts. A current passed through the brain, constantly, in one 
direction, is liable to induce congestion, or inflammation, and 
often to cause much suffering ; passed from the hand, while 
engaged as described, it has a sedative influence, and usually 
affords immediate relief. 

During the past year, I have successively treated some 
seventy-five cases of headache by this process, when from the 
causes suggested, and in but a single case have I known the 
treatment to fail. In many of these cases, the headache bad 
assumed a chronic form, and resisted every attempt at relief; 
and in all, the treatment seemed to be the last and final resort. 
I have also employed the same treatment in headache from 

catarrh, with the most favorable results. Mr. B , of this 

city, had been for some fifteen years subject to headache, not 
knowing to what to attribute it. The counsel of various 


physicians, with their remedies, failed to impart relief. Months 
had been spent at cold-water institutions, etc., etc. When 
presented for examination, his system was emaciated, general 
health much impaired, and headache very violent. From the 
slightest cold the patient was confined to his room, and at all 
limes quite unable to transact business. By an electropathic 
examination, his disease was traced to the frontal portion of 
the head, and pronounced catarrh, much to his surprise, as it 
had never been suggested before. The first operation gave 
much relief, and each succeeding one facilitated the cure. 
Fifteen operations in all were performed, within about six 
weeks, when the patient felt no symptoms of his former suffer- 
ing, and ceased to attend. 

If headache be symptomatic, or from other diseases, as from 
spinal affections, derangements of the stomach or liver, or an 
irregularity in the evacuations of the system, for the purpose 
of giving present relief, operations may be made upon the 
head ; but to effect a final cure, proper attention must be paid 
to the part more immediately affected. For proper sugges- 
tions in such cases, reference may be made to the remarks 
presented upon such diseases. It is often well to subject 
different parts to an electropathic diagnosis, where there are 
doubts in respect to the real seat of disease, that full assurance 
may be given. In no case will such examinations fail, if 
rightly performed. 

Epilepsy. Drs. Bird and Addison, of Guy's Hospital, 
relate many cases of epilepsy in their Hospital Reports, where 
electricity has proved entirely successful. When from hysteria, 
or from derangement of the uterine functions, electricity alone 
gives immediate relief. If other derangements are associated 
with the disease primarily, they may require additional treat- 

One of the most extreme cases of epilepsy came under 
observation in 1847, which, from the peculiar effects of electri- 
city as employed, we give in detail. Miss A. B. T — — r, of 
this city, aged eighteen years, was presented for treatment, 
July 10th. For three years had been subject to epileptic 
attacks, and had received the usual remedies from one of our 


first practitioners, without the least relief. Disease traced to 
functional derangement of the uterus. Catamenia deficient 
in quantity and quality, respiration difficult, extremities cold, 
giddiness of the head, etc. Fits often last for an hour, during 
which she is much convulsed, requiring the assistance of 
several stout attendants to prevent personal injury. Is usually 
insensible for several hours after the spasms cease, and fre- 
quently gives evidence of insanity for some days following 
severe attacks. Gentle purgatives each day, with a free use 
of the electro-magnetic machine. Currents passed through 
the system generally, with special applications to the head, 
stomach, and through the pelvis. From an attack while in my 
office, July 18th, it was found that gentle shocks through the 
chest, when in her worst fits, would immediately restore her. 
This was tried on several different occasions, and with perfect 
success, not the least unpleasant effect following such attacks 
when she was thus aroused. An instrument was then placed 
in the family, with directions for using it whenever such re- 
turns of the disease were made, with occasional visits and 
general operations. From the first, the attacks became less 
frequent, and, except at the return of her monthly sickness, 
less violent. At these periods she was visited daily, and elec- 
tricity faithfully applied, her catamenia! discharge becoming 
more regular at each returning period. From February, 
1848, she has been entirely free from her disease to the pre- 
sent writing. Epilepsy, from frights and other causes, is 
treated with equal success by this agent, with such medicines 
as are necessary to the preservation of general health. 

Tumefaction. Tumors of different kinds are readily dis- 
sipated by the judicious use of electricity. In such cases, its 
action seems to be that of one of the most active discutients, 
often reducing tumors and other enlargements in a lew 
minutes. It also restores absorption, and removes inflamma- 
tion. An Irish girl, now under treatment, when presented, had 
enormous enlargements upon each side of her neck, rendering 
it quite impossible to turn her head. For about a year tumors 
had been observed, but until within a few weeks were neg- 
lected. Recently she had received the attention of Dr. W. 


of this city ; but instead of reducing the enlargements, they 
had been rapidly increasing. From the first operation, the 
soreness and pain, which had been very great, was entirely 
removed and the swelling reduced. From the third, the en- 
largements are reduced one-half, and she, for the first time for 
weeks, rest3 with ease. 

Miss C. was also under treatment in July, 1848. Tumors 
upon each side of her neck, varying in size from that of a 
chesnut to an English walnut, which had been increasing for 
two or three years. Ten operations with the electro-mag- 
netic machine, with a preparation of ointment, left no remains 
of three or four of the tumors, while one, which was the first 
and largest, was just perceptible. 

Tumors near the surface may be dissipated by passing cur- 
rents from the electro-magnetic machine, with the directors 
applied to the surface, while those more deeply seated, may 
be treated by electro-puncture, or by shocks from the Leyden 
jar. In all cases, the currents should be passed as directly 
through the tumor as possible. 

The Enlargement of the Tonsil Glands, a disease at present 
very prevalent, and usually called falling of the tonsils, for 
which no remedy but the knife has hitherto been employed 
with success, is readily cured by the application of this re- 
markable agent. In many cases I have found it to give 
immediate relief, and in none have I known it to fail when 
persevered in. An extreme case came under observation in 
1847. to which I am permitted to refer. The patient was a 
little miss, nine years of age, of feeble health and delicate con- 
stitution. For something more than a year, she had been 
afflicted with this unpleasant disease, but for several weeks 
before she was presented to me for treatment, the affection 
had become much worse, so much so that it was with difficulty 
she could sleep at all. An eminent surgeon had examined her, 
and presented it as his opinion that she would not live a fort- 
night unless they were cut out. On the first operation with 
electricity, she experienced much relief, and was enabled to 
sleep with comparative ease on the night following. An 
ointment was prepared, and electrical operations made at first 


on every day, and then on every other day, until in all, she 
received seventeen, when she was pronounced cured, and for 
at least one year from the last operation, she had no return of 
the disease. Her general health was also much improved. 

Calculus. Interesting experiments have been made with 
electricity in the decomposition of calculus within the bladder. 
According to Mr. Donavan, Esq., M. R. A., who notices the 
subject in the Dublin Quarterly Journal of Medical Science, 
May, 1847, the idea was first conceived by Oriolj. an Italian of 
great eminence, and Dr. Harle, of Norwich. The operation 
was made by transmitting a galvanic current down a metallic 
sound, varnished except at the point. Of the experiment, Mr. 
Donavan says : 

M. Bouryes des Mortiere dissolved a calculus, out of the 
body, weighing one grain, perfectly, in twenty-four hours, 
by galvanism. But MM. Prevost and J. Dumas have gone 
far towards proving the possibility of successfully employing 
galvanism as a means of destroying a calculus in the bladder. 
A fusible human calculus, placed in water, was submitted to 
the action of 120 pairs of plates during twelve hours. The 
bases and the phosphoric acid were liberated at their respec- 
tive poles, but, owing to the nature of the arrangement, they 
reunited in a fine powder. The weight in this period was 
reduced by twelve grains. Other trials were made during 
sixteen hours, and at the end of this time the calculus was 
reduced to a mass so friable that the slightest pressure 
reduced it to little crystalline grains, which could easily pass 
through the ureihra. MM. Prevost. and Dumas conceive that 
it is almost always possible to introduce into the bladder two 
conductors, which shall be spread out at the extremity by 
means of a slight spring, so that they may touch the calculus 
by their internal surface, which, in this part is deprived of its 
insulating envelope. The calculus would be thus decomposed 
without injury to the bladder, since the current takes the 
shortest distance between the two poles. 

To prove that the galvanic process may take place in the 
bladder without injury, they introduced a properly prepared 
pair of conductors through the urethra of a dog into the 
bladder, and connected them with a pile of 135 pairs, acted on 
by nitro-sulphuric acid. They remarked with much satisfac- 
tion that the dog was not discoverably inconvenienced while 


the bladder was distended with injections of luke-warm water ; 
yet this same apparatus was capable of decomposing water 
with great energy, and furnishing torrents of gas. A fusible 
calculus was then fixed to a sound between the two platinum 
conductors, and the whole was introduced into the bladder of 
a large bitch ; luke-warm water was injected, and the con- 
ductors were put in connection with all the troughs which 
composed their battery. After some slight movements, the 
animal was quiet, and endured the galvanic action for an hour. 
The calculus, when withdrawn, showed unequivocal traces of 
decomposition. The same process was repeated morning and 
night for six days; but the calculus had now become too 
friable to permit further repitition, and had lost weight in the 
same ratio as the former one. The animal was killed after a 
few days' repose, when it was found that the bladder was in 
its natural state. 

J ' These experiments, it must be confessed, render it proba- 
ble that this mode of removing calculi from the bladder may 
one day or other take the place of the two operations at pre- 
sent in use, except when the calculus consists of uric acid, 
which is, unfortunately, too commonly the case. The editors 
of the Annates de Chimie subjoin to this paper an observation, 
that nitrate of potash, dissolved in the water injected into the 
bladder, renders the decomposition of hard, compact phos- 
phates as easy as that of the porous kinds. They also 
satisfied themselves that the bladder is not injured during the 
action of the pile ; and they think that instruments may easily 
be contrived for determining the nature of the calculus on 
which it is proposed to operate." 


Such has been the success of different attempts to restore 
from suspended animation, from different causes, that Braith- 
waite asserts that " an electro-magnetic apparatus ought now 
to be in the possession of every surgeon." (See Retrospect, 
Part vii., page 33 ) Dr. Todd also says : 

" Electricity should always be employed in cases of sus- 
pended animation. If brought to bear upon the medulla 
oblongata, it will frequently succeed in exciting the respiratory 
acts, when other means have failed. Perhaps the most conve- 
nient method of using it is by means of the electro-dynamic 
machine, by placing one wire at the back of the neck high up, 


and the other at the diaphragm. It was employed with 
marked advantage in a case which occured lately atthe King's 
College Hospital. An infant, a few months old, got some tinc- 
ture of opium by mistake; she was brought into the hospital 
almost lifeless; the respiration even failed to such a degree, 
that for two minutes she did not breathe once. Mr. Russell, 
and Mr. Johnson, the resident medical officers, applied electri- 
city in the manner above described. The first and immediate 
effect was to excite the respiration, and soon afterwards the 
whole spinal cord became affected, so that at each passage of 
the electric current the limbs were raised convulsively. Res- 
piration was completely re-established by these means, but 
the child died several hours afterwards with congested lungs." 
(See Med. Gaz., Dec. 23, 1842.) 

Many cases of interest may be added to the above ; perhaps 
the following, by Dr. Thomas S. Page, of Valparaiso, and 
published in the Lancet, Feb. 4, 1843, will be read with 
profit : 

"A. T., an Englishman, the subject of this communication, 
aged 22 years, and of a robust frame, is a clerk in one of the 
most, respectable commercial houses in Valparaiso. He had 
a slight gleet, for which he prescribed for himself pulverized 
cubebs, in doses of half an ounce, night and morning, and 
experienced from them/ieither good nor bad effects. On the 
night of the 16th of March, 1842, he went to an apothecary's 
shop and asked for cubebs. Not having confidence in the lad 
in attendance, he requested permission to examine the label on 
the bottle, and read thereon " Pulv. Cubeb." He then ordered 
an ounce, divided into two parts, and with these returned 
home at midnight. He immediately took one of the powders, 
placed himself in bed, and, as was his custom, took up a book 
to read ; but, as he expresses it, had not read two lines before 
he felt a dizziness and inclination to sleep. I accidently dis- 
covered him the following morning about twelve o'clock, with 
these symptoms; face red and swollen; lips dark purple; 
mouth containing a viscid frothy saliva; tongue has a dry 
and chapped appearance in the centre, and the teeth are 
slightly coated with a brown sordes ; veins of the forehead 
and temples turgid ; eyes rolled upwards, injected, and their 
pupils contracted to a point: skin moderately warm and 
moist, with clammy pespiration ; feet cold ; pulse very slow, 
moderately full, and dispersed by the least pressure ; respira- 


tion very slow, short, and gasping. By agitating him vio- 
lently he was aroused for a moment, uttered some incoherent 
expressions and sank back into comatose sleep. 

These were the symptoms when I first saw him. Dr. 
Houston, of the Royal Navy, now practising in this place, and 
Dr. Barrabino, of the U. S. Navy, then attached to the U.S. 
schooner Shark, came to my assistance. We administered 
the sulphate of zinc as an emetic, and hot mustard and water 
to arouse the sensibilities of the stomach to its impression. 
Large draughts of this, arid titillation of the fauces, produced 
vomiting, and a small quantity of the powder apparently 
was brought up. The stomach-pump was at hand, but as 
vomiting was readily provoked it was not used. The patient 
was made to sit on the edge of the bed, with his feet hanging 
in a tub of almost boiling water, strongly charged with mus- 
tard. One cup was applied to each temple, and about two 
ounces of blood abstracted. Large sinapisms were spread 
over the chest and stomach, and inner parts of the thighs. A 
very strong liniment of ammonia, cantharides, and turpentine, 
was applied to the whole length of the spinal column, until 
the skin became very red and inflamed. When the stomach 
seemed to be cleared of all traces of the poison, the mustard 
draughts were suspended, and a large quantity of olive, with 
castor oil, administered, but only a part remained. The patient 
now appeared to be sinking. The surface was cold, and 
covered with a damp sweat ; the face was pallid, with a pur- 
plish tinge ; the jaw and eye-lids v^ere fallen, which the 
patient, by powerful sternutatories and severe blows on the 
face and shoulders with the open hand, was with difficulty 
made to raise. Ammonia and brandy and water were now 
given, with light broths, and an injection composed of turpen- 
tine an ammonia. This produced a slight discharge from the 
bowels. The stimulating liniment already mentioned, was 
repeated to the spine and over the surface of the body. The 
pulse was hardly perceptible at the wrists, if, at times, it was 
at all to be felt. The stimulants were continued. 

" It was now 3, p. at. There were no signs of reaction, 
and the features wore the aspect of death. Under these 
discouraging circumstances, and when every offort seemed 
vainly expended, we now determined to dress the patient, 
and, supported by two strong assistants, to take him from his 
room, continue the stimulants and light broths, and endeavor 
to walk him in the cool air. At first he made feeble but 
unsuccessful efforts to direct the movements of his legs, but 
at length could not be aroused, made no effort to stand, and 


sank almost lifeless into the arms of his assistants. He was 
carried to his room and placed in a slightly reclining posture 
on his bed. His breathing was now short and hurried ; his 
mouth wide extended and jaw fallen ; nothing seemed capable 
of arousing him ; the exhaustion was extreme : the pulse 
could be felt feebly at the wrist, maintained there probably 
by the agitation which he had just undergone. Dr. Houston 
had left a short lime previous. Dr. Barrabino remained with 

" It was now 4, p. m., and, worn out with fruitless efforts, 
we desisted entirely from further exertion. At this conjunc- 
ture I thought of my electro-magnetic battery, and proposed 
its application to bring about reaction, for I felt we were justi- 
fied in such desponding circumstances to make it a matter of 
experiment. Cerebral congestion was urged as an objection, 
but admitted not to be sufficient, in such a desperate case, to 
set aside the experiment. It was immediately tried, and with 
the happiest results. With an assistant rapidly rotating the 
wheel, I applied the balls at first to each side of the neck, and 
ran them down behind the clavicles. The arms and body now 
moved convulsively, but the patient lay as unconscious as 
before. I now passed one ball over the region of the heart, 
and the other to a corresponding point on the right side. In 
an instant his eyes opened widely, and with a ghastly expres- 
sion of countenance ; his head and body were thrown convul- 
sively toward me, and he groaned. He now sank back into 
his reclining posture, and he was again asleep. The balls 
were reapplied in the same situation with similar results— a 
third and fourth time, and he cried ' No more.' Reaction was 
now positively established ; the heart, had received a strong 
impulse; the pulse was becoming rapidly developed, and the 
whole surface warm. We now determined to desist, and 
watching him attentively, allow him to remain quiet for an 
hour. Reaction continued satisfactorily, and when the hour 
had expired he could be awakened by shaking his body, and 
calling loudly his name. There was no further occasion for 
the battery. He was aroused at intervals; and at eleven 
o'clock in the evening was sufficiently awake to relate where 
he had *ot the medicine the preceding night, but was still 
drowsy, and when not disturbed, inclined to sleep. Thus he 
passed 'the night, and on the following morning was pretty 
well He then told me that he heard many things the prece- 
ding day that were said by persons about him, but he neither 
fehthe power to open his eyes, nor move his tongue to speak, 
although up to 3, p. m., when powerfully agitated and spoken 


to, he would reply in short and sometimes broken sentences, 
and occasionally correctly. He further says, that the last 
thing he has any recollection of, was my remark, while they 
were attempting to walk him in the corridor, that nothing 
more could be done but to make the experiment. From that 
time all was blank to him, until, as he expressed it, 'he felt as 
if a gun had been fired off within him, which thrilled through 
and shook him to the very extremities.' This was the appli- 
cation and effect of the electro-magnetic battery." 

" Mr. Corfe, of the Middlesex Hospital, has related an in- 
stance of the good effects of electricity under these circum- 
stances. A man was admitted, having taken an ounce and a 
half of laudanum on the preceding evening, six hours previ- 
oush . ' In the first instance I ordered the administration of 
the stomach pump, at which period, to all appearances, he 
was a lifeless corpse ; the pupils were contracted to a pin-hole 
in size ; the pulse was intermitting, and not more than 40 ; 
the respirations convulsively performed at intervals of half a 
minute ; the face livid, and the extremities bluish and cold. 
After the stomach had been relieved of its contents, green tea, 
with ammonia, was injected therein ; flagellation with thin 
splints and wet towels, the cold douche, turpentine stupes and 
sinapisms to his calves and abdomen, were applied in succes- 
sion, without the least improvement in his condition. The 
bladder was relieved of six or eight ounces of light-coloured 
urine by the catheter. I then thought of a most powerful 
remedy, which was attended with extraordinary success. I 
allude to the electro-magnectic battery, conjointly with elec- 
tricity, which was set to work upon him soon after four 
o'clock. The pulse became more steady, firm, and frequent ; 
the respirations more indicative of resuscitation. Our power- 
ful electrical machine was now got into full play before a 
large fire, and the jar filled, when some brilliant sparks and 
strong shocks were occasionally passed through his head, 
spine, thorax, and abdomen.' — Lancet, January 27, 1844. 

" The result of this was, that the man opened his eyes, and 
his mouth too, abusing the operators for a pack of rascals, 
who were 'trying specimens' on him. But incomparably the 
most satisfactory effect was produced by giving him a shock 
on the tip of his nose. To use a phrase of the ring, he rallied 
wonderfully under this — a hint worth taking. — Med. Chir. 
Rev., April, 1844, p. 544." 

Dr. Martin Barry employed electricity in the case of an 



infant nine months old, who had been dosed with laudanum 
" to put it to sleep," nine hours previous to his application. 
The child was fast sinking under the usual symptoms of nar- 
cotic poisoning, and in this state carried to the Edinburgh 
Maternal Hospital, where 

''Dr. Barry applied electro-galvanism, using for this pur- 
pose the apparatus made by Abraham and Danser, of Man- 
chester. At first the mixture in the trough contained one 
thirty-second part of strong sulphuric acid, the quantity of 
which was afterwards increased to one-sixteenth, and the 
pointer in the index was gradually brought round to the very 
strongest power. The wires were applied in turn to every 
part of the body, and the child was roused by their applica- 
tion, and kept awake, or at least kept moving an arm or a leg, 
so long as they continued in contact with it. When the wires 
were removed, even for a few seconds only, it sank sound 
asleep, the respiration continuing unchanged. At the end of 
about three hours, a little more susceptible, and perhaps some- 
what more energetic in the movement of its limbs ; but with 
this exception, the infant exhibited nothing like a satisfactory 
revival, until the tremendous current had been made to pass 
through its body for four hours and three quarters. Then, 
however, it really did revive, the respiration becoming more 
quiet, and the pupils undergoing some dilatation. From this 
time it recovered, required no further treatment, and in a few 
days was quite well. 

In order to arrive at something like an estimate of the quan- 
tity of laudanum swallowed, Dr. Barry caused a pennyworth 
to be bought at the same shop. This was measured, and the 
quantity, one drachm and a half, compared with what was 
found remaining of the other pennyworth above referred to, 
allowance being made for about the same quantity of water 
said to have been added. Say, therefore, laudanum dr. iss. x 
water, dr-iss.= dr. iij., of which a tea-spoonful is said to have 
been swallowed. There was found remaining less than two 
tea-spoonsful, the same spoon being used as that with which 
the child had been dosed. Thus a drachm of the mixture had 
disappeared, half of which was laudanum, or say a few minims 
less than half a drachm, say twenty-five minims. — (See Prov. 
Med. and Surg. Journal, June 17, 1846.") 

A female aged twenty-nine had taken an ounce of laudanum 
an hour before ; the stomach pump had been applied before she 


got to the hospital, where the application was repeated, and 
electricity employed by S. P. James, Esq., who says she was in 
a state of the deepest insensibility when the operation was com- 
menced and that 

"When the sponge-directors were applied, for a few minutes 
no sensible effect was produced, but soon afterwards the muscles 
of the neck began to quiver, when sensibility appeared gradu- 
ally to return, and after twenty or thirty minutes the stimulus 
produced undoubted discomfort, evinced by shrugging of the 
shoulders, and attempts to avoid contact with the sponges ; but 
the first marked influence of its effect was the ejection of a large 
quantity of fluid from the stomach. In another hour she ap- 
peared quite lively, answered questions distinctly, and in a 
moderately loud tone, though in a somewhat peevish manner. 
The galvanism was occasionally intermitted for a few moments, 
when she relapsed almost instantaneously, and 'dropped off' in 
the midst of a sentence which she had commenced during the 
application of the stimulus. 

The pupils remained unaffected till about two hours had elap- 
sed, when they became somewhat more dilated, and sensible to 
a strong light. All the symptoms gradually diminished, but it 
was absolutely necessary to reapply it, at longer intervals, until 
half-past five, p. m., when she seemed so far recovered as to 
allow of her removal to the ward. From the easy diffusibility 
and quick propagation of the galvanic fluid over the whole sys- 
tem, irritation, capable of exciting action almost ad libitum, can 
be applied to any or even the whole part of the body at one 
time, and that of a nature void of all the unpleasant results 
which necessarily follow bastinadoing, cold effusion, searing, the 
dolichos pruriens, and a whole catalogue of equally brutal re- 
sources, which, for the safety of the patient, have necessarily 
been resorted to before galvanism was adopted. Dipping the 
sponges of the directors,- on this occasion, in moistened salt, 
assisted the passage of the current, and increased the conducting 
power to a striking degree. In ordinary cases, Avhere galvanism 
is used, the application, if strong, reddens the skin, and even 
produces tumefaction, which remains often for hours ; but in this 
instance, although the power was probably three or four times 
as strong as is generally used, not the slightest discoloration 
was observable. It should be noticed, that as soon as she was 
allowed to fall off into a deep sleep, which she was occasionally 
permitted to do after the extraordinary influence of the battery 
was fully proved, in rousing her instantly from the deepest nar- 
cotism to a fretful impatience, the pulse gradually lowered in its 


power, became slower in its action, and irregular in its move- 
ments ; but no sooner was this remarkable stimulus laid on 
again, than the pulse rallied, was regular, fuller, and quicker ; 
and the respirations, previously labored, slow, and unequal, be- 
came more frequent and deeper. The countenance also eviden- 
ced, in a striking manner, the singular influence of this agent. 
When she was admitted, the cheeks were of a leaden hue, and 
the lips of a tawny color ; but after the expiration of one hour, 
with the use of the battery, it resumed a somewhat natural tint." 
—Lancet, June 19, 1847, p. 639. 

Several cases are also reported in which electricity has been 
singularly effectual in restoring the unfortunate victim from 
suspended animation, from other causes. Brathwaite, in his 
Retrospect, Part XIV., p. 169, cites a case of narcotic poison- 
ing, in which Mr. Tubbs effected a cure by the use of the 

" Half a tea-spoonful of Godfrey's cordial was given to an in- 
fant three weeks old ; five hours afterwards when Mr. Tubbs 
was sent for, he found it in a state of complete narcotism. The 
usual treatment for narcotic poisoning was resorted to, with only 
temporary advantage, for eight hours ; and then Mr. Tubbs 
found that the child Avas sinking, the pupils still contracted, the 
temperature of the body falling, and the means which had previ- 
ously aroused it, had no effect. He then says : 

"I sent home for an electro- magnetic battery. Removing the 
coil, I passed several gentle shocks along the spine and through 
the cardiac region. These brought on muscular contraction, 
which was evinced by the child throwing out its legs and hands ; 
by the countenance becoming distorted, and by its uttering a 
cry. I continued the shocks for about ten minutes. The heart's 
action was accelerated, and the eyes were kept opened. I ad- 
ministered beef-tea, with ammonia, and then enveloped the whole 
body up to the chin in heated flannels, covered closely with an 
oil-skin to retain the heat, in which state it remained for many 
hours. On my next visit, [ had the gratification of finding the 
little patient sucking the breast. It had recovered completely 
from the effects of the poison. 

Dr. Ferguson, Surgeon to the Westmcath Dispensary, com- 
municates the following case of restoration after drowning, to 
the Dublin Medical Press : — 


" On Thursday evening, the 18th inst., I was requested to go 
in all haste to see a man of the name of Janus Jloek, who had 
just been taken out of the canal, and was supposed to be de;id. 
1 was with him in four or five minutes, and found him apparent 
ly lifeless, cold, and livid. I had him forthwith removed to the 
county infirmary, about eight or nine hundred yards distant. I 
learned, in the mean time, from several persons who witnessed 
tho scene, that he was at least six or seven minutes completely 
under the water, and that he had been in a state of intoxication. 
Finding the abdomen very much distended I immediately intro- 
duced the stomach pump, and discharged by it upwards of a 
gallon of water, strongly impregnated with spirits. Seeing that 
this, with all the ordinary means of restoring suspended anima- 
tion, had failed to produce the desired effect, and that no time 
was to be lost, I determined on trying a plan which I have for 
a long time considered a likely means of bringing about the 
action of the heart and lungs in those cases, by immediately 
acting on the diaphragm, the main agent of respiration, and ac- 
cordingly was prepared with the necessary apparatus. I made 
an incision below the seventh rib — cut down on that important 
muscle — laid it bare, and applied the conductors of a galvanic 
battery, consisting of fifty pair of plates, to it. The effect was 
instantaneous, and surprised all the persons present. The mus- 
cles of the chest and abdomen became spasmodically engaged ; 
and after a few moments, I could see the spasmodic action gra- 
dually disappear, and the regular action of the chest come on, 
which soon increased till breathing became quite apparent, as 
also the circulation ; and blood, now for the first time, issued 
from the wound I had made in the chest. 

" He has continued to go on well, with the exception of some 
inflammatory symptoms, perhaps produced by the wound, but 
not unlikely, from the effects of the cold and wet he was exposed 
to ; however, by the use of the lancet, and following up the anti- 
phlogistic treatment, those symptoms are fast abating ; and 1 
have no doubt I shall be able to discharge him cured, from the 
infirmary, very shortly. 
_ " This case must fully establish the utility of voltaic electri- 
city in restoring suspended animation from immersion in water, 
by acting indirectly on the phrenic nerve and eighth pair, and 
thus exciting the action of the heart. It will also go to prove, 
in my opinion, that it is not necessary to transmit along the 
channel of the nerves this most wonderful agent, as a substitute 
for nervous influence. 

" As immersion in cold water must hasten the extinction of 
life, arising from suffocation, by depriving the body of vital heal. 
the effect of this extraordinary power is the more remarkable. 


and shows the necessity of artificial heat being applied to the 
body as effectively and expeditiously as possible. 

" The stomach pump I consider was of much use, as by re- 
lieving- the great distension of the stomach, the lungs were bet- 
ter able to fulfil their function, upon the galvanic influence being 

" In cutting down and exposing the diaphragm, much caution 
is necessary, so as not to wound it, however slightly, the conse- 
quences of which might be very bad." — Dublin Medical Press, 
July 1st, 1840, p. 8. 

The following remark of the editor of the Medical Press upon 
the case above reported, is worthy of special consideration : 

" We may acid, that if a powerful electro-magnetic apparatus 
were employed, contractions of the diaphragm might be excited 
by simply applying the poles to the skin ; and such an appara- 
tus, we think, should exist in every establishment for the resus- 
citation of persons laboring under asphyxia, its power being 
greater, and, above all, more constant and sustained than that 
of the ordinary galvanic pile." 


So susceptible is the uterine system to electricity, that by 
its judicious application almost any desired result may be pro- 
duced. As has been quoted from Dr. Bird, we find in it the 
only really direct emmenagogue with which the experience of 
our profession has furnished us. But not only is it effectual in 
exciting menstruation, whenever the uterus is capable of per- 
forming that function, it imparts strength in uterine weakness, 
arrests hemorrhage, restores in displacements, induces labor, 
prevents miscarriages, stimulates the system in exhaustion from 
protracted labor, etc., accomplishing each object according to 
the method in which it is employed. 

1. Chlorosis. This disease which usually appears as the 
result of other affections, is often relieved by the use of electri- 
city atone, but it is more judicious to employ it in connection 
with other remedies. Symptomatic diseases are to be removed, 
and general health improved; this may be accomplished by 
various operations with this agent, or by proper exercise, regu- 


lar habits in diet, sleep, etc., with gentle cathartics and tonics 
Or, as Dr. Bird has said, " Improve the general health by exer- 
cise and tonics ; remove the accumulations often present in the 
bowels, by appropriate purgatives ; and then a few electrical 
shocks, often a single one, will be sufficient to produce menstru- 
ation, and at once to restore the previous deficient function." 
Currents from the electro-magnetic machine passed through the 
pelvis, and from the lumbar region down the limbs ; or shocks 
from the Leyden jar through the pelvis, from the sacrum to the 
pubes, afford the most effectual treatment. 

Amenorrhcea, which is an obstruction of the menses, either 
partial or total, from other causes than pregnancy or old age, is 
readily cured by electricity. As in chlorosis, however, if this 
derangement of the system be the result of other diseases, they 
are to be properly treated in its connection. In Guy's Hospi- 
tal Reports, April, 1841, Dr. Bird says, scarcely any cases 
have been submitted to electrical treatment in which its sana- 
tory influence has been so strongly marked, as in those in which 
the menstrual function was deficient. Still he contends for the 
use of medicines for the improvement of the general health 
while it is perfectly evident that this too is restored by proper 
electrical treatment. His method of operating is, to pass shocks 
from the jar through the pelvis, from the sacrum to the pubes, 
and to discontinue the treatment during the menstrual discharge ; 
but it seems to us that a milder process, and one equally as suc- 
cessful, is, to employ the electro-magnetic machine, not confining 
the operation to the pelvis, but extending it in such a manner 
as to improve the general health. In a majority of cases sub- 
mitted to our observation, this has proved entirely successful. 
The spine, which is usually weak in such cases, should be oper- 
ated upon, as has been suggested in another place, and it is 
often found beneficial to extend the operation to the limbs, as in 
cases of general debility. The following synopsis of crises in 
Guy's Hospital, treated by Dr. Bird, is from Channing's Notes, 
and may here be read with profit. 

" I. A girl, aged 16. No return of menstruation from the 
first period, nine months previous, owing to a cold. Twelve 
shocks were passed through the pelvis. The next morning the 
catamenia appeared, and lasted four days. 


II. A woman, aged 21, with amenorrhcea for three years. 
Health improved, and a slight appearance of the discharge three 
days previous. Twelve shocks passed through the uterus. 
Catamenia shortly appeared, and continued two days. 

III. A girl, aged 17. Appearance chlorotic. Amenorrhoea 
for one year, except a slight appearance three months since. 
Shocks daily through the pelvis, and tonic treatment. On the 
third day, menstruation commenced, and continued four days. 

IV. A girl, aged 18. Suffering from amenorrhoea for a year, 
and irregularity for four years. A slight appearance five weeks 
since, attended with pleurodynia. Jan. 3, 1840, shocks thrice 
a week, and aloetic prescription. Jan. 13, catamenia appeared, 
and lasted two days. Electricity intermitted for a fortnight, 
and recommenced Feb 4. Feb. 14, menstruation occurred freely. 

V. A young woman, aged 19, with suppression for two months, 
Aloetic purgatives. Jan. 31, shocks through pelvis thrice a 
week. Feb. 10, free menstruation. Electricity suspended for 
a fortnight, and renewed. Menstruation returned copiously at 
the proper period." 

Dysmenorrhea. A difficult or painful menstruation, ac- 
companied with severe pains in the back, loins, and bottom of 
the belly. This disease may be traced to ovarian weakness, ' 
and in its treatment the object should be to stimulate the ova- 
ries, invigorate the system, and improve the general health. In 
this, as in every disease of the uterine system, the judicious 
practitioner will carefully guard his patient against the more 
dangerous consequences of such derangements, consumption, 
spinal diseases, palpitation, etc. If necessary, recourse should 
be had to gentle purgatives, tonics, or alteratives, but as elec- 
tricity, when properly employed for each of these purposes is 
effectual, its application may be so varied as to answer in their 
place. For dysmenorrhoea when no other disease is apprehend- 
ed electro-magnetic currents should be passed through the pel- 
vis, by placing the positive conductor under the coccyx, while 
the negative is employed in making passes or manipulations 
over the ovaries, pubes, and abdomen generally. Some authors 
also recommend the use of vaginal conductors, among whom is 
Dr. R. McDonncl, (See Dublin Med. Press, Aug. 1846,) but in 
our practice we have never seen a case where this treatment 
was necessary. Such conductors arc employed for other purpo- 


ses with great advantage, as in uterine hemorrhage, and where 
the object is to act upon the womb directly ; but for the purpose 
of exciting menstruation only, surface conductors, of which the 
hand, when the operator can himself bear the current required, 
is the best, are only necessary. This may be employed without 
exposure or unpleasantness. The improved conductors or han- 
dles accompanying the newly constructed instrument, described 
on page 30, afford another mode of making the communica- 
tion, which the patient may employ herself. In most cases, the 
proper use of these directors will prove effectual, and where the 
patient chooses self-operating instruments, they arc certainly 

Menorrhagia, a term usually employed to represent, not 
only an immoderate flow of the menses, but also uterine hemor- 
rhage from various causes, is another derangement of the system 
in which electricity is of great service. As we are to speak of 
uterine hemorrhage from other causes in another place, we shall 
here only employ the term in the former sense. Excessive 
menstruation, which is often attended with the most violent pains, 
not unlike those experienced in labor, seems to be an affection 
of the ovaries, attended with weakness of the whole uterine sys- 
tem. It is, perhaps, more dangerous, and is certainly more 
alarming, than any of those derangements we have mentioned, 
and yet it;is readily relieved by the application of electricity. 
Several cases have come under observation, where the patient, 
at the return of each period of menstruation, was seized with 
the most violent pain, fainting, etc., under which she suffered 
more than is usual in labor, in which a single application of 
electricity gave entire relief. The operation should be made in 
the same manner as in dysmenorrhoea, and in most cases repeat- 
ed for several days in succession. In all cases the application 
should be made whenever the patient feels a return of those 
pains peculiar to the disease. Shocks from the jar should never 
be resorted to in this disease, the object being rather to excite 
contraction, and impart strength, than to stimulate as in the 
former disease. The most gentle currents from the electro- 
magnetic machine are to be employed, and these should be con- 
tinued, at each operation, till the pain cease. They may be 



repeated, if necessary, at every hour in the clay, as the patient 
"will improve rather than sink under the treatment. 

Leucorrhcba. By its stimulating effects upon the parts 
affected, this morbid secretion from the uterus or vagina is often 
suppressed by a few gentle applications of electricity from the 
battery. It is always the result of cither local or general weak- 
ness, and while continued it is constantly rendering the system 
more weak. By impairing the constitution, and deranging the 
more important functions of the system, it is more fatal in its 
results than the afflicted usually imagine. It is one of the prin- 
cipal causes of those derangements mentioned above, and others 
equally as difficult to be treated and fatal in their consequences. 
In connection with electricity, in this disease, other remedies 
are of great advantage, especially if the leucorrhceal discharge 
has assumed a chronic form, or become profuse. Electricity 
when employed, should be applied for the purpose of imparting 
strength, or stimulating the whole uterine system. For this 
purpose the electro-magnetic current, gently applied, is found 
most effectual, With proper conductors, it may be passed per 
vagina, or with surface conductors, through the pelvis in differ- 
ent directions, with success. It should also be applied to the 
spine as a stimulus. The womb syringe, of proper construction 
with medicated washes, or even cold water while bathing, is an 
important auxiliary in the treatment of this disease. 

Prolapsus Uteri, Displacements, etc. In a large num- 
ber of cases I have found electricity of the greatest advantage 
in the treatment of prolapsus uteri, obliquities, and other dis- 
placements of the womb. Its action in such cases is to give 
tone to the muscular fibres and nerves which afford support to 
the uterus, and through the weakness of which such misfortunes 
usually occur. Many cases have come under observation where 
the patient was either confined entirely to her bed, or in the 
most uncomfortable manner possible, relying upon some of the 
mechanical means of support to which the ingenuity of the prac- 
titioner had invited her, where full and permanent cures were 
effected by the use of electricity. It is important in such cases 
that currents of little intensity be passed directly upon the 
nerves or muscles to be stimulated. The condition of the patient 
should determine the strength of the current, the manner of 


operating, and the frequency of the applications. In all cases, 
where the object is to strengthen the part operated upon, care 
should be exercised in all these particulars, lest the patient be 
exhausted and the operation prove more injurious than benefi- 
cial. The experienced operator, however, will seldom fail in his 
treatment with this agent. 

Midwifery. The application of electricity to the uterus, 
for different purposes in accouchement, is a subject upon which 
there has been an expression of conflicting opinions, probably 
growing out of the different results, at which the several opera- 
tors have arrived, by their peculiar mode of operating. Oppo- 
site results have been produced by its application in similar 
cases, and the opinion has been expressed, that for this reason, 
the agent is not to be relied upon, when a little more observa- 
tion has proved that such results have been entirely the effect 
of employing the same agent in a very different manner. To 
present this subject in as clear a light as possible, giving at the 
same time the best opportunity for employing this agent in cer- 
tain cases, Ave shall introduce the opinion of several practitioners 
of eminence, and, so far as our limits will permit, in their own 

Uterine Contraction. Muscular contraction is one of 
the most obvious effects of electricity, when applied to the living 
structure, but its peculiar effects upon the uterus in this parti- 
cular was first suggested by Dr. Ramsbotham, and practically 
tested by Dr. Radford. In both editions of his works on obste- 
tric medicines, Dr. Ramsbotham presents the following remark, 
which seems to have been the first suggestion upon the subject : 
" I am inclined to think that electric shocks, particularly deri- 
ved from the galvanic battery, would excite the flagging powers 
of the uterus under labor, and, perhaps, even induce action ah 
initio. This is a means, however, of which I would not in the 
present state of our knowledge recommend a trial ; and I only 
judge by analogy, in consideration of the influence the electrical 
fluid exerts over the nervous system generally, and through that 
system over the nervous fibre." 

From an extensive practice in which this agent has been 
employed, Dr. Radford vouches for the truth of this suggestion. 


and advocates its use for different purposes. In a lecture upon 
the subject delivered before the profession in Dec, 1844, (See 
Prov. Med. and Surg. Jour., Dec. 24, 1844,) he says :— 

"Galvanism produces an effective and powerful contraction 
of the uterus ; and not only so as regards its tonic contraction, 
but it has also the power of energetically exciting alternate 
contraction when applied at intervals. I can tell you most seri- 
ously and most solemnly, that it produces these two important 
changes upon the uterus in such a degree as in my previous re- 
flectionson the subject 1 had no conception of. The alternate 
contraction excited by this agent is analagous to, and as power- 
ful as ' that which is observed in normal labor, and the tonic 
contraction is greater. I shall not relate cases in detail, 
because it would occupy too much time ; but I may state that I 
applied galvanism in a case where the membrane was unrup- 
tured, and the uterus in a state of great inertia, and alternate 
contraction was immediately produced. Before this the mem- 
branes were very flaccid ; but as soon as the galvanic circle 
was completed, they became extremely tense and protruded 
low down into the vagina ; and this state of tension did not sub- 
side when the alternate contraction ceased, as is observed in 
some degree in normal labor ; for although the galvanic conduc- 
tors were removed, so great a degree of tonic contraction of the 
uterus had been induced, that this membranous bag could not 
collapse. I am thus satisfied that by the application of this 
means, we can induce such a state of tonic contraction in the 
uterus, that, in these extreme cases of exhaustion from hemor- 
rhage, the woman may be placed in such a state of safety, that 
delivery may be postponed until the time arrives when it can 
be safely accomplished, and in the meantime we can have re- 
course to those measures which tend to raise the vital powers. 
I think it probable that it may also produce one of the other 
natural means of suppressing hemorrhage which I have already 
referred to, viz., coagulation of the blood; but this I have not 
yet positively ascertained by experiment, although I am led to 
conclude that such is the fact, from some remarks made by Dr. 
Apjohn, in the article, Galvanism, in the Cyclopaedia of practi- 
cal medicine. 

Dr. Bird also approves of electricity in such cases, and in- 
forms us that the practice is sanctioned by Dr. Lever and 
others. He then relates a case communicated to him by a 
f ruler pupil, of a woman aged thirty-nine, who was in her six- 
teenth confinement, whose pains had ceased after the liquor 


amnii had been discharged, two days previously. The ergot of 
rye had been given without any permanent effect. As the only 
difficulty was ascertained to be the atony of the uterus, the 
electro-magnetic current was resorted to. Of its effect the 
operator says : — 

"I was gratified in finding, after a few applications of the 
remedy externally and obliquely across the anterior surface of 
the uterus, alternately changing the position of the conducting 
wires, that a very decided effect was produced. Regular, strong, 
and frequent pains came on, and, in the course of a quarter of 
an hour, a living male child and placenta were expelled, attend- 
ed with the least degree of hemorrhage I ever witnessed. 

" The uterus was immediately firmly and permanently con- 
tracted, and, with the exception of a slight soreness across the 
abdomen, the patient expressed herself as feeling quite com- 
fortable. She recovered but slowly, on account of the general 
debility induced by the affection of the chest, but there was not 
a single bad symptom connected with the uterus subsequently 

"I am quite aware, continues Dr. Bird, that Dr. Simpson, of 
Edinburgh, has expressed his opinion of the inefficiency of the 
electric current in such cases, and has almost denied its exer- 
cising any influence over the uterus. I confess I cannot for one 
moment admit the validity of his opinions when opposed by the 
facts of Dr. Radford, Dr. Lever, and others ; but would en- 
deavor to show the mode in Avhich these opposite statements 
appear to admit of reconciliation. This is founded on the oppo- 
site effects of currents according as they follow the cause of the 
centripetal or centrifugal nerves. Now in the magneto-electric 
coil, in which currents are excited by repeatedly breaking con- 
tact by a vibrating bar, the aparatus whose construction 1 ex- 
plained at my last lecture, we have, as I have already shown, 
two currents moving in opposite directions, to each of which 
the patient who is the subject of experiment becomes submitted. 
Now the currents are of unequal strength, and if the most en- 
ergetic, that on breaking the contact, be passed in the direction 
of the vis nervosa, it will produce painful contractions, which 
the moment it passes in the opposite direction will become re- 
laxed. For, as I have proved to you, an inverse current tends 
to produce paralysis and a direct contraction. Hence I should 
urge the accoucheur not to employ the apparatus in which both 
these currents traverse the patient, but simply the one I have 
described to you as the single current machine, and which is 


now on the tabic before me. In using this, I would suggest 
the positive conductor to be placed over the lumbosacral region, 
and the other _ be carried only over the abdominal surface with 
a gentle friction. In this way powerful uterine contractions 
will be easily excited. You will never find any difficulty in 
getting this apparatus to act efficiently, as it possesses the great 
advantage of dispensing with the use of mercury, which has 
been hitherto employed in these single current machines. (See 
Medical Gazette, June 18, 1847, p. 1064.) 

" At a meeting of the Obstetrical Society of Dublin, in Jan- 
uary, 1846, Mr. Clarke gave the detail of two cases, in which 
he employed the induced electro-magnetic current with perfect 
success, in the Rotunda Lying-in Hospital of this city, in Feb- 
ruary, 1845, in one of which the membranes had been ruptured 
forty-nine hours, and in the other the labor had lasted sixty 
.hours, and in each case the child as well as the mother did well. 
Mr. Clarke also remarked, that although this agent had been 
previously employed in uterine hemorrhage by Dr. Radford, of 
Manchester, yet that he believed that these were the first cases 
in which it had accomplished parturition. And after describing 
the method which he deems fittest for the application of the 
power, namely, from over the sacral plexus of nerves to the 
recto vaginal septum, as near the os uteri as can be done with- 
out passing the current through the head of the infant (the 
vaginal director being coated with sealing wax varnish, except 
at its external ball) : he described some experiments made upon 
the lower animals, by means of which he proved the superiority 
of galvanism beyond electro-magnetism in exciting the action 
of the heart and vermicular motion of the intestines, after both 
these functions had ceased from asphyxia." — Dublin Hospital 
Gaz., March 1, 1845, p. 216. 

Uterine Hemorrhage, Inertia, etc. The practical ob- 
stetrician has ever felt the need of some agent upon which to 
rely for relief, when he sees his patient sinking in death, as 
is often the case from excessive flooding or hemorrhage. The 
cause of such calamities is, doubtless, in most cases, exhaustion 
or inertia of the uterus ; and from numerous cases which may 
be cited, an effectual, safe, and universal remedy is found in 
electricity, judiciously applied. 

In a paper read before the Manchester Medical Society in 
February, 1846, Mr. Dorrington alludes to the efficacy of this 
active agent, and furnishes several cases in which it has been 


applied with great success. The first is a case of internal hem- 
orrhage during labor. The pains had subsided, the os uteri 
was rigid, and only the size of half a crown, and the uterus 
quite lax; all the symptoms of exhaustion from hemorrhage ap- 
parent, with only the escape of about a pint of blood externally. 
Laudanum was given immediately, bandages applied, ergot ad- 
ministered, etc. Upon the action of the ergot, the head of the 
child bore down upon the os uteri, but between the pains the 
uterus lay very lax and inert. Dr. Radford was consulted, and 
the decision was, that to deliver in this case would be cert;; in 
death. For the purpose of checking the flooding, and of thus 
allowing the patient to receive nourishment, Dr. Radford's plan 
of applying electricity was adopted, of which, with its effects, 
Mr. Dorrington thus speaks : — 

"We applied one conductor of the electro-magnetic apparatus 
to the os uteri, and the other to the abdominal parietes over the 
fundus uteri. The woman immediately began to complain that 
Ave were cutting her, and the uterine action came on at once. 
After having used the remedy a few minutes, we desisted, and 
had great pleasure in finding that the tonic contraction of the 
uterus had been called into play. We again applied the gal- 
vanic shocks and currents, and the uterus immediately respond- 
ed to the applications — strong contraction at once taking place, 
and the woman complaining of cutting pain. In about twenty 
minutes after its first application we finally ceased to use it, so 
firm a state of tonic contraction having been induced, that we 
considered it safe to leave the woman, with orders that beef-tea, 
broth, and eggs beaten up with milk, should be given her at in- 
tervals, and a teaspoonful of brandy in a little water, occasion- 
ally. An abdominal bandage was kept firmly applied. When 
we made a vaginal examination, we found the head bearing 
down on the os uteri with a much greater degree of pressure 
than had existed before the galvanism was applied, and we left 
with a firm conviction that the galvanic treatment had been of 
most essential service in this, the first case in which Dr. Rad- 
ford's new plan had been tried in the human subject." 

The flooding ceased, and in six hours and a half after the 
application of galvanism, labor pains set in. and in four hours 
afterwards the labor was completed. 

Another case was, where the hemorrhage took place before 



labor. While stooping, the patient lost two or more pints of 
blood, when she immediately fainted and vomited. The galvan- 
ic current was passed in the direction of both axes of the pelvis, 
with the most favorable result. 

" The effect on the uterine fibre was most marked ; the firm- 
est tonic contraction occurred the moment the organ was stimu- 
lated, and when the conductors were finally removed, a good 
tonic state of the organ existed, a fact which was proved both 
by its hardness to the touch when examined through the ab- 
dominal walls, and by the head being in firm apposition with 
the internal surface of the os uteri. The. constitutional effect 
upon the woman was very serviceable, for it acted as a general 
stimulus, rousing her up, and making her, to use her own words. 
'feel better 'than she had done for months.' The pulse was 98, 
and stronger, and her face much less pallid. I ordered her to 
have an abdominal bandage put on, and to lie on her back to 
counteract the anterior obliquity of the uterus. About 12, p. m., 
nineteen hours after the galvanism was applied, labor com- 
menced without any further hemorrhage having occurred, and 
terminated in about two hours and a half in the birth of a male 
child, which was living. The placenta was expelled, along with 
four or five coagula as large as the closed hand, in a quarter of 
an hour afterwards. The woman recovered well." 

A third case, was where the patient had arrived at the eighth 
month of pregnancy, but suffered from the constant oozing away 
of blood from the uterus. The galvanic current was employed, 
when on examination per vaginam, it was found that a quantity 
of coagula had accumulated in this canal, of which Mr. Dorring- 
ton speaks as follows : — 

" Upon carefully removing these, I found the os uteri oval in 
shape dilated to the size of a penny-piece, tolerably dilatable, 
and almost entirely filled up by the placenta, I could just feel 
the membranes anteriorly, and to the left side of the uterine 
orifice and I ascertained that they were unruptured, and that 
the head presented. There had been occasion ally slight labor- 
pains since last night ; the foetal heart was audible just below 
the umbilicus. I prescribed quiet and cool regimen. At half- 
past one, p. m., Dr. Radford, Mr. James Kenworthy, and Mr. 
Runcorn, saw her in consultation with me ; there was still a 
slight draining discharge, and the other circumstances much 


the same as at my visit earlier in the day. We thought the 
case a favorable one in which to try the experiment of deliver- 
ing the child without turning, by means of the uterine action 
induced by galvanism, combined with artificial rupture of the 
membranes. At a quarter of two, p. m., we applied the galvanic 
conductors in the usual way, and good strong uterine action set 
in at once. In about ten minutes I ruptured the membranes 
Avith Holmes' stilette, and we continued the use of the galvanism 
till twenty minutes past two, p. m., by which time the pains be- 
gan to come on spontaneously at intervals, and the placenta 
had fallen down to a considerable extent into the vagina ; the 
hemorrhage was extremely slight. At three, p. m., we left her, 
the labor-pains being good and regular, and the foetal heart still 
audible. We ordered her to lie on her back, Avith a little incli- 
nation toward the left side, as there was right anterior obliquity 
of the uterus, and the child's head was a little too much inclined 
to the left side, and too far forward over the pubes. 

"At five, p. m., Dr. Radford and myself returned, and found 
that very little change had taken place since we left. The uterine 
action was not so strong as it had been two hours before, and 
there was no hemorrhage. We reapplied the galvanism, using 
a greater power, and Dr. Radford carefully dragged the os uteri 
into the axis of the vagina, for we thought that the obliquity of 
the organ prevented the head from entering the pelvis. In an 
hour there was a decided advance ; the head had descended into 
the brim of the pelvis, and was dilating the os uteri rapidly, 
and there had been no further flooding. The placenta continued 
to descend more and more as the labor progressed, preceding 
the head for some time, and indeed, when the child, which was 
a female, was born, its most depending portion was protruded 
from the os externum .before the head ; so that the child passed 
over the half-detached placenta along the vagina. Of course, 
as so great a separation of the after-birth had occurred, the 
child was born dead, though the fcetal heart was audible till 
half an hour before its birth. The placenta came away imme- 
diately after the child, the labor being entirely terminated at 
twenty-five minutes to seven, p. m. The woman recovered ra- 
pidly, and without a bad symptom. This case, so far as the life 
of the child was concerned, would probably have terminated in 
the same way under any plan of treatment, since the placenta 
would doubtless in any case have become detached to a great 
extent from the uterus before its birth." 

In a case of twins, the first had been expelled by uterine 
efforts in about four hours after labor set in, after which the 



uterus became inert and the pains ceased. In fours hours after 
this, Mr. Dorrington saw her, and says : — 

" I considered it a good opportunity to ascertain the value of 
Dr. Radford's galvanic plan in renewing uterine action, so I 
made the necessary arrangements. In about an hour, Dr. Rad- 
ford and myself, in the presence of my friend, Mr. Nursaw, and 
my pupil, Mr. William Black, proceeded to apply the remedy. 
The effect was immediate ; strong labor-pains coming on, and 
continuing while the galvanic circle was complete. The woman 
cried out that she had pain similar to what she supposed might 
be produced by ' forks being thrust into her belly.' On exami- 
ning, per vaginam, the membranes were found to be tense and 
protruding into the passage, and the os uteri was fully dilated. 
After the galvanic circle was broken, and the intervallic con- 
traction thereby induced had gone off, it was remarkable to ob- 
serve that so great a degree of tonic uterine action existed, that 
the amniotic bag could no longer collapse, but remained tense 
in the vagina, as it does at the height of a pain in normal labor. 
In the course of about half an hour, the intervallic uterine 
action was so completely excited, that we ceased to apply the 
galvanism ; and during a pain Dr. Radford ruptured the mem- 
branes, when the foot was found presenting. I now took charge 
of the case, and in about a quarter of an hour, with the assis- 
tance of slight traction, a very small female child was born 
alive. We applied a few slight galvanic shocks to its chest, as 
the respiration was feeble, with a very good effect. The placen- 
ta, which was single, came away in about twenty minutes, with 
less discharge than is usual in twin cases." 

In concluding his remarks upon the use of this remarkable 
agent, Mr. Dorrington says : — 

" Of course, after so few trials as have yet been made with 
galvanism in the practice of midwifery, it is very difficult to 
form an opinion as to its exact value, and the particular cases 
in which it is likely to supersede means that have been previ- 
ously adopted. That it is a very powerful remedy there can be 
no doubt in the minds of those who have seen it tried, and that 
the uterus will respond to its application, whilst the general 
system is completely prostrated, is equally certain. This latter 
circumstance is one of its peculiar merits, as I believe there is 
no other means by which we excite uterine contraction that is 
not liable to fail when severe hemorrhage has weakened the 
vital powers." 


" From the little I have seen, my opinion is, that it is a most 
valuable means in that class of cases for which Dr. Radfort first 
recommended it, viz., uterine hemorrhage before, during, and 
after labor, in the latter months of pregnancy ; and it must al- 
ways be remembered that its application need not, in any way, 
lead us to neglect the ordinary methods of treating these cases. 
if there is any reason for giving them a previous trial. Of 
course, from this statement must be excepted the old plan of 
delivering the child where great exhaustion of the mother is 
present, to supersede which practice, galvanism was specially 
brought forward." (See Prov. Med. and Surg. Jour., March 
18, 1846,) 

Doctor Radford reports the case of a lady in her eighth month 
of pregnancy Avho received a fright, which was followed with a 
copious discharge of blood from the uterus. When he was called, 
the uterus was flaccid and inactive, the os uteri rigid and closed, 
and the hemorrhage profuse. He at once proceeded to rupture 
the membranes, which he did with a small catheter, and to 
apply friction to the abdomen. This failed to produce uterine 
contraction ; cold applications were made, but still the hemorr- 
hage continued. Delivery could not be effected the os uteri was 
so closed and rigid. Dr. Radford says : — 

" Under these circumstances I determined on the application 
of galvanism, and therefore sent for my apparatus. When it 
had arrived and was made ready for use, the lever regulating 
the intensity of power was placed at the middle point. I now 
passed the vaginal conductor to the anterior edge of the os uteri 
— having first placed the other over the fundus, and which was 
held by an assistant. The circle was now completed, and the 
patient immediately complained that I was cutting her. The 
abdominal conductor was removed and reapplied on different 
parts of the fundus : and so also was the vaginal one changed 
so as to act through every part, as far as possible, of the long 
axis of the uterus. From the moment that the circle was com- 
plete, uterine pain was excited, and a bearing-down effort was 
produced. These effects were observed to be more or less in- 
tense, according to the length of time the conductors were al- 
lowed to remain applied. The uterus was felt to be tonically 
contracted during the intervals, and this effect was observed to 
be increased after each temporary action induced by the appli- 
cation of the connection rod. 


" This plan was continued at intervals for half an hour. I 
now withdrew the vaginal conductor, and placed a common con- 
ductor externally on each side of the uterus, so as to pass the 
galvanic current in a transverse and oblique direction. In doing 
so I moved them from the upper to the lower part of the organ, 
taking care to have each placed in such a manner that every 
portion of the uterine tissue (as far as possible) was subjected 
to the influence of this remedy. From the time that the uterus 
began to contract, the flooding abated, and soon altogether 
ceased. The os uteri also began to soften, and gradually yield- 
ed, so that at the end of six hours, it was so far dilated as to 
allow the head of the child to pass through it. The child was 
born alive. The placenta was also expelled without further 
assistance. There was no further flooding. The uterus was 
found firmly contracted. 

"Remarks. The power of galvanism to excite the uterine 
fibre to contract, was admirably shown in the foregoing case. It 
not only originated the temporary contraction of the uterus, but 
also produced such a lasting impression upon this organ, that 
the pains continued to occur (if any way different from those 
which accompany its normal action in being more energetic,) 
until the labor was completed. The value of the tonic contrac- 
tion of the uterus in arresting bleeding, is well known to the 
practical obstetrician ; and, as I have elsewhere observed, this 
favorable condition of the organ is increased in degree after 
each application of the galvanism. When we employ this agent, 
we should take care not to continue it too long, but interrupt 
the connection, so as to allow the uterus intervals of rest, and 
thus, as nearly as possible, to imitate nature's operations. It 
sometimes happens, that our usual means fails to produce the 
effect we desire ; and although cases of this kind are exceptions, 
vet they are sufficiently numerous, and also of such a danger- 
ous character as to demand, on the part of the obstetrician, an 
inquirv whether some plan can be adopted to place the patient 
in a state of safety. The truth of the above statement, in cases 
of accidental hemorrhage, is proved by the great discrepancy m 
the opinions of different writers as to the proper treatment to 
be adopted. One class recommend the membranes to be rup- 
tured according to Puza's plan, and they assert that reliance 
may invariably be placed on this practice, as an infallible means 
of arresting the discharge. . _ 

« Another class recommend delivery (as a primary operation) 
as soon as it can be safely performed. They think that rup- 
turing the membranes will frequently fail to fulfil the indica- 


tions intended ; and that afterwards, when the relative local 
condition of the patient is unfavorably altered, it will become 
necessary to turn and extract the child, and thus render the 
operation more dangerous to the patient, and more difficult to 
the operator. The different views entertained by these writers 
(all of whom are men of the highest reputation) upon a subject 
of such vital importance, clearly prove that sometimes the one 
plan, and sometimes the other, may be advantageously adopted. 
My experience tends to coroborate this conclusion, and I am of 
opinion that rupturing the membranes will not invariably suc- 
ceed in arresting the bleeding, and indeed the case above de- 
tailed is an example of the truth of this assertion. In the 
course of my practice, I have met with many others where I 
have been disappointed in the results, and have been compelled 
to have recourse to delivery. It is, then, in such instances as 
these, that we can with such certainty of success bring into use 
this most powerful agent, galvanism, to supersede the necessity 
of proceeding to undertake an operation, which, when ultimately 
undertaken, is always attended with more or less danger to the 
patient, and of difficulty to the operator. 

" There is also a contingent organic rigidity of the os, and an 
undeveloped state of the cervix uteri, which renders delivery 
either impossible or dangerous, or at least very hazardous. We 
meet with cases in which it is quite impossible to introduce two 
or three fingers through the os uteri without lacerating this 
part, and if the hand is forced through, however cautiously done, 
the mischief must be considerably increased ; but the danger 
does not end here ; for when the child is turned, and its more 
bulky parts brought rapidly (as is too frequently done,) to pass 
through this opening, contusion and laceration to a greater or 
less extent must inevitably occur. 

" Are we warranted, then, to incur the risks of delivery in 
such cases, in order to conform to preconceived notions, or at 
most only obtain an apparent immediate advantage ? Do we 
not possess other remedial means, capable of placing our patient 
in a state of security until the parts assume a more favorable 
condition for delivery? Most certainly we do — the plug in some 
cases, and galvanism in others. There is a dogma extant 
amongst writers and practitioners, which has a baneful tenden- 
cy if followed, and leads to disappointment to the practitioner 
and danger to the patient. This I have adverted to in my lec- 
ture on galvanism, and in the following words : — I now refer 
particularly to that assertion of certain writers, who say, that 
by the evacuation of blood, the soft parts become so weakened 

and dilatable, that delivery can always be accomplished 

The os uteri will continue undilatable, although the woman may 


be in such a state of exhaustion as to be literally tottering on 
the brink of the grave ! It is true that this state of matters 
does not generally exist, but it is too frequent to be overlooked 
in determining our line of practice. 

" If these remarks wanted further corroboration than my own 
practice furnishes, I have the opportunity of bringing forward 
the testimony of one of the most worthy and practical obstet- 
ricians of our time, whose virtues stand acknowledged, and 
whose practical experience is unrivalled : I mean Dr. Merriman. 
This opinion was conveyed to me in a private letter, after he 
had read my lecture." 

An important case is presented by Henry Wilson, Esq., sur- 
geon, Runcorn, in the Prov. Med. and Surg. Jour., April 29, 
1846. The patient was two months advanced in her pregnancy, 
when hemorrhage from the uterus took place. When Mr. Wil- 
son first saw her, her pulse was small and weak, and her coun- 
tenance blanched. Gallic acid and cinnamon powder were given 
every two hours, cold applications made to the pubes and thighs, 
and a bandage placed around the abdomen ; the room was kept 
cool and quiet, but still a sanguinous oozing was continued, and 
in about ten hours a large quantity of blood made its escape, 
followed by syncope and convulsions. The pulse had now be- 
come imperceptible, and the extremities cold. By the use of 
stimulants she was aroused, when, upon examination, the os 
uteri was found open and soft. Mr. Wilson observes : 

" I now proceeded to inject the vagina with half a pint of cold 
water, and repeated the same process by rectum. The vagina 
was then plugged with a soft cambric handkerchief, and a full 
dose of ergot, with twenty minims of diluted sulphuric acid 
given. This dose was repeated at intervals of fifteen minutes, 
until six doses were taken, equivalent to three drachms of the 
ergot ; in the meantime ammonia and brandy were almost con- 
stantly required to avert syncope. During three hours that I 
remained with my patient, her life appeared to depend on the 
assiduous administration of stimuli. 

" Having left the house for a short time, I found on my return, 
that the tampon had been expelled, accompanied by a large 
quantity of blood and coagula ; I decided not to reintroduce it, 
that I might repeat the injections of cold water. During the 
succeeding two hours these were administered several times, and 
they seemed, on each occasion, to check the discharge for a few 


minutes, but the vagina soon became hot again, and the dis- 
charge reappeared. The case now appeared to be utterly hope- 
less. She could no longer swallow the brandy, and was only 
roused from a state of apparent insensibility, bordering on syn- 
cope, by the scarcely interrupted application of ammonia to the 
nares. The pulse had almost forsaken the wrist, being doubt- 
roily perceptible ; the eyes remained rigidly open and fixed ; in 
short, death seemed imminent. As a dernier resort, with but 
faint hopes of doing any good, I resolved to try galvanism, 
suggested by Dr. Radford. 

"My residence being wdthin a very short distance, I was en- 
abled, in a few minutes, to have the apparatus in action at my 
patient's bed-side. A copper wire, coated with thread and 
sealing wax. with a ball of moistened sponge, about the size of 
a nut, fastened to one end of it, served for a vaginal conductor. 
The sponge was passed within the os uteri, and there retained. 
I previously ascertained that shocks could not be elicited from 
any part of the wire except from the sponge at its extremity. 
The conductor from the other pole of the apparatus was then 
applied over various points of the sacrum and loins, and shocks, 
and continuous currents of the galvanic fluid transmitted 
through the parts intervening between these points and the 
sponge at the os uteri. Ten minutes elapsed cue the patient 
appeared sensible of the galvanic agency. The first indication 
of this was observed in her countenance, her glassy, corpse-like 
eye brightening up with something of its wonted expression. 
In the course of ten minutes more, the pulse was more distinct- 
ly perceptible, and she complained of pain in the abdomen. 
After continuing the galvanic influence for a few minutes 
longer, the apparatus was withdrawn. 

" The following day found her still free from hemorrhage, but 
she voided with the urine a fleshy substance, about the size of 
a fig." 

Dr. Radford was called to a woman in labor with her fourth 
child ; the membranes had ruptured, the os uteri dilated, but 
the uterine action had ceased, and for six hours she lay without 
pains, but a constant discharge of blood. This was thought to 
be a proper case for the use of galvanism, and it was accord- 
ingly employed. 

"The power used at first was slight, but gradually increased 
until the lever was placed at the highest point. The two hand 
conductors were only used, and applied externally on opposite 



points of the abdomen, varying from time to time their relative 
positions, thereby carrying the galvanic fluid through the lon- 
gitudinal, transversal, and oblique diameter of the uterus. The 
beneficial influence of the remedy was soon apparent, and the 
extreme atonic state of the uterus was now gradually exchang- 
ed^ its parietes became firmer, and the edges of the organ, 
which before were so soft as to appear to float amongst the ab- 
dominal viscera, from not being traceable, now became defined. 
This favorable organic condition proceeded ; and the induced 
pains, at first grinding and slight, became powerfully expulsatory; 
and the child (a girl,) was born alive at half past one o'clock, 
about an hour after we began our operations. As soon as the 
uterine energy was fully roused, the child was rapidly and for- 
cibly expelled. The hand was applied over the uterus, which 
was found firmly contracted. The discharge of blood ceased as 
soon as the uterus began to contract. The placenta was ex- 
pelled in about five minutes ; the uterus had further firmly con- 
tracted ; there was not the least hemorrhage, and the constitu- 
tional condition of the patient was much improved, and indeed 
much better than could reasonably have been expected. 

" The powerful and sanatory influence of galvanism was most 
decidedly obtained in the preceding case, and the great advan- 
tage of this agent is, that its effects may be carried to any de- 
gree, from first only exciting the uterus so to contract that its 
diameters are lessened and that its tissue comes to be applied 
to the body of the child. 

" These, however, may be at pleasure increased, so as to ac- 
complish the expulsion of the child and placenta. The gradual 
changes produced upon the uterine tissue were admirably seen 
in the foregoing case ; and also its great power, developed by 
its continued application, to arrest the discharge, expel the 
child and the placenta, and leave the organ safe from the occur- 
rence of post-partum flooding. It is well here to call to mind, 
that this woman had, in all former labors, serious post-partum 
floodings, and violent afterpains. In the present case, she was 
saved the danger of the one, and the suffering of the other. 
(See Prov. Med. and Surg. Jour., Sept. 22, 1847.) 

In concluding a long dissertation upon the treatment of 
hemorrhage, published in the Prov. Med. and Surg. Jour., 
Dec. 24, 1844, Dr. Radford says :— 

" My remarks have hitherto been confined to the treatment 
of those cases of hemorrhage that are attended with exhaustion 


before delivery, but there are other cases, to which galvanism 
is equally applicable. If we investigate the cases given by 
authors, we shall find that there are many cases of accidental 
hemorrhage before delivery, where artificial rupture of the mem- 
branes has not succeeded in arresting the discharge, on which 
account several writers, Burns and Hamilton amongst them, 
advocate delivery in preference to this operation. Now, the 
artificial rupture of the membranes is recommended for adoption, 
without reference to the condition of the os uteri ; and it must 
be obvious, if this part is rigid and undilatable, and" the flooding 
should continue although the membranes have ruptured, that it 
would be highly hazardous to introduce the hand and to deliver 
by force. In such a case galvanism would place the woman in a 
state of security, by exiting the contraction of the uterus. I 
also consider that this power would be useful in some of the 
hemorrhages of the early months of pregnancy. 

" With regard to the after hemorrhages, especially those at- 
tended by exhaustion, I consider it particularly applicable where 
atony of the uterus is the principal feature of the accident. In 
those cases which occur previous to the expulsion of the pla- 
centa, it would be the duty of the practitioner to assure himself 
that this mass was not morbidly adherent to the sides of the 
uterus. In hour-glass contraction, and other forms of irregular 
uterine action after labor, I anticipate great benefit from its use. 
In these cases there is a loss of balance between the contractile 
power of different parts of the uterine fibre, one part being in a 
state of atony, whilst the other is in a state of firm contraction. 
Now, if the galvanic current be directed in the longitudinal axis 
of the organ, it strikes me that you might excite the longitudi- 
nal fibres to contraction, and thereby restore the balance. There 
are several other topics, not directly connected with the subject 
of this evening's lecture, which I shall slightly notice, in refer- 
ence to galvanism. I am satisfied, from positive trial of the 
remedy, that it will be found a most important agent in tedious 
labor, depending upon want of power in the uterus, and where 
no mechanical obstacle exists. I would also suggest the proba- 
bility of its proving valuable in originating uterine action de 
novo, in cases Avhere it may be considered necessary to induce 
premature labor. It seems to me also to be worthy of trial in 
certain cases of monorrhagia in the ungravid state, where, on 
vaginal examination, the uterus is found to be atonic, as evi- 
denced by its large flaccid condition, and the patulous state of 
the os uteri." 

Premature Delivery. A case of premature delivery, by 


means of electricity, is furnished in the London Medical Ga- 
zette, June, 1845, of which Channing, in his Notes, gives the 
following synopsis : 

" From narrowness of the pelvis, a first delivery had necesa- 
rily been performed by the crotchet, and it was therefore resolved 
to bring about a second delivery at the eight month. Electro- 
magnetism was employed, at intervals, for twenty minutes, the 
uterus becoming tense, and true pains occurring; but these 
ceased with the application. Eight and a half hours afterwards, 
the membranes ruptured, and about fifty hours later, labor com- 
menced, and in nine hours the child was born, by uterine effort 
alone. A hemorrhage occurred twelve days later, from which 
the woman recovered. In this case, the rupture of the mem- 
branes was ascribed to the tonic state induced in the uterus. 
Dr. Dorrington remarks, in connection with the, ' I 
believe there is no other means by which we excite uterine con- 
traction, which is not liable to fail, when severe hemorrhage has 
weakened the vital powers.' " 

Abortion. In the New York Journal of Medicine, May, 
1847, Dr. Dawes states that he has employed the galvanic cur- 
rent with success in two cases, where abortion was threatened, 
as he thought, from an irregular nervous supply to the uterus. 
Doubtless this is often the cause of many of the most fatal 
eases of this kind; but as there are many other causes for 
abortion, in which its use might not be even justifiable, it should 
be employed with great discrimination. 



Since the preceeding pages were prepared, and originally 
issued, in the year 1849, the author has succeeded in construct- 
ing several valuable articles, by which diseases of different 
classes may be successfully treated, upon electrical principles, 
without the aid of experienced operators ; a brief sketch of which 
he deems it proper to here introduce. 

1. Galvanic Supporters, Spinal Braces, etc. — InlSSlj 
a beautiful assortment of supporters, spinal braces and laces for 
different portions of the body, known as Dr. Paige's Galvanic 
Supporters, Galvanic Spinal Braces, and Electrometers, were 
introduced to the public by Dr. A. Paige, since which they have 
been extensively employed by him in his practice, and in differ- 
ent portions of the country, by the profession generally, and 
with the most happy results. 

These supporters in form, resemble the usual abdominal sup- 
porters offered for sale, except an improvement in the springs, 
rendering them highly elastic, and easy in adjustment. The 
pads are of different metals, rendering the supporter in reality 
a Galvanic Battery. It may be so adjusted as to dispense 
entirely with the galvanic action, or to regulate it as the case 
may require. The advantages of such galvanic stimuli, in 
connection with excellent mechanical support, must be apparent. 

So with the nicely fitted braces for the spine, and other parts. 
These articles so far as introduced, have given universal satis- 
faction, and are of themselves, sufficient to radically cure many 
of those local affections for which they are intended. 

2. Galvanic Moxa. The term Moxa is from the Japnese, 
Artemisia Chinensis, Moxa Japonica, Mugworth of China 
a soft lanuginous substance prepared in Japan, from the young 
leaves of this species of Mugworth. This Moxa is highly 
celebrated in the East, for its immediate action in preventing 
and curing many disorders. By being burned upon the skin it 
produces a dark colored spot, or eschar, which terminates in an 
ulcer, and which may be healed up, or kept open, as circum- 
stances require. 


From a long series of experiments, Dr. Paige has succeeded 
in constructing galvanic plates, which may be worn upon any 
portion of the system, and which from galvanic action produce 
even a more healthy eschar, the ulcer of which may be healed 
by its removal, or continued as the case may indicate. In all 
congestive, scrofulous, or nervous diseases, this Moxa is entire- 
ly successful. The sores to which reference is had, are in no 
cases painful, or their effects unfavorable. 

Although this article has been but recently introduced, it has 
established for itself, a high reputation, and promises to become 
one of the most popular remedies of the age. 

3. Dr. Paige's Improved induced current and direct current 
Machine for electrical operations, is another valuable addition to 
the apparatus now employed in the treatment of diseases. 
With this machine Dr. Paige is enabled to cure many cases of 
disease which his electro-magnetic machine, described on page 
30, in this work, has failed to reach. 

The greatest advantage it possesses however, is that it enables 
the operator to apply medical agents which Dr. Paige has also 
prepared for the purpose, directly to the diseased part, producing 
all its medicinal effects by external applications. This branch 
of practice and the startling physiological facts it elicits, is 
now attracting the attention of scientific practitioners, and is in 
honesty believed to be of great importance to the profession. 

To those acquainted with the subject, it is a matter of great 
satisfaction to know that in the present tide of improvements, 
the hopeless invalid is cheered by various discoveries which 
bring peace to his anxious mind, ease to his languishing couch 
and health to his wasted form. Let improvements of this kind 
be encouraged, and a basis to other reforms, requiring health 
and intelligence in the subject, will be laid, that will do more to 
elevate the race, physically and mentally, than all other efforts