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This IVork is Dedicated, 




A FIFTH EDITION of this treatise is called for^ but I find it necessary 
to add comparatively little. The few pages, however, that have been 
inserted in Chapter VII. (division of Electro-Therapeutics), on the 
"Induction Coil: Its Varieties, and the Differential Indications for 
their Use," are important and worthy of careful consideration. 

While none of the facts in physics there presented can be said to be 
new, yet there has been no general appreciation of them, and but little 
knowledge that such facts existed, even among those who have been 
endeavoring, in a blind sort of way, to utilize them. As to the few state- 
ments that are made along the line of therapeutics, the most that I 
can say of them is that they are the result of much experience and 
of very many carefully recorded observations. If presented with any 
measure of clearness, they should be of service to those who are in- 
terested in, but have given little thought to, the matter. These addi- 
tions, together with a brief discussion of the subject of chronic pelvic 
cellulitis in its relation to electricity, and a description of the method 
for the permanent removal of superfluous hairs, comprise most that is 
important ; and a new edition is again offered to the profession in 
the belief that, aside from that considerable portion original with the 
authors and peculiar to this work, it also comprehends all else of 
real value pertaining to the subject. 

46 East Thirty-first Street, New York. 


It is with much satisfaction that Dr. Rockwell offers to the profession 
a fourth revised edition of this work. When, with the late Dr. George 
M. Beard, he first sent it forth upon its mission, a pioneer in a neg- 
lected and perhaps despised department of medicine, it was, both on 
the part of authors and publishers, with some misgivings as to its suc- 
cess. While the measure of its merits as a guide in the department of 
which it treats may fall far below the generous reception accorded to 
it, both at home and abroad, the fact that each successive edition has 
been exhausted more rapidly than its predecessor, notwithstanding the 
widening literature of the subject, affords ample encouragement for 
further revision. 

The chapter on Franklinic Electricity has been entirely rewritten. 
This was rendered necessary by the many improvements in apparatus 
and appliances, and its great value as an adjunct or supplement to 
dynamic electricity. But perhaps the most important of the new mat- 
ter that has been introduced relates to the experience of the author in 
the treatment of Extra-Uterine Pregnancy. 

Formerly, as is well known, these cases resulted either in immediate 
death, through rupture of the distended tube, or in protracted suffering, 
with frequently a fatal ending, through the efforts of nature to rid itself 
of the foetal mass. The only other alternative was the knife, with its 
attendant dangers. By the method described, however, and used with 
such complete success in every instance, this abnormality of pregnancy 
need not in the future be regarded as such a dreaded complication as 
it has been in the past. 

Extra-Uterine Pregnancy is doubtless more frequent than is generally 
supposed, and because of the difficulty of an early diagnosis, death fre- 
quently occurs without any previous knowledge of the existing condi- 
tion of affairs. It behooves, therefore, every practitioner to be on the 
alert for this condition in its earlier stages, when this method of treat- 
ment is so efficacious. 


In issuing a third edition of this work I have endeavored to make 
such additions as seemed necessary, and at the same time avoid an 
increase in size. This has been accomplished by condensing wherever 
possible, and omitting portions here and there which have served their 
pun>ose and are no longer of value. Two new chapters on the Sequelae 
of Acute Diseases and on Exophthalmic Goitre, respectively, have been 
inserted, while several pages in the discussion of Electro-diagnosis have 
been omitted, and the space occupied by later and more exact infor- 
mation. The chapter on Diseases of Women has been revised, and 
the clinical additions will be found interesting and suggestive, while in 
the discussion of Midwifery the complication of Extra-Uterine Preg- 
nancy is fully considered. 

These, together with many other changes and brief additions 
throughout the work, have, it is believed, materially enhanced its 
practical value. 

The position of electricity in the front rank of sedatives and tonics, 
and the pre-eminent value of the methods of general faradization and 
central galvanization, as means of obtaining the full measure of these 
effects (claims in regard to which the authors of this work once stood 
alone), have now been so long confirmed by expert observation in this 
country an^ Germany that extensive demonstration of these propo- 
sitions by cases is less needed than formerly. 

In regard to the theory of Dr. Thomas W. Poole, of Lindsay, 
Canada, that electricity is essentially a paralyzing agent, and that its 
sedative and tonic effects are due to its paralyzing ])ower, this may be 
said : That, granting for a moment the full claim, it yet remains, that 
practically, we do obtain from the use of electricity sedative and tonic 
effects similar to those which we obtain from a vast number of other 
remedial agencies. Allowing that these effects are resultants of a 


paralyzing influence it is none the less justifiable, on scientific and 
practical grounds, to use the terms sedative and tonic. 

The final rationale of no work or remedial force of any kind is com- 
pletely known to science, and, for practical uses, it is not necessary 
that it should be ; we, perhaps, know as much of the rationale of elec- 
tricity as of any agent that we use for the cure of disease. 

The more thoroughly one studies electro-therapeutics in all its re- 
lations, medical and surgical, the clearer it becomes that the real 
scientific basis for the use of electricity in medicine and surgery is 
found in electro-physics more than in electro-physiology ; and for that 
reason it did not seem wise to very much abbreviate the portion of 
this work allotted to that department. The rationale of general fara- 
dization and central galvanization, for example, can only be under- 
stood by those who have grasped the elementary principles of electro- 
physics, the laws of resistance and conductibility, and, above all, the 
law of Ohm, to which we have assigned a special chapter. Those who 
have been once well grounded in these laws of electro-physics find that 
the various special problems that arise, whether of a theoretical or 
practical character, very quickly resolve themselves. 

Now that electricity has become popular in medicine, there is, in 
some quarters, a temptation to overdo the application, not only in 
strength but in length and frequency ; to treat all cases alike by rou- 
tine, mechanical applications, regardless either of the disease or the 
idiosyncrasies of the patient ; hence, in cases not a few, come results 
either negatively or temporarily injurious, with disappointment on all 

The dosage of electricity is a special study of the greatest practical 
importance ; the difference in result between a very gentle and short 
application and a very strong and protracted one being, in some cases, 
all the difference between agreeable success and painful failure. 

There are persons who must be treated not only mildly but at long 
intervals, and there are persons with, perhaps, the same maladies that 
can bear with advantage powerful and frequent applications ; to dis- 
tinguish between these classes and the various gradations that lie be- 
tween the extremes of tolerance and of susceptibility is the first duty, 
and, oftentimes, the hardest study of him who makes much use ot 
electricity in medicine. 


A FEW weeks after the publication of the first edition of this work, in 
1871, we were informed by the publishers that a new edition would be 
called for. From that time to the present monjent much force has 
been expended on the thorough revision of the work in all its depart- 
ments. As much time and toil, it is safe to sa)% have been given to this 
edition as to the first ; and the work as it now stands represents our 
accumulated and thoroughly sifted experience from our eii trance upon 
this specialty, as well as a full and exhaustive r6smn6 of all that has 
been accomplished by other authorities everywhere. 

About one year ago, while this edition was in press, we amicably dis- 
solved tile professional association that had existed for six years, and 
during which all our writings on this subject had appeared. This dis- 
solution of our business relations has not affected the present work 
except so far as to delay somewhat Its publication* 

The success of the first edition of this work has far surpassed our 
highest hopes ; and our belief is that it may have done something to 
rai^e the standard of electro-therapeuiics as well as to popularize it. 
More than a year since, the work was translated into German by Dr. 
Voter, of Prague, who has confirmed all that we have claimed in regard 
to the efficacy of general electrization, and who has followed up the 
translation by a series of elaborate articles, didactic and clinical, on 
general electrization and central galvanization in the Aiigemeim 
li^ener Zeiiung, 

The use of general faradization as a constitutional tonic in a 
wide variety of affections is now well established and the etfects 
that we have claimed fur it have been confirmed in full detail by com- 
petent observ'crs at home and abroad. This method of using electricity 
■has also attained a wide popularity, and its introduction into therapeu- 
tics may be said to have tnarked a radical and important advance. 

Tlie section on Electro-physics is much enlarged. Observation has 
convinced us that the one great defect in those who practise electro- 
therapeutics is ignorance of tfie physical relations of electricity. From 


this source flow at least haT the blunders, discouragements, and ill 
success that novices in this branch so painfully experience. The undu 
latory theory of the electrical force that is adopted in this edition is, so 
far as can now be seen, consistent and harmonious, and it explains 
better than any other theory the varied and complex phenomena ol 
electro-physiology and electro-therapeutics. 

The chemistry of the batteries, it will be seen, is explained in full 
detail, and in accordance with recent chemical facts and nomenclature. 

To Ohm's Law, at once so important and so difficult, a separate and 
special chapter has been assigned ; and no effort has been spared to 
make it clear in all its practical relations to all trained minds who will 
give it close and careful attention. 

In the preparation of the section on Electro-physics we have been 
favored with the advice and suggestions of a number of our most dis- 
tinguished physicists and mathematicians ; and especially are we indebt- 
ed to Prof. Henry T. Eddy, of Cincinnati, who has interested himself in 
the attempt here made to put the most recent theories and facts ol 
electro-physics in a shape at once clear, compact, and trustworthy. 

The need of a section of this kind has been most urgent, for the 
treatises on the physics of electricity that have been most accessible 
are either far behind the time or have been expressed so blindly 
as to be of little value to electro-therapeutists. Even the best of the 
more recent writers on the physics of electricity, as Fleming Jenkins, 
and Latimer Clarke, have not adapted their works to the wants of those 
who use electricity in therapeutics. 

Electro-physiology is largely rewritten and considerably enlarged. 
It includes a large number of our own experiments, mostly made dur 
ing the past three 3'ears, as well as a compact resume of all the more 
recent studies in this branch by European and American observers. 
The general relation of electro-physiology to electro-therapeutics has 
been brought into prominence at every point. 

The method oi central galvanization that we have systematized and 
introduced to the profession since the publication of the first edition is 
here described and illustrated in full detail. The great practical 
advantages of this method of galvanization over localized galvanization 
of the nerve-centres — and 'n many cases over general faradization — are 
already well understood b) many of our leading electro-therapeutists. 

There are now introduced into science, six methods of using electri- 
city for the treatment of disease : localized faradization and localized 
galvanization, general faradization, central galvanization, and, in electra 
surgery, electrolysis and galvano-cautery. 



In the chapter on A pparatus we have endeavored to represent with 
taimess and impartiality the best workmanship and the most recenl 
improvements. The face of the superiority of continuous over separate- 
,Xoil Karadic-machines in the treatment of sensitive patients is here for 
ic first time brought out and emphasized, 

A new chapter on General Suggestions has been added, in wliich the 
attempt has been made to answer in detail the various practical queries 
that so annoy the beginner in electro-therapeutics. 

In the section on Electro-surgery the principles of galvano cautery, 
of ordinary elecirolysrs, and of the method of electrolysis of the base 
have been described and illustrated, and in the clinical portions all varie- 
ties of results have been presented from a very large experience in ihit 
dei>artment, so that one may learn both what can be done and what 
cannot be done by electricity in surgical diseases. 

in the cUnical part of electro-medicine a number of entirely new 
chapters have been added, and all of the chapters have been recast. 
The number of cases has been increased nearly twofold, the failures 
and successes being fairly represented. 

We may call especial attention to the chapters on Diseases of the 
Skin, wherein, besides many other cases, are detailed the remarkable 
results of central galvanization in chronic eczema and prurigo, and to 
the chapter on Diseases of Children, in which are recorded the results 
of exi>erimcnls in the treatment of whooping-cough, marasmus, and de* 
bility, and also the fact of the remarkable tolerance of childhood to 
electricity* Since the publication of the first edition a number of excel 
lent works on nervous diseases have appeared, and foi that reason, as 
well as for lack of space, the systematic remarks on certain diseases 
have, in this edition, been mostly omitted, save some special points 
wherein our views differ from those generally adopted. 

Although the work is considerably enlarged yet this enlargement is 
due more to die addition of new matter than to the retention of old. If 
there are any who object to the size of the work, who seek for short 
nd ready methods to the science and art of electrotherapeutics, who 
dcspbe and deride the physical and physiological relations of electricity, 
and who sup|)ose that he who has held two sponges on a patient has 
compassed the whole of clectrology, we can only reply that it is not for 
such that this book was written, and we hope that nothing we may 
wrile will encourage the increase of physicians of that character. The 
id**!! of every elcclro-therapeutist^ — certainly of every one who gives the 
fitbject special attention — should be to become an electrologist, that is, 
Co be a master of electricity tn its physical and physiological as well an 


its purely diagnostic and therapeutic relations ; for all such this edi 
tion is designed to be a work of exhaustive reference. Those, how 
ever, whose aims are lower will here find the purely practical and 
chnical department clearly presented by a large variety of ^lustrations of 
the various methods of application, and by details of more than twc 
hundred cases, including every type of medical and surgical disease, for 
which electricity by any method of application has been used with any 
encouraging results. 

To those who, since the first edition of this work was out of press, 
have grown weary in waiting for the long-promised appearance of the 
second edition, we may express the hope thai they will find in the 
present treatise sufficient evidences of original experience and research 
to fully account for, if not to justify the annoying delay. 


The object of this work is to present, in a compact, practical form, 
all that is now known on the application of electricity to the treatment 
of disease. The aim of the authors has been to combine their own 
extensive and varied researches with locaU^ed and general electriza- 
tion, and the labors of all other recent explorers in electro-therapeutics, 
to a summary which should be at once practical and exhaustive, and 
which should represent with strict impartiality all that has been really 
accomplished in this department by every school, in every country, and 
by all methods* 

For this undertaking the authors have been prepared by an experi- 
ence acquired in more than 10,000 applications of electricity in a wide 
%'ariety of morbid conditions, and by personal observation of the 
ruethods and the resttlts of the recognized leaders in this important 
field of science. 

For convenience of reference, and in order to avoid repetition and 
confusion, the work is divided into EUctro-Physks^ Electro- Pkyswhgy^ 
Elcctro-Tlterapiutics, and Electro-Surgery, It is believed that by this 
arrangement tlie work will be more acceptable both to the majority 
who seek to consult the distinctively practical portions, and to the few 
who may desire also to investigate the subject of electncity in its 
physical and physiological relations. 

General electrization, which the authors were the first in the profes- 
sion to systematically investigate, is here, for the first time, described 
and illustrated in systematic detail of its modus operandi and its very 
remarkable effects in conditions of debility. 

The general differential indications for the use of the two cur- 
rents and for the use of localized and general applications, we have 
sought to distinguish and elucidate by logical deductions from the 
known principles of electrotherapeutics, and, above all, from extend- 
ed experimental comparison. The knowledge of electro4herapeutical 
anatomy, which is so essential for an intelligent electro -diagnosis in 
therapeutics, we have endeavored to facilitate by concise and explicit 
illustrations. The drawings for illustrations of the different methods 
of electrization were made from photographs taken during the applica* 


In the selection and detailed description of apparatus, both the tat^tei 
of the specialist and the imperative needs of the general practitionet 
have been constantly borne in mind ; and while nearly all the most ira« 
proved forms of machines for both currents have received notice, 
minute description and illustration have been reserved only for those 
that experience has shown unite in the highest degree the qualities of 
convenience and compactness, with accessibility and uniformity of ac- 
tion. When we began our experiments in this department, there waj 
in this country no satisfactory apparatus either for the faradic or the 
galvanic current, and for this reason our early observations were made 
under exceeding disadvantages. 

The difficulty has for a number of years been partly met by the 
electro-magnetic apparatus of Kidder, which, for all the essential qual- 
ities required, is as yet unsurpassed. We early became convinced that 
scientific electro-therapeutics required also a galvanic apparatus which 
should be at least more compact and more portable than those which 
had been usually employed, and that to be forced to depend on appa- 
ratus of foreign construction would both retard the progress and prac 
tically prohibit the popularization of electro-therapeutics. Amid many 
discouragements which only those who have pursued similar investiga- 
tions can well appreciate, we have striven to overcome this serious evil 
and to prepare a galvanic apparatus which should be both simple and 
enduring, and which could be used at the bedside as well as in the 
hospital or consulting-room. Through the skill and intelligence of the 
mechanician above-mentioned, we are now able to present an appa- 
ratus for the galvanic current which, if not on the one hand so com- 
pact, or on the other so elaborate as others to which we have called 
attention, is yet, in the wide variety of size and shape of which it is 
capable, in the simplicity of its construction, and the ease of its man- 
agement, perhaps even better fitted to sui>ply the general want. 

Electro-surgery^ though a young and as yet but little developed 
branch of electro-therapeutics, is yet of such intrinsic importance and 
interest, and so fruitful in promise for the future, that it has been 
deemed worthy of separate and special consideration. 

In the preparation of the detailed and statistical reports of cases, we 
have sought to give a picture that shall be so accurate, and so true to 
experience, that it may be unfailingly recognized by all those who pur- 
sue a similar line of experiment The somewhat deserved reproach 
against electro-therapeutists, that they publish only their most fortunate 
results, we have endeavored to avert by giving prominence to failure! 
as well as to successes ; by noting relapses as well as permanent re 



coveries. We have been not unmindful of the fact thai statistical re* 
pofts oC the results of any method of treatment, however conscien- 
tiously prepared, must be at best incomplete, and to a certain extent 
tliusory. Therapeutics is always a subject of vast complications. It 
is probable that in some of the cases reported as absolute or approxi- 
mate recoveries, nature and tin)e, and in a few instances, perhaps, 
other medicinarl or hygienic treatment bore as large a share as the ap- 
plications themselves. We have, however, endeavored to make all 
proper allowances for the influence of these various factors ; and in 
the few exceptional cases where medicinal has been combined with 
electrical treatment, the fact has been mentioned, and cases of posi- 
tive doubt have been excluded from consideration. For the study of 
the special effects of electrical treatment, when used alone, we have 
been peculiarly fortunate, since the vast majority of our cases had 
abandoned medication before they were referred to our care. On the 
other hand^ it is indisputably tnie that some of the cases reported as 
absolute failures, or as bnt slightly benefited, were kept from perfect 
recovery by the indulgence of evil habits of hygiene ; and it is fully 
probable that some of them, as well as of those reported as unknown, 
appreciated the after results of the treatment and went on to recovery. 
Still further, it is in every way probable that some of the failures might, 
by greater perseverance on the part of the patients, have been trans- 
fonned into perfect successes. 

It is believed that these various errors to a certain extent counter- 
balance each other, and that on the whole our statistical reports fairly 
represenr* so far as they go, tlie legitimate results of the electrical 
trcatmcnL And yet it should be considered that the majority of the 
cases represented in our statistics were both Tong standing and pecu- 
liarly obstinate, and there is ground for the belief that those who treat 
milder and more recent cases by the same methods, will obtain a larger 
percentage of success. 

It will be observed that throughout the work these leading ideas are 
kept constantly in the foreground as the foundation principles on which 
must rest the science of electro-therapeutics : — 

1, That electrization, besides being merely a local stimulant, also 
exercises an influence over general and local nutrition, at once unique 
and unrivalled, and that entitles it to the highest rank among constitu- 
tional tonics. 

2. That the accepted system of making the applications exclusively 
local is both illogical and inconsistent ; that in the use of electricity, 
as of every other remedy^ constitutional diseases should be treated 


3. That the best method of bringing the whole system under thi 
direct influence of the current is by general electrization as here de- 
scribed ; and that by the use of this method the success of electro- 
therapeutics is materially enhanced, and its sphere very greatly widened, 
so as to include a variety of frequent and distressing constitutional 
morbid conditions, for which merely localized electrization is but im- 
perfectly indicated. 

4. That, in determining the influence of the electrical applications 
on conditions of disease the last appeal must be made, not to ph}'sic9 
nor t\. physiology, nor to pathology, nor to any d priori reasoning what- 
ever, but solely and alone to clinical experience. 

To those who adhere to the long-accepted theory that electricity is 
merely a means for local stimulation, and, as such, chiefly indicated in 
the severe or incurable conditions of paralysis or chronic rheumatism, 
or who hope to reduce electro-therapeutics to an exact science on the 
basis of a complete physiology and pathology, the above propositions 
must seem both radical and erroneous, and especially so if they have 
studied the action of electricity on the l>ody merely by localized appli- 

Therefore with all the greater interest and pleasure have we ob- 
served that, during the last few years, there has been in electro>thera^ 
peutical literature a manifest and increasing tendency to abandon the 
narrow doctrines of merely local stimulation, to accept the fact which 
experience everywhere confirms, that in electricity we have an unsur- 
passed means of improving the general nutrition in the immense \'a- 
riety of chronic morbid conditions where such results are chiefly indi- 
cated ; and we express the confident hope that the abundant and varied 
evidence with which in the present work we have been enabled to for- 
tify these propositions, increased and enriched as it may be by the ex- 
perience of the future, and harmonizing as it surely must with the gen- 
eral progress of science, will materially aid in bringing nearer the day 
of their universal acceptance. 

Although this work is not intended to be in any sense a complete 
guide to the study of chronic diseases of the nervous system, yet some 
general remarks on the nature, causation, and the diagnosis of the 
principal of these diseases have been deemed both appropriate and 
necessary, for the twofold reason that such knowledge is necessary foi 
an intelligent appreciation of the directions for the treatment, and also 
because very many of the diseases here mentioned — such as nervcwf 
dyspepsia, spinal irritation, neurasthenia, hypochondriasis, insomma, 
locomotor ataxy, muscular atrophy, spinal and infantile paralysis, Bi 
well as some of the varieties of neuralgia — have not received in any one 



•popular text-book the practical attention which their vast importance 
in electro- therapeutics requires, 

Scientitic electro-therapeutics requires sciendfic diagnosis. He who 
i^only knows how to apply electricity is not fit to do even that. Suc- 
cessful results in electro-therapeutics Can be and are obtained by the 
Host ignorant of charlatans, but to intelligently report these successes 
7T make them of value to science requires the best skill of the physi- 
Mere hand-books of electrical applications cannot be otherwise 
han injurious to science. Other conditions being the same, the value 
of reports of cases in electro-therapeutics is in direct proportion to the 
accuracy and completeness of the diagnosis. For this reason it is that 
electro therapeutics is the most exacting and laborious of all the 

(special departments, for in a certain sense it trenches on and necessi- 
tates a knowledge of all other departments. 
In the strict sense of the word, therefore, the electro-therapeutist is 
IvD specialist, since his idea! — which of course he can but imperfectly 
fiilfil — must be to know something of every department with which 
electro therapeutics brings him into relation. His ambition, like that 
of Bacon, must be " to make all knowledge his province.*' 

Besides a thorough familiarity with the department of nervous dis- 
cs, and especially with the recent methods of studying them by the 
sthesiometer, the ophthalmoscope, and by electricity, it is necessary 
^for the electro-therapeutist to avail himself of all the advances that are 
^JDade in the special departments of gynaecology, ophthalmology, otoU 
t>gy, laryngology, and demiatology, as well as general medicine and 

In respect to diagnosis we have ourselves been exceptionally fa- 
[vored^ since the majority of our cases have obtained the opinion of one 
' more acknowledged authorities in their respective departments. 
That all the special views on the nature and treatment of the dia- 
teases here mentioned should meet with universal acceptance, is more 
|tlian can be expected. Everywhere we tread on debatable ground* 
In regard to the nature, the causation, the symptoms, the general treat- 
' ijient, the divisions and the terminology of diseases, the choice of cur- 
I rents, the methods of applications, the relative merits of rival appa- 
15, — in these and in many other subjects there is room for the 
idesi possible divergence of honest opinion among those whose abili- 
Ities and opportunities entitle their opinions to the highest respect 
■On aJl these controverted thejnes we present nothing as a finality, noth- 
ing which we shall not readily modify in the light of sufficient inductive 





NETis>c. Polarity of magnets — Magnetic induction 1-7 

Friction AL, or statical, or Franklinian electricity. Statical in- 
duction — Distribution of electricity— Holtz's machine — Electrophorus 
— Gold-leaf electroscope — Leyden jar 8-18 

Galvanism, or voltaic electricity. Chemistry of the battery — 
Simple galvanic circles— Polarity of the circuit — Electro-chemical 
series — Amalgamation — Polarity of electricity — Derived of branch 
currents — Polarization of electrodes — DanielPs and Grove's batteries— 
Zinc-carbon batteries — Smee*s battery — Galvanometers — Volta's re- 
searches I9~44 

Electrolysis (electro chemlstry). Laws of electrolysis— Theory 'of 

electrolysis. 45-50 

Induced electricity — Current and magneto-induction — Electro- 
magnetism. Thermo-electricity — Ampere's theory of magnetism — 
Electro- magnetic helix — Induction coils — Ruhmkorft*s coil — Magneto- 
electricity — History of induction — Thermo-electric batteries 51-^4 

Ohm's law and its practical application to electro- therapeu- 
tics. Electro-motive force — Tension or potential — Resistance — 
Quantity or strength of current — Large cells vs, small cells ^5*^3 





Relation op electro-physiology to electro-therapeutics— Ani- 
mal ELECTRICITY. Electric fishes— Galvani and Volta— Humboldt's 
and Aldinrs researches — Du Bois-Reymond\s discoveries — Experiments 
of Trowbridge. 87-98 

Electrotonos, anelectrotonos, and catelectrotonos. DuBois- 
Reymond's molecular theory of anelectrotonos— Effects of electrotonos 
— PflUger*s contraction law .... 99-104 

Action of electricity on the skin. Action of the faradic current — 

Of the galvanic current — Electro -anaesthesia 105-1 1 1 

Action of electricity on the brain and spinal cord. Galvani- 
zation of the brain — Experiments of Hitzig, Ferrier, and others 1 12-1 15 

Action of electricity on the sympathetic and pneumogastric 

Experiments with sphygmograph 1 16-127 

Action of' electricity on the nerves of special sense. Action on 
the optic nerve — On the auditory nerve — Brenner*s researches — Action 
on the gustatory nerve 128-140 

Action of electricity on motor and sensory nerves and vol- 
untary muscles. Electro-muscular contractility — and electro-mus- 
cular sensibility— Increase of temperature after muscular contraction — 
Electro-physiological anatomy 141-157 

Action of electricity on involuntary muscles. Experiments... 158-163 


Action of electricity on the blood. Experiments, 



Elects-O-cokductivitv op the human body. Modified by age and 

temperament , , * , 168-175 

The effect of electricity on nutrition. Mechanical, physical, 
chemical, and physiological effects— Electrical endosmosis after physical 
Cffects^Electrolysis of living subslance — Circulation — Secretion — Ex- 
ecetion — Absorption— Effects produced by increase in size and weight 
— Reflex action— Experiments— Effects of electricity on bacteria and on 
the growth of plants. * . 1 7^'9S 


History of ELECTtto.THCRAPEUXics. Era of Franklinic electricity- 
Era of galvanization — Era of faradization — Localized faradization and 
galvaDLzalion — General faradization — Central galvanization , 19S-215 

Ge:^eral THERAPEirncAL ACTION OF ELfCcTKiciTY. Electricity a stimu- 
lating sedative tonic — Is electricity transformed into nerve force ? — El- 
ectricity compared with other tonics— Rationale of electrisation 217-225 

General suggestions in eeoard to the use of ELECtKiciTV as a 
therapeutic agent Stage of disease^ when indicated— Differential 
action of poles and of current direction— Both seat of disease and effects 
to be treated — Healthy parts may be ben efned^ Dose of electricity^ 
Mild currents— Care in details of application— Time, frerjucncy, and 
regularity of applications — Combinatiou of method? — How to judge of 
effects— Good effects — Bad effects — Regard for age — After effects^- 
Use of electricity by the laity— Abbreviations used in clectro-therapcu- 



Comparative value of the galvanic and faradic currents. Ad- 
vantages of galvanic over faradic— Advantages of faradic over galvanic 
^-GalvaDO-faradixalion ., . ^ *. . . ,« 261-267 


The principles of electro-diagnosis (electro-pathology). Modi- 
fications of electro-sensibility — Electro-muscular sensibility and con- 
tractility — Galvano vs. Farado-muscular contractility — Reaction of de- 
generation — Abnormal reflex irritability — Diplegic contractions — 
Electro-bioscopy 268-282 

Electro-therapeutical anatomy. Motor points — Electro-sensibility 

of surface of the body 283-290 


Apparatus for electro-therapeutics. Single and separate coil ma- 
chines — Faradic apparatus — Rules for its use— Galvanic apparatus — 
Directions for use — Cabinet battery — Rheostats — Galvanometers and 
electrodes— Care of electrodes — European batteries i 291-330 

Localized electrization. Dry faradization — Electric moxa— Electri- 
zation with moistened electrodes — Direct and indirect electrization — 
Definition of terms — Details of applications — Electrization of the brain, 
spine, cervical sympathetic, plexuses, nerves, muscles — Effects 33i~346 

General faradization. Object proposed — Position of patient — Of 
operator — Application to head and neck — Use of hand as an electrode 
— Special rules observed— Persistence in treatment — Effects — Rationale 
of effects 347-371 

Differential indications for the use of localized and general 
faradization. Cause of failures in electro-therapeutics — Combina- 
tion of the methods 372-375 

Central galvanization. Method— Details of the application — Theory 
of the method — Compared with localized galvanization — With general 
faradization — Objections answered 37^-389 

The usr of franklinic or static electricity. Apparatus for 
franklinization — Methods of application — Value of franklinic elec- 
tricity as compared with dynamic electricity 390*394 

Electric baths. Method of giving— Effects— Rules for giving them. . 395-398 


Hysteria and allied affections. Electro-diagnosis— Cases of hys- 
teria — Hypochondriasis — Cases— Neurasthenia— Spinal irritation — In* 
sonrnia — Astraphobia (fear of lightning) 399~4'5 

Insanity. Methods used — Cases. 416-420 

Cerebral and spinal congestion. Prognosis and treatment— Cases.. 421-424 

Neuralgia. Methods of treatment — General prognosis — Cephalalgia — 
Cases —Sick headache (migraine) — Facial neuralgia — Gastralgia — Scia- 
tica — Reflex neuralgia — Galvanic belts and disks. 425-446 

Anesthesia. Different kinds of sensibility— Farado-sensibility — Electro- 
diagnosis — Prognosis — Cases 447-451 

Paralysis. Paralysis from opium — Syphilitic paralysis — Lead paralysis — 
Hysterical paralysis — Cases — Hemiplegia, treatment and accessories — 
Cases of hemiplegia — Glosso-laryngeal paralysis — Paraplegia— Facial 
paralysis — Paralysis from pressure and cold — Reflex paralysis 452-473 

Locomotor ataxia (posterior spinal sclerosis). Causes of the dis- 
ease — Electro-diagnosis — Prognosis — Treatment — CaseSw 474-477 

Progressive muscular atrophy. Prognosis and treatment — Cases — 

Progressive myo-sclerotis (Pseudo -hypertrophic paralysis) 47S-482 

Rheumatism and gout. Treatment — Prognosis— Cases — Myalgia- 
Lumbago— Pleurodynia — Rheumatic gout 483-489 

Spasmodic diseases. Writer's cramp— Torticollis— Cases— Paralysis 

Agitans — Asthma — Facial spasm — Hydrophobia — Epilepsy — Cases.. . . 490-501 

Diseases of the skin. General considerations — Methods of application- 
Central galvanization —Eczema— Prurigo — Lichen — Anaesthesia — Acne 
— Acne rosacea — Psoriasis pityriasis — Herpes — Herpes frontalis — Ring- 
worm — Scleroderma— Melanoderma — Elephantiasis— Case — Alopecia- 
—Permanence of results 502-516 



Diseases of the organs op digestion. Electro-diagnosis^General 
principles of treatment — Dyspepsia — Cases — Constipation — Chronic 
diarrhoea — Jaundice — Ileus (invagination) — Regurgitation (vomiting) — 
Flatulence — Sea-sickness 517-528 



Diseases of women. Amenorrhoea — Dysmenorrhcea— Menorrhagia — 
Leucorrhcea — Methods of treatment, external and internal — General 
and central treatment — Franklinization — Prognosis — Cases — Atrophy 
and displacement of the uterus — Congestion and enlargement — Irrita- 
tion and congestion of ovaries — Intra-uterine galvanic pessaries 529-544 

Diseases of children. Chorea — Marasmus and Whooping-cough — In- 
continence of urine — Vomiting and cliolera infantum — Paralysis— Mi- 
croscopic examiuation of muscles— Treatment — Cases. 545-557 

Diseases of the genito-urinary organs. Electro-diagnosis and 
treatment of impotence — Aspermatism — Spermatorrhoea — Cases — Pa- 
resis and paralysis of the bladder — Orchitis — Enlargement of the pros- 
tate — Prolapsus ani — Prolapsus of the sphincter — Hemorrhoids 559-570 

Diseases of the larynx. Anaemia— Aphonia — Treatment — Cases — 

Spasmus glottidis — Nervous cough — Hypenesthesia — Anaesthesia 571-580 

Diseases of the eye. General considerations — Paresis and paralysis of 
muscles — Asthenopia — Amblyopia and amaurosis— Spasm of the lid 
— Opacities of cornea and vitreous humor — Ptosis and mydriasis— 
Myosis— Neuro-retinitis — Strabismus. 581-589 

Diseases of the ear. General considerations and methods of applica- 
tion — Pathological reactions — General results— Subacute and chronic 
inflammation of middle ear — Tinnitus aurium — Hysterical deafness — 
Chronic suppuration of the middle ear 59^^"^^^ 

Midwifery. Faradization for inertia uteri — Post-partum hemorrhage — 

Deficient lacteal secretion — Sore nipples — Extra-uterine pregnancy. . 603-61 icf 


Artificial respiration by electrization in cases of apparent 



Diseases of the heart and lungs. Palpitation of the heart — Angina 

pectoris — Consumption 615-619 

Exophthalmic goitre Methods of treatment— Cases. 620-627 

Sequel.* of acitte diseases. Diphtheria— Cerebro-spinal meningitis — 

Typho-malaiial fever — Sunstroke 628-635 

Miscellaneous medical diseases. Cases— Intermittent fever — Addi- 
son's disease— Case— Diabetes — Dropsical effusions — Bright*s disease — 
Suppression of urine — Diabetes — Chronic rhinitis — Catarrh of nose — 
Anosmia — Toothache — Ozone and ozonized oxygen — Hay fever — Fever 
and convalescence — Obesity — Cirrhosis of the liver — Chronic alcohol- 
ism 636-651 


History of electro-surgery. Early history— Later history— Surgical 

and medical electricity compared 655-660 

Electrolysis. Its nature and general methods — Method of introducing 
the needles — Electrolyzing the base — Method of operating — Instruments 
— Theory of the method — Its advantages and disadvantages 661-672 

O ALVANO-CAUTERY. Advantages over actual cautery — Apparatus, handles, 
burners, loops for Galvano-cautery — Care of batteries — Uses and ad- 
vantages of the galvano-cautery — Rules for use of galvano-cautery, and 
adaptation to various departments —Statistics of cases 673-685 


Benign and malignant tumors. Navi (erectile tumors) — Goitres- 
Benign cystic tumors — Malignant cystic tumors — Hydatids of the liver 
— Fibroids — Fibroids of uterus — Lipomata (fatty) tumors — Adenitis — 
Ovarian tumors — Polypi — Epithelioma — Scirrhus and other malignant 
growths — Cases — Relief of pain of cancer by galvanization — Illustrative 
cases 686-715 

Aneurisms and varicose veins. Method of operating— Statistics of 

aneurisms treated by electricity — Varicose veins 716-720 

Strictures. Stricture of the urethra — Experiments and casesr— Stricture 

of the oesophagus 721-725 

Ulcers, fistula and sinuses. Ulcers— Bed-sores— Method of treat- 
ment— Gal vano-ozonization. 726-728 


Miscellaneous surgical diseases. Stumps after amputation— Hae- 
matocele — Gangrene — Carbuncles — Furuncles — Bums — Frost-bite 
(chilblains) — Synovitis — Hydrocele — Sprains — Strains of muscles — 
Spondylitis (Pott's disease; — Spinal curvature — Pseudo-arthrosis (un- 
united fracture) — Hernia — Morbus coxarius (disease of the hip-joint) — 
Club-foot (talipes)— Warts — Dissolution of calculi in the bladder — 
Electric explorer or probe — Extraction of foreign bodies by the electro- 
magnet — Electro-chemical baths — Removal of poisonous metals from 
the body — Faradic anaesthesia — Hydro-electrization — Electro -medica- 
tion — Podalgia 729-741 



I — Magnetic Zone, illastrated 3 

2 — •• Polarity, illustrated 4 

3 — ** Armature 6 

4— Insulated Conductor 10 

5 — Brass Hemispheres , II 

6 — Insulated Cylinder 12 

7— Cylinder Electrical Machine 13 

S—Holtz's Machine 14 

9— Bennett's Electroscope 1$ 

10 — Leyden Jar 16 

II — Simple Galvanic Circle 22 

12 — Compound Galvanic Circle 28 

i3~Branch Current, illustrated 29 

14— Voltaic Pile 30 

15 — Danieirs Battery 32 

16 — Grove's Battery 34 

17 — Bunsen's Nitric-Acid Battery 34 

18— Smee's Battery 37 

19 — Voltameter 40 

20 — Astatic Galvanometer 41 

21 — (ialvanic Frog , 43 

22 — Phenomena of Electrolysis 50 

23— Electro-magnetic Helix 53 

24 — Electro-magnet 53 

25 — Current Induction, illustrated 54 

26— Induction, illustrated 55 

27 — Current -interrupter 56 

2S— Ruhmkorfl's Coil 5^ 

29— Horse-shoe Magnet 61 



30— Thermo-electricity, illustrated 63 

31 — Farmer's Thermo-electric Battery 64 

32 — Electrotonos, illustrated 100 

33 — Anelectrotonos and Catelectrotonos, illustrated loi 

34-43 — Sphygmographic Tracings. 125 

44 — Electro-therapeutical Anatomy of the Human Body — anterior view 286 

45 — Electro-therapeutical Anatomy of the Human Body — posterior view 287 

46 — Kidder*s Faradic Machine 295 

4.7 — Faradic Machine (Galvano-Faradic Manufacturing Co.) 299 

48 — ** *' without the box 300 

49_ •« " (ThomasHall) 301 

50 — Zinc-carbon Battery, 32 cells 303 

51 — Bartlett Battery 304 

52 — Galvanic Battery, 36 cells 305 

53 — Kidder's Zinc-carbon Battery, i8 cells. 306 

54 — Chloride of Silver Battery 308 

55— Cabinet Battery (Galvano-Faradic Manufacturing Co.) 309 

56— Portable Galvanic Battery (Drescher) 313 

57— Galvano-Faradic Machine, " 314 

58— Portable Beetz-Ledanchfe Battery 315 

59 — Brenner's Apparatus (Galvano-Faradic Manufacturing Co.) 316 

60— Galvanometer used by the Authors (Chester & Co.) 316 

61 — Siemen's Stopper-rheostat 317 

62— Hydro-rheostat (Galvano-Faradic Manufacturing Co.) 318 

63 — Universal Handles for Electrodes. 319 

64— «« " '* •' with Interrupter, insulated 319 

65 — Long Sponge Electrode 3^0 

66— Electrodes of various sizes to be attached to Universal Handles 320 

67— Hard Rubber Handle and Electrode 320 

68 — Sponge-holder, with sponge attached 320 

69— Small Sponge Electrode 3^0 

70— Duchenne's Electrode 320 

71— RockwelPs Brass Ball Electrode for General Faradization 320 

72— Beard's Stationary Electrode 3*1 

73— Adjustable Electrode, with band 3*1 

74 — Beard's Adjustable Electrode, with flannel cover 322 

75 — Flannel Cover for Electrode 3*^ 

76 — Adjustable Electrode, with sponge 323 

77— Oblong Adjustable Electrode 323 




78— Metallic Hntsli..., .«,,,., 323 

79^ •* " with brush pushed witKin the cylinder. * 323 

80— Spifuil Electrode .323 

Si — Bcaxtl's Current -revcrser *, ,. ,.,.. 324 

S2— Meyer & Mclticr's Faradic Machine. ....,, 327 

g* — Foveaiix's Portable Galvanic Battery , . . , , • 329 

84— Meyer Sc MeU«er*s Portable Apparatus 330 

85 — Galvanijtalion of tfie Cervical Sympathetic .•..»♦ 336 

86 — " •* •* ** including the Pneumogostric ., 337 

87— Faradisation of Facial Nerve and Muscles , 339 

8$^M4iacular Faradizaiion^ with Metallic Electrodes 339 

89 — -Faradi^tion of muscles of thigh , 340 

90 — ** ** Pophteal Nerve and Peroneal Muaclc*. 340 

91 — Spinal-cord'brachial plexus current ,«..., .....*...»...... 342 

92 — Spinal-cord-mcdlum nerve current ...*,* * . . . , 342 

93 — General Faradization, application to head 349 

94— '• •* *• "spine 3SI 

95— General Galvano^faradixation, application to spine by sponge- holder. . . « . 354 

96 — General Faradization, application to stomach ,..«..... 358 

97 — '* " *• ** lower extremities. 359 

98— Central Galvanisation, first stage 376 

99 — '* ** second itage. .. ,, ..• 377 

too— ** •* third stage . 378 

101 — •* •* fourth stage 379 

102 — Method of Frankiiniiatton. .,..,...,....,..., ...*., 394 

103 — Electric Bath , , 396 

104— Circle Diiik.... .., 486 

105— Oblong Button Disk , 486 

106 — Elephantiasis of legs, before treatment by electricity 5 15 

lOf; — Rectal Electrode, non-insulated 523 

108— ** *• insulated. 523 

109 -Double Rectal Electrode , 523 

1 10— Faradisation of the Uterus 530 

III— 'Uterine Electrode. 531 

112 — Beard's Inrra-uterine Electrode 531 

113— Double Intra-ulerinc Electrode , 531 

1 14 — Duchenne* s Double-uterine Electrode^ open , 532 

Its— •• *• " *' closed 532 

116— Vaginal Electrode. 533 



117 — Intra-uterine Galvanic Pessary 543 

1 1 S — Duchenne's Trocar 552 

1 19 — Noeggerath^s Trocar 552 

120-121-122 — Normal Fibre, first degree 554 

123-124 — Normal Fibre, second degree 554 

125-126— «• " third degree 554 

127-128-129 — Normal Fibre, fourth degree 554 

130— Insulated Catheter Electrode 563 

13 i-i 32 —Double Vesical Electrode, closed and op*n 567 

133 — Laryngeal Electrode and Necklet. . . * 574 

134— Internal Electrization of Ear , 591 

135 — Murray's Galvanic Nipple-shield 605 

136 — Extra Uterine Pregnancy 607 

137 — Extra-Uterine Pregnancy 6io 

138 — Nasal Electrode 646 

139 — Conductor for Electrolysis. ! 664 

140 — Bayonet-pointed Needles for Electrolysis 665 

141 — RockwelPs Long Needle for Electrolysis of Uterus 665 

142 — Rockwell's Needle- Holders with Needles for Electrolysis 666 

143— Beard's Long-cutting Needles for Electrolysis of the base 666 

144 — Electrolysis of Base in scirrhus of breast 668 

145 — «• •* " " " '• «* after removal of tumor 669 

146— Byrnes' Multiple-element Battery 674 

147 — Zinc-Carbon Gal vano- cautery Battery (Kidder) 675 

148-r " •« " ** " (Galvano-Faradic Manuring Co.). 675 

i<Q , <( f< «« «< " <« «* «« «« 5y5 

150— Galvano -cautery Battery (Meyer & Meltzer, London) 677 

151-176 — Accompanying Appliances— Handles, Burners, or Cauterizers, Loops, 

Knives, etc , for Galvano-cautery ! 678-679 

177-188 — ) Galvano-cautery Operating Case and Loop (Galvano-Faradic Man- 

) ufacturing Co.) 680 

189 — Benign Cystic Tumor treated by Ordinary Electrolysis 694 

190 — Electrolysis of Base of Malignant Cystic Tumor 697 

191 — Removal of Epithelioma by Electrolysis of Base 702 

192 — / Epithelioma of Vagina and Vulva before and after operations by Elec- 

193 — f trolysis , 705 

194— Scirrhus of Breast treated by Ordinary Electrolysis 709 

195 — Trouve's Electric Explorer 735 

196— Gruening*s Magnet 737 





Elc€trO'physks is the science which treats of electricity in its physical 

No one can be a master in electro-therapeutics without also being a 
master in electro-physics. Hence it becomes necessary, in a systema- 
tic treatise on electro- therapeutics, to present the leading principles of 
clectro^physics, and to point out their practical bearings both on 
electro-physiology and electrotherapeutics. This necessity is all the 
greater because electro-physics is the branch of elcctrology that electro- 
therapeutists are most of all disposed to neglect ; and ignorance of this 
department has retarded, and still retards, the scientific advance of 
electro- therapeutics both medical and surgical. It is possible to make 
happy hits in electro-therapeutics witliout knowing anything of electro- 
physics or electro -physiology ; but on the average, and in the long runt 
the best results will be obtained by those who to purely practical know* 
ledge add a thorough mastery of the scientific relations of the subject* 

Why discussed in a Practical Treatise like this. — The necessity of pre- 
senting the leading principles of electro-physics in a practical treatise 
like this is the more imperative from the fact that, until quite recently 
at least, all, or nearly all, the text-books on physics in use in schools 
and colleges have failed to represent the advanced researches and 
generalizations of modern scientists in the department of electricity. 
The old hypotheses, that electricity is a single or double fluid, still linger 
in our centres of education, or peld the ground but slowly ; and even in 
those works that arc fully up to the times on this subject, the special 


and practical bearings of electro-physical principles on electro-phys- 
iology and electro-therapeutics are of course not considered. 

To this should be added the consideration that any science, however 
well acquired, if it be not kept before the mind by teaching or writing, 
or by practical application, soon fades from the memory, or becomes a 
mass of half-truths and uncertainties. We are therefore justified in 
assuming that not one in a hundred of those who will consult this book 
as a guide in electro-therapeutics will be so thoroughly and accurately 
informed on the principles of electro-physics as not to need, on this 
subject, some compact treatise which shall serve as a guide and reminder 
of the leading facts and principles of the science. To supply this need 
is the object of this division of our treatise. 


Electricity is now regarded as a force correlated to the other great 
forces of nature — hecU, light, etc. — and, like them, is simply a mode of 
motion, — a form of vibration. 

Although the precise nature of these vibrations have not yet been 
mathematically demonstrated, as in the case of light and heat, yet the 
theory that the phenomena of electricity are the result of vibrations has 
much in its favor, and it is by no means impossible that in the future the 
nature of these vibrations will be well understood. 

In the present treatise, as in all works on physics, various terms, as 
"current," "flows," "runs," etc., that took their origin when the fluid 
theory prevailed, are retained for the sake of convenience of description. 
With this understanding there is no objection to their use. 

Electricity is manifested in three general forms : Magnetism ; Stati- 
cal or Frictional ox Franklinic Electricity; and Galvanism, or Voltait 
or Dynamical Electricity. 


Magnetism. — In order to understand electricity in general it is neces- 
sary to understand magnetism, which is one of its manifestations. 
Magnetism, defined by its phenomena, is the "^o^^x which certain bodies 
possess of attracting iron. The bodies which ar« observed to have this 
power are called magnets, and are divided into two classes — natural and 
artificial. Natural magnets consist of iron ore or loadstone. Load* 


itone was first discovered in Magnesia, in Asia Minor, and hence the 
name magnet was derived. The compass was introduced into Europe in 
the twelfth century; but the Chinese are said to have been acquainted 
with it in the fourth century. 

Artifidai magnets are usually made of steel that has been magnetized 
by the galvanic current or by other magnets. Steel bars that have 
been thus magnetized may be either straight or bent. For convenience* 
sake, they are usually bent in the form of a horseshoe. 

All substances are more or less susceptible to magnetic in flu en ce, but 
iron is more affected by it than others. Experiments illustrative of the 
effects and power of artiticial magnets are so familiar that they need nol 
be cited. 

Pplariiy af Magnets. — The polarity of a magnet is that peculiar pro- 
perty by which it manifests two opposite kinds of magnetism, that are 
tenned^ relatively to each other, the north and the soutli pole. When a 
magnetic needle is so suspended that it can move unimpeded in any 
direction, one end points to the north, and the other to the south. If 
the magnet be disturbed in any way, and forced temporarily out of 
position, it at once and uniformly returns. 

Polarity is a quality that belongs not only to magnetism, but also to 
Other forms of eleciricity, and to light and the other great forces. 

The poles of a magnet are always at its ends, for here the attractive 
power is greatest* This can be demonstrated by a very simple experi- 
tnenL If a magnetic bar be rolled in a pile of iron-tilings, it will be 
found that these adhere to the bar most firmly and in the greatest 
quantity at and near its poles. The quantity that adheres is less as we 
approach the middle of the bar. 

Neutral Line. — In lo*ig bars there is always a place at the middle, 
or near to it, where no filings are attracted. This space is variously 
lermcd the neutral or magnetic zone^ or magnetic equator^ or point of 

Fig. t. 

Another familiar exi>eriment is to pass an iron ball, suspended by a 
string or thread, near to a magnet from end ro end. It is observed 
that the ball is attracted very little, or not at all, in the middle, but 


that the attractive power is increased as we bring it towards either end 
If any substance be placed between the ball and the magnet, the at- 
traction is just as marked, unless the interposed substance itself con- 
tains iron. Nearly all substances that are not themf elves magnetic 
are capable of transmitting the magnetic influence. 

Another featiu-e of magnetic polarity is, that like poles repel, and 
unlike poles attract, each other. If one magnetic bar be suspended 
freely in the air, and another be brought near to it, it will be found 
that the north pole of one is attracted by the south pole of the other, 
and vice versd — in short, that the like poles repel, while the unlike 

Fig. a. 

Magnetism of Broken Magnets, — If a bar that has been magnetized 
be broken in the middle, each half will have two poles and a neutral 
point in the centre. If one of these halves is broken in the middle, 
each half will be found to have two poles and a neutral line. If one 
of these parts in turn be broken, each half will again be found to be a 
complete magnet, with two poles and a neutral line, and so on as long 
as we can carry the division. 

Coulomb's Theory of Magnetism, — A theory of magnetism ad- 
vanced by Coulomb is, that magnetic substances consist of particles, 
each one of which is a magnet. These particles have their poles turned 
in different directions, so as to neutralize each other. 

Magnetization brings these particles round so that they He in the same 
direction. This theory brings magnetism very close to statical electri- 
city, and would naturally be adopted by those who believe all mag 
netic phenomena result from electricity in magneHc bodies. 



Between the behavior of electricity in animal bodies (animal electrl* 
oiy), electricity in general ( stall cal and dynamical electricity), to be 
subsequently explained, and magnetism as here explained, there arc 
analo^es so dose and so consistent as to warrant the view that all are 
but different manift stations of one force. 

Magnetic Induction, — If a bar of soft iron is brought in contact 
with or near to one of the poles of a magnet, it is attracted, and foi 
the time being becomes itself magnetic ; and if it is brought near 
enough to the magnet, it firmly adheres to it. A bar of soft iron thus 
obtains by in d tut ion all the properties of an ordinary magnet. It has 
a north and south pole. It attracts iron-filings around these poles, just 
UJce the regular magnet. If another piece of soft iron is brought in 
contact with, or near to its poles, it is attracted and made to adhere, 
just as it would do if applied to an ordinary magnet. Quite a number 
of bars of soft ijon may be made to adhere in (he same way. But 
when this bar, thus n»ade magnetic, is forcibly removed from the per- 
manent magnet to which it adheres, it instantaneously loses all its mag* 
netic power, and the iron-filings or pieces of soft iron that have been 
ftttnictcd by it at once drop off. Such a magnet is therefore styled 
** temp^rary^** in contradistinction to ih^ permanent magnets of steel. 

If a bar of steel is brought near to, or in contact with a magnet, it 
also becomes magnetic, and exhibits very different phenomena from 
the bar of soft iron. In the first place, it becomes niagnetic much 
Diore slowly than the bar of soft iron, and displays less njagnetic 
power. On the other hand, it does not, like the soft iron bar, lose its 
attracdve power as soon as it is removed from the magnet, but perma* 
meniiy retains it 

The quality of steel by which it at first resists the attractive power 
of magnets, and resists the dispersion of the magnetism which it has 
OQCe acquired, is called eoereitive force. 

The same phenomena are observed in regard to heat. Some bodies 
that are quick to acquire heat, are quick to part with it ; and vice versd^ 
those bodies which, like iron, steel, and so forth, acquire heat gradually, 
slso part with it slowly. 

Il is by virtue of its eoereitive force that loadstone permanently re 
tains its loagnettfim. 

The harder any steel is, the greater its eoereitive force. Steel that 
is soft has comparatively little coercitiveness, and when brought neaj 
to, or in contact with a magnet, it behaves very much like soft iron. 
Very hard ileel, on the contrary, has so great coercitiveness that it ii 
cmly attracted by very powerful magnets. 


Soft iron, when adulterated with sulphur, phosphorus, arsenic, oi 
charcoal, or if it is even twisted or bent, may exhibit a slight degree 
of coercitive force. Soft iron that is perfectly pure possesses no coer- 
citive force whatever. 

The law of the distribution of magnetisn: in a bar of iron, and tJie 
law of magnetic attraction and repulsion were discovered by Coulomb 
m 1789. 

Shape of Magnets — Magnetic Armatures, — ^Artificial magnets are 
either composed of straight bars, or are bent in the shape of a horse- 
shoe. The horseshoe form is used mainly for the sake of conveni- 
ence. It enables us to apply both poles simultaneously and uniformly 
to the object that is to be magnetized. Very powerful magnets may 
be made of a number of thin steel bars placed side by side, their poles 
being situated homonymously, that is, lying in the same direction. A 
number of bundles of bars of steel arranged in this way is called a 
^^ magnetic tnagazine^ or battery,^* 

Magnetic armatures are pieces of soft iron that are placed at the ends 
of magnets, to keep their magnetic power. This bar, or armatmre, not 
only receives magnetism from the magnet, but acts upon it in return, 
and thus helps to preserve its magnetic power. Magnets that are not 
provided with an armature gradually lose their attractive power by the 
disturbing influence of the magnetism of the earth. The magnetic 
power of magnets is apt to be impaired by letting them fall on a hard 
surface, or by suddenly striking them with a solid body. 

FfG. 3. 

Magnetization. — It is possible to communicate magnetism to bodies 
that can retain it in several different ways : 

1. By single Touch. — The bar which we wish to magnetize is laid 
on a table, and the pole of a magnet is rubbed along its surface fironi 
end to end for a number of times. 

2. By double Touch, — The bar that is to be magnetized is placed on 
a piece of wood, the ends of which are placed against two strong mag- 
nets. Two magnets for rubbing are placed on the bar to be magnet- 
ized, making an angle with the bar of from 15*^ to 20°. A small piece 
of wood is placed between the extremities of these two magnets, to 
prevent their touching. They are then rubbed along the bar that is to 
be magnetized, from the middle towards the end, and back again, and 


raised from the magnetized bar again at the middle. This method 
coii)mun:cat-*s a strong, diough sometimes irregular magnetism ; it wai 
invented by Mitchell, and perfected by Epinus in 175S. 

5. By separate Touch. — This method consists in putting two opposite 
poles of two magnets of the same force in the middle of the bar that is 
to be magnetized, and moving each of them at tlie same time toward 
the opposite end of the bar. This operation is repeated several times 
on both sides until the bar is magnetized. 

The magnets may be held vertically or may be inclined. 

The vertical method was first used by Knight in 1745. 

4« By the Galvanic Current — The bar to be magnetized is placed 
inside a coiJ of msulated wire through which a galvanic current is run- 
ning, and is then moved backward and forward, as in the method by 
the double touch. 

5. By the Earth. — It is clear that the earth is itself a magnet, for il 
manifests strong inductive power. A steel rod becomes permanently 
magnetic when it is held parallel to a dipping-needle. If a bar of soft 
iron is held in the same position it also becomes magnetic, and much 
more rapidly than the steel bar, but does not so long retain its magnet- 
ism. If a soft iron bar, held in this position, is struck a few times by a 
hammer, its magnetism, which was before temporary, becomes per- 
manenL The blows of the hammer seem to impart in some mys- 
terious way a coercitive force to the temporary magnet* 

X^arge masses of iron, when kept In a stationary position for any 
length of time, always give proofs of having been magnetized by the 
earth* Tools in w*orkshops are apt to become permanently magnetic 
Crom the repeated hammering to which they are subjected. The mag- 
netism of tlie loadstone is due to the silent but continuous inductive 
action of the earth.* 

Saturation Point of Magnetism, — ^Thc limit of the amount of mag- 
netism that a magnet can permanently retain is called the point 0/ satu- 
ration. If any magnet receives more of magnetism than it can perma- 
nently retain, it gradually loses it or throws it off until it falls to the 
point of saturation, when it ceases to lose any more* The saturative 
point of any magnet depends on its temper and coercitive force. 

Magnetism is very markedly intiuenced by temperature. When a 
magnet is heated it loses its magnetic jmwer in proportion as its tem- 
perature rises ; when it cools it regains marc or less uf what it has lost. 

• Va this subjt-ct we mAy refer to the able pamphlet of Prof, Mayer on The Earth 
weai MagneL 



When glass is rubbed with silk it acquires the power of attracting 
any light substance, such as a pith-ball. By a short contact this prop- 
erty is also communicated to the pith-ball, and it then repels the glass 
instead of being attracted. 

These phenomena are explained by the existence of a force which is 
termed Electricity. That which exists in the glass is called vitreouSy or 
positive, or + electricity. If a piece of sealing-wax be rubbed with 
flannel it will attract the pith-ball, which is repelled by the glass. This 
phenomenon is due to the existence of resinous^ or negative, or — elec- 
tricity in the sealing-wax. 

The name electricity is derived from the Greek word ^IxKr^v, mean- 
ing amber, because, as the story goes, Thales of Miletus, one of the 
seven sages of Greece, first discovered the manifestations of thb myste- 
rious force by rubbing a piece of amber with a dry cloth. 

The science of electricity dates from 1600, when Dr. Gilbert, of Col- 
chester, physician to Queen Elizabeth, published a work on magnetism, 
entitled Tractatus de Magnete, He first used the word electricity. He 
showed that not only amber, but other bodies, as sulphur, wax, etc., 
develop electricity. He first used the term poles in magnetism, and 
announced the first theory of terrestrial magnetism. Not only sealing- 
wax and glass, but all bodies contain more or less of electricity that may 
be thus developed by some kind of friction. 

Conductors and Non-conductors. — All bodies are electrically divided 
into three classes: Conductors, semi-conductors, and non-conductors. 
Under the first class — conductors — are included water and all saline 
solutions, the metals, the earths and stones, the structures of plants and 
animals, etc., etc. Under the second class — semi-conductors — are in- 
cluded ether, alcohol, dry wood, marble, paper, straw, etc., at 32® F. 
Under the third class — non-conductors, or insulators^ — are included glass, 
sealing-wax, porcelain, resins, sulphur, wax, dry metallic oxides, fatty 
oils, etc., at — 13® F. ; phosphorus, india-rubber, gutta-percha, col 


loilion^ wool, dry hair, silk, shellac, ebonite, amber, feathers, chalk, 
liujc, dry gases, and aqueous vapor in a dry state. 

The conducting power of metals may be lessened by healing them. 
In nearly all other substances heat increases the conducting power. 
Certain substances, such as feathers, wool, hair, and the atmosphere, 

bjch in a dry state are non conductors, become, when dioroughly 

listened, the best of conductors. 

In this classification of all substances into conductors, semi conduc- 
tor^ and non-conductors, reference Is had only to frictional electricity. 
Substances that are semi-conductors for frictional electricity are non- 
conductors for galvanic clectricit)% 

Frictional electricity may be obtained not only by rubbing, but also 
by cUava^^£ and pressure. When a piece of mica is cleaved, the two 
|>]ates which are separated exhibit opposite electricities, and a faint 
light is observed when the cleavage is made in the dark. The light 
that is seen when sugar candy or loaf-sugar is broken, is accounted for 
by the dev^elopmcnt of electricity through cleavage. 

When a thin piece of cork is pressed against a slice of orange, 
by insulating handles, one assumes a positive and the other a negative 
electricity. The same phenomena may be obtained by cleavage and 
|>rcssure of very many other substances, and under diverse condi- 

A conductor is said to be insulated when it is placed on some non- 
conducting substiince, so that tlie electricity communicated to it is pre- 
Vi^tcd from passing into the ground. Glass is one of the best non- 
conductors, and is the insulating material usually employed in the con- 
struction of electrical apparatus. It is hard, durable, and easily ob- 
tained, and, could its surface be kept always dry, would be surpassed as 
an insulator by no material. In frosty and dry weather it acts very well ; 
but when the atmosphere is at all damp, it becomes coated with a layer 
of moisture, which very much impairs its insulating power. 

A much superior insulator to glass is ebonite, a preparation of vukan- 
tied india-rubber, that of late has been much used. 

Discovery of EUciric Conduction^ — Electric conduction was discov* 
crcd by Stephen Grey in 1729. He found that when a wire 700 feet 
long, and hung on loops of silk, was connected at one end with a glasi 
tube^ and the tube was rubbed, the other end of the wire was electri- 
fied and attracted light bodies. When wire loops were substituted for 
the silk-loops, the electricity passed off through the wire* Hence origi 
natcd the distinction between insulators and conductors. 

Leu of Electric Uy. — All electrified bodies lose electricity more or Lees, 



however carefully they may be insulated. Taere are two reasons foi 
this :— 

First. No insulators are perfect. The best insulators, as glass and 
rubber, conduct somewhat. 

Secondly. The air is a conductor ; its conductive capacity depends 
upon the amount of moisture in it. 

In vacuOy also, electrified bodies lose their electricity more rapidly 
than in air, on account of the diminution of the pressure on the insulat- 
ing surface. 

The human body, as will be shown under Electro-physiology, is 
charged with electricity, which is conducted away by the air, and not 
unlikely by other conductors. 

Statical Induction. — An insulated conductor^ when charged with either 
positive or negative electricity ^ acts on bodies placed near to it Just as the 
magnet acts on soft iron ; it attracts the opposite 
and repels the same kind of electricity, Tliis may 
be shown in the following manner : A brass cylin- 
der (Fig. 4), rounded at either extremity, is 
I I insulated by means of a glass rod. Two pith- 

11 I balls are suspended by cotton thread from each 

^^^ €Blli^ ^^'^' ^^ ^^ insulated ball charged with positive 
Fig. 4. electricity be brought in close proximity to the 

brass cylinder, the pith-balls will diverge, show- 
ing a disturbance of the electrical equilibrium in the cylinder. So soon 
as the charged ball is withdrawn, the pith-balls hang down as before, 
showing that the electrical disturbance in the cylinder depended on the 
presence of the charged ball, and was merely temporary. 

If a small disk of insulated gilt paper be brought in contact with 
the end of the cylinder next the charged ball, and then approached 
toward an electrometer, the needle will indicate that the disk has re- 
ceived — electricity. 

If the experiment be tried with the opposite end, -h electricity will 
be transmitted to the gilt disk. 

It is thus seen that -f electricity of the charged ball causes the near 
end of the cylinder to assume a — condition ; while, according to a 
universal law, that no — electricity can be excited without an equal 
amount of positive electricity, the opposite extremity becomes -f . The 
phenomenon thus described is called induction^ or influence ; and while 
in this peculiar electrical condition the cylinder is said to hQ polar* 
Induction and Conduction compared. — We ha /e seen that a body maj 



be charged with electricity both by conduction— diCiudX contact— and 
by induction at a distance. In conduction, the first body loses a part 
of its electricity ; in induction it does not. in conduction, the elec 
tricily given to the body is the same as tliat which gives it; in indue* 
tion, it is of the opposite kind. In order to impart electricity by con* 
dactioDf the body must be insulated ; to impart electricity by induction, 
the body must be for the time in connection with the earth. Bad con 
ductors aie acted on by induction slowly^ but retain their electricity 
longer ; just as steel which is slowly magnetized becomes ^permanent 
magnet, while soft iron, which is rapidly magnetized, soon loses its 
magnetism. There is a limit to the conductive capacity of every elec- 
trified body ; when this limit is reached, it ceases to have any effect on 
the second body» 

J)isirtbt4tion of Electricity, — It is evident that the greater the surface 
over which electricity is diffused, the less is its power or intensity at any 
given point. 

Electricity docs not penetrate to the interior of metallic conductors^ hut 
iijffuses itsclj over the surface. 

Experiment proves diis. Let a brass ball be charged with electricity, 


Fig. 5. 

dLiid 5usi)ended by a silk thread, and then covered with two hemisphen- 
cal surfaces of brass^ which exactly fit it When the hemii^pheres are 
withdrawn, it will be found that they afe charged with electricity, which 
has been entirely taken from the brass ball. 

Faraday illustrated this truth by a beautiful and original experiment 
with a conical bag of cottoa gauze, around the opening of which an in- 
aulated ring was attached^ The bag was held distended by means of a 
silk thread attached to the apex, and then charged. By the proof-plane, 
b- found that the charge was wholly on the outside. The bag was 
tiien turned inside out by pulling the thread the other way, when it was 



found that the electricity had changed sides, and lay uholly on the 

Density. — The quantity of electricity on a given surface at any momem 
is called electric density^ or thickness. 

The shape of a body has an influence in the distribution of electricity 
over il. 

In an ellipsoid, for example, the density is greatest at the small end 
and least at the middle space. 

Fia. & 

On an insulated cylinder, with the two hemispheres at the ends, the 
density of the electricity is greatest at the ends. On a circular disk, 
the density is greatest at the edges. The tendency is for electricity to 
accumulate at points. On a sphere the density is uniform ; the further 
removed a body is from a sphere the more irregular the distribution. 

In all pointed rods the electricity accumulates at the pointed ex- 
tremities ; hence lightning-rods are made to terminate at sharp points. 
In electro-physiology and electro-therapeutics it is found that small, 
pointed electrodes cause much more pain, the strength of the current 
being the same, than large, broad electrodes. Hence, except in those 
cases where it is desired to confine the action of the* current to a very 
limited surface, electrodes of pretty good surface are desirable. 

Electric Machines. — This term is exceedingly vague. It is applied 
to any and all forms of electrical apparatus. The first electric machine 
was made in 1672, by Otto von Guericke, of Magdeburg.* It consisted 
of a globe of sulphur, turned on its axis by one hand and pressed against 

* Fxperimenta Nova. Magdeburgica. 



the other hand. Afterward a glass cylinder was used instead of 

In 1740 IVInckler substittited cushions of horse hair as rubbers. In 
1 760 Ramslen substituted a circular glass plate for the glass cyhnder. 
The fonns of electric machines now used are modifications of Rams- 
den's. This is one of the forms of apparatus from which we obtain 
statical electricity. Fig, 7 reiiresents the common cylinder electrical 
biachine, for developing electricity by friction. 


Fio, 7, 

Hctt^s EUctroph&rus Machine, — The best and most recent form of 
apparatus for statical electricity is the electrophorus machine that was 
invented by Holtx,* of Beriin, in 1865. In this machine the electricity 
is generated not^y friction, but, as in the electrophorus, by inductive 
\acticfn. The machine consists of two glass disks and paper coatings, 
I with a number of conductors. One of the disks revolves on its axis; 
the other remains immovable. The disks and paper coatings are cov- 
crcd vritfi sealing-wax. 

The metal lie conductors are made in a comb-shape. An incision in 
llie immoval)le disk, mlh the paper coating and metallic conductor, is 
eslled an element, The machine may have two, four, six, or eight of 
these elements* When rotated, the paper coating becomes charged with 
oegadve electricity ; the corresponding part of the movable disk be- 
comes charged with positive electricity. The conductor correspond! 
Do the ^nger of the experimenter. The length of the spark produced 

^ A dmiUr machuie was constructed about the same time by Topler, 



by the machine depends an the size of the disk, which may be 12, 21, 
or 30 inches in diameter. These machines are also called rotaium 
multipUerSy because by their rotary motion they multiply by successive 
transmissions the charge of electricity that they conimunicare. 




Electric Spark. — An interesting phenomenon connected with the 
electrical machine is the electric spark which is drawn from the con- 
ductor when the Bnger is presented to it. 

The positive electricity of the conductor decomposes the electricity 
of the body, attracting the negative and repelling the positive, and, when 
the tension is great enough, these opposite eleclricities overcome the 
resistance of the air and recombine, with a spark and crackling sound. 
The spark is accompanied by a prickly sensation. When the spark is 
Bhort it is straight ; beyond two or three inches in length it becomes 
curved or zigzag, like the lightning in the sky. 



The human body may be charged with electricity by sitting on an 
insulating stool and touching the conductor of an electrical machine. 

When the body is thus charged, the hair diverges, a peculiar scnsa 
tjon is felt in the face, and if any other person standing on the ground 
touches one so diarged, he receives a spark, with a crackling sounf* 
and a pricking sensation, 

Electrophorus, — The electrophorus, invented by Volta, in 1775, con- 
sists of a metallic mouldy filled with a mixture of shellac and turpentine, 
and a movable raetalUc cover that is provided with a glass handle. 
The surface of the shellac is negatively electrified by beating it with a 
cat's fiir or fox-taih The cover is then put on, and by contact be- 
comes negatively electrified, and ^vif^% to the finger a slight spark of 
negative electricity. If the cover be now removed by its insulating 
handle, it gives positive electricity to whatever touches it. This posi- 
tive electricity it acquires not directly from the shellac, but by inductivt 
ad ion through the air. 

Goid'L^af El€ciros€op€. — By this inst-rument we are enabled not 
only to detect the presence, but to determine the kind, of electricity 
tJiat may exist in any body. 

T\%, 9 represents Bennetfs electroscope, B is a tubulated glasi 


fthade, enclosed at its lower end by a metallic cover, by means of which 
it communicates with the ground* A metal rod» fining in the tubule of 
the shade, terminates at its upper extremity in a knob, C, ard at its 
* lower extremity it holds two narrow strips of gold leaf. On the inside 
of the shade are two strips of gold leaf reaching to the metal cover 


If a body charged with either kind of electricity is brought in contact 
with the knob, the gold leaves diverge. 

Thomson's Quadrant Electrometer. — A far superior instrument for 
all delicate researches is the quadrant electrometer of Sir William 
Thomson. This instrument is quite complex, and only in a general 
way shall we attempt to describe it A delicate aluminum needle, 
two inches long, is hung by two cocoon threads in a glass jar, which is 
one-sixth filled with sulphuric acid. From the needle a delicate thread 
of platinum drops into the acid. The needle is thus free to swing hori- 
zontally a little distance, or until the torsion of one of the threads by 
which it is hung forces it back to its original position. Above the 
needle a very delicate mirror is suspended. When the aluminum needle 
is charged with electricity, which is conducted through the sulphuric 
acid and carried up the platinum wire, the needle is repelled or at- 
tracted according as the electricity is positive or negative. Behind a 
screen, at some little distance, is placed a lamp, the light of which 
reaches the needle through a slit in the screen. On the screen is a 
scale ; a very slight movement of the needle is reflected by the mirror 
above it on the scale. An exceedingly slight displacement of the needle 

Fig. zo. 

will cause a very large displacement of the image reflected on the 
scale. Thus this instrument is of great value in very delicate researches. 
Leyden Jar, — The Leyden jar is made of glass, with a coaling of tin- 
foil pasted carefully inside and out, extending to within a few inches of 
^ the mouth. Through a varnished wooden cover a wire, having a knob 
at top, is passed, and extends to the inside coating. Now, when either 
positive or negative electricity is communicated to the knob at the 
top, it is immediately diffused over the whole inside coating ; and by its 
rnductive influence the outside coating takes on the opposite kind. 



When in this stale, — the two coatings being oppositely electrified, — 

:)ie jar is said to be charged ; and a discharge takes place when a com- 

ititmicaUon Is established between the knob and the outside coatingi 

the c*-iuilibrium being restored with a bright flash of light and a sharp 

As the human system is a good conductor, this discharge may take 
place tluough it, by grasping the outsiile coating with one hand, and 
jucliing the knob at the top with the other ; or several persons may 
>rtn a line by grasping hands, the one at one extreme touching the 
outside coating, while the one at the other extreme touches the knob. 
Lll will feel the shack^ as it is called, at the same instant While the 
\x is receiving the charge, it must not be insulated ; that is, the outside 
lUst communicate with the earth. As the positive fluid collects on 
le inside, the outside becomes negative by the expulsion of the posi- 
ive fluid naturally in it, and the accumulation of the negative fluid in 
y steady drawn from the earth. But if the outside is insulated, these 
fcTs to and from it cannot take place, and therefore the jar cannot 
oe charged. 
A submarine cable is really a vast Leyden jar. The wire constitutes 
the inUrior coating, the water the exterior coating, and the gutta- 
percha the insulator between them. On this account the passage of 
an electric current through a submarine cable is greatly retarded. 
Hist&ry of the Leyden Jar. — ^In October, 1745, ^ bishop of Cammin, 
Poraerania, Von Kleist by name, passed through a cork in the neck 
of a flask an iron nail connected with an electrical machine. The flask 

|cx>niained mercury or alcohoL On touching the nail, Von Kleist re- 
ceived a severe shock. In January, 1746, Cuneus, Allamand, and 
Mussdienbroek passed a wire from an electrical machine into a flask 
fdkd with water, Mussdienbroek held the flask in his right hand, and 
irhea a turn was given to the machine, he received a spark from the 
conductor with his left hand 
X The spark was so terrible that he declared he would not receive 

^■another like it for the French crown* He observed what Kleist did 
^Knot, tliat only the person who held the jar received the shock. In this 
^pexperiment the hand of the observer corresponded to the outer coating 
of the ordinary Leyden jar. He was the most scientific of the three 

»I^yden philosophers who have given tlie name to the Leyden jar. 
The theory of the Leyden jar, and apparatus similar to it, was given 
*ty Frankh'n in 1747. In the same year Watson, Bishop of LlandaflT, 
sent a discharge from a Leyden jar through 2,800 feet, and subsequently 
through 10,600 feet of wire* 


Experiments like these were also made by Franklin across theSchu>l 

For a long time Franklinic electricity was the only form used in electro 
therapeutics. At present it is but little used except in certain hos- 
pitals and public institutions. Its value as a therapeutic agent is, 
however, unquestioned, and now that some of the inconveniences 
attending its use have been removed by Holtz's machine, it is just that 
it should have a fair and careful trial at the hands of modern electro> 



Ukder the general term Dynamical Electricity is included the elec 

ity which arises, firsts from chemical action — especially from tha. 

Iteoding tlie dissolution of metals — called galvanism or voltaic elec- 

ricUy ; secondly^ from induction by currents or magnets, called 

iiUid ekctriciiyy ekciro-magnctismr or magneto-electricity ; thirdly^ 

^m heat, caUed ihermO'electricity, These varieties are called dynam* 

tai electricity, signifying electricity in motion as distinguished from 

rictionai qt statical electricity, which denotes the electrical condition 

jies in which electricity remains insulated or stationary. Strictly 

ting, these l^im^— dynamical and statical — ^are applicable to both 

branches of the science ; for if the poles of a series of galvanic batteries 

arc insulated, they manifest, before the current begins, the electric 

leusion of a friction machine* Again, the characteristics of the gal- 

nic curreat are manifested slightly in the series of discharges which 

liransmitted in a wire connecting the prime conductor of a machine 

lion with the ground or odier negative conductor. 
Nature and Definition oj Force and its Relation to Matter, — Force is 
which produces motion. It is itself a primary motion and cannot 
ued. Matter is a collection of centres of force called atoms, 
f olecules are collections of atoms. A molecule is the smallest particle 
Uto which a body can be divided vvithout losing its identity. 
The molecules of a gas are in rapid and continuous motion, and the 
"relative velocities in different gases has easily been determined. These 
motions and velocities are the result of the forces of which matter con- 
sists. It must be similarly true of liquids and solids : force and motion 
are the leases of their constitution. Indeed, without force matter would 
jvot exist at all, for matter is simply an aggregation of centres of forc^. 
Ponderahle Matter is a form of force which our senses recognize. 
ik^r pervades all matter and all space, but it is not recognized by 
t^nse, and yet it is none the less a manifestation of centres of force- 
£h:Sr icily eampared with other Forces. — If force be added to mattei 


the equilibrium of that point is disturbed, and the disturbance is prop^ 
gated from molecule to molecule, through matter, or ether, or both. 
Heat by conduction and mass-motion are of matter only. Heat bf 
radiation and light are of the ether only. Electricity is now regarded 
as a movement of the ether, and of the body in which it circulates. 
Chemical action is a rearrangement of atoms. After this action the 
sum of the activities of the molecules of the resulting product is dif- 
ferent from that which its factors previously had. This diflference is 
force, and appears sometimes as light, and under certain conditions as 
electricity, but it is rarely or never confined to one mode of manifes- 
tation. TAe condition for the generation of electricity by chemical action 
appears to be that this action takes place ctt the surface of a conductor 
through which a current {so called) can circulate. Since the current is 
made of motion of the molecules of the conductor through which it 
passes, and of the ether, the nature of the conductor must modify the 
current itself. It is known that the current through a telegraph-wire 
500 miles long meets the greater part of its resistance in the first 100 
miles. The current is modified by the material and length and size of 
the A^ire. 

The differential physiological eflfects of induction-coils of different 
lengths and fineness may thus be in part explained. These differential 
eflfects will be spoken of in the electro-therapeutical portion of this 

27ie Chemistry of the Battery not yet Exact, — Chemistry can never 
be an exact science until temperature, specific heat, and matter are all 
considered, and justly estimated in all reactions. This has not yet been 

We are unable to state a priori what must be the electro-motive force 
of the different batteries in use, since that, as we have seen, depends 
on data hereafter to be determined. Frequently, however, we are able 
to state which of two reactions must evolve the greater force, and so, 
under like circumstances, the stronger electric current. This is done by 
inspection of the electro-chemical series of elements. That series, how- 
ever, must vary with the temperature, so that it is no sure guide. 

Office of the Water in the Battery, — The water used in all common 
batteries serves as a solvent of the salt formed in the reaction. When 
the water used becomes saturated by this salt the current stops, and it 
declines in power as the solution approaches saturation. 

Office of the Metals in the Battery. — Of the two metals in any 
battery one only enters into the reaction. Zinc has generally filled that 
place in all the best-known batteries, because it is nearer the negative 



ad of the electro-chemical series than any other common and conve- 
[lient metal. Poiassiiim or socliam would he the beau ideal of the negative 
acta], but they are not cotivenient or practicable. Any metal or con- 
iuctor which is not acted on by the fluid in which it is immersed may 
capjr the other place in tlie couple. 

Ail naodem research tends toward the conclusion that the different 
asof electricity which we variously distinguish as magnetism, Frank- 
^mism, galvanism^ tlectro-magnetism^ are but expressions of one force, 
ihlch force is^ as we have seen, but a mode of motion of the universal 
etbcT. Very recently a European physicist has estimated the electro- 
motive force of Holtjc's machine, and has expressed it in a mathematical 
urni, so that it may be compared with the ordinary galvanic batteries. 

In the present chapter we shall speak of the form of electricity that 
\ generated by chemical action — galvanism or voltaism. Analogy and 
experience make it more than probable that all chemical action whaiso- 
ver is attended with the evolution of electricity ; and reasoning still 
ther we may believe that all molecular disturbance^ however excited, 
»usl give rise to electrical disturbance. The play and interplay of 
riectrical phenomena are incessant and infinite ; electrical force, like 
I gravity* is everywhere being generated and everywhere acting. 
unable to detect the electricity generated by chemical action 
Jy under certain conditions, or when generated in comparatively 
: quantities, it is because of the imperfections of our knowledge and 
lie want of sufficient refinement in our apparatus for collecting and 
measuring electricity. 

As a matter of experience it is found that chemical electricity is most 
conveniently generated by the reactions that take place betw^een two 
metais and some acid solution, and as a matter of convenience and 
Domy zinc is the metal at the expense of w^hich the electrical force 
evolved, the other metals acting merely as conductors; but the 
binations that are actually employed by physicists are but a fraction 
ase that are possible and conceivable. 
Every year new batteries and modifications of old batteries are de 
; all of them are based on the general principle that chemical 
any sort whatsoever is attended by the evolution of elcctri- 

We present below brief descriptions of some of the principal batteries 
II are now in use. All, or nearly all of them, in their original shape, 
or under I'arious modifications, are used in electro- therapeutics. We 
thai] not attempt to exhaust the list, but to illustrate those that are best 
koowOf most useful, and are most tliorouglily representative. Those 


who understand the principle on which these batteries are constructed 
will not find it difficult to understand any new modification of them th:il 
may arise. 

Here let us interpose the remark, that the time and energy that are 
devoted to the study of the chemistry of batteries will not be wasted 
time — will indeed be spent most wisely — for half the annoyances of 
young and old electro-therapeutists comes from the difficulty of keeping 
their batteries in order. This difficulty will be diminished one-half and 
more when we really understand the mechanism of batteries and the 
laws that govern their action. 

Simple Galvanic Circles, — In the formation of a simple galvanic 
circle there are usually metals and a liquid. 
Fig. 1 1 constitutes such a circle. 

Let C and Z represent respectively plates 
of copper and zinc introduced into dilute 
acid, and connected by a wire. An electri- 
cal disturbance takes place over all the 
surface of the zinc covered by the liquid. 
Positive electricity is generated at the zinc 
element, and flows through the liquid to the 
copper, and thus a constant current is es- 
tablished over the wires, as shown by the 
Fig. 11. arrows. 

So far as the galvanic action is concerned, 
it matters not whether the plates touch each other or are connected by 
wires, as in the figure. A current is formed, whether contact is made 
between the plates either above or below the liquid. In every instance, 
however, a r/rr«// must be formed, around which the electricity may flow. 
The electricity may traverse the circuit either in a single current or 
in a number of partial currents, into which it may divide itself when 
the plates are brought in contact along their whole surfaces. When 
the plates, or the wires which connect them, are in contact, the circuit 
is said to be dosed ; when they are separated, it is said to be broken, or 
open. The electricity is generated wholly by the chemical action of 
the acid upon the zinc, and, other things being equal, the quantity of 
electricity set in motion will be proportional to the extent of zinc sur- 
liace exposed to the acid. 

The terms Electro-positive and Electro-negative, — Both in simple 
and compound circles the electricity always moves in the liquid of the 
battery from the zinc to the copper ; and out of the liquid, from the 
copper to the zinc. This should be remembered, since the zinc is 


tallfd the fitctra positive element^ although out of the liquid \t it mga^ 
i$T^; and, consequently, in the decomposition that occurs in the 
battery, that element which goes to the zinc pole is called the electro- 
positive element, being attracted by its opposite force ; while the 
element going to the copper is called, for the same reason, the electro- 
negative— a current from two liquids and one metal. 

Two liquids and one metal can also produce a circuit as well as one 
liquid and two metaK BecquerePs oxygen battery (pile a oxyg^ne) it 
one of the best arrangements of this kind. The current is produced by 
the action of caustic potash on nitric acid, platinum forming the con- 
ducting arc 

Homogeneity of the Galvanie Circuit. — In /r;r//^7/i^/ electricity there 
are points which form the seat of + or — electricity. On the con- 
trary, in a wire where a galvanic current is circulating, there are no 
such points. It has no power, like frictional electricity, to attract or 
repel objects. The wire feels and behaves no differently when the 
current is passing than when it is not. The wire conducts so much 
better than the air that the current follows it. Its force is the same at 
every point, in the battery or in the circuit. Making interruptions in 
it at different points, and sending currents through solutions of sulphate 
of copper, the same amount of copper is deposited at each of the 
places where the interruption is made. If we connect the several 
breaks by pieces of platinum wire, each wire will be heated to the 
same temperature. 

In shorty the magnetic-heating and chemical and other effects of the 
current are the same at n*ery point in the circuit. 

Polarity of the Circuit,^ — If the wire in which the current runs be 
cut or broken at any point in the circuit, the current ceases to flow — 
that i% ceases to be dynamic^ but at the tifV'O cut ends there is statical 
iUctricity* One end of tlie cut wire will be charged with -h and the 

^cr with — electricity. The amount of this statical electricity will 

pend on the original strength of the current before the interruption 
was made. 

By the condensing electroscope it can be shown that each end of 
the cut wire is charged with an opposite electricity, and the amount of 
this can be estimated* If we take away any part of the wire entirely 
from the circuit, the piece of wire taken away is out of the circuit en- 
tirely ; but if the ends of the wires at each point of interruption be 
dipped in a fluid tliat is decomposed by the current, the circuit will be 

in completed, and it will be found that the part of the wire that ii 

:n away has opposite electricities at the ends. 


Similarly, also, the solution in the battery and the metals themselvest 
like the connectiiig wire, are + at one end and — at the other. The 
circuit throughout consists of -|- following — and — following +. It 
appears to be electrically the same throughout. 

Electrical Relations of the Elements, — In the galvanic cell, by tlie 
decomposition of the water, oxygen arises at the positive pole and 
hydrogen at the negative. 

The metals assume opposite electricities, the zinc being positive and 
the copper negative. 

Since electricities that attract each other are opposite to each other, 
the substances that are liberated at the positive pole are called electro- 
negative, and the substances liberated at the negative pole are called 
electro-positive. Thus, in the decomposition of the battery, oxygen 
which is liberated at the zinc is electro-negative, while hydrogen which 
is liberated at the copper or platinum is electro-positive. 

The elements have been arranged as to their electro-chemical re- 
lations when associated in pairs in the galvanic cell. According to 
recent chemistry, atoms are arranged in two classes, according to their 
combining power. Positive atoms are those which are attracted to the 
negative electrode in electrolysis, and whose hydrates are bases. 
Negative atoms are those that are attracted to the positive pole in 
electrolysis, and whose hydrates are acids. The electro-chemical seriei 
are presented below : 

Electro- Chem ical Series. 

Negative end — . 

































































P&siiivi end +. 




Each atom of any of the substances in this list is positive to any 
I »tom of any substance above it, and negative to any one below it 
[These distinctions are therefore purely relative. 

^hus, for example, copper^ when associated in a galvanic pair in the 

I proper fluid with any one of the elements below it, generates positive 

I electricity and becomes electro- positive, but when associated with any 

[one of the elements above it, becomes electro negative. 

U^The more electro-negative any one of the elements in this series is 

a given element, the more intense w^ill be the current generated 

[when they are united in a galvanic pair. For exajajjle, the current 

oerated by zinc and copper is feebler than that obtained from zinc 

platinum, and the current is less when carbon is sqbstituted for 

lie platinum. The order in the above arrangement is, however, by no 

Tineans absolute. The relative position of the metals depends fre- 

, quently on the liquid in which they are immersed. Thus silver is — 

|foward lead in a solution of dilute sulphuric acid, while in a solution 

^^anide of potassium it is + toward it 

tmalgarnation. — If pure zinc is immersed in dilute sulphuric acid 
'tvo change is manifest, while ordinary commercial zinc is quickly dis- 
I solved by it The action of the dilute acid or zinc is due to the ini- 
Ipurities of iron or lead which it contains. These impurities are electro- 
negative toward zinc, and they cause locai currents of thctrklty. 
When the battery is closed, these local currents interfere with the 
action that produces the main current ; when the current is open, they 
j^Kinay still keep up their action, as is evidenced by the bubbling up of 
^■ihe gases, and thus the zinc may be in time destroyed. 
^H Now, local action in a single battery cell, arising from the above 
^V causey not only consumes the power of that member, but reduces the 
V energy of the whole series. In order to avoid this evil, resulting from 
local action* it is necessary that the zinc plates be amalgamated with 
nercury. The amalgamated surfaces are reduced to one uniform 
cJectfical condition^ like pure zinc, and will remain in the fluid for aaj 


lenrr. of fme Ti=2ct«i oc nndl connected with tfie electro-negative 

A: ±- c resect ti^c iZ improred batteries are coDstracted with amaJ- 

/r'-cr .V jrzjJiJwjff Zr>». — ^To amalgamate zinc, first immerse it in a 
st'-non c: cLI-re 5::Ij,fcarlc add of almost any strength, so as to clean 
fhe sciniice : then dip :: i- neTcurr, or poor mercury over it, and rub 
i: •: - a br^sh or 5po-ge or doth. The mercury will spread very 
nt- ii'.y ever the siirfice of the zinc, and give it a bright, mercuiy-like 

The in o: imi^riniann^ zinc is of great practical importance to the 
electro-thera^^rj-rlst, sirce nearly all the batteries in common use have 
zii:c f3r one of the n:eta's. Amalgamated zinc was first used for gal- 
vanic batteries *:y Kemp, in 1S26. 

Chemical AciL^n t'.t Origin of the Current, — When the electrically 
opposite metjia — zinc and platinum, for example — are dipped in acidu- 
lated water and unite^i at their ends, either directly or by a wire, the 
zinc has so strorgan attraction for the oxj-gen of the water that if unites 
with it and terms the oxide o\ zinc This oxide of zinc combines with 
the sulphuric acii and forms sulphate of zinc. The hydrogen of the 
water escai>es in the form o\ gas at the platinum. The result of this 
chemical action is a current of electricity. The zinc (the electro- 
negative element) dissolves, and the quantity of electricitj- generated 
is proportioned exactly to the quaniit}- of zinc dissolved. 

It had been supposed by Volta and his followers that simple contact 
of the metals was all that was necessarj' to excite the current ; but 
Faraday showed, by two ver}- beautiful experiments, that mere contact 
was not sufficient — that there must be chemical action in the cell in 
order to obtain a current. It is possible that all chemical actions are 
attended with the generation of electricity ; but only under certain con- 
ditions, or when the amount is considerable, are we able to detect it 

In 7i'/iat7i'ay does Chemical Action generate the Current I — In science 
it often happens that the simplest and easiest questions are the hardest 
to answer. Just how the current is excited by chemical action we do 
not fully know. We know that when the different metals touch each 
other, the positive electricity will go to one metal and the negative to 
the otlicr. This disturbance, however, is only momentary, and equili- 
brium is at once restored, and no current continues. 

Now we may regard the atoms of oxygen and hydrogen that make 
up a molecule of water as charged with opposite electricities, like two 
different metals. When zinc and platinum are dipped in water, the 


asitively charged atom will turn toward one metal and the negative 
toward the other ; but as long as the metals do not touch each other 
the equilibrium is at once restored* and there is no current The free 
ends of the metals are in a state of electric tension, and are capable 
of discliarging themselves into a condenser or Leyden Jar. When the 
metals are made to touch each other^ or are eonnected by unreLy they are 
relieved of their charge, and again become charged : then again relieve 
themselves, and so on indefinitely. There is no equilibrium established. 
but a constant effort to establish it, which never succeeds. This con 
slant effort to establish an equilibrium keeps up the currenL 

ElettrieHy a Mode of Motion. — Although, for the sake of convc- 
nience, we speak of electricity as a current flowing in certain direc- 
tions, after the manner of a river, yet, as we have already said, we 
should not thereby be led into the error of supposing that the elec- 
tricity is a real fluid flowing through different substances, or from one 
substance to another. 

Mlectricity is a disturbance propagated in the Molecules of a body^ 
and at the same time in the Ether pervading that body, — The theory that 
light was caused by the emission of particles from the sun was aban- 
doned long ago ; and now the theory that light consists of undulations 
of ether i«s considt^red to be as impregnable as the theory of gravitation. 
Similarly we may believe that electricity consists of movements of a 
different kind from those of light, but which ts variously modified in its 
manifestations by the substances through which it circulates. 

The impulse or movement that constitutes what we call the current 
may be regarded as simply a mode of morion. 

Polarity of Electrictty. — Polarity, ot properties in opposite directions^ 
is not peculiar to electricity. Light and heat may also be polarised, 
ajid chemical attractions and repulsions are likewise manifestations of 
the polar qualities of atoms. We may gather a definite idea o^ the 
nature of electricity and the character of the so-called "current" by the 
following ilhisrrarion : Let a tube be filled with balls, all of which are 
aitracted to each other. If the first ball is ttu-ned round on its centre, 
it will turn in a similar way the next ball, and so on through the whole 
series. There is here no progress of a material current, but simply a 

if the motion is rapidly repeated through the attempt of electricity to 
find an equilibrium, we have what we call an electrical cm rent. 

Electricity convertible into the other Great Forces, — ^We sec in thif 
section on electro-physics many illustrations of the transformation of 
one force into another. If we start with heat, we find that it prc^ 



duces e'.ectricity, and through electricity produces chemical action« 
magnetism, and light. If we start with magnetism, we find that it 
produces electricity, and through electricity heat, chemical action, and 
light. If we start with chemical action, we find that it produces heat, 
light, and electricity. If we start with electricity, we find that it pro- 
duces magnetism, heat, ligKt, chemical action, and motion. 

Conversion of Electricity into Heat, The Electric Light, — By the 
law of the correlation of forces the electricity generated in a battery 
may be converted into heat. This heat may remain in the battery or 
be transferred to any part of the circuit. In order to convert the elec- 
tricity into heat it must pass through some poor conductor that resists 
its passage, and thus compels it to appear as heat. With ordinary 
thick copper wire there is but little sensible heat in the passage of a 
current, because copper wire is a good conductor ; but when platinum 
wire, which is a poor conductor, is used, it is raised under a strong 
current to white-heat. This has been utilized in galvano-cautery. 

In the electric light the heat is transferred to carbon points interposed 
in the circuit. Particles of carbon become incandescent, and are volatil- 
ized and transported from the positive to the negative pole. A metal 
or other substance may give an electric light, but carbon, on account of 
its friability, gives a better and stronger light than any other substance. 
The electric light was invented by Sir Humphry Davy in 1813. 

Compound Galvanic Circles, — The compound galvanic circle, or gal 


va^fic battery, is composed of two or more simple galvanic circles. Tliey 
are so connected together that the copper of one battery is joined to 
the zinc of the next, and so on throughout the series. By combining 
together a number of cups, such as are represented in Fig. 12, we form 



an excellent compound circuiL Each cup contains a zinc and a coppei 
plale, which are connected together as described above. By examining 
this arrangement, it will be seen that one extreme of ihe series is cop- 
per and the aiher zinc* If these two extremes or poles are connected 
by a copper wire, the current will flow in the direction of the arrows, 
both through the series and over the wires. 

Derived^ tfr Partial^ qt Branch Car rents, — When a current in its 
passage through any conductor meets with different qualilies of resist- 
ancei it subdivides into various branch currents. In Fig. 13 the cur- 
rent goes from the elements through the wire r, g^ /, «, m \ but if a 

Fia 13, 

second wire, n^ x, g be interposed, the current will divide at ^, % 
part going by way of g and part around through jc, n. The divided 
cunents which go through the wires are called derived or partial cur- 
rents. If, instead of one or two wires, a large number were intcr[)osed, 
the current w*ould subdivide itself as many times as there were wires, 
part going through each wire. 

In thus dividing into derived or partial currents, two laws are 
obeyed ; 

1st* 77ie sum of the strength of ihe divided current is equal to the 
strength of the principal mrrent. If (in the figure) the strength of the 
current g^ /, n is 40, and gy jr, n is 60, then the strength of the prin- 
cipal current in r, g^ before division, is 100. 

ad* The strength of the currents in the divided parts is inversely 
OJ the resistance in those parts. This law supplements the first. Re- 
ti^ance is directly as the length and inversely as the diameter. 

If the derived wires are of the same length and diameter as the prin- 
cipal wire, then the current will divide into equal parts between them. 
If the derived wires are of the same length as the principal wire, but 
of unequal diameters, the current will divide unequally, according to 
the diameter of each wire* The law may be illustrated by thinking of 
the course that rivers pursue when they are subdivided or split up into 



deltas. The quantity of water that flows through all the subdrvislons 
"or deltas would be equal to the quantity that flowed through the naaia 
fitream before the divisions took place. If the subdivisions are of dif- 
ferent sizes, the deepest and widest will convey 
the most water. 

When electricity passes through the human 
body it encounters tissues that differ considerably 
in iheir conductivity, and hence it subdivides into 
an infinite number of derived or partial currents, 
the strength of which varies with the nature and 
length of the tissues. This point will be further 
illustrated in electro-physiology and electro- thera- 

Description of Galvanic Batteries. — ^Under this 

head may properly be included, first, a description 

of the voltaic pile^ which was constructed by Volta 

in 1799, and became known in England in iSoo. 

The apparatus consists of a number of disks piled 

one above the other. The arrangement is in die 

following order : A disk uf copper is placed on a 

frame of wood) a disk of ctotli, moistened by 

acidulated water, is then placed on the copper, 

and then a disk of zinc on the cloth completes 

what is called the voltaic couple. A series of 

such couples constitutes a voltaic pile — the tcr^ 

niinal copper being the positive and the terminal 

zinc the negative pole. 

This apparatus is inconstant and unreliable, easily corrodes, has 

many inconveniences, and is now but little used- Various modifications 

of the voltaic pile have been devised, but all of them are too inconstant 

for electro-therapeutical purposes, or indeed for any sustained use 


Polarization in Batteries. — When two metals, as zinc and platinum^ 
are placed in acidulated water, the platinum plate becomes covered 
with a film of hydrogen. This hydrogen is electro-positive, like iinc, 
and so when the platinum becomes well covered we have electroposi* 
live zinc opposed to electro-positive hydrogen, and thus the current be- 
comes enfeebled, if not destroyed- This polarization in batteries is pre- 
vented in two ways : 

1st. By keeping the liquids in constant agitation. Blowing into the 
liquid with a bellows, or stirring the liquid by any mechanical arrange 



ment, keeps the surface of the plarinuni or carbon free from hydrogen, 
and thus prevents the weakening of the current. 

Dr, Byrne, in his galvano-cautery battery (to be described in the sec- 
tion on Electro-surgery), has availed himself of this depolariiing power 
of mechanical agitation, and has thus succeeded m obtaining a great and 
enduring quantity of electricity from a comparatively small surface. 
On the same principle we explain the fact that lifting the metals out 
■Hof the liquid for a moment or two at once increases the strength of the 
^Pcurrent While in action, the hydrogen accumnlates on tlie platinum ; 
by removing the metals from the liquid an instant, the hydrogen escapes 
and the battery is as good as ever. 

2d, By tiie use of two liquids. The cells of Gro\e, Daniells, and 
Bunsen, to be hereafter explained, are constructed so as to avoid polari^ 
cation of the metals. 

fff/ariia/wn t?/ Electrodes and Currents of Polarization, — The elec* 
^brodes that convey the current through acidulated water also become 

^p Oxygen covers the positive and hydrogen the negative electrode. 
^^ Hydrogen being electropositive, and oxygen electro-negative, these 
two gases act like two metals, and if the current of the battery be bro- 
ken and the two films of oxygen and hydrogen are connected metalli* 
illy, an electric current is obtained, just as a current is obtained 
l>etween zinc and platinum. In the liquid the current flows from the 
rWm of hydrogen to the film of oxygen. Two electrodes covered in 
tills way with fihns of gas are called polarized^ and the currents gene- 
iied by these are called the currents of polarization. These currents 
fof polarization are always in a direction opposite to the main current, 
:id tend to interfere with and weaken it. This polarization of the 
Jectrodes takes place more or less in all applications of the galvanic 
current. One evidence of this is the discoloration of the electrodes 
^thal are employed in electrization after long use. To meet this difficulty 
MnpolaritabU electrodes have been devised. These will be described 
inder Electro therapeutics. 

Secortdary Piles and Gas-Batteries, — ^If a series of plates of plati- 
aum, with moistened cloths between theni^ be connected with the poles 
5f a battery*, the gases (oxygen and hydrogen) resulting from thedecom- 
Dsition of the water accumulate in films on the platioum* If now the 
P series be separated from the battery, it will itself, through the action 
between these films of gases, generate a current. A pile thus formed 
. called a secondary pile. It was discovered by Ritter. The gas- 
battery of Grove is constructed on the same principle. The gases are 


collected in glass tubes, oxygen in one and hydrogen in the other, aud 
in each tube is fastened a platinum electrode. The tubes are inverted 
over sulphuric acid. When the electrodes are connected with a gal- 
vanometer a current is indicated, the direction of which is from oxygen 
to hydrogen. 
There are two general varieties of batteries, double and single cell 
Double-cell Constant Batteries, — ^The current produced by elements 
with a single liquid becomes rapidly enfeebled, because of the polariza- 
tion. This polarization is prevented in the double-cell batteries 
of Daniell, Grove, and Bunsen, by placing the electro-negative ele- 
ment in a liquid that is acted upon chemically 
by the deposited hydrogen. Currents from 
these two-cell batteries are called constant^ 
because they do not weaken so rapidly as 
currents from single-cell batteries, and the 
metals can be allowed to stand all the time 
in the solution. 

The term constant is now applied to the 
galvanic current, however generated, as 
distinguished from the induced or faradic 

Danielts Battery, — Fig. 15 represents a 
single cell. V is a glass or porcelain vessel 
nearly filled with a saturated solution of 
sulphate of copper. C is a cylinder of cop- 
I)er, open at both ends and perforated by a number of holes. G, 
which is also perforated by holes, is an annular shelf at the upper por- 
tion of the zinc cylinder, upon which crystals of sulphate of copper may 
be placed to supply the waste in the cell caused by the electrical action. 
P is a thin porous vessel of unglazed earthenware, containing the 
amalgamated cylinder of zinc Z, and a solution either of common sail 
or dilute sulphuric acid. The elements are connected in series by 
strips of copper, / and «, which are fixed to the coi)per and zinc by 
means of binding-screws. When the circuit in the battery just de- 
scribed is closed, an atom of zinc replaces and liberates from the nitric 
acid two atoms of hydrogen, thus producing sulphate of zinc The 
liberated hydrogen replaces one atom of copper in the sulphate of 
copper, which by electrolytic action is deposited on the copper element, 
or sometimes on the porous cup. Polarization is the resistance to the 
passage of the current produced by a deposit (such as hydrogen) on 

Fic. 15. 


estlser of the elements. No such deposit occurs in this battery, hence 
the current is constant 

Order of the parts in Daniell's sulphate of copper battery: ist» zinc ; 
2d, sulphuric add } 3d, porous cup ; 4th, sulphate of copper ; 5th, 

Zn + H, SO, + Cu SO, = Zn SO^ + H, SO, -f Cu 

The current obtained from this battery will flow with undiminished 
strength for hours, and, in fact, is superior to all its fellows in con- 
stancy^ Daniell's battery was invented in 1836. The modifications 
of Danieirs battery are quite numerous; among them we may men- 
lion those of Hill, Siemens-Halske, and Muirhead. 

Gr^'/s Battery. — This battery differs from Danieirs mainly in the 
tibstittition of a nitric-acid for a sulphate-of-copper solution, and pla- 
uni for copper, by which increased electro-motive force is obtained. 
n Fig* J 6, A represents a glass vessel containing dilute sulphuric acid, 
a cyhoder of zinc open at both ends, and V a porous pipe-clay vessel 
artially filled wiUi nitric acid. P is a plate of platinum, with a cover, 
whiclx rests on the porous vessel when the platinum is immersed in 
ic nitric-acid solution ; b and a are binding-screws, which connect re- 
pec tively witli the platinum and zinc 
In tliis arrangement a double reaction occurs between the zinc, sul- 
|jhuric acid and nitric acid, giving as a result, sulphate of zinc, water and 
itrogen dioxide, which is disengaged, and by contact with the air be- 
comes nitrogen tetroxide. The reaction in Grove's nitric-acid battery 
is as fc»liows: ist^ zinc; 2d, sulphuric acid; 3d, porous cup; 4th, nitric 
acid \ 5th, platinum. 

Zo, + (HJSOJ, + (HNOJ, = (Zn SOJ, + N.O. + (H. O), 

^H jttst be lost by the evolution of these nitrous fumes. Prof. Wolcott 
I^Cibbft, of Cambridge, has discovered that a small quantity of bichromate 

©f potash in the nitric-acid cup of Grove's battery acts as a deodorizer 
■Kby taking up the disagreeable nitrous acid fumes. Thus one of the 
jHinast serious objections to the use of this battery is removed. 

Grove's batteiy was invented in 1839* ^^ is very powerful, and ii 



much used m telegraphy. It has also been employed in galvaiK^ 

Fic i& 

Bunsen's Douhk-ceU Nitric Acid Battery, — This battery !s very 

similar to Grove's. It dififers from it only in the substitution of carbon 
for platinum. The letter P in Fig. 17 represents a single element, ai 
it appears when ready for use. 

Fig. 17. 

F is a vessel of glass containing dilute stil phone acid. Z, a cylindci 
of amalgamated zinc. V, a porous vessel partly filled \vith ordinary 
nitric acid ; and C^ a bar of carbon or coke. The zinc is first placed 
in the vessel F» after which the porous vessel V^ into the nitric-acid 
solution of which the carbon C has been immersed, is inserted into the 
rinc cylinder. The binding-screws m znd n are respectively the posi- 
tive and negative poles. The elements are arranged in the form of 2 

bunsen's and walker's zinc-carbon batteries. 35 

compound battery, by means of the damp m n, and a rod connecting 
the carbon of one cell with the xinc of the following. 

Bunsen's Bichromate Battery, — In this battery a solution of bkhrih 
maie of potash^oTi^ part to twelve parts of water — ^is placed in tlic 
porous cup* 

The order of the parts in Bunsen*s Bichromate Battery is as follows ; 

ist, zinc; 2d, sulphuric acid ; 3d, porous cup; 4th, sulph. acid and 
bichromate of potash; 5th, carbon. 


Zn, + (H, SO,), 4- K, Cr. O, + (H. SO,), 

= (Zn SO,), + K. Cr. (SOj, + (H, O), 

Chrome-alum^ sulphate of zinc ^ and water ^ are the products. The office 
of the porous cup is to keep the bichromate of potash from the surface 
of the zinc, and thus more uniformity and constancy of action is attained. 

WTiile the action of Bunsen's battery is the most energetic of all the 
constant batteries, and while the first cost is less than Grove's, it is yet 
more expensive to work and more inconvenient to manipulate. Bun- 
sen's battery was invented in 1843. 

Walker^s Single-cell Ztnc-carbon Battery,— In this battery carbon 
is Ftubstituted for the platinum of the Smee battery, and the solution 
used is composed of bichromate of potash, sulphuric acid, and water^ 
the same as in Bunsen's battery. The carbon is usually the pressed 
and baked graphite of the gas-works. There is considerable differ- 
ence in the quality of the carbon as sold in the market ; the more 
thoroughly it is pressed and baked, the better it will be. Carbons that 
are poorly prepared, or that contain impurities, easily become soaked 
with fluid and the salts of the solutions, and also generate local currents 
that interfere with the main current. Sometimes the carbons are 
platinized, that is, covered with finely-divided platinum, as is the silver 
m the Smee battery. The proportion of the solution used in Walker's 
battery is as follows ; 

Sulphuric add, 

Bichromate of potash, aa |L 

Water , , , § xij. 

The reaction is the same as in Bunsen's Bichromate Batterj' just de- 

To prepare this mixture, add the sulphuric acid to the water, and 
when this is cool^ add the bichromate of potash well pulverized. Do 
not immerse the elements in the fluid until it is perfectly cool^ for when 


hot the fluid saturates the carbons and removes the amalgam from Ac 
zinc, and thus injures very seriously the working power of the battery.^ 
The proportions of sulphuric acid and bichromate of potash above given 
may be varied more or less as may be desired. Mathematical accu- 
racy is not required. If, however, the solution is excessively strong, 
if the proportion of bichromate of potash and sulphuric acid is too 
great, say two or three times what is here given, the battery will wear 
away very rapidly and a greenish-black deposit will be found in the 
bottom of the cells. This deposit, which sometimes forms very hard, 
and is difficult to remove without breaking the glasses, is the chrome- 
alum, and is a result of the decomposition of the salts and acids that 
takes place while the battery is in action. Like the Smee battery, the 
zinc-carbon battery will need to be occasionally amalgamated, but, un- 
like the Smee battery, it does not require any mercury in each cell, and 
the presence of mercury will give rise to local action. We speak thus 
particularly of the simple zinc-carbon battery, because it is one very 
widely used in electro-therapeutics, and it is important that its manage- 
ment should be well understood. The galvanic batteries of Stohrer, of 
the Galvano-faradic Manufacturing Company, and of Kidder, are moistly 
of single-cell zinc-carbon elements. The zinc-carbon battery, like 
Smee's^ to be hereafter described, is not constant If the metals are kept 
long immersed in the solution, the power rapidly goes down. It is 
necessary, therefore, to keep the metals out of the solution^ except when 
the battery is in use. In this respect the battery differs very much from 
the batteries of Grove, Bunsen, and Lechanch6, where the metals are 
never removed from the solution except to be cleaned and repaired. 

Smee's Battery, — This battery, invented in 1840, is very economical, 
convenient, and easy to manage, and on that account has been con- 
siderably employed in electro-magnetic apparatus. It consists of a 
plate of cornigated platinum, or silver covered with finely-divided plati- 
num, between the two plates of zinc, in a solution of sulphuric acid and 
water (one part to ten or twelve). 

The order of the parts in Smee's Sulphuric Acid Battery is as follows : 

ist, zinc; 2d, sulphuric acid; 3d, platinum. 

Zn -f H. SO^ = Zn SO^ + H, 

♦ It is well known that when sulphuric acid and water are mixed, the solution be- 
comes very hot. The explanation of this is, that in mixing, the atoms of the water are 
attracted to the atoms of the sulphuric acid ; in other words, work is dofie. The vol- 
ume is diminislied 8 per cent., and the heat that appears is a result of the work thiu 

smee's and lechanche's batteries. 


The chemical action of this battery is more rapid than that of the sul 
phate of copp«!r battery, because platinum is more positive than copper, 
whose place it occupies in the sulphate of copper battery. The dis- 
engagement of the hydrogen is effected by mechanical means, but there 
K must be a large loss of force in changing hydrogen to a gaseous state, 
™ precisely as force is lost in changing water to steam. 

llie object of cornigating the platinum plate, or making it into folds 
or farrows, is to give greater surface. The object in covering it with 

» finely -divided platinum is to roughen the surface so that the hydrogen 
wiW not adhere. It is customary in using die battery to keep about 
half a tablespoonful of mercury in the bottom of the cu[>, in order that 
the zincs may be all the time well amalgamated. Care should be taken, 

tin the preparation of this battery, to prevent 
the mercury from collecting on the platinum 
plate. If by any carelessness it does get 
oti the platinum plate, it will turn it to the 
color of mercury, and will w^eaken or destroy 
ihc fojce of the battery. In this battery 
more or less action goes on even when the 
^—connections are not made ; this is evidenced 
^Pby the formation of sulphate of zinc at the top 
^Pof the metals after they have been long im- 
^Lniersed. It b therefore an advantage in using 
^BtKe battery to keep the elements ot/f of the so- 
^miuiwn when not needed. If kept constantly 
^b tmmersed, like Daniell's battery, \i very soon 

gnoses its |K>wer and becomes thoroughly incnisted with sulphate of zinc. 
^M Ltclantk^s Battery.— }dvinx\^ the past few years, this battery hai 
y altmcted great attention in Europe, both among telegraphists and elec- 
Iro-thcrapeutists. The great advantage that is claimed for it, where it 
^ris not used loo long at a time, is that it is far more constant than any 
^^fother battery yet invented. The battery was devised by Leclanch^, a 
^ Frenchman, in 1868, and bears his name. A Leclanche cell consists 
, of, 1st, a cylinder of zinc in a concentrated solution of chloride of am- 
fsoniitm ; ad, a rod of carbon, packed with powdered carbon and na- 
Ibvc jicroxide of manganese in a porous cell. The whole is closed with 
. co^er The chemical changes that take place in a Leclanche bat- 
are these : Chloride of ammonium is decomposed, chlorine com- 
Jl>ining with the zinc, hydrogen being absorbed by the oxygen of the 
croxide of manganese, and ammonia being liberated. The ammonii 
; absorbed by the water, but in process of time the water become* 

Fici. \Z, 


saturated, then the ammonia escapes through the opening in thfl 
The chemical formula is as follows : 

Zn + (CI NHJ, + (Mn O,), = Zn CI, + H. O + (NH,), f- Mn. O, 

I.eclanch6*s battery was first arranged for electro-therapeutics b) 
Gaiffe, an instrument-maker of Paris. It has been modified by Tripier, 
the well-known French electro-therapeutist, by Keyser and Schmidt, 
of Berlin, and a portable form has been devised by Beetz, of Munich. 
Leclanche's battery has one great advantage and some disadvantages. 
Its advantage lies in its power of endurance. If not overworked it 
will stand for months and years, and yet retain sufficient power to be 
quite useful in electro-therapeutics. This is not true of any other 
battery; even Daniell's, the most constant of all, and as variously 
modified, requires replenishing or cleaning every few months, else it 
goes down to nothing. 

Its disadvantages are these : 

I si. It xdi\i\(S[y polarizes, and so generates a secondary current that 
weakens the main current. This polarization only takes place when 
the battery is in action ; if, therefore, the battery is but little used, or 
only occasionally, this disadvantage does not appear. 

2d. The free ammonia that escapes after the water becomes satu- 
rated is ainioying. 

On account of these disadvantages, Leclanchd's battery has not been 
as popular among telegra[)hers as was at one time expected it would be. 
Among European electro-therapeutists, however, it is considerably used. 
It is sometimes employed in electro-magnetic or induction machines. 

Callatis Iron-zinc Battery, — In this battery the positive plate is 
zinc in dilute sulphuric acid; the negative plate is iron in strong 
nitric acid. The great practical difficulty with this battery is, that 
under certain conditions it may suddenly and rapidly evolve nitrous 
fumes. This complaint has been made even by those who have adopted 
this form of battery in electro-surgical practice. The common explana- 
tion that the phenomena displayed by this battery are due to the pas- 
sivity of iron, is not in accordance with the more recent doctrines of 
physics. This fact is a serious objection to the use of these batteries 
In electro-therapeutics. They have been employed, however, for the 
purpose of galvano-cauter)-. 

Wollaston's Zinc-copper Battery. — ^This form of battery, devised bj 
Wollaston in 1801, is now pretty well displaced by modem improve 


ents. It consists of a copper vessel, enclosing a solution of sulphate 
of copper, a zinc plate, or a sheet of copper folded over a piece of 
xinc, so as to have both faces of the zinc exposed to chemical action, 
and so bicrease the quantity of electricity. The two objections to the 
battery are, that it is not constant, and the metals must be kept out of 
the solution except when in actual use, and tliat the zijic becomes 
rapidly corroded with a deposition that weakens the force of the bat- 
tery. This deposition must be constantly cleared and scraped ofi^ if 
we would keep up the strengdi of the current. 

The order of the parts in the sulphate of copper battery, single cellj 
U as follows : ist, zinc j 2d, sulphate of copper ; 3d, copper. 

Zn + Cu SO, = Zn So, + Cu 

In this battery any local actioi;i on the zinc will deposit metallic 
copper in the fomi of a black powder upon the zinc, or an oxide of 
caliper, which forms a covering on the surface of the zinc* 

For this reason the zinc must be anialganiated or else frequently 
deaned Sulphate of copi>er must be frequently added, so that the 
battery shall be charged wntha saturated solution of that salt ; but care 
must be taken that the solution of sulphate of zinc does not approach 

The necessity of frequently cleaning and scraping the zinc in this 
battery is a most serious disadvantage, and on that account mainly it is 
not to be recommended to the electro-therapeutist. 

Waier Battery. — ^^If a large number of cylinders of zinc and copper 

be immersed in water in glass jars, and are properly protected from 

light and dust, a current of electricity will be produced A battery 

of 130 pairs causes the gold leaves of the electroscope to diverge, and 

^200 pairs gives a strong shock. A battery of 2,000 or 3,000 pairs is 

ry powerful. Batteries of this kind have been constructed by Crosse, 
Noad, and GassioL 

These water batteries wnll keep their power for years, provided watei 
ts supplied to them to make up for the loss from evaporation. They 
take up a large space, and, on account of the great resistance of the 
water, give but a smaii quantity 0/ electricity. For these two reasons 
they offer no advantage for medical use. 

Marine Battery.— K sea- water or marine battery has been constructed 
by Duchemin, of France, A cylinder of carbon and zinc, attached 
to a cork, is put into the sea, and connected with the shore by con 


ducting wires. As the ocean furnishes the exciting fluid, it needs nc 
replenishir g. It was hoped that a battery of this kind might be of 
suflicient strength to furnish an electric light for light-houses. Thii 
hope, so far as we know, lias not been realized. 

Dry Pile, — Dry piles have, instead of liquids, some solid hygroraetric 
substances, as paper or leather. There are many varieties of dry 
piles. Those of Zamboni, which are best known, are composed of 
tin or silver and binoxide of manganese. A piece of paper is tinned 
or silvered on one side, and the other side is covered with powdered 
binoxide of manganese. These sheets are cut into disks, about one 
inch in diameter, and arranged so that the tin or silver of each disk is 
in contact with the manganese of the next in the series. A Zamboni 
pile of 200 couples is very feeble and slow in its action, but it can 
charge a Leyden jar, and it is quite permanent. 

Instruments for Measuring Electricity. — The instruments for raea- 
suring electricity are quite numerous, and some of them are very 
delicate. It is necessary here to describe only a sufficient number to 
illustrate the principles involved. 

The Voltameter, — The voltameter is an instrument devised by Fara- 
day to measure the strength of the galvanic current It is a graduated 
tube that receives and accurately measures the quantity of gas that is 
generated by the decomposition of water by the current in a given 

In Fig. 19 the platinum needles connected with the poles of the bat- 
tery are inserted through the cork, at the end of the tube. The gases 
that result from the electrolysis rise to the top, as the tube is held up- 
right, and repel the water through a hole in the cork. 


Fig. 19. 

This is a very trustworthy method of measuring currents and of 
comparing batteries. If we wish to ascertain how one battery com- 
pares with another in strength, or whether a battery has weakened by 
use or long standing, or whether the strength is sufficient for a power- 
ful electrolytic operation, the voltameter will give us precisely the infor- 
maiion we seek. 

Galvanometers.— K galvanometer is an instrument for indicating the 
presence and direction of a current, and for measuring its strength. 
There are severU varieties of galvanometers, but all are constructed ou 


■same general principle— a magnet freely hung so as to be deflected by 
the fassage of a current through a coil of insulated wire. GaJvanoiu 
cters with a long coil — sometimes called ^^ tension*' galvanometers- 
arc used to measure circuits of large resistance. Galvanometers with a 
short coil— sometimes called "quantity'' galvanometers— are used Co 
measure circuits of small resistance* The explanation of this difierence 
will appear in the chapter on Ohm's Law. 


Fig. »o» 

Astatic Galvanometer.— TK\s form of galvanometer is used either to 
detect the simple presence of a current, or to measure the strength of a 
weak current. Let A and B, Fig. 20, represent two needles of about 
equal strength, having the same axis, and having their poles reversed 
in reference to each other. The needles will settle a very little in the 
meridian, from the fact that one of them is very slightly more highly 
magnetized than the other. 

C is an insulated wire, bent around the lower needle several times. 
Ulien a current is passed through this wire» the needles will be influ- 
enced to turn in the same direction. In this way the passage of the 
most feeble current may be detected. In connection with a thermo* 
electric pile, this instnmient is capable of indicating a change of tem- 
perature of only a very small fraction of a degree. Galvanometers 
which have a long resistance coil, and in which a branch resistance coil, 
or '• shunt^'* as it is called, is interposed, may be used to measure 
Strang currents (see chapter on Ohm's Law), and are therefore con- 
venient in comparing batteries. A galvanometer of this kind that we 
employ will be described under electro-therapeutics. 

Thomson's Reflecting Galvanometer. — Sir William Thomson has done 
roach to advance the science of electrology by the construction of 
his reflecting or mirror galvanometer, which mil indicate the presence 
of very slight currents. This instrument consists of the coils of a gal- 
vanometer, between which are suspended, by a single silk 6bre, a 
u^irror and magnet, which, when it moves under the inlluence of a cur- 


rent, is reflected through a lens on a graduated scak placed at a little 
distance in front of it. A lamp is placed behind the screen, which 
contains a slit, through which the light passes to the mirror, from 
which it is reflected back on the graduated scale. When the magnet 
is deflected by the passage of a current through the coil, the image 
moves to the right or left along the scale, the angle made by the re- 
flected image being twice the angle through which the mirror and 
magnet are deflected. A very small deflection of the magnet pro- 
duces a very great displacement of the reflected image on the screen^ and 
thus a very slight current can be detected. 

This instrument, as that of Wiedmann, of Germany, is much used 
in delicate electro-physiological researches. 

Rheostates : Instruments for Measuring Resistance, — The rheostat, 
an instrument invented by Wheatstone, was originally designed to 
ascertain the relative amount of resistance of different conductors. In 
electro-therapeutics it is employed to interpose resistances in the circuit, 
etc., so as to delicately modify the strength of the current within small 
fractions of the strength of an element. 

In electro-physiological investigations, as also in certain branches of 
electro-therapeutics — particularly in applications to the ear — rheostates 
have been used. The form employed by Brenner and others, and also 
the water-rheostat, will be described in electro therapeutics. 

Early History of Galvanism, — In the year 1 786, while Galvani, Pro- 
fessor at Bologna, was experimenting with an old-fashioned electrical 
machine that lay near a dish of frogs that had been prepared, it is 
stated, for his sick wife, he noticed that the frogs jumped whenever a 
spark was drawn from the conductor of the machine. On observing 
this, it occurred to him that perhaps he had found a means of detect- 
ing atmospheric electricity more delicate than he had previously em- 
ployed. In order to test this, Galvani took the dish of frogs, and, with 
his neighbor Camillo, went out on the terrace of his house.* It was 
a clear evening in the early part of September, and no marked elec- 
tric phenomena were apparent in the air. Fixing an iron hook in the 
spine of each frog, he suspended it from the iron railing. 

Behold spontaneous movements appeared in the frogSy various in 
their character and quite frequent I 

That moment was the birth of the science of Galvanism. At once 
there flashed on the mind of Galvani the query, What causes these con* 

* At No. 96, in Strado S. Felice, BologMa, the house where Galvani lived, with 
terrace and railin|^ is still shown to travellers. 



tracti&ns I There were no electric disturbances in the air \ the electric 
tnacKine was far away inside the house. Could there be electricity in tlie 
Irogs themselves ? lu the history of science it often happens that a 
theory partly false guides us into facts that are wholly true. Thus it 
happened to Galvani. * 

From that moment until he died, he lived in an atmosphere of ex- 
erijiient* Frogs without number were slaughtered, and all for the 
purpose of proving to himself and others that it was animal ekctricity 
that caused these contractions. 

Galvani's researches, as soon as they were made public, in 1791, ex* 

Fio. ii. 


cited great interest among scientific men, and inspired him to make 
another attempt to master the mysteries of electricity. At the time 
when Galvani made his discovery, the interest excited by the discovery 
of the Leyden jar and Franklin's kite, about forty years previously, 
had died out. Philosophers had followed the vein thus opened, about 
as far as it seemed to lead. They supposed that the battles of elec- 
tricity were all fought out, and so they were laying aside their annor. 
On the announcement of Galvani's discovery, his experiments were re- 
peated all over Europe, and the theory that the contractions of the mus* 
cles of the frog were due to animal electricity was universally adopted. 
VoUds Researches : The Theory &f Contact and Chemkal Action, — 
Among those who were stimulated by the discovery of Galvani, wai 


Volta, Professor of Physics in Pavia, Italy, who had already been long 
distinguished as an electrical experimenter, and who, in the knowledge 
of this special branch, was far superior to Galvani. 

At first Volta accepted Galvani' s theory of animal electricity, but 
subsequent research caused him to doubt its truth. He observed that 
it was only by means of heterogeneous metals that muscular contractions 
could invariably be produced, and hence he denied the existence of 
animal electricity, explaining the phenomenon of muscular contractions 
through the influence of the artificial electricity excited by a heteroge- 
neous metallic combinaHon.* 

Galvani then not onl) demonstrated that contractions could readily 
be caused by exactly homogeneous metals, but that the phenomenon 
was produced by the simple contact of nerve and muscle. His manner 
of experimenting was as follows : The leg of a frog, denuded of its skin, 
had its sciatic nerves cut at their exit from the vertebral column. The 
nerves thus denuded were taken gently up by some non-conductor and 
made to touch one of the muscles, when the leg would immediately 
become convulsed. Volta endeavored to prove that the concussion 
caused by the contact of nerve and muscle was the cause of the electric 
current thus produced ; but Galvani conclusively demonstrated that such 
could not be the case, by placing a non-conductor between the two tis- 
sues, when no action could be excited in the leg. He went further, 
and at last succeeded in producing muscular contractions when only the 
nerves of non-prepared legs were brought in contact. 

The discovery of the Voltaic pile, which excited great interest in 
men of science, seemed to decide the battle for Volta, and all the 
efforts of Galvani to convince philosophers of the existence of animal 
electricity were in vain. Galvani's first observations on frogs dates back 
as far is 1780. He first published his researches in 1791. 

Volta did not undertake the investigation of the subject until 1792, 
the year following the publication of the researches of Galvani. And 
yet Volta has almost equal claim to be the founder of the science of 
galvanism ; for while Galvani discovered the new manifestation of 
electricity, he failed to comprehend its true value, while Volta, by the 
discovery of the pile which bears his name, demonstrated what Galvani 
would never believe, but which Prof Fabroni, of Florence, had in 1 792 
suggested, that chemical action was the source of the electricity in Gal- 
vani' s experiments. 

* llie theory that the experiment of Galvani could be explained by chemical actio* . 
was first suggested by Prof. Fabroni, of Florence, in 1792. 



LECTROLVSis, derived from ^kcKTpov and Xim, through XvVts. dhen- 
gaging, if ihe ad or process of decomposing a compound substance b^ 

Electro-Krhemiciii decomposition takes place at both poles, but with 
diffcfeuc products and manifestations, according to the strength of tlie 
cuirent, the nature of the substances acted upOHi and the material of 
ivtiidi the electrodes are composed* 

Mt story of Electrolysis, — ^The chemical effects of statical electricity 
were tirst investigated by Drs. Priestley and Cavendish, in 1784, The 
decomposition of water by passing through it a succession of discharges 
of statical electricity was first discovered, in 1 789, by Messrs* Dienian, 
Paetz, Van Troostwyck, and Cuthbertson. The power of the galvanic 
current to decompose water was discovered and first described by 
Messrs* Nicholson and Carlisle, in 1800. They experimented with the 
voltaic pile, which had then just been discovered. These experiments 
CIS also decomposed other substances by the galvanic current. On 
Nov* ao, 1806, Sir Humphry Davy presented to the Royal Society a 
lecture " On some Chemical Agencies of Electricity/' and in the fol- 
lowing year he announced his discovery of the decomposition of Uie 
fixed alkalies. Between iSji and 1840 Faraday published his "j^jt- 
perimattal Researches in Electricity^^ in one of the most remarkable 
series of stnentitic essays that ever proceeded from the pen of man. 

Terminology of Electrolysis. — With the aid of two friends, Faraday 
prepared the following terminology of electrolysis, which is now gener- 
ally adopted. The poles where the electricity passes in and out of the 
body tliat is undergoing decomposition are called electrodes {yiX^tn-pov^ 
and o&>«, way). I'lic surface where die current enters the decompos- 
ing body is called the anode (ava, upward, and 0S09, way) ; the surface 
where the current leaves tlie decomposing body is called the cathode 
(aoto, downward^ and l^, way). The anode is in contact with the 
poiiiive pole and the cathode w'th the negative. 


Practically, anode is used as synonymous with positive pole, and 
cathode with negative, although, strictly speaking, anode and cathode 
refer to the points of the decomposing body^ and positive and negative 
to the poles of the battery that are in contact with these. 

Compound substances that are directly decomposable by the current 
are called electrolytes (iJXcKTpov, and Xwd, decompose). To electrolyu 
a body is to chemically decompose it by the current The act of pro- 
ducing electrolysis is called electrolyzation. 

The elements of an electrolyte are termed ions^ (ciwv, participle of 
the verb cf/xt, to go). Those ions that appear at the anode are termed 
anions^ those which appear at the cathode are termed cations. For- 
merly anions were termed electro-negative, and cations the electro-posi- 
tive elements of the compound. Water, for example, is an electrolyte 
that evolves two ions — oxygen and hydrogen ; oxygen goes to the 
anode and is the anion ; hydrogen goes to the cathode and is the 

No substance can be an electrolyte which is not a conductor ; but 
in the readiness with which they are decomposed substances widely 
vary. Every electrolyte must contain more or less of water. Pure 
water, though an electrolyte, is yet decomposed only with great diffi- 
culty ; but by adding to it a little suli)huric acid, or certain salts, it very 
easily undergoes electrolysis. It is furthermore believed' that no fluid 
can be a conductor without also being an electrolyte; that is, more or 
less electro-chemical decomposition must take place when the galvanic 
current passes through any fluid. Substances that are found to be ready 
electrolytes are chloride of sodium, muriatic acid, and iodide of potas- 

Laws of Electrolysis, — Although electrolysis, like all other phe- 
nomena connected with atomic changes, is but imperfectly understood, 
yet some of the general laws of its operation have been already well 

Among the more important of these laws the following may be enu- 
merated : 

I. Definite Electro-chemical Action, — It has been found that when 
several substances are simultaneously decomposed by the current, the 
elements that are evolved are definite in quantity and are electro- 
chemical equivalents of each other. This law, which was discovered by 
Faraday, may be thus illustrated. Let the current be sent successively 
through a series of cells filled with oxide of lead, chloride of lead, and 
chloride of silver. The different substances would combine in the fol 
lowing proportions : 


At the Poffltivc Pole* 

Water* , , , 8 grs. oxygen* 

Oxide of lead 8 ** 

Chloride of lead, , . 35.5 grs. chlorine. 

Iodide of lead 127 grs, iodine. 

Chloride of silver. , 35.5 grs. chlorine. 


At tbc Negative Pole, 
f gn hydrogen. 
^^3S grs. lead. 

105.5 ** 
108 grs. silver. 

lliese numbers, it will be seen, represent the combining proportions 
of these substances. 

Substances combine in equivalent proportions ; they are decomposed 
in the same equivalent proportions, 

2, Primary anfi Secondary J^esulis. — The results of electrolytic action 
are distinguished as primary and secondary. The results are called /ri- 
nuify when the elements that are decomposed appear at the electrodes 
unr hanged and uncombined j the results aie called secondary when 
ihr elements that are decomposed are changed or recombined when they 
ajrpear at the electrodes. The secondary results are favored by the 
tMScent condition of the elements that are decomposed. The secondary 
results arc caused by the action of the decomposed elements on the sub- 
stance of die electrode, or on the substance itself that is undergoing 
decomposition. Even the decomposition of water, when diluted with sul- 
phuric acid, is really a secondary result. Perfectly pure distilled watei 
does not perceptibly decompose even under quite a strong current. If a 
few drops of sulphuric gases are added, the acids are freely disengaged. 
The sulphuric acid H;SO^ is disengaged by the current into H^ at the 
negative and S(^^ at the positive pole ; the former H, is liberated, 
and the latter SO^ at the positive pole acts on the water and forms 
sulphuric acid again. Secondary decomposition is modified by the of which each electrode is composed. Thus in decomposing 
sulphuric acid, when the positive electrode is made of carbon, the oxy- 
gen decomposed acts on the carbon, forming carbonic acid and carbonic 
oxide. Electro-chemical action continued for weeks, months, and years, 
as was done by that very laborious experimenter, Mr» Crosse, of Broom- 
field, may produce as secondary results interesting minerals, such as 
I quartz, arragonite, malachite. During these experiments in electro- 
I cr}'5taUij^tion Mr. Crosse discovered that remarkable insect, the 
arartfs, which appeared in electrized solutions of sulphate of iron, 
Milphate of zinc, and nitrate and sulphate of copper. It was supposed 
I that the acari arose from ova deposited by insects floating in the at* 
mosphere, and that they might possibly be hatched by electric action, 
Aj a reward for this discovery, which now seems to be ahnost forgotten. 


Mr. Crosse was subjected to absurd and outrageous abuse, as thougk 
he were infringing on the prerogatives of the Creator. Mr. Weekes, of 
Sandwich, in Kent, subsequently repeated the experiments of Crosse by 
passing electrical currents through silicate of potash in glass receivers 
over mercury. All possible care was taken to keep out foreign matter. 
After a constant action of a year, insects appeared, entirely similar to 
those obtained by Mr. Crosse. The metallic deposits in electro -metal- 
lizing are the secondary results of the electro-chemical decomposition. 
Water is electrolyzed, hydrogen is disengaged at the cathode, and oxy- 
gen at the anode ; but the hydrogen reacts on the metallic solution, 
combines with its oxygen, and frees the metal. The oxygen also com- 
bines with an element at the anode. In the section on Electro-Surgery 
it will be found that the secondary decomposition is utilized in the selec- 
tion of the material used for needles in galvano-puncture. 

3. The Differential Action of the Poles, — Different elements go to the 
anode and the cathode, according to the nature of the substance de- 
composed and the material of which the electrode is made. 

Platinum-wire makes the best electrode for electrolytic experiments 
on various substances, because platinum is not acted on. Copper and 
silver wire may be used, but the secondary action which they cause 
greatly complicates the experiment. 

To distinguish the precise character of the changes that take place in 
the electrolysis of many substances is frequently difficult, and sometimes 
impossible. It is difficult to decide whether any of the elements of the 
electrolyte, besides water, undergo decomposition ; and whether the 
changes are of a primary or secondary character. 

Among the substances that are most readily decomposed by the elec- 
tric current are the following : 

Iodide of Potassium, — This decomposes under a very feeble current, 
the iodide and oxygen going to the positive and the hydrogen and al- 
kali to the negative. Thus the decomposition of iodide of potassium 
by electricity affords a very good means of distinguishing the poles. 
The brown color of the iodine always appears at the positive pole. The 
whole solution soon presents the color of iodine. 

Chloride of Sodium, — A solution of common salt decomposes quite 
readily, chlorine appearing at the positive and hydrogen and oxide of 
sodium at the negative pole. If the positive needle is platinum, the 
odor of chlorine is at once detected ; if it is of copper, the chlorine 
unites with the copper, making the solution turbid. 

Aceictte of Lead, — ^This salt in solution decomposes with comparative 
slowness by secondary action, peroxide of lead appearing at the poai 



The water 

tjwe pole, and hanging from it in light tiireads or masses* 
frcqueotly decomposes before the lead yields at all. 

JVbdi/ij IriS'Jiings, — It is by the electrolysis of lead that the beau- 
fiil iris-rings arc produced. A polished steel plate is put in a dilute 
ludon of acetate of lead The steel plate is connected with the 
sitive pole of a galvanic battery, while a wire, connected with the 
egative pole, ts put in the solution. Peroxide of lead is at once libe- 
on the steel beneath the wire, and a film extends outward, but 
ing thmner and thinner. Thus a series of concentric circles is 
rmed exhibiting bright iris colors. 

NUric Add, — Strong nitric acid conducts well and decomposes, oxy* 

'^eo appealing at the positive pole, nitrous acid and nitric oxyd at the 

oegacive pole. Dissolution takes place, and the water becomes yellow, 

N^if rati iff Potash, — This is a good conductor, and }ields secondary 


Su//hurotis Acid, — ^This, when diluted, yields oxygen at the positive 
l^alct and hydrogen and sulphur at the negative. 

Sulphuric Acid. — ^This yields sulphur at the negative pole, and pio- 
chces secondary' results. 

Muriaiic Acid. — A strong solution of this yields hydrogen at the 
negative pole, and chlorine at the positive pole. 

EUctra-metaliurgy. — Electro-metaUurgy, or the art of precipitating 
\s from their solutions by the galvanic current, is a result of llie 
k$€0%'ery of electrolysis— is indeed itself simply an electrolytic pro- 
There are two divisions of this art^-electrotyping and electro* 
\g, ITie art of electro metallurgy was discovered, independently, 
\y Spencer, in England, and Jacobi, in Petersburg, in 1837. Electro 
ding was discovered by Brugnatelli, a pupil of Volta, but was first 
iscd by M. de la Rive. 
l%4^y of Electrolysis. — The theory of electrolysis at present accepted 
the following : In every compound one of the elements is electro 
isitive, the other, electro negative. Under the influence of the 
ising electricities from the electrodes, decomposition and recompo- 
ftition go on from one pole to the other. But these decompositions and 
rccoraj>ositions are seen only at the electrodes. 

This may be illustrated by the electrolysis of water. Water ts com- 
of one atom of oxygen and two atoms of hydrogen. Oxygen ts 
ctro-negative and hydrogen is electro-positive. 

now, the electrodes are dipped in water, the electro-negative 
the molecule a (Fig, 22) is attracted to the positive pole, and 
Ae electro- negative hydrogen is repelled. 



Fig. m. 

The oxygen is then given off at the positive pole, while the liberated 
hydrogen unites itself with the next atom of oxygen of the molecule 

by while the original atom of hy- 
drogen is expelled. 

This atom of hydrogen unites 
with the oxygen of the molecule 
c, drives out the hydrogen with 
which that atom had been pre- 
viously combined, and so on through the whole series of molecules 
until the negative pole is reached^ Here the hydrogen has no more 
oxygen to combine with, so it is liberated as gas. 

The electrolysis of all other electrolytes is similarly explained. This 
simple and ingenious theory was devised by Grotthiiss. 

Decomposed Elements appear only at the Electrodes, — In electrolysis 
the elements decomposed appear only at the electrodes ; the interme- 
diate region presents no change, although, of course, it must be trav- 
ersed by the decompositions that occur. This is illustrated by the 
following experiment of Davy : Three vessels are connected by a cot- 
ton wick thoroughly moistened. In one vessel is placed an alkaline salt, 
and in the other two, water. The liquid of all three vessels is colored 
with syrup of violets. When the galvanic current is made to pass through 
the vessels, the liquid at the negative pole becomes green^ and the 
liquid at the positive becomes red, demonstrating that the acid goes to 
the positive and the alkaline base to the negative pole. The fluid in 
the middle vessel suffered no change of color, although it must have 
been traversed by the acid in the solution. 

Electrolysis compared with the Reactions in the Batteries, — It will be 
observed that the chemical action that takes place in the fluids of any 
battery is similar to electrolysis. The two are, indeed, facts of pre- 
cisely the same nature. The action in the battery is accompanied by 
an electric current ; the action in electrolysis occurs as a result of the 
passage of a current. 

In the section on Electro-Surgery it will be shown that all these phy- 
sical laws of electrolysis hav2 a direct and necessary bearing on the use 
of electrolysis in surgery. 


II ACN KTt^M — r H E RMO -E L EC r R r C B AITE R I E S. 

Indmtd BUctric'tty^ or EUctra-Magnetism : Electro dynatnical Indue- 
iipn, — We have seen that induction means the action that electrified 
bodies exert on other bodies at a distance. Electrons tatical induction 
has already been treated of* We have now to speak of the induction 
of current-electricity. 

ProC Oersted, of Copenhagen, first observed that the electric cur- 
rent, brought near a magnetic needle, caused it to deflect. This was 
Uie earliest observation in electro-magnetism. 

Philosophers at once set themselves al work to explain this phenome- 
non. The discovery was not an accidental one on the part of Oersted, 
For years he had been occupied with the study of electro-physics, and 
as early as 1S07 he had published a work in which he stated that he 
pur|K>sed to ascertain whether electricity in its most latent state had 
any cfiTect on the magnet* His first discover)^ that the needle had a 
tendency to place itself at right angles to the wire in which a current was 
pa«hsing. was a natural sequence and confirmation of his early researches. 
This discovery by Oersted formed another era in the science of elec- 
tricity ; for in 1820 the enthusiasm caused by the discoveries of Gal van! 
and V^oUa had subsided, just as the enthusiasm caused by the Leyden 
j jr and Franklin's kite had died away when Galvani made his renowned 

AmpH'is Theory of Magnetism. — Among the many scientists who 
sought to explain and unfold the phenomena of electro-maguettsm as 
discovered by Oersted^ it was reserved for Ampere to achieve the 
liighesr success. This theory, which was developed by rigid mathemat- 
ical dctnonstrations, was, that each molecule of a magnetic body is trav- 
ersed by chsed electric currents. These currents are free to move 
about tlieir centres of gravity, but the coercitive force ^ which is weadt in 
soft iron but great in steel, tends to keep them in position. 


Before a magnetic body is magnetized these molecular currents, oi 
rings of electricity, by their mutual attraction neutralize each other, 
so that their combined action on any other substance is nothing. 

When a body is magnetized^ these molecular currents assume a paraU 
Id direction. The more complete the magnetization, the more nearly 
parallel they become. When they are completely parallel, the limit of 
magnetization is reached. Ampere further supposes that all these mo- 
lecular currents are equivalent to a single current circulating round the 
magnet. Still further, and in consonance with his theory, Ampdre sup- 
posed that terrestrial magnetic effects were due to magnetic currents 
that circulate round the earth from east to west, perpendicular to tnc 
magnetic meridian. The resultant of these currents is a single cur- 
rent going from east to west. These currents, which are supposed 
to be due to the action of the sun, deflect magnetic needles, magne- 
tize iron, etc. 

The Electric Current acts as a Magnet : Solenoids. — In confirma- 
tion of Ampere's theory of magnetism, it is found that when a helix, or 
spirals of covered wire, coated in such a way that one of the wires passes 
through the axis (solenoid, as it is called), is suspended into cups of 
mercury, and traversed by a current, it will act like a magnetic needle 
and point from north to south. Ampere gave the following nile by 
which the directions of the needle under the current can be under- 
stood : Let the observer imagine himself placed in the wire, so that a 
current enters at his feet and leaves at his head, while his face is turned 
toward the needle; the pole will always be deflected toruard the left 
of the observer. 

Helix. — In a helix of a copper wire through which a current circu- 
lates, each convolution of the spiral m2,y be regarded as one of the little 
magnets of Ampere's theory. The ends of the spiral, when the current 
passes through it, act on a magnetic needle like the poles of a magnet 
Ampere's theory explains two important magnetic phenomena. 

ist. Why like poles repel and unlike attract. 

Two north poles of a magnet side by side have opposite cur- 
rents and repel each other. Similarly with two south poles. But a 
north and south have currents in the same direction and attract each 

2d. \Vhy a magnetic needle places itself north and south. A 
magnet can come to rest only when the current below it, nearest the 
earth, is parallel to the earth-current. The magnetic needle turns to 
the north to allow the currents below it to become parallel to the earth's' 



Ehctr^magmitk Helix, — Magnetism is induced in a bar of soft iron 
by the siraplc passage of a currenl near it, in a direction at right angles 
to the bar. If, however, the wire (Fig. 23) encircles the iron many 
ttines, this effect will be much in- 
CTeased. Let a current be passed 
over the frixe in the direction of the 
arrows, and the iron within will be- 
cofiie strongly magnetic, with its 
poles as shown by the letters S and 
N. If the enclosed iron be not too 
bea^'}^ it will be drawn to the centre ^*°* '3- 

and held suspended there. 

When the current is broken ^ the iron ceases to be magnetic ; while, 
if a bar of hardened steel be substituted for the iron, it will retain its 
niagnetism permanently. Such a coil of wire is called a helix, from 
Sli^y a winding, and a magnet formed in the manner described is tenned 
an eleciro-magnei^ 

Fig. 24 represents the general form of an electro-magnet. It is com- 
|ioscd of a bar of soft iron, bent into the 
form of a horseshoe. An insulated wire is 
coiled round its extremities. When a cur- 
rent of electricity is passed tlirough the cofl, 
llie horseshoe-bar becomes magnetic, and 
attracts the armature. If the current is 
broken, the bar becomes demagnetized and 
the armature falls to the ground. Perma- 
nent magnets possess much less power than 

If the iron bar within the helix be more 
than a third of an inch in thickness, and the 
current be of moderate strength, the mag- fw. 14. 

netism induced is in proportion to the 

strength of the current, and of the number of turns in the coil. Ad- 
ditional coils of the wire give no increased magnetism, if the bar is 
thinner than one- third of an inch. In this case maximum is soon 
reached. Again, if the circuit is made very long, thus reducing the 
strength of the current, the advantage usually gained by the thick bar, 
and by increasing the number of coils, may be lost The iron bar 
sliould be perfectly pure and well annealed, in order that the electrcK 
magnet may quickly acquire and as quickly lose its magnetism od 
rlcwtng and breaking the circuit. 


Direction of the Induced Current, — If a current of electricity is passed 

through any conductor, it will in- 
^A a- duce a current in the opposite direc- 

tion in a second conductor situated 
y ^ parallel to the first Let A B, Fig. 

Fig. «5. 25, be a wire connected at either 

extremity with the poles of a gal- 
vanic battery, and M N a second wire parallel and near to the first. 
As soon as the circuit is formed and a current passes ftom + to — , a 
secondary current is induced in the second wire, but in an opposite 

This current is, however, but for an mstant As soon as the circuit 
is broken, an instantaneous current, with its direction reversed, is again 
established in the second wire. 

Different Orders of Induced Currents, — Induced or secondary cur- 
rents have themselves the power of producing induced currents in other 
adjacent circuits. Currents thus induced from secondary induced 
currents are called tertiary induced currents. These tertiary induced 
currents have also the power of producing induced currents in an ad- 
jacent circuit, and so for a long series. 

Currents produced in this way are in opposite directions alternately, 
and tlieir strength diminishes the higher they ascend. 

As a secondary current flows in a direction opposite to that of the 
battery current, so the tertiary flows in a direction opposite t6 the 
secondary. This law holds good throughout the whole series, — the 
strength of the current diminishing as the distance from the battery 

The manifestation of electrical action in the secondary coil, upon 
closing and breaking the circuit, is called the electric throby while the 
passive condition of the wire while under induction has been described 
by Faraday as electro-tonic. 

If the primary coil be movable, so that it can be brought in closer 
proximity to the secondary coil while the current is passing, an inverse 
current is produced at the moment of its approach, the same as when 
the circuit is closed. If now the primary coil be withdrawn, a direct 
current is produced, the same as when the circuit is broken. As long 
as the primary coil remains in one position, all evidence of electricity 
in the secondary wire disappears. If, however, while in this position, 
the strength of the primary current be increased or diminished, mo- 
mentary currents are established in the secondary coil ; the inverse 
following the increase, and the direct current following the decrease in 

Let A represent Uie primary coil, which is composed of wool-covered 
wire ^ of an inch in diameter; and B the secondary coil, of silk- 

covered wire, much longer than the other, and about •^^ of an inch in 
diameter. Now let the secondary coil be connected with the galvan- 
ometer, G, by means of the two bin ding- screws, while the primary coil, 
by two loose and flexible wires, is placed in the circuit of a galvanic 
cell. As soon a^ A is inserted into B, a momentary inverse current is 
indicated. If it be withdrawn, the galvanometer indicates a monien- 
tary direct current. While the primary coil remains in the secondary, 
the needle announces the induction of currents according to the prin- 
ciples stated above, whenever tlie strength of the primary current is 
increased or diminished. 

77i£ Condiiions under which Induction takes place.— To sum up iu 
bnet Induction takes place from one circuit into an adjacent circuit, 
1st. At the moment when die current is closed, 2d, ''lie moment 
irhen the current is opened 3d. While the current is increasing or 
diminishing in strength. 4th. WTiile the current is brought near to 01 
removed iiom the adjacent circuit. A current that closes or increase; 



in strength, or is brought near to an adjacent circuit, induces an inifersi 
momentary current in that circuit A current that opens or diminishes 
in strength, or is removed from an adjacent circuit, induces a direct 
momentary current in that circuit. It will be seen, therefore, that in- 
duction takes place only when there is some change in the condition oj 
the inducing current. It must be closed or opened, increased or dimin- 
ished in strength, brought near to or removed from the adjacent circuit. 
In the ordinary electro-magnetic machines these changes are made 
by a rheotome^ or current-interrupter, and the strength of the current 
is modified by withdrawing or removing a metallic cylinder enclosing 
the coils, or by withdrawing or removing the core of iron needles. 

Induction of a Current on Itself : Extra Current. — The extra cur- 
rent is that which is induced by the current in each coil, or winding of 
the primary coil on the other adjacent windings. 

The windings act inductively on each other both at the opening and 
closing of the circuit. Thus we have a direct and an inverse extra cur- 
rent. The direct extra current gives shocks and sparks, decomposes 
water, magnetizes steel, and melts platinum-wire. The electro-motive 
force of the extra current bears a uniform relation to the intensity of 
the primary or inducing current. When the secondary coil is closed^ 
the extra current does not appear in the primary coil, but by what is 
called reaction it is formed in the secondary coil itself, and becomes 
an ordinary induced current. 

It is called the extra current only so long as it remains in the pri- 
mary coil ; it so remains only when the secondary coil is open, 

Rheoiome^ or Current-interrupter, — Among 
the different contrivances for producing these 
changes in the primary current that are neces- 
sary for induction, the most convenient is the 
Rlieotome, or Current-ititerrupter, 

This, when placed in the circuit of the pri- 
mary coil, alternately closes and opens the cur- 
rent, and thus causes induced currents in the 
secondary coil. 

Fig. 27 represents a current-interrupter. 

---N^ N^^*'^ ^"^o the iron covering A are fastened the 

\g^^ ends of the iron wires of the core within the 

Fic aj. coil. 

The hammer H is attached to a spring D, 
which is in the primary circuit ; / is a projection tipped with plati- 
num, because that metal does not corrode ; /', connected with the 





screw, Is also tipped with platinmn. When the circuit is closed* the 
''ore of iron -wire A becomes magnetic, and draws H away from /' 
against which it naturally rests* This breaks the current, for the circuit 
is cotnpleted through the connection of/ and/'. As the carrent ia 
hroken, A of course loses its magnetism, and no longer has power to 
attract H ; therefore the spring D brings H back to/', where it natur- 
ally rests. This completes the circuit^ and again A becomes magnetic, 
and again it attracts H, and thus H is kept rapidly vibrating with a 
buzzing sound between A and/*. These constant interruptions keep 
up an induced current in the secondary coil. The screw b gives the 
necessary stiffness to D. 

Object cf the Iron Core in the Primary Coil. — The inductive po\ver 
of the primary current is very greatly increased by putting a bar of soft 
iron or a bundle of iron wires in the heart of the primary coil The 
iron core strengthens the current in this way. It becomes magnetic by 
the action of the current, and this magnetism disappears when the cur- 
rent opens. The disappearance of the magnetism induces a current in 
the same direction as the disappearing primary current, and thus 
\l\\au% it. In electro- magnetic machines, as used for electro* 
therapeutics, this iron core is a very convenient means for modifying 
the current. Pushing it in the coil increases the curreot, withdrawing 
%l diminishes the current 

A bundle of wires is preferable to a single bar of soft iron, for in the 
latter, curteiits are formed which impede the sudden cessation of the 
primary current, while in tlie former these cannot be formed. 

Thickness and Length of the Outer and Inner Wires. — It is a law of 
elcctro-physics that wires of a large diameter conduct electricity better 
than wires of a small diameter. It is necessary that the primary cur- 
rent should be strong, since its principal object is to excite magnetism 
in the crire ; consequently the coil is made of thick wire and of moderate 
length. The secondary coil, however, is made of very thin wire, and 
of great length, so that as many turns as possible may be brought 
within the influence of the core and of the primary coil, and thus pro- 
duce a secondary current. As with the galvanic or inducing current, 
the electro- motive force of the battery is proportionate to the ntim- 
bcT of cells; so with the induced or secondary current, the electro 
motive force of the coil is proportionate to the number of turns or coili 
in it. 

Induction Coils and Electro-magnetic Machines^ — An induction coil 
for philosophical or electro-therapeutical purposes consists usually of 
iwtf he^*'es or coiis of mre enclosing a bar of soft iron or a bundle of 



iron wins.^ The inner coil is counected with the poles of a battery, 
and there is some arrangement for breaking the current. The innei 
coil is composed of tolerably coarse wire, and is comparatively shorL 
The current that runs through it is called the primary^ or sometimes 
the inducing, current. The outer coil is in no way connected with 
the inner coil» but receives by induciion a current from the current of 
the inner coil as it is alteniately broken and closed. The ouiir 
coil is composed q{ fine wire, and it is very much longer than the 
inner coiL 

The finer and longer the wire, the greater the tension of the current 
The current that comes through the outer coil is called the secomiary 
current, in distinction from that which comes from the inner coil, which 
is called the primary. In both coils the copper is insulated with silk 

Rtihmkorff' s CotL — The most powerful of all coils, and the one best 
adapted for philosophical experiments, is that of Ruhmkorff, of Paris. 
It is about 14 inches in length. The inner coil is of copper, is al>out 
2 mm. in diameter, and 4 or 5 yards long. It is coiled on a cylinder 
of card-board, and is enclosed in au insulating cylinder of glass or 


F(Gw »8. 

The wire of the outer coil is of copper, from -J to ^ ram. in diametcit 
and from thirty to sixty miles in length. The distinctive features of 
this coil arc these : 

I St. It is coiled in sections so as to avoid the induction of the outer 
coil on itself^ which is liable to take place when it is very long and the 
tension is high, however thorough the insulation. 

• In the ranchine of Kidder, to be described under Electro-Therapeutic?, tlve h^it 
is composed uf three or more colk of wlre^ not distinct, but connected. 



L The insularion is very comjilete. The wire is covered wilh silk, 
and each winding is separated from the others by a layer of shellac 
In the larger coils of Rtihinkorff the induced currents are thousands of 
times stronger ihan the primary current that excites them, 

77ie Condenser of Ruhmkorff's Coil. — The intensity of the current of 
the secondary coil is increased by interposing a condenser in the circuit. 
In RuhmkortTs coil die condenser consists of 130 sheets of tin-foil 18 
inches square, and with a surface of about 75 square yards* These 
sheets are coiled around insulating oiled silk, and around each other, so 
as lo form two armatures, and the whole is placed below the helix in 
the base of the apparatus. 

Being introduced into the circuit, tt receives the extra current and 
increases its tension. It stores up aud utilizes force that would oUier- 
wise be wasted in the form of sparks at the interrupter. 

Effects produced by Ruhmkorff* s Coii, — ^The tension of Ruhmkorff*s 
coil is enormous, and for the reasons above given — the length and fine- 
ness of the secondary wire and the power of the condenser. It possesses 
.all tJjc properties of statical as well as dynamuai electricity. It is 
ipable of giving a shock so violent as to prostrate a man, and if a 
sufficient number of elements are connected with it, it could kill as by 
a stroke of liglilning. When two couples are connected with it^ it will 
kill a rabbit* It causes tine iron wire to melt and burn with a bright 
light It can rapidly decompose water, or produce luminous efifects in 
the water without deconrposiiion. 

It decomposes and combines gases. Passed through a hermetically 
sealed tube containing air, it forms nitrous acid from the nitrogen and 
oxygen. It can produce a spark eighteen inches in length in the air. 

In vacuo it produces most remarkable effects. In the so-called 
their ic egg^ a luminous trail is observed between the poles. At the 
positive pole the light is red and brilHant ; at the negative, feeble and 
violet. If vapor of alcohol^ or turpentine, or bisulphide of carbon, be 
introduced into the vessel, it appears in the form of alternate light and 
dark ^ones or strata. The tints vary with the nature of the vapor. 
The same phenomena are obtained by the ordinary galvanic current 
from a large number of cells. The luminous effects of the coil are as 
great from a single cell as from a large number. 

In electro- therapeutics a wide variety of electro-magnetic machines 
have been devised. Most of them are run by one or two cells, like 
Smee's or Walker's, and the current generated is just sufficient for ap- 
plication to tlie human body, and are but little adapted for the pbilo 
sophical room. 


The largest induction coil of which we have any knowledge is that of 
Apps, in London. It is nine feet ten inches long, and its diameter is 
two feet. The soft-iron core is five feet long, four inches in diameter, 
and weighs 125 pounds. The length of the primary coil is 3,770 yards, 
while that of the secondary coil is one hufidred and fifty miles. This 
battery is excited by 48 large Bunsen cells. It gives a flash twenty- 
nine inches long that will perforate five inches of solid plate-glass. At 
the Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, there is also an induc- 
tion coil of great power. 

Properties of Induced Currents. — Induced currents have in different 
degrees all the properties of the ordinary galvanic current. They pro- 
duce chemical, thermic, luminous, and physiological effects. They 
deflect the magnetic needle, magnetize steel, and are capable of them- 
selves exciting induced currents. There is a difference, however, be- 
tween the effects of the direct induced and inverse induced. The 
direct gives a powerful shock, the inverse a mild shock. 

The direct magnetizes to the point of saturation, the inverse does 
not magnetize. 

In their action on the galvanometer they are about equal In quan- 
tity, the direct and inverse induced currents are about the same ; but 
the tension of the direct induced is greater than that of the inverse 

Comparative Chemical Effects of the Galvanic and Induced Currents. 
— ^That the chemical character of currents of induction is distinctive from 
the galvanic is proved by the following experiment : When the platinum 
ix)les connected with an induced current are placed in water, water is 
decomposed and oxygen produces oxidation of platinum, which is re- 
duced to metallic platinum by the recombination of the hydrogen with 
the oxygen. This process takes place at both poles, so that both 
become covered with a powder of platinum. 

If a solution of iodide of potassium and starch is brought into the 
circuit, the blue color appears at both poles. When the galvanic cur- 
rent is used, the blue color appears only at the positive pole. When 
the induced current is sent through water it decomposes it, just as the 
galvanic current does the oxygen and hydrogen, both appearing at 
both poles ; but they recombine, and thus the water does not appear 
to be decomposed at all. 

It is of the first importance to the electro- therapeutist to understand 
electro-magnetism, for it is the form of electricity most used in electro- 

Magneto-electricity. — Magneto-electric induction is the induction of 



It is, as the term implies, the reverse 
There are two forms of magneto-el ec- 

dectnc currents by magnetism. 
of electro-magnetic induction 
trie induction. 

The first and most familiar form is when a current is induced in a 
\ wX of insulated wire. The second form is when a current is induced in 
conducting plates. 

Under electro-magnetic induction we have seen that the coil of 
wire in which a current circulates produces a contrary induced cur- 
rent in an adjacent coil whenever a change is made in the current by 
opening, closing, withdrawing, or approaching it. The strength of the 
induced current is proportioned to the amount and suddenness of these 
changes. If now we substitute for the primary or inducing coil a per- 
manent bar mag net i and cause it to approach or withdraw from the ad* 
jacent coil, it induces a current in that coil, This principle is the 
basis of all the magneto-electric machines that are so familiar to stu- 
dents of philosophy, and that were once so much used in electro-thera- 

The development of magneto electricity is shown in a very simple 
inanD^^ by the common horseshoe magnet, its armature, 
and a copper wire. Let the armature A B be encircled 
by the wire C, one end of which is flattened and amal- 
gamated with nitrate of mercury, and the other filed to 
a point \Mien the armature is placed upon the magnet, 
the moment of contact, when it is withdrawn, and the 
act of witlidrawal, will each be marked by a spark of 
electricity at C, where the two extremities of the wire 

The electric current flows in one direction at the in- 
stant magnetism is induced in the soft iron wliich is 
enclosed by the coil of wire, and in the opposite direc- 
tioo when its magnetism is destroyed. 

In the electro-magnetic machines in ordinary use a soft-iron arma 
ttlie covered with wire is made to rotate in front of the poles of a per- 
niaijent horseshoe magnet. As the armature rotates^ its two ends are, 
of course, alternately brought near to and removed from the bars of the 
ma^ct, and thus two currents are induced in the wires that cover the 
nature. Each current lasts half of a revolution, and if the rotation 

^ rapidly kept up, a current is produced which may be perceived when 
the ends of the wires are joined. 

A Continuous Current from Magneto-electric Machines. — When the 
annatures of tiie magneto-electric machine are made to revolve with 

Fig, »9, 


sufficient rapidity, a continuous current is produced which has all the 
properties of the galvanic current. Magneto-electric currents are, 
therefore, extensively used in electrolytic experiments and in electro- 
plating. It is possible that some of these may be utilized in electro- 

Currents induced by Magnetism in Conducting-flates: Magnetism 
of Rotation. — In 1824-5 Arago discovered that when a copper disk re- 
volved with great rapidity under a needle resting on a disk above the 
disk, the needle deflected in the direction of the motion of the disk. 
After a time, if the movement be sufficiently rapid, the needle refuses 
to remain fixed, and turns around after the disk. The explanation of 
this phenomenon was given by Faraday in 183 1. He showed that it 
arose from the reaction of the currents induced in the plate by the mag- 
net. The magnetism of rotation is only one of the many phenomena 
connected with induction. All these phenomena — induction by currents 
of magnetism and by rotation — are explained by the theory of Ampere 
before cited. They are at once in harmony with that theory and con- 
firmatory of it. 

History of Induction. — ^The discovery that electric currents of mag- 
netism can induce currents in neighboring circuits was made by Faraday 
in 1830. His researches on the subject were pubHshed in the Philo- 
sophical Transactions in 1831 and 1832. 

This discovery of Faraday, like 'that of Oersted, was the result, not 
of accident, but of long and laborious experimentation. As early as 
1825 Faraday had sought to make a wire, through which the galvanic 
current was passing, induce a current in a neighboring wire, just as a 
conductor charged with Franklinic electricity would have done. Not 
until 183 1 did he find out that the current must be broken or closed, 
or approached or withdrawn, before i(: could induce a current in a 
neighboring wire. 

In 1832 Prof. Henry, then of New Jersey, now of the Smithsonian 
Institute, Washington, observed phenomena which, in 1834, Faraday 
showed were due to the extra current. In 1837 Bachhoffner and 
Sturgeon showed that a bundle of wire was better in an induction appa- 
ratus than a rod of soft iron. 

In 1 84 1 Prof. Henry studied the inductive action of currents on 
currents. In 1850 or 1851 Ruhmkorff constructed the induction-coil, 
and in 1853 Fizeau greatly increased its power by adding to it a con- 
denser. The discovery that discharges of the Leyden jar made a 
primary spiral induce a current in a secondary spiral, and that currents 
of the third, fourth, and fifth order can be thus produced, and of suffi- 



'^iGfSilglll to give shocks, bum, etc, was made simultaneously by 
Profji. Henry, of Washington, and Riess, of Berlin, 

The first magnetoelectric machme was made by Faraday in 1831. 
The first machine of the style now used was made by Pixii in 1832, 
Improvemems have been since made bySaxton (1833), Clarke (1836), 
Pelrine (1844), Stuhrer (1844), Siemens, Halske, Duchenne, and 


ThirmO'electrkiiy is thai form of efeciricity that arises from the heai- 
mg of two heterogeneous conductors at their junction. The two most 
important methods of generating thermal currents are, ist, with two 
[torlions of the s^nie metal ; and ad, with two difierent kinds of metal. 
Thermo-electricity generated hy One Metal, — If a copper wire be 
cut into two |>iece5» and one of the ends be heated to redness and 
pressed against the end of the other piece, a current of electricity is 
produced. This is demonstrated by the galvanometer. 

When different portions of the same metal have different structures, 
a current is obtained when the point where both structures come 
together is heated 

Iff for example^ a platinum wire be twisted or bent on itself, this 
twisting so changes the structure of the wire that a current is generated 
by heating tlie point of union between the twisted and non-twisted 

Thermo electricity generated by 7\m Metals, — Let A and R (Fig, 30) 
be respectively bars of antinujny and bisnuith^ soldered to- 
gether, while G represents a galvanometer connected by two 
wires with the free extremities of the metals. 

When the junction S of the metals is heated, a current of 
electricity is generated, which llows from the bismuth to the 
antimony, as shown by the arrow. If the junction S is chilled 
by applying ice, a current is also produced, but in the appo- 
site direction. This combination constitutes a thermo-electric 

Thermo-electric Batteries. — ^A number of thermo-electric 
couples soldered together so that the coi)per or antimony of 
aoe is soldered to the bismuth of the other, and so on, is called a 
ihermoeliciric battery. The current is generated by heating one row 
of the soldered faces^ or, as the current depends on the difference of 
temperature of the two sides, by applying ice to one side and heat to 
tjie other. 

Fig. ja 



The basis of all electrical measurement is Ohm*s law, which is, that 
llic fuantity of electricity passing through any point in a circuii 
VMries directly as the electro-motive foree^ and inversely as the resistance. 
Putting Q for quantity, E for electro-motive force, and R for resistance, 
he law is thus expressed : Q = ?. 

This law was discovered by Prof, Ohm, of Nuremberg, in 1827, and 
>r a long time was neglected. It is the north-star of dynamical elec- 
■idly. Those who can keep this always in sight need never lose their 
ray, however long or intricate the explorations they may make in this 
i\X)rtant and fascinating realm. Although originally nothing but a 
beory, yet it has been powerfully conlirmed by the mathematical calcu* 
)s of Fcchner, Pouillet, Koldrausch, Daniell, De la Rive, and 
^'hcatstone, and has proved itself competent to explain all the phe- 
nofnena with which it has to do. Just as the strength of the theory of 
ravilatioii consists m its power to account for the movements of the 
system, just as the strength of the undulatory theory consists in 
awer to explain the complex phenomena of light, so the strength 
of Ohm's law consists in its power to account for the phenomena of dy- 
namical electricity. As no one can be master in astronomy without 
understanding gravitation, or in optics without understanding the undu- 
itory tiieory, so no one can be master in electricity without under- 
tanding Ohm's law. 
We shall endeavor to make this law and its application as clear as 
nature of the subject will allow, It is necessary to define certain 
as that are not very familiar ; first of all, units of measurement, 
A unit is an abstract term to express any determined quantity^ by the 
>ip€fitwn of which any other quantity of the same kind can be measured. 
An ohm i* a unit of resistance ; one million ohms — one megohm; 
t»nc millionth of an ohm = one microhm. 

A number of units of resistance have been proposed — among others, 


definite lengths of wires of a definite thickness ; but wire is rarely purc» 
and the different specimens widely vary. 

In 1864 the British Association, acting on the suggestion of Webefj 
decided that electrical resistance could be expressed as an absolute ve- 
locity, without any reference to the substance that conducts. This unit, 
which expresses a velocity of 10,000,000 metres in a second, is called a 
B, A,^ or British Association^ unit. 

Previous to this action of the Association the best known units were 
those of Siemen and Varley. Siemeris unit is a column of pure 
mercury, one metre long and one square millimetre in sections at o® C. 
Varices unit was one mile of ordinary copper- wire, No. 16, -j^ of an 
inch in diameter at 60° F. The B, A, unit of the British Association is 
embodied in an alloy of platinum and silver. This alloy has the ad- 
vantage of German silver, that its conducting power does not change 
with long use. 

The unit of electro-motive force is called a volt, A volt is equal to 
about the force of a Daniell cell, or the decimal -9268. 

The unit of quantity is a farad. In other words, a farad is the 
quantity of electricity which, with a certain electro-motive force, flows 
through a certain resistance. 

The terminolog}' of electricity in general has been atrociously diffi- 
cult and obscure, but nowhere has there been deeper obscurity and 
grosser misunderstanding and inconsistency than in the application of 
the terms resistance^ quantity^ tension^ and electro -motive force. 

Electro-motive Force. — The electro-motive force is the force that urges 
forward the current. 

It is the origin of tension^ to be hereafter defined. This force if 
modified — 

ist. By the nature of the plates of which the element is composed. 

2d. By the nature and strength of the acid solution. 

3d. By the number of elements in the solution. 

Substances that stand at or near the two extremes of the electro- 
positive and electro-negative series, generate a stronger electro motive 
force than substances that stand near each other. 

Zinc and platinum or zinc and carbon give more electro-motive 
force than zinc and copper, because the difference in their oxidability 
is greater, and they stand farther apart in the electro-positive and 
electro-negative series. 

Plates that are imperfect in their stnicture, or which contain impuri- 
ties that generate currents in opposition to the main current, or plates 
that are worn o» t, or are er crusted with the products of chemical 

ohm's law— electro-motive force. 


composition, give less electro-motive force than plates that are per- 
fect, fresh, and clean. 

Similarly also the electro-motive force is diminished by the polarizing 
■ction of the carrent in the celL Thus, in the Sniee cell, the hydrogen 
that gathers on the platinum plate and the oxygen that gathers on the 
line, generate a current that is opposite in direction to the main cur- 
rent, and enfeebles it ; and for this reason, lifting the plates out of the 
liquid a moment to allow the gases that form on them to escape, 01 
vigorously agitating the liquid, at once increases the electro-motive 
force* Strong acids which excite vigorous chemical action give more 
clcctxo-motive force than weak acids, and therefore it is that sulphuric 
ftod nitric and chromic acids are so much used in batteries. 

\^Tien the proportion of acid in the solution is large, electro-motive 
force is greater than when it is small Strong solutions, however, con- 
sunac the plates faster, and the electro -motive force will be reduced 
thereby sooner, other conditions being the same, than when weak sohi- 

Etions are used. 
The electro-motive force is exactly proportioned to the number oj 
fltmenis^ without regard to tlieir size. Two elements give twice as 
mtich electro-motive force as one element, and one hundred elements 
give one hundred times as much as one element of a similar character. 
This cao be proved by a galvanometer, with a long resistance-coil, 
where the deflection of the needle will be in pretty exact proportion to 

ithc mimber of cells brought into the circuit. The exactness of tliis 
proportion is of course modified by the imperfections of individual ele- 
ments, or by variation in the quantity and strength of solution in each 
cell J but the law always holds good. 
As with the long-coil galvanometer, so with the human body, or any 
other powerful resistance whatsoever, the electro*motive force that passes 
through it will be — all other conditions being the same — proportioned 
to the numker of elements and without regard to their site. If a series 
of veiy large elements are opposed to an equal series of very small 
I dements of similar construction, no current will pass; they will neu- 
^B traliie each other. If both be tested by the galvanometer with a long 
^■resistance, they will cause similar deflections of the needle, 
^f llii quantity of electricity that passes through a circuit is directly pro- 
f0rtioned to the electro -motive force* If there were no resistance in the 
circuit, quantity and electro-molive force would be the same : Q = E. 
BttI tlicre can be no circuit without some resistance, therefore Q nevei 
equals E. 

Electro- motive force of different batteries, approximately: 


Grove, , ,• .,,..100 

Bunscn . , , * .......*... 98 

Daniel! 56 

Smee (when not in action} 57 

" (when in action) 25 

WoUaston (copper and zinc) 46 

Mari6 Davy (sulphate of mercury and graphite) . 76 

Chloride of silver 62 

Chloride of lead 30 

These estimates are the mean of a very large number of Dbserva 
dons by Latimer Clark, taken on a sine galvanometer The electro- 
motive force is somewhat modilied by various undetermined causes* 

Tenswfif or Potential. — Tension is that quality of electricity by 7vhich 
it overcomes resistance. This definition is practical rather than strictly 
scientific, and can only be understood by explanation. 

Tension is a result of the electromotive force, and is dependent on it, 
and by mistake the two are often confounded. The sum and the diffe- 
rences of electro motive force are always equal to the sum and diffe- 
rences of tension, but they are differently distributed in the circuit. 
By mathematicians the term potential, suggested by Green, is preferred 
to tension. The term is a relative one, and no body or part of a body 
can be said to have an absolute tension or potential. The potential of 
a body is really the difference between its potential and that c^{ the 
earthy which is assumed to be zero. Electricity flows from a body or 
part of a body at a higher potential, to a body or part of a body at a 
lower potential, and the work which it does measures its amount 
Differences of potential may be compared to differences of level for 
water. As water tends to flow from a higher level to a lower level un- 
til all is of a uniform height, so electricity tends to tlow from a higher 
to a lower potential until the potential of all parts of the conductor is 
the same, and ceases to flow. An instance of extreme tension is found 
in lightning, where it is caused by the differences in the e!ectro-motive 
forces between two clottds, or between the clouds and the eaiih. 

The tension of the frictional machine is very great, for the reason 
that it is not at all influenced by the resistance of the circuit, which 
in the galvanic battery is very great If the current of the galvanic 
battery encountered no resistance in the circuit, or was not affected by 
resistance, its tension would be enormous. 

The term intensity has long h^^n nsed as synonymous with tension , 
but, strictly speaking, intensity is derived from the French intcnsiti^ 


ohm's law— tension, or potential. 

to tl 


has been translated intensity, but which really means quantity. 
It is better to dispense entirely with the terra intensity, and we have 
Hone so in the present work. 

Our definition of tension may be thus illustrated : Let a battery of loo 
cells be joined in the ordinary tension arrangement^ zinc united with 
carbon and so on. Place the battery on an insulated stand, and connect 
the xinc or negative pole with the earth, leaving the other free. Regard- 
ing the earth, for convenience* sake, as zero, the copper pole will have 
m tension of o, while the free end will have a tension of loo poittr", 
\i ^ wire be connected with the free end, a current would ^q\\ from ti 
to the earth. If now we reverse the position of the poles, connecting 

^tlie carbon pole with the earth, and leaving the other free, the carbon 

end will be o, and the zinc end will be loo negative^ and if it be con- 

cted with the earth a current will flow from the earth to it. In both 

'of these cases the tension is the sanie ; in one case it is positive, in the 
otiier negative* Take the same battery, with the zinc pole connected 
with the earth, and join the carbon and zinc ends by a short, thick wire, 
and a strong current will flow through the wire. But here conies in the 

I difference between tension and electro-oiotive force, for it can be ascer* 
tained by proper tests that the electro-motive force of the battery is the 
sarne as it was before the ends were joined, but the tension has changed* 
Before, it was loo positive at the carbon end^ now it is almost o. 
If, instead of a short, thick wire, a long, fine wire that offers greater 
resistance be used to connect the poles, the tension at the carbon end 
will rise with the increase in resistance in the wire. When the n;sist- 
ance becomes infinitely great, the tension becomes too again, but it 
^^can never exceed loo, for the tension can t\c\^t exc^^d the clectro- 
^RDOtive force at any point, although it may fall very much below it 
^^ These two general laws in regard to tension should be reraem- 
bered : 

ist. It rises with the distance from the zero end of the circuit. 
2d, The quantity of electricity passing between any two points ia 
always proportioned to tlie difference of tension between diese points. 
The actual ^tension may be high or low, positive or negative, but there 
can be no current without differences of tension,* 

ITie arrangement in series (or, as it is erroneously called, "intensity 
arrangement "), is when the electro-positive element of one cell is united 
to the electro-negative element of the next cell, and so on. The " quan* 
lity airangement,'* or ^^ Multiple arc^*^ fe when all the electropositive el& 

# Om Eliclrual Mmturtment, B^ Latimer Ckrk* London, iS63, p. 17, 


ments are united to all the electronegative elements so as to make ono 
large element. The airangement in series, or a '^ tension arrangement," 
is used for all ordinary galvanization and electrolyzation. The multiple 
arc, or " quantity arrangement," is used in galvano-cautery. The phrases 
"joined for tension," or " intensity," and "joined fur quantity," are 
relics of old and exploded theories of electricity. For convenience* 
sake they are still used ; but those who understand Ohm's law need 
not be deceived by them. 

Resistance, — Resistance is that quality of a conductor thai impedet 
the passage of a circuit. 

There are two kinds of resistance in any circuit : 

I St. That of the battery itself {^Internal Resistance). 

2d. That of the connecting wires (circuit outside of the battery), the 
galvanometer, the human body, or other substance introduced into the 
circuit {External Resistance). 

How Resistance is Modified, — Resistance is modified in three ways: 

I St. By the nature of the substance, whether liquid or solid, or by itf 
special chemical composition. 

2d. By the form of the substance, whether long or short, of small or 
large diameter. 

3d. By the temperature. 

It is proved by experiment that the resistances of wires of the same 
material and of the same thickness are directly proportioned to their 
lengthy and inversely proportioned to the squares of their diameters, 

A wire one mile in length gives twice the resistance of a wire half a 
mile long, and four times the resistance of a wire one-fourth of a mile 
long. On the other hand, wires of the same metal, but of diameters 
which stand to each other in the relation i, 2, 3, offer a resistance which 
stand to each other as r, i, \, In other words, the longer the wire the 
greater the resistance, the thicker the wire tlie less the resistance. The 
same law, but less exactly, applies to liquids, and for this reason kurgt 
elements give less resistance tlian small elements. The relative specific 
resistances of a number of metals at a temperature of 54*^ F. are as 
follows : 

Copper I Iron 7.5 

Gold 1.4 Lead 11 

Zinc 3.7 Platinum 11.3 

Mercury (at 57°) 50.7. 

The converse of resistance is conduction. 

The following table of the relative conductibility of metals at 32® F 



b lakcQ from Latimer Clark. It will be perceived that it varies some 
«rhai from the above table of relative resistances : 

Slver , . - 1 DO 

Copper (pure) 99*9 

** selected (commer- 
cial),,.. 85 to 95 
Copper, ordinary (commer- 
cial) 40 to 70 

Brass 20 

Gold. 78 

Zinc .•..*.••«.. .29 

Steel ...•..♦*.. 16 

Iron 15 

German silver . * ... 1 2 to 15 

Tin 12.4 

Lead S.s 

Platinyni 6,9 

Mercury 1.6 


It will be seen that both estimates agree in making copper and silvei 
the best conductors, and for that reason copper-wire is so much used 
in making battery connections. In both tables platinum stands low in 
cx^tMluctibiUtY, and for that reason platinum wire is used when, as in 
galrano-cautery, it is required to generate heat by passing the current 
througb a rtsisiing medium. If mercury could be made in the form 
of a wire it would of course be better than platinum, since its resist- 
lAce is somewhat greater. Bismuth^ graphiU^ and coke rank still lower 
in conducting power than mercury. The resistance of liquids is enor- 
mous. Thus, taking copper- wire at 52** F* as i, the resistance of a 
^tixrated solution of sulphate of copper at 4S** F. is 16.885.520 ; ditto 
o^ chloride of sodium at 56^ F., 2.903.538; ditto of sulphate of zinc, 
15.861.267 ; sulphuric acid diluted to ^ at 68^ F., 1.032,020 ; nitric 
add at 55* F., 976.000; distilled water at 59** F., 6.734,208.000, 

It has been estimated that the human body, by virtue of the salts 
which it contains, conducts 15 or 20 times better than water^ provided 
ike lAin kt fully moistened ; and that copper conducts from three to 
four hundred million times better than the human body, 

EJfeets 0/ Temperature on .^^j/V/tJ^yr^.— Resistance is more or less 
iDodi6ed by temperature. 

Between i^ and too** G. the relative conducting power of the metals 
moaiiis the same ; at loo"^ metals lose about 30 per cent, of their 
conductibility as compared with o^ C. ; but this vanes with different 
fiietats. Conductivity is increased by annealing. Non-metallic sub- 
stances increase in conductivity as they rise in temperature. Water, 
for example, when heated conducts belter than water cold. When a 
current passes from a Uquid to a solids or vice versd^ tlie resistance if 
I crry greaL 



All Resistance relative, — No substances absolutely resist the passage 
of electricity ; even resin, glass, and sulphur, the worst conductors, do 
conduct a slight current, as can be proved by a very delicate galvano 

No perfect Conductor. — Even the best conductors, as copper and 
silver and gold, are imperfectly so ; they all resist the current more or 

This can be shown with the galvanometer, which, when brought di- 
rectly into the circuit, showr a deflection of the needle. When short 
wires of copper or silver are interposed the deflection is lessened. 

If we now comprehend the terms electro-motive force and resistance^ 
we shall have no difficulty in comprehending the term quantity, for, 
according to Ohm's law, the quantity varies directly as the electro-mo- 
tive force and inversely as the resistance. 

The quantity of electricity is the amount which passes through the 
circuit in any given lime. 

This depends, according to Ohm's law, on two factors — the electro- 
motive force and the resistance. The quantity varies directly as the 
electro-motive force ; and if there were no resistance, quantity would 
be precisely the same as electro-motive force. But the quantity varies 
inversely as the resistance^ and therefore, to find out what the quantity 
of any current is, we divide the electro-motive force by the resistance. 
The fraction thus formed is the quantity or the strength of the current^ 
as we commonly call it. There are, as we have seen, two kinds of 
resistance, that in the battery and that in the circuit outside of the bat- 
tery ; both of these must be taken into account in estimating the relation 
of the different kinds of batteries, and in selecting batteries for special 
kinds of work. Let E be the electro-motive force, R the resistance 
of the circuit outside of the battery, r the resistance in the battery ; 

then = Q, the quantity or strength of the current — the number of 

farads or measures of electricity that flow through the circuit in a given 
time. The correctness of this mathematical conclusion may be demon- 
strated on a galvanometer that has only a short resisting wire ; one cell 
will deflect the needle nearly as much as one hundred cells. Again, 
when any number of cells are joined together with great external resist- 
ance^ such as is offered by a long^ fine ivire^ or by the whole human hody^ 
for example^ the quantity of electricity that flows through the circuit 
will increase with the increase in the number of cells. 

There is no inconsistency between these phenomena. It is indeed a 
part of and a conclusion from Ohm's law. Everything depends on the 


txi€mai resistance. Although in this case, as in tlie other, each added 
cell brings in its owti internal resistance that counterbalances the elec- 
tro-motive force, yet the internal resistance bears so small a propartion 
10 the large external resi:atance that the quantity of electricity flowing 
through the circuit will be pretty dii ectly proportioned to the number 
of cells. 

Still keeping Ohni*s law before us, we can demonstrate this mathe- 

Let the eTectro-motive force of any cell be 10 volts, and the inter na* 
resistance be ao ohins, and tlie external resistance afforded by the 
human b&dy 10,000 ohms. The quantity of a single cell could be thus 
represented : 

to electro-motive force W % 

»o iotcmaJ ^lutance, and to,c»o external reMstaooe lO^QKi MM 

AgaiOi we may illustrate this as follows : 

One hundred cells are joined together and the ends are connected 
by a sliort wire. Let the electro-motive force of one cell be 10 volts 
or tmils of electro-motive force, then the electromotive force of 100 
cells will be 1,000 volts. Let the resistance in each cell be 5 ohms^ or 
ttoits of resistance, then the resistance in the 100 cells will be 500 
ohms. Let the resistance of the short connecting wires be 10,000 
ohms : now, in order to find the number of farads of electricity — that 
is, the quantity or strength of the current that flows through the con* 
Dccting wire — divide the electro-motive force by the resistance and we 
have this fraction : 

i«ooo ewcif (^ motive fefcfl x,odo 

v^ooo resiitimce of wire, niid 300 zc&Utsuice of bfttioy icssoo 

Tliis fraction reduced = /j^, a little more than ^ which fraction rep- 
resents the quantity of electricity that flows through the wire. 

We may illustrate this law by supposing a current of water passed 
through an ordinary syringe. The quantity of water that flows through 
the tube will be directly proportioned to the force with which it is 
\xrgt.A forward by the piston ; this force would correspond lo electro- 
motive force. The friction will correspond to the internal and ex- 
ternal resistance of the battery* Now if we divide the one by the 
other, we have the quantity of water which in a given time flows 
through tlie tube,- or the strength of the current. In this way we can 
find the number of cubic inches of water that flow through the tube in 
a £CComl of time, just as we can find the number of faradSj or units of 


qiuiDtity of electricity, that flow through a circuit. It follows from aU 
this, of course, that if the electro-motive force be very greatly in- 
creased, the resistance being the same, the quantity must be increased ; 
but if the resistance be increased in proportion to the increase of the 
electro-motive force, the quantity will not be any greater. 

Absolute Quantity and Actual Quantity, — It also follows that the 
absolute quantity of any battery — the amount that it is capable of 
generating — may be very much greater than the actual quantity that 
it sends through a circuit. Everything depends upon the resistance^ 
whether it be small or great 

Relation of Quantity to Electro-therapeutics. — It is important to know 
how to ascertain the quantity of electricity, for nearly all of the lead- 
ing actions of electricity depend on quantity. It is quantity that 
deflects the needle of the galvanometer, and quite accurately mea- 
sures the current that passes through the wires that surround the 
needle. It is quantity that decomposes chemical substances, as water, 
salts, the human body, etc Hence, electrolytic operations largely 
depend on the quantity of electricity that flows through the tissues 
acted on. It is quantity that accomplishes much of the therapeutical 
effect of the different forms of electrization — although tension alone, 
with very small quantity, may, as in the case of frictional or frank- 
linic electricity, be capable of therapeutical effects. Franklinic elec- 
tricity, however, relieves and cures disease by changing the electrical 
condition of the patient, by giving a positive or a negative charge, 
more than by the passage of the current through the body, and the 
conseciuent electro-tonic and chemical changes. Ordinary faradic or 
galvanic electricity, on the other hand, does not, as many suppose, 
charge the patient with electricity, and does not, by its direct action, 
leave any more electricity in the body than it finds there. If they 
increase or diminish the natural electricity of the body, it is indirectly 
through the effect of quantity of electiicity passing through the tissues 
and improving nutrition. 

Under this head come these important practical conclusions : 

First. If any large number of cells every way similar are joined in 
a SHORT CIRCUIT by large connecting wires^ and witJwut any other ex^ 
ternal resistance^ there will be no more quantity of electricity flowing 
than if a small number of similar cells were so joined. 

Although each additional cell increases the electro-motive force, yet 
it also increases the resistance, as we have already, seen, and this in- 
crease of resistance will counterbalance the increase of electro-motive 
force, so that the quantity of electricity that flows through the circuif 

ohm's law—large cells vs. small cells. 


frill be about the same. Ohm's law w'ill demonstrate this oiathemati* 
cally. Let the electromotive force of any cell be lo volts, ot units of 
electro -motive force, and the resistance of each cell be 20 uhms, or 
unit^ of resistance, and the resistance of the short wire 2 ohms. 
Dividing the electro-motive force by the resistance, we have for a single 
cell iJ-ht = H = "A" = ^^ quantity that one cell sends through 
the circuit. 

Now let there be 50 similar cells, and our fraction will be J-J^ x -H 
= 1^^^ *+* f = WW ~ fff = ^ fraction that varies very slightly in 
value from ^. Let there be 1,000 cells^ and we have this fraction : 
IS X IJ^ = ilfe + s = HM* • *^^^ »-^sult stiU differs but slightly 

£rOim those previously obtained. 

Secondly. Large cells connected by great external resistance^ as the 
human hody^ or a galvanometer with a long resistance-coil^ do not send 
more quantity of electricity through that external resistance than similar 
small cells. 

The electro-motive force of large cells is no greater than that of simi- 
lar small cells, as we have already seen. The resistance is less because 
the surface of the plates is greater, and the greater the section the less 
the resistance, as has already been shown. But the little advantage 
t^us gained from large cells by a diminution of resistance bears so 
7 a proportion to the great external resistance of the human body, 
or of a very long wire, that the quantity of electricity actually sent 
through the circuit will not be materially increased — at least by any 
reasonable number of cells. 

Here again Ohm*s law comes to our assistance, and fortifies our 
statement by a rigid mathematical demonstration. Let us suppose a 
battery of 100 small cells. Let the electro-molive force of each cell 
be 10 volts. Let the internal resistance of each cell be 20 ohms. 
Let the external resistance of the human body, through which the cur- 
rent is to be made to pass, be 10,000 ohms. Now, by Ohm's law, to 
find the quantity of electricity that flows through the human body when 
enclosed in the circuit, we divide the electro-motive force by the inter- 
nal and external resistance, as follows : 

too K 10 ^ loco 

satOOo(€aEteniftlresuuDce), k too k 8o= sooo(ifl(enialFcditAJ3joe) 

Let us now suppose 100 similar very large cells. The electro 
motive force would be the same, the external resistance would be the 
same. But the internal resistance of the battery would be less be- 
cause the surface is greater. 


By a law previously explained, the resistance varies ih'versefy as iki 
square of the section. For convenience sake, we will suppose the re- 
sistance of the large cell to be -^ that of the small ones — that is 2— 
and Ohm's law will give us the following fraction : 

loo X xo s icoo (dectro-morivc farce) __ looo __ lo 
zo^ooo (exteraal resistance) xoo x a =: aoo ~ zoaoo " xoa 

— a fraction that is, it is true, a little larger than -ji^, but not enough to 
be worth considering. 

The same truth may be shown by a galvanometer that has a long 
resistance-coil. If the fluid be raised just a little, so that elements arc 
just immersed and the poles are connected with such a galvanometer, 
a certain deflection of the needles will take place, according to the 
number of cells ; if now we raise the fluid still higher, so that all the 
elements are immersed, and four or fivQ times as much surface is 
brought into action in each cell, the needles will not be much more 
deflected, but will remain at nearly the same point where it was when 
the elements were first immersed. This is an experiment that we 
have made repeatedly. 

For the galvanometer substitute the human body from the hand to 
the legs, and we can understand the great fact that large cells do n^ 
send more quantity of electricity through the body than small cells of 
similar character. 

From all these demonstrations we see that it is with electricity as 
with money — the absolute quantity that any man may give may be a 
very small fraction of the actual quantity that he can be made to give. 
A millionaire has a far greater^ quantity of money than one who has 
only a thousand dollars, but the one Aiay not give a dollar any easier 
than the other. Under great pressure the millionaire may give a 
thousand times more than the poor man, just as a battery of large cells 
may, before small resistance, send a very much larger quantity of elec- 
tricity than a similar battery of small cells ; but when there is great 
resistance it may send very little, if any, more. 

In electro-therapeutics, as in telegraphy, electro-metallurgy, and 
other uses, large cells have this advantage, that they last longer and 
do not require so frequent cleaning and filling. 

Although they cannot in a given time send through the human body, 
or long lines of wires, any more quantity of electricity than small cells, 
yet their reserve quantity is much greater, and in proportion to •^heir 
size they will hold out longer and keep up a more uniform current. 
t*he poor man may give five dollars as easily as the millionaire, but 



snder great pressure ihe millionaire can keep on giving out five do) Ian 
long after the resources of the poor man are exhausted* 

Large cells may, for electro- therapeutical purposes, have the advan- 
tage of iteadtftess of current ; there would appear to be \t^^ Jitictuaiion 
in the strength of the current from moment to raow'jnt than when the 
cells are small. 

In small cells the degree of the internal resistance and the extent of 
the chemical action may vary more or less from moment to moment, 
owing to the polarization of the elements and the deposition of the 
salts in the solution. This fluctuation is most marked in batteries 
where the action is very energetic- Small single cells, especially the 
zinc-carbon batteries, lose much of their power during a long opera- 
tioii. T/te popular rt^Hon that targe cells have a therapeutic advan- 
tage ever small cells by sending a larger quantity of electricity through 
the h&dy is, in the light of Ohm's law^ as well as in the light of txpe- 
wtenee^ erroneous* 

Thirdly, For thn electro chemical decomposition of watcr^ salts^ and 
the human tody {ciectrolysis)^ a considerable number of cells of mediitm 
use, neither very large nor very smail, and in which the cltemieal action 
is powerful^ are required. 

The resistance of the limittd portion of the human body usually 
submitted to electrolytic operation is great, though not so great as that 
of the whole body ; and as we have seen, before a great resistance^ 
very large cells give no greater quantity in a given time than cells of 
moderate size. If the cells are too small, however, ihey will soon 
become exhausted. For electrolytic operations, the ordinary zinc-car- 
boo or Walker^s batteries, as manufactured in this country by the Gal- 
rano-faradic Manufactxtring Co., Kidder and others, answer very ex- 
cellently most of the purposes of electrolysis. They have more electro- 
motive force than Smee*s elements, and although not as enduring, they 
yet give a greater quantity of electricity for a sh^rt time, which is of 
coune the great requisite in electrolytic operations. The resistance 
of tlic skin is very great, but in electrolysis the needles go beneath the 
skiD, and are placed near each other. The resistance is very much 
less than in external applications when the electrodes are far apart ; 
hence it is an advantage in electrolysis to have cells of good si/.e, 
though not of the largest. 

Fc^urthly. J^en a short platinum-wire in a short circuit is to bi 
heated^ as in galvanocautery operations^ a very fetv large cells or a 
tingle very large cell is preferable to a large number of small cells. 

This Cict has long been practically recognized, and all the batteriei 


for galvano-cautery operations are constructed on this principle. The 
reason for this is not so well understood ; Ohm's law gives us the ex- 

Platinum- wire, though it resists the current very powerfully as com- 
pared with silver or copper wire, yet offers a very small resistance as 
compared with water or the human body, or very long wire of any kind 
Hence, in the galvano-cautery instruments, the external resistance is 
small, being not very much greater than the internal resistance of the 
batteries, perhaps not so great. Now, before a large external resist- 
ance — the human body, or very long coils of wires — the surface of the 
elements is used to the best advantage when cut up into small cells ; 
before a small resistance, the surface of the elements is used at the 
best advantage when cut up into a few large cells, or, if the external 
resistance be very slight indeed, a single large cell will be better; for 
we have previously shown that, in a short circuit, one cell gives as 
much quantity of electricity as one hundred, or, indeed, any nimiber of 

Let us suppose loo small cells ; let each cell have an electro-motive 
force of lo volts and a resistance of 20 ohms. Let there be enclosed 
in a circuit the human body, or a very long coil of fine wire, that gives 
a resistance of 10,000 ohms. Then, according to Ohm's law, we have 
the following fraction : 

joo V 10 = 1000 electro-motive force i 

10,000 external resistance xoo x 30 = *ooo internal resistance n 

which represents the quantity of electricity that flows through the 
circuit Suppose now one cell of the same character, but very much 
larger, sends a current in a short circuit — through a short platinum- 
wire, such as is used in the galvano-cautery for cauterizing surfaces. 
Suppose the external resistance of this short circuit be 9 ohms. The 
electro-motive force of the large cell is no more than that of the small 
cell ; the internal resistance of the battery is very much less, for, as we 
have seen, the resistance diminishes as the surface increases. For 
convenience sake, we will suppose the internal resistance of the large 
to be ^ that of the small cell — that is, i. Now, dividing the electro- 
motive force by the resistance, according to Ohm's law we have this 
result : 

xo electro-motive force xo 

9 external resisunce ■¥ i internal resistance xo 

the quantity of electricity that flows through the circuit, or twelve timet 
as much as with 100 small cells. 


Suppose now this one large cell be connected hy 2. hng and fim 
platinuin-wiref such as is used in the removal of tumors by galvano- 
cauteiy operations. The resistance will of course be greater, for two 
reasons^ because the wire is longer and because it is finer ; for tlie hw 
j% the less the surface or section the less the resistance. 

Suppose the resistance be 19 ohms. Dividing the electro-motive 
force by the resistance* we have^ — 

to etoctro-modve forci: to X 

ih^ is^ mc-half the quantity af eUctruify thai there was when a short 

fiaiinuM'Wire was in the circuit. Very likely this would not be 

3ugh to heat the wire and keep it hot during a long operation. 

^b law comes to our rescue, and helps us out of this as of so many 

[other difficulties. Cut up the one large cell into two cells, and inter- 

[pose the long fine platinum- wire in the circuit. The electro-motive 

Ifurce will be doubled, the external resistance will be the same ; but 

[the internal resistance will be greater because the surface is diminished. 

Dividing the electro-motive force by the resistance, our fraction 

•cands thus; 

so ekctro-mottve force as 

19 estemal retuUnoe ^ 4 internal resUbuice 03 

|wbich 15 nearly double the quantiyr of electricity sent through the long 

^wire by a single cell. Thus is explained the fact that the best galvano* 

cautery batteries are arranged so as to be tlvrown into one large cell, 

or cut up into several cells, according as a short or long wire is to be 


li has been found by experiment that the heat developed by the current 
in any wire is proportioned to the squares 0/ the quantity of electricity 
tkaifi^ws through it. 

This is demonstrated by passing a current through platinum- wires in 

a bottle of alcohol The heat is communicated to the alcohol, and the 

thermometer shows the temperature. It is found if a current of a cer- 

kain quantity raises the temperature 10, a current of twice that strength 

will raise it 40. 

Again, it is found by experiment that the heat developed by the cur* 
r^ni in any wire is proportioned to the resistance of the wire. 

This is demonstrated with the arrangement just described, by insert- 
a rhcof tat whose resistances are known, so as to keep the quantity 


of electricity constant at a fixed point, and then inserting platinum 
wires of different lengths into the bottle. 

From all this it follows that batteries for galvano-cautery should 
have large surfaces and a small number of cells, and that they should 
be arranged so that the surface may be used as one or two cells, or 
cut up into four or six, according as short or long wires are to be 

Fifthly, It follows that the dose of an electrical application cannot 
be accurately described by stating the number of cells and the length of 
the sitting. 

This conclusion is an important one, and for want of a knowledge of 
it electro-therapeutists continually blunder. 

Supposing now that we are treating a patient locally or centrally by 
the galvanic current, and we desire to transfer the patient to another 
physician. We inform the physician to whom the transfer is made, that 
we are treating the patient with ten cells for ten minutes, and we desire 
that he should continue to give the same dose. In the light of Ohm's 
law, let us see what such instructions are really worth. The quantity 
of electricity that passes through the patient in a minute is equivalent 
to the electro-motive force divided by the resistance ; multiply the quo- 
tient thus obtained by ten, and we have the dose of electricity that the 
patient receives in ten minutes. If, now, all the factors that determine 
the electro-motive force and the external and internal resistance were 
constant and were accurately known, and if they were the same for all 
batteries and all modes of application, then the dose thus ordered 
would be a mathematical one, and could be mathematically followed 
No forms of error are so erroneous or so illusory as those that approach 
us under cover of facts and figures. In our very attempt to be accurate 
we stumble into gross inaccuracy. Had we left the whole matter to the 
judgment of the physician, with some general suggestions as to the sus- 
ceptibility of the patient, we should have come far nearer the truth, as 
will be apparent by the following considerations. 

The electro-motive force varies in different batteries, and in the same 
battery at different times. Grove's battery, for example, has four timei 
the electro- motive force of Smee's battery in action, and twice the elec 
tro-motive force of zinc and copper, or Daniell's battery. Then, again, 
. the electro-motive force will, in some batteries, as Smee's or Walker's, 
fall off" during an application ; and in all batteries, however constructed, 
the electro-motive force varies at different times, from causes not yel 

But the electro-motive force is constancy itself in comparison with 



variations of the internal and external resistances* Beginning with 
internal resistance, we find that for a Grovels cell, containing one 
tit of liquid, it is very small, less than one ohm ; for a Daniell's cell, 
[to 15 ohms, and for a Smee's cell, less than one ohm. The internal 
iistance varies with the size and shape of the ceil, the distance of the 
ites from each other, and with the length of time that the battery is 
action. Even if the electro-motive force and external resistance 
accurate and constant, the variations in tlie iDteraal resistance 
>u\d be sufScient to vitiate all attempts at prescribing electricity by 
le number of cells. 
But it is in the external resistance that we find the greatest variation, 
Aicertainty, and inconstancy in applications of electricity to the human 
■Ddy. The external resistance depends on the following factors : 

isL The size and construction of the wires that connect the battery 

^th the electrodes* The larger the section the less the resistance, 

Bbdt therefore, large wires will conduct more than small ones. A cer^ 

tain conventional size is manufactured by each instrument-maker, but 

the sizes vary with diflferent makers. 

^<L The size and shape of the electrode. Up to a certain point, 
ra3fiDg with the number of cells, a large^ broad electrode will conduct 
more than a small and narrow one. A metallic electrode conducts 
much bettex than a sponge ; flannel conducts much better than 
onge, but wor^e than metal. The difference in the conducting power 
r metal, sponge, and flannel, is great A current which is painful when 
[iplied by a metal, and is quite perceptible when applied by a flannel 
' chamois, is not felt at all when applied by a sponge. The painful 
ftss of an application, it is true, does not depend on the amount of 
electricity that passes, but is also modified by the extent to which the 
jpirrent is diffused. This would depend on the action of the electrode, 
Viih the same current passing, the hand of the operator would proba- 
Xly be le^s irritating than a sponge or flannel 

jd. The quantity and quality of the liquid used to moisten the elec- 

Electrodes that are perfectly dry conduct but httle, at least 

I currents of the tension used in electro-therapeutics. Electrode! 

are wet with warm water conduct better than those that are wet 

, cold water ; and those that are wet with warm salt-water conduct 

tst of all. The difference in the conductivity of a sponge wet with 

nple cold water and one wet with warm salt-water is so great that a 

rrent which is not felt when applied by the former, becomes unbearable 

ben applied by the latter. 

1 4tli. The amount of pressure that is used on the electrodes. If the 



wet sponge is lightly pressed it conducts but little, and its conducting 
increases with the pressure. Firm pressure moistens the skin more 
thoroughly, and thus increases its conductivit}^, and at the same time it 
brings into coaptation all parts of the sponge, so that it becomes well 

5th. The position and extent of the body included between the elec- 
trodes. '1 his factor is a most important one, and it has been unac- 
countablv overlooked in all discussions on this subject. The difference 
in the conductivity of the bones and soft tissues is all the dififerenoe 
between twenty and one, and in all parts the conductivity is modified 
by age, by temperament, and by disease. The resistance of the whole 
body, from one hand to the other through the shoulders, is about seven 
or eight times the resistance of the Atlantic cable, and the resistance of 
the whole length of the body, from tlie head and shoulders to the feet 
is probably greater than that. But the resistance of any limited portion 
of die body, as the head, or spine, or cervical sympathetic and pneu- 
mogastric, or individual muscles or nerves, must be only a fractional 
part of the resistance of the whole body. Other conditions being the 
same, the nearer the electrodes are to each other the less the resistance. 
This may be illustrated by an experiment that we have frequently tried. 
If one electrode be put in the vagina and the other in the rectam, a cur- 
rent of but tivo or four cells may be painfully felt ; but if one of the 
electrodes is placed externally on the back or hypogasirium, a current 
of a dozen or more cells may be scarcely perceived. The same experi* 
ment may be tried on the back ; placing one pole on the nape of the 
neck and the other at the lower end of the spine, a current that is ju&l 
perceptible at 6rst, as the electrodes approach each other becomes 
positively unbearable. 

6th* The length of the application. When the galvanic current ii 
first applied 10 the body by wet sponges, but little sensation is experi- 
enced on the skin ; but in the course of a (ew seconds a burning pain is 
Mty that increases with the length of the application. This is explained 
in part by the chemical changes that take place, and in part by the fact 
that as the skin becomes more and more moistened by the pressure 01 
the wet sponge, and the skin under the electrode becomes more and 
more congested, the resistance is diminished. Consequently, toward 
the close of even a very short application, more electricity passes^ al] 
other conditions being the same, than at the beginning. On this 
account it frequently becomes necessary to reduce the number of cells 
during the silting, especially when the electrodes are kept all the time 
on one spot. Thus it becomes clear that any attempt to prescribe the 



dose of electricity by the number of cells, in ordinary exiernai applica- 
tions to the body, must fail of its object. In electrolysis, where the 
needles are always united, near to each other and under the skin, the 
chances for error are not so great, since there is much less variation in 
the resistance. If, in describing an electrolytic operation, we specify 
the kind and number of cells used, and the mode and length of opera- 
tion, we convey a tolerably correct idea of what was really done. The 
tinie may come in the advance of science, after physiology shall have 
found its Newton to reduce its present chaos to order and law, when 
it shall be possible to prescribe so many farads of electricity, repeated 
three times a week, as we now prescribe so many grains of bromide of 
potassium, or so many drops of laudanum, repeated three times a day ; 
but for the present we can rest assured that when we describe the cui> 
rent that we employ as miid^ or medium^ or strongs and have stated the 
method and length and frequency of application, we have attained all 
the accuracy that science will allow. 
^_ Although the above statements have reference only to the galvanic 
^kuirent, they just as tndy apply to tlie faradic ; for induced as well as 
^Tgalvanic electricity is subject to the law of Ohm. One difference, how- 
V ever, stiould be noted, that on account of the slighter chemical action 
of the faradk% current the resistance of the skin beneath the electrodes 
docs not diminish with the length of the application. For the above 
reasons the graduated scales that accompany some of the faradic 
machines for electro therapeutics are of but little practical value. 

Finally, Ohm's law explains the fact of observation, that when the 
poles of a galvanic battery are metallically connected, the chemical 
tction in the battery is greatly increased and the plates rapidly de- 
Btro)'ed- The metals being better conductors than the body, conduct 
a much greater quantit}' of electricity ; and as the potential quantity of 
electricity that any battery is cai>able of generating is limited, then 
when the resistance between the poles is least, the action must be 
strongest, and the metals the most rapidly consumed. Neglect in thii 
legard caoses the premature destruction of many batteries. 




EUciro-phynohgy is the science which treats both of the laws of 
€nimal electricity, and also of the phenomena produced by the actioK of 
iUctricity on the body in health. We propose to present this subject 
as compactly as possible, and consequently shall speak only of those 
facts that are necessary for a true appreciation of the science, and 
chiefly of those that, directly or indirectly, have a practical bearing oa 

Impi^ance of a Knowledge of Electro-physiology to the Electro-there^ 
peutist. — It is of course possible to use electricity successfully in thera- 
peutics without any thought of its physiological action, and thousands 
have so used it. It is possible to relieve pain of ahnost every variety, 
and to cure any of the curable forms of paialysis, without understanding 
anything of the action of electricity on nutrition or on the normal mus* 
cle. Any old cotmiry granny, the stupidest of nurses, an infant even, 
can hold two sponges on a part of the surface of the body, and let the 
current run. Those who aim no higher than this — the indiscriminate 
holding of electrodes on patients— need give no thought to electro- 
physiology ; need, indeed, waste no time on this or on any other work of 
electro-therapeutics : they do not even need to trouble themselves with 
the details of the applications, but have simply to delegate them, with- 
out reserve, to the nearest nurse or clodhopper. Those, we assert, who 
aim no higher than this will fall short of even that ; their success in 
relieving symptoms by electrization will be so capricious and illusory, 
that, in time, they will abandon the attempt, allow tlieir battery to grow 
rust>' in the garret, and thenceforth they will condemn and despise sci- 
entific and successful electro- therapeutists. -^ 

The eiectro-therapeudst, above all others, shoold start* out under the 
inspiration of the motto of the late President Dwight : ** Aim high, for 
you will be sure to come short of your aim*" To apply electricity after 
the manner of nurses and ** rubbing doctor's/' is not using it, but abus- 
ing iL 


Those idio aspire to mastership in electro-therapeutics will not be con 
tent with the mere attempt to relieve symptoms ; they will seek to study 
those most complex and subtle diseases for the treatment of which elec- 
tricty is indicated ; they will resort to this force for diagnostic as well as 
therapeutic aid ; they will strive to know not only how to use it, but, what 
is more difficult, how not to use it He only can reap the full and rich 
harvest of electro-therapeutical science and art who sows beside all 
waters ; he must become more or less proficient in neurology, in electro- 
physics, and in electro-physiology. He who has a knowledge of the 
laws of animal electricity, and the actions and reactions of franklinic, 
galvanic, and faradic electricity on the brain, spinal cord, and sympa- 
thetic ; on the nerves of motion and of common and special sense ; on 
voluntary and involuntary muscles ; on the skin, and on all the various 
passages and oi^gans of the body in health, and also of the electro-con* 
ductivily of the body, will find the paths of electro-diagnosis and of elec- 
tro-therapeutics illumined at every step by such knowledge, and will, in 
the end, make more correct interpretations of disease than he who 
merely holds electrodes on patients without any higher aim ; and more 
than that, he will be introduced into a field of thought and experiment — 
a field surpassingly rich and fruitful, and lying in close relation to all 
departments of physiology, of pathology, and of biology, where he can 
study science for its own sake, without regard to its immediate practical 

In the above remarks we do not wish to be understood as subscrib- 
ing to the notion, quite popular among some, that electro-therapeutics 
must be based on electro-physiology ; very far from it : the two sciences 
are closely related and are of reciprocal assistance, but one is not buill 
up on the other. Neither are exact sciences, and may never become 
such. Pathology, though it is but " the shady side of physiology," yet 
so complicates tlierapeutics that electro-physiology cannot become a 
reliable basis for electro-therapeutics. The two sciences are pursued 
mainly by different methods : electro-physiology is a science of experi- 
ment; electro-therapeutics is a science of experience. 

Electro-physiology largely Studied by Experiments on the Living Hu- 
man Subject. — ^An advantage of great import to electro-physiology, and 
one that especially commends it to the electro- therapeutist, is that it is 
largely based on experiments made on the living human subject True 
enough, thousands of frogs have given up their lives in the electro-physi- 
ological laboratory, and dogs and cats, rabbits and guinea-pigs, rats, and 
monkeys even, have been subjected to electric tests while living, in health 
and uninjured, while dying, and when dead ; but some of the most 



intcrcstiDg and suggestive phenomena of this science, those which have 
the nearest practical relation to electro- tlierapeu tics, can be best studied 
on the living human subject, and without injuring the subject experi- 
mented on. This is the supreme advantage of the study of the 
phj-siological action of electricity over the study of the physiological 
action of the majority of dnigs* The objection so often made against 
experiments made with medicines on inferior animals, that they do not 
leach the action of such medicines on the human bo<^ly in disease. 
cannot, therefore, apply to electro-physiology, except to a limited 

Not a few of the physiological reactions of the human body to elec 
trictty can be studied while making therapeutical applications. The 
reacdoQ of voluntary muscles, of the motor and sensory nerves, of 
some of the ner\'es of special sense, to electricity, and the general effects 
of electricity on nutrition^ are taught us every time we electrize a patient 
by amy of the familiar methods of application. Electro-physiology and 
clectTO' therapeutics thus go hand in hand, 

TTt^ I^ca/isatwn of EUctrkity in the Body an Advantage in Studying 
its Physiohgical Effect,— The dmgs yr\i\\ which we experiment on ani- 
mals, in order to learn their physiological action, are usually absorbed 
and carried through the whole system ; to confine their action to any 
part or member is impossible. If they select any organ on which to 
expend their force in preference to other parts, it is by wtue of their in- 

[ berent affinity for such organ, and not from any |X>wer in the experimenter 
to confine them diere. But electricity can, to a certain extent, be local- 
ized in a muscle or nerve, or In some special organ ; thus its effects can 
be studied with greater precision and certainty than the effects of drugs 
^ eternally administered Thus the physiological action of electricity has 

I m specially practical bearing on its therapeutical action* 

Animai Electricity is the Etcctrictty that exists in Animal Bodies, 
Mhitric Fishes, — The most remarkable display of animal electricity 
appears in certain varieties of fishes. At a very early period it was 
known that a certain flat fish had not only the power, when touched^ to 
give fortli shocks, but could impart to other bodies, for some distance 
through the water, a benumbing intluence. This phenomenon was first 
proved by actual experiment to be of an electiical nature as early a? 
1773 ; and soon after, by means of a number of Leyden jars, connect- 

[ ixag with a disk of leather or wood, either side of which was covered by 
tinfoil, an arrificial torpedo was constructed The subject of animal 
elec^tiidty is one of great scientific interest, and may in time become 
of direct practical value to electro-therapeutics. This peculiar powcf 



is possessed only by a small number of fishes, the best known of wludi 
are the torpedo or electric ray, the gymnotus or electric eel^ and the 
electric shad. 

Thb development of electricity does not take place in all parts of 
the fish, but is confined to a peculiar expansion of the nervous s)^tem, 
called the electrical organ. The nerves constituting the electrical or- 
gans of the torpedo and gymnotus are of great size. Those of the for- 
mer consist of three principal trunks, and arise from the cerebro-spinal 
system ; while the nerves composing the electrical organs of the latter 
are derived from the spinal cord alone. As stated above, the phenom* 
ena produced by these fishes are similar to those which are obtained 
from electricity lh:it is artificially generated* 

If electric fishes are touched with the hand, a shock is perceived, while 
if glas% resin, or any other non-conditctar is intervenetl, no effect is 

Sparks may be drawn from them in the same way that they are drawn 
from other bodies that are artificially charged with electricity. The 
current obtaijied from them will magnetize steel needles, decompose 
water, and if the needle of a galvanometer be brought into the cirailt it 
will immediately suffer deflection, so that the direction of the current 
may be readily determined. 

The electric force of the fish is much weakened after it has exerted 
its power a number of times in quick succession, and it requires rest 
and nourishment to enable it to recover its normal vigor. 

History of the Discovery of Electricity in the Body of Man and other 
Animals. — We have already seen (Electro -Physics, p. 48) that Galvani 
discovered in 1786 that muscular contraction follows the contact of the \ 
nerves and muscles of a frog with a heterogeneous metallic arc From 
this observation, and from subsequent study of the subject, Galvani was 
inclined to believe and to declare that in the tissues of animals there 
exists a special independent electricity, which he called animal elec* 
fricity. Although Galvani's conclusions were, as we now know, not en- 
tirely logical, yet he stumbled on an important discover)^ that was des- 
tined to be demonstrated and confirmed by other and later observers. 

There is such a force as animal electricity, but the experiments of 
Galvani are explained by contact of dissimilar substances and by the 
chemical action of the fluids of the body on the metals, and not by the 
electricity of the body. 

Voltds Researches have already been given in Electro-Physics (p. 50). 

Humboldfs Researches, — In 1 799 Humboldt published a work contain* 
ing the result of many and curious experiments, the object of which was 



to show that both Volta and Galvani were right and I oth wrong j thai 
there was such a thing as animal electricity ; that Galvani was in errar 
in regarding it as the only fomi of electricity that appeared in his ex- 
periments ; and that Volta was in error in refusing to admit its exist- 

Aiding s and NohiUs Researches. — In 1803 a nephew of Galvani, 
Aldini, published experiments that went to demonstrate the existence 
of animal electricity. The voltaic pile, however, was a stronger argu- 
ment against the existence of animal electricity than any experiments 
could be in its favor, and for these reasons animal electricity was for* 

In 1827 M, Nobili, having constructed a very sensitive galvanome 
tcr, was enabled^ as he supposed, to detect, without doubt, the exist 
cnce of an electric current in the frog. He observed that when the 
needle was placed in the circuit it deviated some 30*** 

Researches of Matteticci and Du Bois-Reymond. — A few years subse- 
quently, Matteucci turned his attention to this subject ; but it was re- 
Served for Du Bois-Reymond to investigate most clearly and most 
fuJly, if not most conclusively, the electric properties of the nerves and 

By these two observers it is believed to have been shown, ist. That 
currents in every respect like the frog-current of Nobili, are not peculiar 
to the frog, but are inherent in all animals, warm and cold-blooded— 
in toads, salamanders, fresh-water crabs, adders, lizards, glow-worms, 
azid tortoises, as well as rabbits, guinea-pigs, mice, pigeons, and spar- 
rows. (Du Bois-Reymond.) 

2d. That currents are found in nerves as well as muscles, and that 
both are subject to the same laws. (Du Bois-Reymond.) 

3d. That the current usually observed is a muscular current that is 
produced by the muscles, the nerves acting only as inactive conduc 
_^tors- (Du Bois-Reymond.) 

B 4th. That this muscular current may be upward or downward, and 
^Bbai the current of the whole limb is the resultant of the partial cur* 
mcGti of each muscle. (Du Bois-Reymond. ) 

5th. That these currents do not depend on the contact of hete- 
rogeneous tissues, as Volta had believed, for the nerves^ muscles, and 
tendons in their electrical relations are homogeneous. (Du Bois-Rey- 

6th. That electricity is found not only in the muscles and nerves, 
but also in the brain, spinal cord, and sympathetic — in motor, sensory, and 
mixed nerves — in a minute section as well as in a large mass of nervouf 



substances — ^in a small fibril as well as in a large muscle^ — ^tn the skin, 
spleen, testicles, kidneys, liver, lungs, and tendons ; but not in fasciae, 
sheaths of nerves, and sinews. 

7th. That animal electricity is capable of decomposing iodide ol 
potassium, and of deflecting the needle of the galvanometer, (Mat 

8th, In the muscles and nerves electricity is in the condition of a 
dosed circuit, 

5>th. That contraction of muscle is accompanied by an electric dk- 
charge resembling that of a torpedo, (Matteucd.) 

It was the perusal of the essay of Matteucci that inspired Du Bois- 
Reymond to undertake those magnificent researches that have given 
him a name and a fame in the realm of electrology. 

He devised special apparatuses for his researches^ and handled them 
with great skill and patience. 

Even if many of the conclusions presented are erroneous, they are 
none the less interesting suggestions, and have prepared the way for 
those who are now earnestly seeking to discredit his experiments and 
disprove his statements. 

I'he above conclusions of Du Bois-Reymond were derived from ex- 
periments on the nerves of frogs, but electricity is not confined to the 
lower forms of life, either dead or dying. 

Ekctricity in the Living Man.—\T\ the living man it is believed 
that cutaneous currents are found. The hand is negative to the elboWi 
and the palm of the hand is negative to the back. The foot is negative 
to the chest, and the sole of the foot is negative to the back. The elbow 
is slightly positive to the chest, and the hand is sometimes negative to 
the foot, and sometimes the reverse. 

These cutaneous currents are quite strong and uniform. They are 
to be distinguished from the thenno-electric currents that are observed 
when two symmetrical parts are heated, 

A finger at the temperature of 32"* is positive to one at 90®, and a 
finger at 60^ is feebly positive to one at So**, and strongly positive to 
one at iSo**. The cutaneous currents are also to be distinguished from 
currents that arise from dissimilar immersion, dissimilar sweating and 
shielding of the body. 

Currents of electricity have been found in the urethra and bladder 
of the rabbit, the intestines, the spleen, the testicles, the tendons, and 
the oviduct of the frog^ and the iris of birds. 

All these currents resemble the ordinary muscular currents, in thai 
the outer and inner surfaces have opposite electricities. 




The currents of the nerves and muscles are very much stronger tian 
those of other tissues,* 

Dr. C. B. Radcliffe takes a radically different view of aninial elec 
tricity. His conclusions, briefly summarized, are as follows : 

I. The sheaths of the fibres of nerve and muscle during rest ai^ 
charged with electricity like Leyderi jars. He believes it probable, 
though not entirely demonstrable, that the sheaths of the fibres con- 
duct electricity so feebly that they are practically non-conductors and 
•re di-electiic. 

This charge is brought about by the development of electricity, either 
positive or negative, through oxidation, or some form of chemical action, 
on the outside of the sheaths of the fibres, which electricity induces 
through the di-electric sheath, an opposite electricity from the inside of 
the sheaths, after the manner of the Leyden jar. Electricity which exists 
ZQ the nerves and muscles during rest is in a statical condition, and not 
in dynamic or current state. 

The nerve-current and muscle-current are purely incidental phenom- 
ena, resulting from applying the electrodes to points of uoequal elec- 
tric tension. 

2* That the passage of a nerve or muscle from a state of rest to a state 
of action is accompanied by a discharge similar to that of a torpedo. 
The arguments in favor of this view are, that the anatomical and physio- 
logical apparatus of the torpedo closely resembles the muscular appara- 
tus of all animals ; tliat the nerve-current nearly disappears from the 
nerve, and the muscle-current from the muscle, when nerve and muscle 
pass from rest into action ; and, finally, that the phenomena of induced 
or secondary contraction cannot otherwise be explained. 

This discharge takes place between the sheaths of the fibres, which are 
very clastic, and are capable of being elongated during rest by the mu- 
tual attraction of the opposite electricities with which they are charged. 
^_ 3- That wlien a nerve or muscle passes from action to rest it resumes 
I^Bts condition of charge. Elongation, therefore, is the result of cliarge, 
Kaxsd contraction of discharge. 

^^ This point is illustrated by the following experiment : 
^^ A nanow band of rubber is wound on both surfaces very near die edge 
Hvith gold-leaf, so that it can be charged or discharged with electricity 
Jhke a Leyden jar. By a simple arrangement of a grooved wheel and an 
atjparatus that multiplies and records the movements, it can be shown 
that when the band is charged by a few turns of a frictional machine, if 

• Dynamus of Herves aud Mustles, London^ 1871* 



elongates, and when the charge is discharged it contracts. It is believed 
that the muscle behaves in precisely this majiner. If ucrves are not 
affected in the same way, it is because their fibres are not sufficient]/ 

4, That the blood keeps up the natural charge of electricity in nerve 
and muscle. 

The acceptance of lliis view explains many interesting facts in 
pathology. It explains ihe fact that diseases that are accompanied by 
a deficiency in the nerve-currents, as neuralgia, spinal irritation, hysteria, 
tetanus, epilepsy* usually manifest themselves by morbid activity, by 
increased and unnatural movements of muscles and nerves. 

Active inflammations, when there is increase of blood, are not usually 
accompanied by excessive nnisciilar or nervous action. 

Apparatus for Si udy in g Animal Electricity, ^In a practical work of 
this kind it is not necessary nor proper to enter into elaborate detail 
uf all the experimental premises by which Malteucci, Du Bois-Rey- 
mond, PilOger, and others have made rheir discoveries. A very brief 
description of the apparatus of Do Bois-Reymond may possibly be of 

He employed a very delicate galvanometer, the distinctive fea- 
Uires of which were, Jirst^ the astatic needles were constructed and 
arranged with great care ; and, secondly^ the wire around them was very 
long, and of from 4^000 to 24,000 convolutions. A multiplier of this 
sort wi!l indicate the presence of exceedingly feeble currents. The 
wires of the multiplier are connected with carefully cleaned and pre- 
pared flat new plates dipped in vessels of zinc, containing sulphat** ^ 
^inc to prevent polarization. Two cushions, as they are called, 
made of layers of blotting-paper soaked in a solution of sulphate of 
zinc, are laid in the edge of each vessel, with tlieir ends in the liquid 
The whole is enclosed in a moist chamber. In order to protect any 
tissue, it is placed in connection with the two cushions in various posi- 
tions ; then, if there beany current, the defection is seen in the nee 
of the multiplier. 

When two symmetrical parts of the longitudinal or transverse secdoP 
of a nerve are applied to the cushions, no deflection is seen ; when two 
dissymmetrical parts of the longitudinal section are placed on the 
cushions, the needle deflects 6*^ or 7^ When the longitudinal section 
of the nerve on one side touches one cushion, and the transverse sec- 
tion touches the other side, the needle deflects 15** to 30°. 

instead of the galvanometer multiplier we may use the rheoscopic 
frog, which may give some results ; but it has the disadvantage (hat il 




loses its irritability, and that it contracts only when the current is 
dosed or broken. 

Mxperimtnis of Trowtridge. — We have given a full and varied pre- 
sentation of the leading conclusions of Du Bois-Reymond and others^ 
and have described, in a very general way, the best method of i^rform- 
ing ihe experiments on which his conclusions are based. 

We have done this in justice to a name that is greatly honored in 
science, in justice to the name that has made an era in physiology, and 
to prepare the student for an intelligent understanding of the experi* 
ments that seem to overthrow these views of Du Bois-Reymond that 
have been so widely accepted* 

It has always appeared to us that in the experiments of all electro- 
physiologists, the later as well as the earlier school, there were chances 
for great error, and have been surprised that their conclusions have 
been accepted with so little reservation. 

Bearing in mind that all chemical action, however slight, is probably 
accompanied by die generation of electricity, it is surely not irrational 
to suspect that the conclusions from careful experiments of Du Bois- 
Reymond and others might be in some, if not in all cases» modified by 
chemical action between the animal tissues and the cushions of the gal- 
v^anometer, however skilfully these were protected. 

Among the physicists at least, the theories of Du Bois-Reymond have 
been, on the whole, losing ground during the past ten years, and pro- 
bably on account of the considerations that arc above presented. 

ProC John Trowbridge, of Harvard College, has recently made a 
scries of researclies that seem to cast grave doubts on the interesting 
,nd hitherto accepted conclusions of Du Bois-Reymond in regard to 
nimal electricity. 
This physicist, starting out on the face of the accepted fact thalt 
two liquids of dissimilar chemical cliaracter^ separated by a porous 
^artiiic^n^ give rise to a current of dcctricit}\ h^iS made experiments 
ith in apparatus similar to that employed by Du Bois-Reymond in 
lis researches on animal electricity. Instead, however, of placing a 
iece of muscle or nerve on the cushions, he used a series of artificial 
^cUs^ These arriticial muscles were made of glass-tubes covered by 
IS partuions, and tilted with the different liquids, such as^ 
Undistiiled water. 

Weak solution of salt in distilled water. 
Solution of ditTerent salts of iron. 
Acidulated water* 


Placing the artificial muscle thus prepared in the position where the 
natural muscle is placed in Du Bois-Reymond's experiments, he found 
that each liquid caused a deflection of the needle of the galvanometer. 

There is no question, in the opinion of Prof. Trowbridge, that the 
currents that caused these deflections of the needle arose from the 
actions of the fluids in the tubes on the saline solution of the cushion and 
the protecting guard. This view is confirmed by the fact that when 
the artificial muscles were, filled with distilled water, there was no de- 
flection of the needle observed ; but when undistilled water or the 
other fluids mentioned were used, the needle of the galvanometer de- 
flected so far as in some cases to throw the spot of light off the scale.^ 
Prof. Trowbridge exercised the same precautions as are found necessary 
by electro-physiologists in obtaining the so-called muscular currents. 
He argues that the behavior of the artificial muscle must be similar to 
that of a natural muscle placed on the cushions ; and he states further, 
tiiat when we use the natural muscle, containing fresh and chemically 
active blood, separated by its sheath from the clay guards of the cushions, 
an electrical action must take place between the fluids of the muscle and 
the saline solutions in the connecting apparatus^ which action cannot 
well be distinguished from the so-called muscular current,\ 

In order to avoid every possible source of error in these experi- 
ments. Prof. Trowbridge not only tried distilled water in the artificial 
muscles, instead of undistilled water and the different solutions, but also 
tried the mere contact of the bladder membrane-partition without any 
fluid, and in neither case was any current produced. He employed a 
vessel shaped like the letter U, opened at the bend, and covered at the 
ends by a membrane. Into the two limbs of the tube he injected 
fluids of different kinds. When the vessel was filled with a fluid that 
was homogeneous, and the ends of the tube brought in contact with 
the cushions, the needle of the galvanometer was deflected. When the 
points of contact were reversed, the direction of the needle was re- 
versed. That mere contact of the tube with the cushions did not cause 
the deflection of the needle, was shown by the fact that when no fluids 
were in the tube there was no deflection. That the direction of the 
current was through the U-shaped tube, and not from its extremities to 
the galvanometer and back, was proved by the fact that when the 
section of one of the limbs of the U-shaped tube was constricted, the 

* Thomson's reflecting galvanometer and new quadrant-electrometer were used in 
these experiments. 

f On the Electro-motive Action of Liquids separated by Membranes. A$mrkam 
yournal of Science and Arts ^ vol. iii., May, 187a. 



deflecdoti of the needle was reduced, and when the corvstriction wai 
complete there was no deflection. 

The conclusion to which Prof, Trowbridge arrives from these ex- 
periments, which have been repeated at various times, is, ** that when thf 
tushi^ns af the galvanameter are connected by a membranous sac con- 
fining fluids ^ or animal tissue saturated with fluids an endosmotic action 
iaktf ptace, accompanied by galvanic action ; and that this galvanic 
a^ti^n is determined by the difference af endosmotie action at various 
faints of the enclosing membrane ^ * 

When, therefore, a muscle is placed on the cushions of the galvanom- 
eter, its transverse section on one pad and its longitudinal section 
on the other, endosmose takes place, which is different at different 
points, and the galvanic current that appears is probably caused by 
this difference of endosmotic action and not by the so-called musculax 
cuircnt. Then granting that a muscular current exists, it must suffer 
importaQt modifications in strength and direction through this endos- 
motic action. If the muscular current does not exists this endosmotic 
aiticn^ with the accompanying galvanic action, will account for the de- 
fli^i^n of th4 needle of the galvanometer that hcul been supposed to be 
due to the muscular current 

In a letter received by Dr. Beard from Prof, Trowbridge, under date 

[March 28, 1S73, nearly one year later than the date of the publication of 
the researches of which the above is an abstract, he says that •* later 
experiments have convinced me that there are no such currents as mus- 
cular currents, properly so called* I think that the phenomena noticed 
by Du Bois-Reymond arise from differences in the chemical nature of 
different portions of the muscle. Du Bois-Reymond contends that 
such chemical difference does not exist, and that the tissue is homo- 
geneous from a chemical point of view. It must be remembered, 
however, that a delicate galvanometer can detect differences in chemi- 
cal composition which cannot be detected except by the most refined 
analysis. I should therefore make my assertions stronger than 1 have 

[donc^ in the accompanying papers, in view of subsequent expermient." 
ProC Trowbridge has also made experiments that seem to cast grave 

> dncibts on the conclusions of Du Bois-Rcymond in regard to electrical 

\rurrenis in the arms, Du Bois-Reyraond in his experiment connects 
the terminals of a galvanometer in separate vessels by a siphon-tube 
containing the same liquid as the vessel. The ends of the tube are 
covered with a porous preparation. 

* Proceedings of the American Acidemy of Arts and Sciences, Jsmuaiy 9, 1872. 



PUdng a forefinger io each vessel and violently contracting the 
%rm, he observed that the needle of the galvanometer was deflected ; on 
contracting the other arm, the needle deflected in the opposite direc- 
tion. Du Bois-Reymond explained this phenomena by the theory 
that electrical currents circulate in the arm distinct from and co-exist- 
mg with the muscular and nerve-currents. It is not difficult to con- 
ceive that in an experiment of this kind there would be chances for 
error sufficient to make us very cautious in accepting any immediate 
conclusions in regard to it. In order to test the validity of this con- 
chision, Prof. Trowbridge prepared a vessel with two limbs, which he 
substituted for the human finger. Du BoisReymond's experiment- 
vessel was filled with a solution of salt^ and the end of the Umbs wa* 
covered with prepared membrane. The resistance of the circuit 
through both limbs and the vessel was about that of the human body 
from the forefinger of one hand to the forefinger of the other — ^that is, 
about seven or eight times the resistance of the Atlantic cable. The 
ends o( the limbs or tubes were immersed in the fluid of the vessel con- 
nected with the galvanometer. As soon as they touched the liquid^ 
the needle of the galvanometer was deflected, and on reversing the 
limbs the needle was deflected in the opposite direction. 

When the flexible portion of one of the limbs was pinched so as to 
diminish the diameter, the deflection was also diminished. When a 
trifling change was made in M<r chemUal character of the fluids in ihi 
twa Hmh^ and one of tlu limbs was slightly contracted^ the direction cf 
the needle was reversed. 

Prof. Trowbridge is disposed to believe that the deflection of the 
needle caused by the contraction of the muscles of the arm, **is pro- 
duced either by the temperature or by the change in the flow of the 
blood*" It has been established, that the electromotive force between 
venous and arterial blood is about one-thirtieth that of a Daniell's 
cell ; and as muscular contractions change the chemical character of 
the blood, and as by very slight chemical difference between two fluids 
separated by a membrane, like the skin, is sufficient to create a gal- 
ranic current, it is not improbable that the conclusion of Du Bois* 
Reymood in regard to the existence of a separate electrical cuirent 
in the ann Is erroneous 



EUcfr^tofws is the peculiar modtficaiion of irritability that nert*£^ 
MJid muscles tmdergo when acted upon by a galvanic current. 

While the nerve is in the electrotbnic state, that part of it not in- 
cluded between the poles wiU deflect the needle of a delicate galvano- 
meter ; and that the defection then caused is not due to the naturaJ 
ncrvc-cuirent^ is proved by the fact that it appears when only the sur- 
face of the nerve is connected with the galvanometer. It is therefore 
the electric condition of the nerve caused by the passage of the current 
through it that deflects the needle. The electrotonic condition not only 
remains so long as the galvanic current continues to pass, but, if the 
current be sufiiciently powerful, it remains for a limited time after the 
current ceases to pass. 

The electrotonos is more noticed the larger the extent of nerve 
acted upon, provided the current be sufficiently increased to overcome 
ibe increased resistance. 

In nerves that are dead, or have lost their irritability, electrotonos 
Cinnot be excited at all, or only feebly, and the same is true when th* 
nerve is cut across or tightly bound with a ligature. 

The change in the nerve-current depends on the direction of the 
galvanic current. When the galvanic current flows in the same direc- 
dan with the nerve-current, the strength of the nerve- current is in- 
creased ; when the galvanic current flows in a contrary direction, the 
strength of the nerve-current is diminished. 

Electrotonos is greater when the galvanic current flows lengthwise 
than when it flows across the nerve. It increases, within certain Umits, 
with the increase in the intensity of the current. 

Mateeular Theory of Anelectrotonos, — Du Bois-Reymond has sug- 
gested a theory to account for the phenomena of electrotonos, which 
has been generally accepted. It is analogous to the theory of mag- 
netism stiggested by Coulomb. He supposes that muscles and nerves 
consist of electric molecules, which have one positive equatorial zone 



and two negative polar zones, whose axes axe parallel to each other; 
that is, two molecules make one molecule. This is called the ptri-pQlof 
arrangement. In a magnet, each individual molecule manifests the 
same phenomena as the entire magnet : each molecule is indeed a 
magnet in miniature. In like manner^ each molecule of the nerve ot 
muscle manifests the same phenomena as the entire nerve or muscle. 
These peri polar molecules are enclosed by a moist covering. 

Du Bois-Reyrnond further supposes that each peri-polar molecule 
may be divided into a group of dipolar molecules — where the positive 




Fig. 3^. 

Peri-polar Arrangement of Elcctro-motor Molecales. 

L S^Longitudinal Sectioru T S — ^Transverse Scctiao. 

P— Parelectronomic Layer* 

hemispheres are turned toward each other — without changing thcil 
electrical properties. This is called the dipolar arrangement. If a 
number jf such molecules are brought under the influence of a galvanic 
current, their positive zones will turn toward the negative pole, and the 
negative toward the positive ; one of the molecules {3) turning 180" 
on its axis. The arrangement will be as above. From its resemblance 
to the voltaic pile it is called the pile-hke arrangement. 

This pile-like airangement of the molecules not only takes place 
between the electrodes, but also beyond them into the extra-polar 

Du Bois-ReymontJ has illustrated these phenomena on molecules 
made of zinc and copper. 

From these experiments Do Bois-Reymond concluded, first, that the 
nerve is always in the condition of a closed circuit, since electric cur- 
rents are produced by the connection of layers surrounding the mole- 
cules with their molecules ; and secondly, that the current obtained 
from an animal, as indicated by the galvanometer, is only a small por- 
tion of the entire current. 




The galvanic current that produces the electrotonic condition is called 
ihjG polartsing ciurent The portion between the poles is called intra* 
foiar; beyond and outside of the poles, extra-polar. Electrotonos is 
ascending when it proceeds from the muscle to the nerve ; descending 
when it proceeds from the nerve to tlie muscle. 

Antlectrotonos and Catclecirotonos, — Anekctroionos is a condition a/ 
dimini:htd irritability which takes place at the positive electrode. Cote- 
Uftrpt&nos is a condition of increased irritability which takes place at the 

L 5 


L S— LongitudiruJ Section. T S — Transverse Section. 

1. Pcn-pot&r arrangemeat of electro-motor molecules. 

2, Di-poUr arningemcjit of electro-motor molecules^ 
3^ Pik-Iike Arrangement of electro-motor molecules, caused by the action of 

the galvanic current. 

ive electrode. At some point between the electrodes the irritability 
nerve is unchanged. The conditions of anelectrotonos and 
calclcctrotonos are found not only between the poles, but also in the 
other portions of the ner\^e, in the extra-polar portion. 

The portion between the poles and near the negative pole, together 
with the portion beyond the negative pole, is in a state of catelectro- 
tonoSi with increased irritability. The portion between the poles and 
near the positive pole, together with the portion beyond the positive 
pole, is in a state of anelectrotonos^ with diminished irritability. 

The extra-polar catelectrotonos depends on the length of the nerve be 
tween the poles^ and the strength of the current, up to a certain limit. 
The strength of the extra polar anelectrotonos is proportioned to iti 



distance from the poles^ being greatest near the mtrapolar porttoiL 
The extra-polar catelectrotonos, both ascending and descending, is in 
, state of increased irrilabihty. The extrapolar anclectrotonos, both 
scending and descending^ is in a slate of diininished irritability. 

Neutral Point, — Between the poles there is a point where the irrita- 
bility is not changed ; there anclectrotonos meets catelectrotonos. This 
is called the neutral point. The relative position of this depends on 
the strength of the polarizing current. Where the strength of the cur- 
rent is medium, the neutral point is about midway between the poles. 
Where the current is weak, the neutral point is nearer the positive 
pole. Where it is strong, it is near the negative pole. 

Negative Variation. — When a current frequently interrupted \% 
applied to an irritable nerve, it causes the nerve-current to diminish in 
strength, and finally utterly destroys it. This fact is demonstrated by 
the galvanometer. 

The same phenomena is caused to a less degree by chemical or 
mechanical stimulation of nerve. Negative variation has been explained 
by the theory that tl:>e peri-pular molecules in the nerve change their 
arrangement, so that their electro-motor power is diminished. The neg- 
ative variation of the current has been studied by Bemstein. He re- 
gards all the electric phenomena of the nerve as undulatory movements, 
and has mathematically estimated the length of the waves in nerve and 
muscle. Cyon^ in confirmation, has shown that the degree of the 
vaoatton is directly proportioned to the number of interruptions in the 
exciting current. 

Effects of Eiectrotonos in Diminished Conductivity. — The power of a 
nerve to conduct irritability is more or less modified by the condition of 
eiectrotonos. The portion of the nerve near the positive pole, which is 
in a condition of anclectrotonos, has its conductibility diminished ; the 
portion of the nerve near the negative pole, which is in a condition of 
catelectrotonos, has its conductibility increased* If the current be suf- 
ficiently strong, the power of the nerve to conduct impressions may be 
nearly or entirely destroyed. 

Effects of Eiectrotonos after the breaking of the Galvanic {polarizing) 
Current. — One of the effects of the eiectrotonos is the irritatton which is 
caused by the passing away of the anclectrotonos. This irritation, 
which appears at llie positive pole, is shown either by a contraction or 
by a tetanic condition. 

Positive Modification and Negative Modification. — The nerve which is 
in a condidon of catelectrotonos at the negative pole is greatly 
modified by the breaking of the polarizing current. Its irritability tj 





thereby diminished This diininutioii of irritability is called the " nega* 
iwe modification. ^^ At the positive pole in the catelectrotonic region, an 
increase of irritability, or positivt madificadony appears on breaking the 
current. This increase and diminution of irritability continue for some 
time after the polarizing current is broken. 

Effect of a Change in the Direction of the Current. — ^Another effect of 
lelectrotonos is the change of irritability which is caused by a change ia 
tlic direction of the current. If a nerve is subjected for some time to 
the influence of a galvanic current in a certain direction, it loses some 
of its irritability^ which i\ regains when the current is reversed 

Reit0raSion cf Irritability. — A very important effect of electrotonoa 
is a restoration of irritability in a nerve. It has been proved, both by 
experience and by experiments, that nerves, which from any cause have 
lost their irritability to the faradic current, sometimes regain it after an 
Application of the galvanic. It has been shown by the experience of 
several writers on electrotherapeutics, and of ourselves* that, in casei 
of paralysis, when the faradic current at first fails to produce contrar- 
tiQns> the application of the galvanic may not only readily produce con- 
tractions, but may also produce such a change in the irritability of the 
paralysed parts as to cause them to regain their lost irritability to thi 
faradic current, (See Electro-Therapeutics.) 

Mlectrotonos of Muscle, — A muscle^ like a nerve, may be put in the 
condition of electrotonos ; the changes of irritability that accompany 
this condition are confined to the poition of muscle through which 
Ihc current flows. The subsequent effects, after the polarizing current is 
broken, are also limited to the portion through which the current passes. 

It is logically probable, also, that not only the motor-nerves, but also 
all parts of the nervous system — central and peripheral — are capable of 
exhibiting the phenomena of modified irritability under the galvanic 

Tlkecry of Anelectratotws and Catelectr&tonos. — That the galvanic 
current in its passage through the nerve diminishes the irritability of that 
ti^^rve in the region of the positive pole, and increases its irritability in 
Ihe region of the negative pole, maybe explained by the purely physical 
elfects of the cunents in the tissue. 

We have seen that in electrolysis acids go to the positive and 
nLkalies to the negative pole \ now it is a fact of physiology that acids 
dinunish the irritability of nerves, while alkalies increase it. Anelec- 
irotonos and catelectrotunos may therefore be caused by acids at tlie 
|>osiLive and alkalies at tJie negative pole. 

This explanation is rendered probable by two facts: firsts that 



anelectrotonos and catelectrotonos are not produced by the seconduj 
faradic current, which has no marked chemical action ; and secondly^ 
that very feeble and instantaneous passages of the galvanic current pro- 
duce electrolytic effects. 

Pfiiigct^s Contraction-Law, — The law of contraction, as derived by 
Pfltiger from ejcperiments on the frog, is thus formulated : The nerve u 
excited by the appearance of catelectrotonos y and the disappearance of 
anelectrotonos y hut not by the appearance of anelectrotonos or the dis- 
appearance of catelectrotonos. This law is considered of great scientific 
as well as practical value. 

Ehctrotonos in the Living Man. — The subject of electro to nos in the 
living man has been studied by Eulenburg, Samt» Von Bexold, Brenner, 
Erb, BrQckner, Runge, and Filchnc, but most successfully by Cyon. 

Cyon,* by a series of elaborate and careful experiments, has shown 
that the contraction-law of POiiger, as established on the frog prepara- 
tion^ applies also to the living human subject. 

He has shown that, after closing the circuit, the irritability is in- 
creased near the negative pole ; that this condition of catelectrotonos 
increases as the cuixent runs up to a certain point ; that on breaking ' 
the current the negative modification^ or condition of diminished irrita- 
bilil)', appears for a moment, and then disappears. 

Near the positive pule, on tlie other hand, the irritability is diminished 
at and after closing the current* On breaking tlie current there is 
an increase of irritability^ or positive modification^ w^hich appears to be 
greater when the current has h^^^w allowed to run a long time. 

The experiments from which Cyon derived these conclusions were 
liiade on the ulnar nerve, and with great care to avoid error. It will 
be seen that the results correspond with die results of Pfliiger's experi- 
ments on the frog, and confirm them. Cyon found, however, that these 
results were not uniform in all persons, but were modified more or less 
by temperament and disease. 

Practical Bearings of the Laws of Electrot&nos. — ^WHiile the laws of 
electroionoi do not account for aO the therapeutical action of the gal- 
vanic current, they are, nevertheless, of great value, and help to ex- 
]>lain the practical differences observed in the action of the two poles. 
In a carefully prepared article, however, by De \Vatteville,f the con- 
clusion is reached ** that a therapeutical system, built on the opposite 
anelectrotonic and katelectrotonic effects, rests upon an imaginary 
basis. . . . Both are stimulants, if * stimulation* there be, the kathode 
more than the anode/* 

* Priftdpes d^Electrotherapie, Paris, 1873, p, i-^o et teq. 
f Conditions of the Unipolar Stimulation^ etc. ** Brain." 

Part IX. 


'Utanom or ELEcnucmr on the skw. 

regard to the study of the action of electricity on the body hi 
hialthf it is necessary to make the preliimnary remark hat many of 
the experiments that have been made and published, and iridely quoted 
in this department, have but little scientific vaJue, and cannot be re- 
garded as m any sense authoritative* The reason for the uncertainty 
pertain ing to the reported experiments are manifold : 

I. TA^ iHsiinction between the currents has not been absented. Not 
niy have the farad ic and the galvanic currents been constantly con- 
founded, but the subdivisions of the faradic current— the electra mag- 
netic and magneto electric — have been vaguely commingled. Many 
I obsorers speak of galvanization when they mean faradization, and vici 
^ftrcTfifi and not a few apply both terms to the use of the same current 
^" 2. Athwance has not been made for the differeniiat action of strongs 
medium^ and feeble currents^ or of long and short applUations, The 
difference in the physiological effect of a large and small dose of opium, 
1^^ sirycluune, belladonna, or ergot, or any other powerful remedy whatso* 
^Bever, is enormous. When a small dose has no perceptible eflfect, a Large 
^■dose may throw into profound sleep, or into violent convulsions, diat lead 
^r to death. In speaking of the physiological action of drugs of any kind, 
the dose is always mentioned, and any experiment with drugs, on man 
or aiiimals, when ^^ dose b not known or mentioned, has litde value in 
sdence. Samilarly also in electro-therapeutics, we find in every-day 
experience that the difference in the effects of a niLld and short, and a 
severe and long, application, is only the difference between making a 
patient infinitely better or infinitely worse. 

Wbefi, therefore, we read that galvanization of the sympathetic or 
poeumogastric produces such and such effects, we really get no precise 
ItDowledge whatsoever. 

5. T%€ differential susceptibility of man and animals lias not been duly 
imisid^red. Experiments with electricity performed on the lower ani 
mal^y as frog% dc^s, cats, horses, rabbits, cows, guinea-pigs, etc, do not 



always afford a safe basis for generalization in regard to the effects of 
electricity on man, and especially on man in a state of civilization* In 
their susceptibility to the electrical stimulus^ and in the length of time 
that they retain iheir irritability after death, there is a great difference 
in animals; be.iveen animals and civilized man this difiference must be 
very great. 

In proportion as the organization of man is more complex than that 
of the lower animals, in that proportion wiO the physiological reactions 
of the human body to the electric current^ or indeed to any other »n 
tluence, be more complex and uncertain, and more liable to deviatioat 
and modifications than the ph)^siological reactions of the inferior famis 
of life to which we are supposed to be related. Conclusions in electro- 
physiology, derived solely from experiments on animals, have the great 
merit of simplicity ; but when applied to the far higher and more com- 
plex organization of man, and especially of civilized man, with his ex- 
cessively sensitive system of nerves, they are apt to lead into serious 

4. Individual idiosyncrasies have not been properly considered. The 
action of medicines varies with the temperament to such a degree as to 
fiiake necessary great caution in rushing to generalizations from expe- 
riments on one or two persons. Applications of electricity, faradic 
or galvanic, to the cervical sympathetic, similar in length and strength, 
rnay cause in one individual symptoms of cerebral congestion, in another 
symptoms of cerebral anaemia, and in another its effects may be purely 
negative. In one individual the effects of such application may be felt 
at once, in another an hour or two after tlie application, in another not 
until the following day. 

There is a great difference in the average susceptibility of different 
nationalities and of the higher and lower orders of society, with occa- 
sional exceptions both ways; the lough, coarse fibred laboring classes 
are much less susceptible to electricity, just as they are much less sus- 
ceptible to drugs, tlmn llie delicate, finely organized, brain- working 

5. The action of electricity on the body in health may be learned, in 
fart at least ^ by studying its action in disease. 

"Pathology," Allbutt well says, "is but the shady side of physiolog)*." 
1T0 draw the line precisely where health ends and disease begins, is 
oftentimes beyond the power of mortal man. Of the deep darkness of 
tlie midnight-hour any child is conscious, and even the birds discern the 
approach of evening ; but what physicist so keen as to tell the precise 
moment when the late afternoon begins to fade into the early twilight? 


It is because physiology and pathology thus run into each other, that 
obsen'ations on pathological states may be of great service to physiology. 
Experiments made with electricity on patients more or less diseased 
have helped, as we shall see, to solve some of the problems of electro- 
physiology. Certain pathological states render die nerves unusually 
impressible lo electricity in degree, though in the same way as w 
healthy and thus are of great value to the electro-physiological experi 

The above considerations explam in part the opposite and inconsistent 
as well as fragmentary character of electro-physiological researches, and 
they should be borne constantly in mind by those who study this and 
the following chapters, devoted to the action of electricity on the humar 
body in health. 

Action of Franklinlc Ehciriciiy. — ^When the sparks of frictional 
electricity are applied to the skin they produce a sensation of pricking 
and if the sparks are large the skin becomes red and a papular eruptiori 
appears. Applied to the scalp, it causes the hair to stand on end* 

Action of the Faradic Current. — If any dry artificial electrode is 
pressed against the dry skin while a faradic cuiTent is passing, the elec- 
tricity will penetrate but slightly to the deeper tissues, unless the current 
is very intense, because of the great resistance offered by the skin* 

One effect of the faradic current on the skin in this way is to cause a 
change in the circulation. The change may be either anaemia or hyper- 
semia. At first there is anaemia. The calibre of the blood-vessels is 
narrowed, through the action of the corrent on the vaso motor nerves* 
This contraction with anemia is s[)asmodic in its character; it lastg 
but for a time, and in the course of two or three minutes it gives way 
to hyperemia. The skin becomes red, and remains so for a short or 
long time, from several minutes to several hours, according to the 
strength of the current, the length of the application, and the tempera- 
ment of the individual. 

Another effect of far adi zing the skin in this way is pain. This pain is 
caused by the irritation of the extremities of the sensory nerves. 

When the dry hand is substituted for the dry artificial electrode, the 
sudkce can be faradized without producing pain. During the latter 
operation the electricity, acting upon the dry surface of the skin, pro- 
duces a peculiar cracking or humming sound that may be heard several 

An application of a faradic current of ordinary strength is followed 
by the most marked effects on the skin when it is dry, from the fact 
liiat the electricity is mostly confined to the surface of the tissue. A 



very ftne, or, in other words, a rapidly interrupted, faradic current, has 
SI more marked eflfect on the sensory nerves than a coarse, or slowly itl- i 
terrupted, current, and in the treatment of the more common fonns of 
anesthesia and neuralgia this fact must be considered. The n€gathi 
fioie has a much stranger effect both an the sensory and motor nerves 
than the positive. Any one can readiiy distinguish the poles ^ when held \ 
in the hand, by the stronger sensation and more violent muscular con- 
traction which is felt at the negative. 

Some parts of the skin are more sensitive to the current than others, 
from the fact that they are more richly supplied with nerves. The face 
is especially sensitive at the points where the various branches of 
the trigeminus issue, and at the line of demarcation of the skin and 
mucous membrane of the nose and mouth- The relative sensitiveness i 
of different parts of the surface of the body to the faradic current will 
be discussed in detail in a chapter devoted to that subject in the section 
on Electro-Therapeutics. A faradic current of moderate strength, when 
applied to bones that be very near the surface, produces considerable i 
pain of a peculiar character. This pain is caused on account of tlie 
irritation of the sentient nerves of the periosteum. The forehead and 
the region of the scapula and tibia are especially sensitive to electriia* 

It is not supposed that the bone is specifically affected by the electric 
current. Both the periosteum and the bone, however, may have an 
increased amount of blood attracted to them by the electric current 
Acting in this manner, electrization has been known to reunite anoki ' 
fracture. (See Electro-Surgery.) 

The great and peculiar sensitiveness of the skin to electricity is ex- 
plained in part by the fact that the epidermis as a whole is so poor a con- 
ductor, and the electricity enters it by points through the sudoriferous and 
sebaceous glands, and the smaller the diameter of the point at which the 
electricity enters a body the greater the density, the strength of the 
current being constant. When now an electrode is applied to the body, j 
the entire current, instead of diffusing itself over the whole surface, fl 
enters at the glands, where there is best conduction, and consequently ^ 
excites pain. For the same reason, to a greater degree, electricity 
applied by means of a metallic brush is far more painful than when 
applied with a broad metal or sponge. Jk 

For the same reason a wet sponge electrode, when ligJitly touched to H 
the surface of the body, causes more pain than when firmly pressed o& 
the skin« 

One effect of tlie skin is the phenomenon of '* goose-flesh," 



>pulaily so called. This is noticed not only where the electrodes are 
jlppUed, and between them, but at a distance. It is more observed in the 
trvous and feeble than in the hardy and strong. It may be excited b) 
rcak currents of momentary duration. In some persons it cannot be 
xcited at all 

Action 0/ the Galvanic Current, — The effects of the galvanic current 
the skin differ somewhat from those of the faradic. At both poles 
here IS a ^irrw/>/^ sensation, which increases in intensity with the strength 
"the current and the length of the application. The sensation, when 
[le current is closed, is like that of a mustard-plaster, or, with a very 
rong current, that of a hot iron pressed on the skin. The -'goose- 
kin " sometimes appears as under the faradic current, but it lasts longer. 
: appears only around the poles, and not beneath them, at the points of 
ct. At the positive pole, in some cases, there appears under the 
tic, at first, a shallow depression, and the skin is pale, but soon 
liyperseniia appears, and many little elevations here and there. When 
a strong current is used an ischsemic appearance is presented beneath 
tlie electrode, and a red areola extends lor some distance around. 

At the negative pole substantially the same phenomena appear, but 
be hypersemia arises more rapidly, and is more intense and extended. 
The general sensation caused by the galvanic current is then, in 
fer, substantially the same at both poles. In degree of action 
is a certain difference, since the change at the negative develops 
nore rupidly and powerfully. 
The above phenomena we have repeatedly demonstrated on a variety 
' temperaments. We have observed that the rapidity and strength of 
he action are considerably modified by the individual. Soft, thin, and 
ate skins appreciate the burning feeling and the various stages of 
emia more quickly than skins which are coarse, thick, and hard. 
Ziemsseni who has carefully studied this subject, states that unp^f- 
H%abh electrodes are necessary in order to obtain the complete 
i with certainty. The advantage of unpolarizable electrodes is, 
tiai they arc not so painful, and so a current of from thirty to sixty 
lements can be borne for a long time, say from ten to thirty minutes, 
iTttii ordinary electrodes such a current would for most persons be un- 
[idurablc after the second minute. 

Chemical Effects of the Galvanic Current on the Skin. — The chemical 

fects of the galvanic current on the skin differ not only in degree but 

od. Under the negative pole — when metallic electrodes of moderate 

etcr are applied on the skin, slightly moistened — there appear smalU 

vesicles, that are transparent and are not raised much above the 



skiL. Tliis phenomena is produced by a current that causes a strong 
burning sensation. These vesicles contain fluid and layers of epidemiis. 
TJie fluid is alkaline. When the strength of the current is increased the 
fluid becomes of a brownish color, and blisters are formed and t red 
areola appears. The serum that comes out on the skin is alkaline. 
These blisters, and all the other phenomena, as has been often 
demonstrated, appear more rapidly on delicate than on thick skins, and 
when fully formed they are a long time in healings and for days and 
weeks a yellowish and brownish discoloration may be observed at the 
points where the skin was acted on. 

If the application be still more protracted little ulcers are formed, that 
are also slow to perfectly heal» but are not painful, and cause no an- 

At the positive pole, when a strong current is used for some time, a 
blister appears, accompanying the other symptoms of *' goose-flesh," 
ischsemia. The blister is colored in its centre a yellowish brown. 
The serous fluid that comes from the blisters is acid. The metallic elec- 
trode becomes black through oxidation. In order to demonstrate this 
action of the positive pole, it is better to have the connection at the 
negative pole established by means of a broad, soft, and well-moistened 

Ziemssen states that by this experiment, made witli thermometers 
no elevation of temperature takes place either at the positive or nega- 
tive pole. 

In all these chemical actions of the galvanic current on the body, it is 
probable that more or less ozone is produced, and it is not impossible 
that the ozone thus produced may in some way modify the cficctf, 
(See section on Ozone zx\A Ulcer Sy in Electro-Therapeutics.) 

Electro-anasthesia. — ^It has for some time been a matter of dispute 
whether a slight anresthesia can be produced by the electric current. 
It is well known that for a number of years some dentists have been 
accustomed to connect the forceps for extracting teeth with one pole 
of an electro^magnetic apparatus while the patient rested his foot on the 
other pole^ so that as soon as the forceps seized hold of the tooth a cur- 
rent is established. Although this method of producing anaesthesia is not 
now received with favor, there is no question that the electric cmrteDti 
do have a slight benumbing effect. The results of various experiment? 
that we have from time to time performed in this department seem to 
be conclusive. We have had teeth extracted while a strong faradic 
turrent was passing through the jaw, and feel assured from this personal 



^_rv|>criencc that the electricity caused the pain to be less sensitively felt, 
^KThal the pain caused by the prick of a pin, for example, is less sensi- 
^Vtivcly felt when a strong faradic current is passing through the pan 
^F where the puncture is made, we have practically demonstrated ol the 
hand and other parts of the body, 

Althaus* arrived at the conclusion that the electric current could pro 
duce an anaesthetic or slightly paralyzing effect, from experiments on 
ihe nerve-tninks, as the ulnar and sciatic. His method of operating 
^■«ras to place the positive pole over some point where the nerve was 
^pupentcial, and the negative over some one of the terminal branches, 
keeptDg up the action of the current for fifteen minutes, with the result 
of producing a feeling of numbness, and less sensitiveness to the cur- 
renl- Knonr, of Munich, has availed himself of the anaesthetic effects 
of electrisation for opening felons and buboes. 

We have also experimented on iniiamed and irritated mucous mem* 
brmnes. In rhinitis, pharyngitis^ and laryngitis, we have for three years 
been accustomed continually to make use of the benumbing effects of 
^^ eWcliuation. 

^H It has a very slight anaesthetic effect on irritated and inflamed mucous 
^Miembnuie, and those on whom it has been employed desire to have the 
^MppGcations repeated. Our custom has been, in some cases, to use local 
^Hbjadixadon after the application of caustics and other irritants, in order 
^Hu> rcticve the very annoying pain that they so often cause, or in any 
^fbriiable condition of the parts. 

A French physician, M. Victor Revillout, has obtained similar results 
from applications of the faradic current to the uterus after cauteriza- 

EUcirical Excitability of the ^^m,— TschiriewJ and De Watteville 

have pointed out a method by which the absolute and relative excita^ 

bility of the cutaneous nerves can be readily tested. The principles 

of their method are : rst. Elimination of all the sources of variation in 

^thc strength of the currents due to the variable thickness of the epi- 

^BermiSf and the different positions of the electrodes, etc., by intercalat- 

^^■Bio the circuit such resistances as to make such variations insignifi- 

PHh- 2d. Elimination of the variable abundance of nervous elements 

I to the skin, by exciting it at a constant number of points, dispersed 

Of er a constant surface. 

^ Midifal El€€tri€ity, 1 86a pp, i66, 167, 

\ Anhivti Gkntralis di MUeeint. September, tS68. p. 35^ 

%Brmi^. Pmrt VI. 



Direct Application, — It has been shown by Fritsch and Hitzig that 
in the cerebral convolutions there are centres for the production of 
voluntary muscular movements in various parts of the body. These 
physiologists took off the upper part of the skull of a dog, and by 
means of weak galvanic currents excited the exposed brain, locating 
the current, as far as possible, in small portions. They found that 
when certain definite portions of the anterior convolutions were excited, 
movements were caused in certain groups of muscles on the opposite side 
of the body. Continuing their researches, they showed that there are 
definite nerve-centres for the nerves that preside over the muscles of 
the neck, the foot, and the face, for the extensor and adductor muscles 
of the forearm, and for the flexor and rotator muscles of the arm. 

Prof. Ferrier, of King's College, London, has made similar researches 
with the faradic current, and with it has investigated the brains of fish, 
frogs, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea-pigs, and monkeys. He has studied 
not only the cerebrum, but the cerebellum, the corpora quadrigeraina, 
and other portions of the brain. Electrization of the optic thalanii 
produced no result. Electrization of the corpora striata caused the 
limbs to be flexed. Electrization of the anterior tubercles of the corpora 
quadrigemina caused dilatation of the pupils and opisthotonus ; while 
electrization of the posterior tubercles caused the animal to make all 
sorts of noises. Electrization of the cerebellum caused movements of 
the eyeballs. Dr. Beard * has carefully studied this subject on the brains 
of dogs, rabbits, cats, and pigeons. He used both currents, mild, me- 
dium and strong, and studied also the question of diffusion of currents. 
His provisional conclusions were, that the surface of the brain was 
electrically excitable ; that the theory advanced by Dupuy and other 
French observers, that the excitation was due to the diffusion of the cur- 
rents to the central ganglia, was not tenable. Dr. Bartholow f had made 

• ArchiTCS of Electrology and Neurology. May, 1874. f ^bid. 



similar experiments on the brain of a living voman, exposed by can- 
cerous disease. 

Efftcts of ExUrnal Galvanization of the Br am. — The leading effect 
of medium and strong galvanization of the brain by external application 
in the living human subject is dift'erent. When one electrode is placed 
on the foF'^head and the other on the occiput, or one on the summit of 
ihe head and the other on the stomach, galvanization is followed by 
little if any tendency to vertigo* When a current of even feeble tension 
is passed from temple to temple, or from one mastoid bone to its fellow, 
very decided dizzint*ss is at once jjercelved, which contiuues during the 
operation of the current, and becomes most decidedly manifested at die 
moment the circuit is broken. 

During the passage of the current there is a very marked and quite 
irresistible tendency to lean toward the positive pole, while objects in 
riew seem to move in the same directiou. When the circuit is opened 
there is a reversal in Uie directiou of the seeming movements, and the 
experimenter instantly bends in the opposite direction toward the nega- 
tive pole* 

For these phenomena an ingenious and plausible explanation is given 
by Hitzig, When the current passes from the forehead to the occiput, 
the right and left lobes of tlie brain and all that pertains to them are 
equally or symmetrically influenced, and little if any dizziness is per- 
ceived. Place, however^ the anode upon one temple and the cathode 
upon the other, and mark the readiness with which di^/iness is produced. 

In this operation the brain is no longer symmetrically affected One 
hemisphere is in a condition of anelectrotonos, or diminished irritability, 
while the other is in a condition of catclectxotonos, or increased irrita- 
bility, or, as it is expressed, there is a falsification of the muscular sense, 
a disturbance of the equilibrium, and the apparently involuntary incli- 
nation toward the anode is in reality a voluntary eSbrt to restore the 
imaginary loss of balance. 

Hitzig indicates several degrees of galvanic giddiness* 

I. A mtre sense of fulness in the head. This feeling is caused by a 
mild current when broken, but not usually when the current is running, 
nor so markedly when the current is closed. Certain temperaments, 
lioirever, experience this feeling not only when the current is broken, 
but also when it is running. 

2* Apparent fiiovenients. These are produced by stronger currents. 
Objects when the curreut is running appear to go from the positive to 
ihe negative pole ; when the current is broken the apparent movement 
is reversed 



3. Staggering. This is produced by stronger currents. In ira[Mre8» 

ible temperaments very mild currents may produce it. 

Movements of the Eyes, — Movements of the eyeballs have also been 
observed by Hitzig duriug the second and third stages of dizziness. 
When a strong current goes transversely through the head, and its 
direction is changed, movements of the eye, resembling nystagmus, 
appear. There is a jerk, and then a further movement. If the positive 
pole be in the right mastoid, and the negative in the left, both eyes are 
jerked toward the left, and kept there, provided the current be suffi- 
ciently strong. 

There are anatomical reasons for supposing that the brain can be 
more easily affected in the mastoid and occipital regions than in the 
anterior portion. A large vein connects the transverse sinus with the 
posterior auricular veins, and with the posterior meningeal artery into 
the skull through the mastoid foramen. In the occipital region a vein 
connects the transverse sinus with the vena cervicalis profunda through 
the posterior condyloid foraunen.* 


Rigid cramps of all the muscles of the trunk and extremities follow 
electrization of the spinal cord when an electrode is placed at either 
extremity of the cord. Cramps of the same character are also pro- 
duced when one electrode is applied to the anterior and the other to 
the posterior column, either at their upper or lower extremities. 

If the spinal cord be divided at about its centre and the lower half 
electrized, only the muscles of the lower or hinder limbs will contract 
If the upper half be electrized, only the muscles of the fore limbs will 
enter into contraction. The results will be the same, whether the cat 
extremities are separated or brought in close contact, in which lattt*^ 
condition no impediment is offered to the passage of the current* 
The above researches of Weber have been confirmed by Dr. Beard' ^ 
experiments on dogs and rabbits. The effects are produced by botl3 

Inhibitory Effects, — At the moment of closing and breaking a gal* 
vanic current its action upon the cord is manifest by the contraction of 
the muscles of the body and limbs ; but during the passage of the cur* 

* Quoted from Lnschka and AnatomU des Menschen^ vol. iii, 2, pi I54t I9 
Altham. Third edition, p. 139. 



rent no contmciions are observed^ and a paralyzing efFecl soon takej 
place. The cord remains insensible to any stimulus that may be aii 
plied to it as long as ihe current is passing, but at its cessation any 
loechanical irritation will give rise to the usual tetanic convulsions. 
This diminution of excitability is confined alone to the spinal cord, foi 
if ihe motor nerves and muscles are traversed by an induced current 
(vrhile the cord is under the intiuence of the galvanic) they contract 
vigorously. The galvanic current applied through the spinal cord for a 
long time produces paralysis 

According to Mayer, if a mild faradic current be applied to the ccrvi. 
cal region of Jrogs that are in an irritable condition) movements of the 
lower extremities occur. Electrization of the posterior columns pro- 
duces these movements easier than electrization of the anterior coU 
umns. If the posterior columns are removed no movements occur. If 
the cord is divided into halves, posteriorly and anteriorly from above 
nearly down to the origin of the sciatic nervc^ electrization of the pos* 
tcrior half produces movements, but electrization of the anterior does 
not If the posterior roots on the trunk of the brachial nerve are elec- 
trized, the movements are produced just as when the cord itself is elec- 
trized. Fick, however, declares that the anterior columns respond lo 

CiiiC'S final Centre. — The cervical sympathetic nerve, which animates 
the radial fibres of the iris, takes its rise from the spinal cord between 
ihe seventh cervical and the sixth dorsal vcrtebne. 

If this portion of the cord be galvanized, the excitation is transmitted 
to the cervical sympathetic nerve, and thence to the iris, producing dila- 
tation of the pupil. This point has been termed by Budge and Waller 
the cenirum eilW'spinaU, A ganglion near the fifth lumbar vertebra 
which, on being electrized in animals, produces contractions of the rec- 
tum and bladder, is called the ganglion geniio-spinale. 

The first of these points, the centrum cilio spinale, can be demon- 
strated by external applications both of the galvanic and faradic cur- 
rents, and is of great importance in general faradization. The gaNglian 
gcnitO'Spinale also is probably directly, though not so deraonstraliy, 
affected by external electrization of the spine. 



In order to intelligently appreciate the experiments that have been 
made to determine the action of electricity on the sympathetic and 
pneumogastric, it is necessary to keep constantly before the mind the 
following considerations : 

1. The action of electricity on the sympathetic and pneumogastric 
must be modified by the kind of electricity employed, by the strength 
of the current and length of the applications, and by the condition and 
temperament of the subject in which the experiment is made. 

To say that galvanizing the sympathetic produces such and such 
effects is really to give no information whatsoever, for at once the 
inquiring soul raises the questions, How strong were the currents used? 
How long were the applications? Were men or animals subjected to 
the experiment ? Were they intact or injured ? If animals, what kind, 
and were the results the same on several animals of the same kind ? 

2. These nerves can be affected both by external and internal appli- 
cations of electricity. 

The fact that external electrization affects these nerves, which has by 
some been disputed, is fully apparent from what is known in general 
of the electro-conductivity of the body, is confirmed by special experi- 
ments, and is demonstrated by observations in physiological and patho- 
logical cases. This is true not only of the cervical sympathetic ganglia^ 
but of all the ganglia of the body. Known facts in regard to the elec^ 
tro-conductivity of the body show that none of the ganglia of th^ 
sympathetic can escape the electric influence when the current b ap — 
plied over the surface of the body. 

3. The effects of external application through the skin on these nerved 
cannot be expected to be identical in kind and degree with the eflfect^ 
of direct application to the nerves themselves. Although the cervical 
ganglia of the sympathetic and the pneumogastric nerve are traversed by 
the currents of electricity when the electrodes are placed on the skin in 
such a position that the current in passing from one to the other finds these 



fierves in their pathway, yet on physical or physiological principles we 
cannot expect the same results as when the one or both poles are di- 
rectly applied to the nerves. In external applications it is the derived 
currents that pass through the nerves, and direct polar effect is not 
gained. When we consider that the currents in passing froui one pole 
to the other diffuse themselves into numberless unduiator}% diverse cur- 
rents, it is easy to see that only a small part of the electric influence 
will be appreciated by such small nerves as the sympathetic ganglia or 
the pneumogastric. In the body between the electrodes the currents 
act like diffused light i at the electrodes the currents act like light con 
centrated to a focus. If currents of sufficient power could be borne 
externally, it is possible that by single external applications there could 
be produced al! the effects that are obtained by direct applications to 
the nerves themselves ; but this is hardly probable, for the twofold rea- 
son that the differential polar effect could not be obtained, and that 
the great stimulation of each of the electrodes on the surface would 
oompUcate the experiment. These considerations, as it seems to us, 
sufficiently explain what to many has been regarded as a great diffi- 
culty — that the ordinary therapeutical measures for electrizing the sym- 
pathetic do not produce the same effects as direct applications to the 

That the sympathetic and the pneumogastric are traversed by the cur- 
rent when the electrodes are placed on the surface of the neck, is suffi- 
ciently probable from the known laws of electric conduction. When 
one electrode is placed at the nape of the neck, and the other at 
ihe anterior border of the stern o-cleido -mastoid muscle, the current, 
whether iaradic or galvanic, however widely it may radiate, and however 
numerous the branch-currents may be, must by physical necessity trav- 
erse the sympathetic and pneumogastric. There is no more prob- 
ability that it will go out of its way, in violation of physical laws, and 
avoid these nerves, than that a storm sweeping between New York and 
Brooklyn will take a circuitous march and avoid the East River. 

These nerves — the sympathetic and pneumogastric — and the tissues 
by which they are surrounded, are good conductors, very much superior 
in conductivit}^ to the skin, and of almost the same conductivity as the 
wiuscles ; and even if some branch or derived currents pass through 
other tissues, as unquestionably is the case, these nerves cannot be 
wholly avoided, and wheti the electrodes are in central positions th^y 
are probably the highway through which nearly the entire charge 

But stronger than the analogies of electro-physics, and more con 



vmcing than experiments on the dead subject, are the observed effccti 
of electmation of the neck in physiological and pathological cases. 
These effects, which will be detailed furdier on, harmonize so closeijr 
with all our knowledge of nervo-physiology, and accord so exactly with 
pathological observation, as to demonstrate beyond doubt, and with ac 
emphasis by which those who observe cannot fail to be impressed, ihaf 
the sympathetic and pneumogastric can be affected by external faradi 
nation or galvanization of the neck. 

4. It is difficult, if not impossible, to afTect the cervical sympathetic 
or the pncmnogastric by external applications, without at the same time 
aflfecting the depressor nen*e, the spinal cord, or the brain, and espccialiy 
difficult is it to limit the action to the pneumogastric witliout at the 
same time affecting the sympathetic, and vic^ versa* 

This conclusion follows as a logical result from the anatomical rela- 
tion of the parts and from what is known of the electro-conductivity of 
the body, and is pretty distinctly demonstrated by tlie physiological and 
therapeutical action of the current when externally applied > In what- 
ever position we place the electrodes, the derived currents, in passing 
from one electrode to the other^ must traverse some portion of both of the 
great nerves. The base of the brain and the region of the neck constitute 
the most important part of the central nervous system. So far as life 
can be said to have any centre, it is here, w^here the pneumogastric, the 
phrenic, and the other great nerves take their origin. Directly or indi- 
rectly, by the actual passage of the current, or by reflex action, any pirt 
of this important region is liable to be affected in the applications €!»• 
ployed in the so called galvanization of the cemcal sym[iathetic. 

It is partly on account of this difficulty of limiting the action of the 
current to one or other of these great nerves that we treated them both 
under the same chapter. When operating on these nerves, exposed 
and laid bare and isolated, the action of the current can, of course, be 
limited pretty exclusively to the nerve operated on. The cervical 
ganglia of the s>Tnpathetic receive the chief attention in all these ob- 
ser\'ations, because they are prominent and accessible and beax a 
powerful and recognized influence over the cerebral circulation ; bill 
all the ganglia of the sympathetic are accessible to the electrical influ- 

Action of Electricity on the Cranial Portion of the Sympathetic. — In 
1727 M, Fourfour du Petit discovered that the following symptoms re- 
Bulted from division of the cer^-^ical filaments of the s^-m pathetic ner/e, 
viz. \ contraction of the piipil^ redness and injection of the conjunctiva, 
and flattening of the cornea \ the eyelids approach each other, the 



nictitating membrane becoraes more prominent, the secretion from the 
mucous surfaces of the eye is increased, and the eyeball is drawn fur- 
thor into the orbit. In addition to these symptoms, the ears and 
nostrils al^o become red and injected, and the head latter and more 

Claude Bernard observed that not only did all these phenomena dis- 
appear when the cranial portion of the nerve was submitted to electri- 
zation, but that quite reverse phenomena appeared. The pupil be- 
came larger than natural ; the conjunctiva, the ears, and the nostrils be- 
came quite pale ; the eyeball protruded from its orbit ; the mucous 
surfaces became drier, and the head cooler and less sensitive ; but as 
soon as electrization was discontinued^ all the phenomena caused by 
the section of the nerve again appeared. 

Electrization of the great sympathetic de/^re it is divided produces 
almost precisely the same results as after division. It has been ob- 
sen'ed by Weber, that if either the inferior cervical ganglia of the 
sympathetic nerve or its cardiac branches are submitted to electrization, 
the action of the heart is accelerated. 

Afiion of EUctrtcity on the Cephalic^ Thoracic^ and Abdominal Gan- 
gH4i^ — Section of the sympathetic causes, as we have seen, increase of 
heat in the ear. 

Now if the cephalic end of the divided sympathetic is electrified^ the 
increased temperature of the part is lowered ; but if the electric current 
be passed through the large diameter of the ear, the temperature is further 
tttcreased. On the other hand, if there has been no division of the 
sympathetic, and the ear is electrified, the heat in that part is lessened. 

Valentin found that the galvanization of the superior thoracic gan- 
glia revived the pulsation of the heart after it had ceased, and increased 
the frequency of the beats when already in action. Mild galvanization 
of the splanchnic nerves that arise from the six lower dorsal ganglia 
of the sympathetic increases, while strong galvanization diminishes, 
the peristaltic action. 

Rfftci of direct EUctrizaiion of the Pneumo gastric and on the Mcspi- 
ration, — MM. Arioing and Tripier have shown that section of the 
pncumogastric below the medulla oblongata so far modifies its irrita* 
bility that the action of the heart is not arrested, or but for a short time, 
by the faradization of the distal end of the cut pneumogastric. 

The same authors believe that weak faradic currents cause a slight 
increase in the rapidity of the beats of the heart and elevation of the 
blood'pressure in the arteries. 

They found that the right pneumogastric has a more powerful laAu 



ence over the heart than the left* Faradization of the peripheral end 
of the divided pneumogastric causes arrest of the action of the heart 
sudden irregularities of its rhythm, and some diminution of pressure. 
Faradization of the central end causes retarded and diminished pres- 

According to MM. Arloing and Tripier, faradiitatioo of the iniaci 
pneumogastric wlihfeebk currents does not accelerate respiration; fara- 
dization with medium currents causes sudden inspiration and forced 
expiration ; faradization with strong and powerful currents causes re* 
flex coughing and vomiting. The sauie observers found ihat tlie left 
pneumogastric has a more powerful influence over respiration than the 

The discovery that the rigkt pneumogastric has a greater power over 
the heart than the left, was made by Masoin, of Belgium, about the same 
time as it was made by Arloing and Tripier. Masoin found the move- 
ments of the heart were stopped by the galvanization of the left pneumo- 
gastric. It was possible to restore the movements by a mechanical ex- 
citation, such as striking the heart with the finger ; but after the move- 
ments were stopped by galvanization of the right pneumogastric, it was 
not possible to restore them in that way. 

Dr. Brown-S^quard * states that he has found the sanic differences to 
exist in men as in animals, judging from experiments made not by electri- 
city, but by pressing on the nerves near the angle of the jaw. 

Arrest of Respiration h' Galvanization of 4 he Laryngeal and other 
Branches of the Pnaimogastric, — It has been shown by Rrown-Sdquardf 
that electrization of the upper or the lower laryngeal nerves causes 
arrest of the respiration, and Bidder has shown that a reflex spasm of 
the glottis may be caused in the same way. Electrization of the 
oesophagus and pharynx may sometimes produce the same effect If 
the upper laryngeal nerve is electrized after the chest is opened, the 
arrest of the respiration does not take place as easily as when the 
chest is not open. The respiration^ when thus arrested, usually re^ 
turns in the course of a quarter or half a minnte^ whether the electriza- 
tion is continued or not- 

The effect of electrizing the pnenmogastric on the respiration 13 
modified by two factors — the portion of the nerve that is electrized 
and the strength of the current Mild galvanization of the pneumogas- 
tric in the lower part of the neck may increase the respiratory move- 

♦ Arekktis of Scitniifie and Practical Medicine January, 1873, P- 9^- 
f Loc. cit, p. 96, 



tnents ; weak declrization in the upper part of the nerk, near the origin 
of the nerve, may arrest respiration, 

A mild current may increase the respiration or diminish it, or it may 
have no effect whatever. 

A medium current may arrest respiration and cause spasm of the 
glottis and of the muscles of inspiration, 

A powerful current may paralyze the diaphragm, and may produce 
death without the accompanying symptoms of agony.* 

Caughing. — A prominent effect of electrizing the pneiimogastric is 
ecughing. This symptom may be excited by external as well as b> 
intemaL applications, and by the faxadic as well as by the galvanic 

We made our first experiments in this direction in 1867. Dr. Rock- 
well then observed that the application of either pole of a strong faradic 
current to the nape of the neck — the other pole being at the feet, or in 
cither hand, or at the pit of the stomach — excited in sensitive patients 
quite severe attacks o( coughing, that lasted so long as the pole remained 
in position. Most clearly this effect was seen in thin and sensitive pa- 
tients. It was not necessary to be particular in regard to the position 
of the pole on the neck in order to excite this symptom ; not only in the 
dlio-spinal centre, but even when the pole is as low down as the 
first and second dorsal vertebras, the laryngeal branches of the pneu- 
mogastric may be so irritated as to induce coughing. 

This phenomenon we daily observed in the operation of general 
faradization. The same effect follows the use of strong interrupted gal- 
vanic currents. 

According to Bonders, the pneuraogastric, when acted upon by the 
galvanic current, conforms to Pfliiger's law of contraction ; in the 
region of anelectrotonos its irritability is lessened \ in the region of 
catelcctrolonos its irritability is sometimes increased 

Action of External Applications of Electricity on the Pneumogastric 
and Cervical Sympathetic of living uninjured Men. — The experiments 
above recorded were made chiefly on the exposed nerves of animals, and 
the applications were made directly to the nen-^es by one or both poles. 
Keeping in mind the considerations previously adduced, we proceed to 
examine into the effect of external applications of electricity on the 
cervical s)Tnpathetic and the pneumogastric of living men in health. 

In our attempts to solve the problem, we have experimented on a 

• Arekivn of Sdtntifit and Practicrl Medicine^ No, I, 1S73, p^ 96. Whethci 
CbcK experiments were performed with the faradic or gmlvwic current is cot di» 
Ooctlj ftJited. 



large vanety of individuals of diflTerent ages and by different raetbods of 
application. One of the electrodes is placed in the mastoid fossa, aii<3 
the other over the seventh cervical vertebra, or at the top of the clavicle. 
Both directions of the ctirrent are used. We used in these experiments 
a zinc carbon, or the Sme^s battery, of from 5 to 30 cells, from i to 5 
or 10 minutes. 

The general results of our researches may be thus summed up : 

1. A slight feeling of dronmness. This sometimes began to be per- 
ceptible shortly after the electrodes were applied, increased up to a 
certain point, and continued for some little time after the stance was 
over. In many cases it is not observed until the lapse of fwe or ten 
minutes after the stance. The feeling, which was by no means con- 
stant, was usually so slight that it might not have been observed, had 
we not in our experiments kept closely on the watch for every sensa* 
tion experienced during or just after the appUcaiion. 

Some individuals are amazingly susceptible to this soporific effect of 
galvanization of tfie neck. A yoimg lady whom we were treating for 
facial acne by central galvanization, was frequently put right to sleep 
within one minute after the application began. Her eyes would close 
and her head would droop and nod ; and when the electrodes were 
removed she would awake but slowly, and with a vacant look and 
drowsy feeling, such as we all experience when we are suddenly roused 
from a nap. This effect followed any sort of application aroimd the 
neck with either pole and in any direction. 

On the accepted theory that a state of cerebral anaemia predisposes 
to sleep, we should reason, d priori^ that electrization of the sympa- 
thetic ought to induce a feeling of drowsiness, since on some Individ- 
uals it unquestionably diminishes the current of blood in the brain, and 
experimentally we have found that it does thus induce a slight and 
temporary disposition to sleep, although this result is probably far less 
larked than it would be if, without injury to the living subject, the 
application could be made directly to the ganglia, and this effect is by 
no means uniform, but varies with the strength of the currents and 
with the temperament of the individual. 

2. A feeling of warmth through the system with sensible perspiration 
This was not a constant symptom, though it was oftentimes veiy 
decided. To produce sensible perspiration usually requires a strong 
current and a long application. The extent to which this was felt was 
manifestly dependent on the strength of the current and the length of 
the application. It was usually felt but a short time after the si&mt 
WIS completed. We have observed this effect more frequently and 



more markedly in tlie suscejjtible and nervous than in the cold and 
phlegmatic, and most frequently in more or less pathological cases. 

3. A marked effect en ike pulse. The pulse was sometimes accele- 
rmtcdr but more frequently lowered, two, three, four, or more beats, 

lo order to determine the effects of electrization of the sympathetic 
on the pulse, we made the examinations imntediateJy before and imme- 
diately after the applications* Every prec:mtion was taken to avoid 
eiTor, by alloiring an interval of rest before the sitting, in order to give 
time for the subsidence of the pulse to its natural condition from any 
excitement that it may have received from the exertion of walking or 
the labor of partially disrobing. In cases of doubt the whole minute 
was counted, in some instances several times in succession. A patient 
umccustoraed to the sensation produced by the electric current, or to 
^h/t ifwdus operandi of its employment, might experience an accelera- 
tion of the pulse from simple mental excitement, not only prior to or 
at the commencement of die sitting, but also during or after the appli- 
cation. Error from this cause was in our cases manifestly impossible, 
and all the others on whom we experimented with a view to obtain 
physiological results were so well familiarized to the medical employ 
mcnt of electricity that they would receive any treatment proposed 
with cool indifference. In order still further to guard against error, and 
at the same time to observe the continuance or permanency of the 
effect of the experiments, we repeated, in some instances, our exami- 
nations of the pulse at intervals of fifteen minutes or half an hour after 
the silting was over. 

A corroborative evidence that these changes in the pulse were due 
to the action of the current, and not to mental excitement, is found in 
the fact that, after an inten*al of five, ten, or fifteen minutes, the pulse 
returned to its original condition. 

These changes in the time of the pulse were also accompanied by 
perceptible changes in its character, which, if careful sphygmographic 
obsen^ations had been made, might perhaps have been reduced to some 
gciKral law. 

Eolenburg and Schmidt found that when the positive pole of 
from twenty to forty of Daniell's elements w^as placed at the manu* 
^rum sterrtu and the negative pole in the an riculo- maxillary fossa, 
the pupil of that side was at first slightly dilated and afterwards con- 
tracted. These changes in the pupil are by no means uniform in their 
appearance. In some cases they appear at once after closing the 
circuit, and in others after the lapse of half a minute or minute, 
%rd in others after interruptions. These phenomena are liable tc 



niaiiy vanations, according to the strength, length, and locality of the 
appHcations, If an electrode is placed in the auricnlo-maxillary fossa 
of each side, the changes in the pupil occur on both sides, but are more 
marked on the side on which is tlie negative pole. The sanie applica- 
tion, continued for some time with a strong current, reduced the norma] 
pulse from 4 to 16 beats a minute and the pathological pulse even 
more, dLraimshed the tension in the carotid and vertebral arteries, and 
markedly altered their sphygmographic tracings. The same observers 
found that galvanization of the spine also diminished the beats of the 

Sjfed of External EUctrhation through the neck an the Retinal 
Circulation. — In order to determine the effect of external applica- 
tions of electricity through the neck on the retinal circulation, we have 
made many experiments with the aid of a number of leading ophthal- 

Thess experiments, which have been frequently repeated with dif- 
ferent individuals, with different strengths of current, and with different 
batteries, seem to us to demonstrate the following propositions ; * 

1. Galvaniiing or faradizing the region of the cervical sympathetic 
has a marked temporary influence over the retinal circulation. It may 
cause contraction of the arteries or dilatation of the veins. 

2* The faradic current produces precisely the same effects on the 
retinal circulation as the galvanic, only more slowly. The physiological 
difference between the currents in this respect is therefore a difference 
of degree and not of kind. 

3. Mild currents and short applications caused contraction of the 
blood-vessel of the retina, while strong currents and long applications 
caused dilatation. Much seemed to depend <^n the temperament and 
condition of the individual. What would cause contraction in one 
would in the other cause dilatation.] These varying effects correspond 
with clinical experience. 

4* When the patient on whom the exi^eriment is made is in an 
excited or irritable condition from any cause, or from previous electri- 
zation, even a mild current will sometimes cause dilatation at once, 
without any early contraction. 

, • The ophthalmologist* who observed the retlim in these experiments were Dhl 
Roosa, Hackley, Loring, Matthewson, Prout, and Newton^ to all of whom we desire 
to return our acknowledgments. 

f The opposite and contradictory results obtained by different cbservcri who htv€ 
studied the effects of chloral^ bromide of potassium, etc., on the retinal drcutatioiv 
may be similarly explained. 



5* The contraction which takes place is sometimes followed, a few 
utinutes aftet the close of the siance^ by dilatation which is greater thar 
nsnnaL t 

6. The Qiiauuon which takes place is sometimes followed by con 
traction after the close of the stasice. 

In some of the experiments no effect on the retina could be detected 
Impressible and nervous temperaments seem to exliibit changes in tb^ 
liar condition of the retina much more readily than cold and phlef 
i.tic temperaments. 

The question now arises, Whether these changes in the retinal circu 
ion were due to the effect of tlie current on the sympathetic or on 
' the pneumogastriCf or did they take place through the spinal cord or 
by reflex action ? 

This question is answered by comparing the results of these experi- 
ments with the result of experiments made by Duchenne and Prof. 
Ldgeois, of Paris. These gentlemen laid bare the cervical sympathetic 
in a rabbit, and electrized it witii both currents in the same manner 
that we electrized the necks of the individuals on whom we experimented 
The results on the circulation in the rabbit*s ear were in every distinc- 
tive feature identical witli the results on the retina when the galvanic 
^zurrent was passed through the neck of the living human subject. 

The other effects of galvanizing the region of the cervical sympathetic 
—disposition to sleep, sweating, increased circulation in the extremities, 
^tc — seem to confirm these physiological observations* 

These experiments have been partially coniirmed by Otiimos, who 
lias shown that the circulation of the retina may be influenced by 
galvanization of the cervical sympathetic* He observed hyperscmia, 
but this, as we have shown, is not a constant effect. 

Experiments with the Sphygmo graph. — We have made experiments 
with the sphygmograph, wMth the assistance of Dr. L, De Forest Wood- 

For assistance in the study of sphygmography we are under obligationi 
to Dr. Roger S, Tracy. A few samples of the observations are repre- 
lented in the cuts. 

"No* I-— Norroal puli& 

NOk ■i."A(l« five miQutn faJvajiuatktn of the sjiapaitbei]& 



No. |. — AJlo- tea miautca' galvaniza^iioD of ttur •yzopatbctic. 

Kot 4ii«>^tve muiitiittt after £h« dote of tbe »£uioe of ^vaiunibaa of cbe ffymfflllmfab 

No. s-^AlKf five miimtci* EumdUfctioa of tympftiliccic 

No« fik— AitET oioe mbutOk' EaradizsicuiHi of syiiipaitheti& 


No. 7.— Al: ; :,, 

' firadizition of iympAibedCk 

Noi. S«— nAfccr fifteeo zniaules' geoerail Cu«diza.tioii. 

Mot 9k'— Ftvc mimitCT after dove of Ufmot of geocral faLnLdiiikliD& 

From these experijiients we derive ihe following conclusions : 

1. Both currents— faradic and galvanic — when applied in su<?^^ 
way as to traverse the region of the neck in which the pneumoga^ - ' 
and cervical ganglia of the sympathetic are situated, markedly %0^^^ 
the pulse* 

2. The effect is chiefly shown in abruptness of the systole, and 
abruptness of the diastole, and in shortening of the interval betwe^' 
the cardiac impulse and the arterial impulse. In general it may ^^ 
said that the force of the pulse is increased. Its rapidity may b^^ 
either increased or diminished, according to the length of the applt-^ 
cation and the strength of the current, and analogy would lead us 



■msi widelf ray mil the iodhridaaL The 
IMPobiblj from tike eSect oa tbe vascMnotor 

3. The* 

: of geocnl ^nufiiatioii was to |ifoloii§ libe Sf^tole i 

U'^ iseoral betvcen the ciirliir ud the artonl impohe. The afani|iC* 

, ttddic ^rstole tikat 
■gh die Qeckv was 


after fandixatkn 

t obsefved after goicnl liiadiiatioiL A calm* 
IS refj freqacntlj prodooed bf general biadt* 
^ aad the dfect 00 the |»iilse hannmues with this ofasenratioB. 
<#- ThBe efiects 00 ^e pabe giadnaltj pass away, but are di^bctljr 
^ '^^'^■nbk for a aunAer of minmies altef the ekctn^des are idBOved 

*Ilie efect of the awmit thus aiiplied on the cirailaikMi b profaablf 
A oa«|j|ex lesoltant of the cfiect of the elednctfy 00 the paeamogis* 
^1^ tike ^miAthetic, the depressor, aad the ^liiial coni To difierexi- 
^^^ fbeat effect b nuniiesllj hupossible. 

^ ^<> lUs cooaectioii are id be noted the later inrestigalioQS of Dn 

^^^^^^ of Umikh^ock the cflecis of dectruadon of die sjmpallietk. 

^ ^scpenneiited oo horses and cats, iiritadi^ the nenre dir^Mj, widi 

^^ ^^idM oiifed of stuil y i a g the blood-tensMMi in the cerebral ressA 

^ *c dMagei to the sue of die popiL The general resolts of these 

^^^'"ts coaifinn ohsenraiioiis prevkmslj made, and e^peGsaHj our stale- 

^'^ as to die imposabifi^ of accnratdf iocaltiPig cnirents m waj 

^****li% h^ niple eatefnsl applications. Ihract ^ladUatioii of the 

^^P^thcdc iocf case d the blood-pressure aiKl tension of the artenr, and 

"*^^*^^5^sed the freqnenqr of die pake. The same phenomena were ob- 


^d under galFaatatioo, but in a less de^gree. Faradbalioci of the 
J*^^!^^ sjinpathetic caused rttf marked reictioas in the pnpc), whde 

t. ^'^^^uxatioo of die nerve produced oomparattYeljr little eflect. When, 
jjj^^^"%ei^ the syrapathcttc and vagus were nnltaneooslf sabmitted to 
^rfj»«fc«>ce of g^nnism Ae rcnctioos of the popik were very 
!jr^*^^d Somltaaeotts fuadizatioB, however, was followed bf no 

Ko. 4. 



Action of the Galvanic Current on the Optic Nerve. — ^The galvanic 
currentj when applied to the eye, causes hQ\}i\. flashes of light and per- 
ception of color. 

If one electrode is placed on the tongue, or on any part of the 
mucous surface of the mouth or nose, and the other on any part of 
the surface of the body, the flash is readily perceived 

The character of these flashes is variously modified by the strength 
of the current and the suddenness of the interruption. The tempera- 
ment of the patient also modifies the reaction, and tlie effect of the two 
poles is usually quite different. 

We have studied this subject with various strengths of current, and on 
subjects of both sexes differing widely in age and temperament 

In one subject — a young man of nervous temperamei^t — the positive 
pole placed over the eye, with a medium current from ten zinc-carbon 
cells, caused a white central spot, with a light areola- The white 
central spot varied in shape between that of a quarter or half to a full 
moon. When the negative pole was placed over die eye, the central 
spot appeared of a bluish or purplish color, and the areola was the same 
as under the positive pole. In both cases the areola seemed to consist 
of waves of light radiating from the centre toward the periphery. 

In making these experiments, the pole that is placed over the eye is 
armed with a soft sponge, and is pressed firmly on the closed lid^ while 
the other is applied at die back of the neck, or is held in the hand of 
the subject 

In another subject, a young physician of good health, and nervo- 
sanguine temperament, the positive pole from a current of six cells caused 
a central disk of a pink color, and from this spot violet waves radiated 
through the areola* The pink disk appeared when the current was 
closed, the violet areola flashed out when the current was broken. The 
negative pole produced reactions every way similai. This subject 
could not bear very strong currents. 



Several other physicians on whom we experimented could Bot did 
tingiiish any central disk, but all could readily see the light areola. 

The conclusions from the above, and numerous similar experiments 
maile in different individuals, are as follows : 

I. A mild as well as a strong galvanic current applied to the eye, and 
interrupted, causes a flash or glimmer of light to appear. 

3. A medium or strong galvanic current causes^ m addition to the 
Hash of light, a distinct central spot of varying shape, and both the 
central spot and the areola may be of various colors^ as pink, pur[>le, 
yellowish, and violet 

3. With some individuals, though not with all, the colors of the centra! 
spot and of the areola, and their relative arrangement, appear dif- 
ferently under the two poles, and also differently at the closing and 
oi>ening of the circuit* 

4* All those reactions, like all other electro -physiological reactions, 
are variously modified by the temperament of the individual operated on 
and by the strength of the current. 

The above conclusions, as will be seen, differ somewhat from those 
of Helmholtz and others who have studied this subject. The differ- 
ential action of the ascending and descending currents we have not 
been able to demonstrate, and see no way of demonstrating. We be- 
lieve that here, as in so many other electro physiological and electro- 
therapeutical procedures, the differential polar action has been con- 
founded with the differential action of the ascending and descending 

Although the above reactions in their full degree can be most con- 
veniently obtained by placing one electrode over the closed eye, and 
the other in the band or at the back of the neck, yet the general re- 
action of the glimmering flash of light can be obtained by placing one 
electrode in the vicinity of the eye, or on any part of the face or beard, 
or in the mouth. In susceptible persons the flash comes from inter- 
rupted galvanization of the neck or spine. 

Faradlc Current.— T\%t current from the primary or secondary coil 
of the ordinary faradic machines has little or no perceptible effect on 
the retina, as we have demonstrated by various experiments. We 
have found, however, by repeated observations, that the current from 
tlie long coils of the electro- magnetic machine manufactured by Kidder 
has a most decided action on the retina. The peculiar construction of 
the coil of this machine will be described in the chapter devoted to 
apparatus for electro-therapeutics. It is sufficient here to say that it is 
composed of three or four or more coils of insulated copper- wire, the 



inward coil being short and thick, and tlie others gradiuUy increasing 
in the length of the wires. These coils are not separate and distinct, as 
in ordinary machines, but connected, and are, so to speak, ta/>/>edal the 
points of union, so as to obtain a number of currents varying in 
quantity, tension, and physiological power. It is from the fourth and 
fifth coils, which are not furnished to the majority of his smaller machines, 
that we obtain the reaction of the retina that we are now to describe. 
The reaction is best obtained by placing a mediitm-sized sponge 
electrode, well moistened, over the closed eye, or very near to the eye, 
while the other electrode is held in the hand or apphed to some 
indifferent point, as the back of the neck, or arms, or feet. With a 
current of moderate strength thus apphed, a circle filled with wavy, 
undulating light, or whitish spots or figures, appears. It is difficult to 
convey in language a |>rc€ise description of this appearance. If snow- 
flakes could be elongated somewhat, and made lo coil about in various 
directions, they would give a good idea of this reaction. If we look 
throtigh a window at a thick, driving snow-storm, with large flakes, we 
can get a not very incorrect notion of the reacticn, as we have over 
and over again demonstrated on ourselves and others. So far as we 
have been able to see, bright or variegated colors do not appear, except 
from the current of ih^ fifth coiU The negative pole gives a stronger 
reaction than the positive ; but not appreciably different in character. 
This reaction of the fourth coil of this machine is ntterly unlike that 
w^hich is obtained from either pole of the galvanic current. This effect 
has long been shown by the inventor of this machine, and has been 
illustrated by him. We were induced to question his assertions until 
we had first made experiments of our own with the different coils af 
the machine. 

The Effect of Eiectrkai Irr'ttaiion compared tinth Mechanical Irrita- 
tion of the Eye,— \t is interesting to compare the reaction produced 
by the galvanic and faradic currents on the retina to the effects of 
mechanical irritation. We have found by ex[>criment on ourselves 
that rubbing the eyes when closed, or partially closed, causes various 
and oftentimes beautiful appearances. Very frequently a central spot 
will appear, varying in shape and color, and changing in shape and 
color during the irritation. All conceivable shapes, and every grade 
of color, we have seen in this way over and over repeated ; sometimes 
a mere circle of light shading off into darkness, and again a definite and 
well-formed object, brilliant in color standing forth clear and beautiful 
against the dark background. Forms resembling a bouquet of flowers, 
or a cluster of stars, or vanous shapes of crystals, appear with sucl* 




vividness tKal wc love to prolong the experiment. Srmp e pressure on 
Ihc side of the eyeball will cause reactions somewhat similar in kind 
(though less in degree) to those produced by the faradic ctuTent. 

These reactions, however, are not constant ; they vary greatly with 
the individual, and with the same individual at different times. In 
order to obtain the most beautiful appearances^ it is necessary to first 
look for a moment on bright light, or to have the eyes open in the full 
sunlight. It would seem that the retina must first become sensitive, 
by exposure to strong light, before the reactions can appear in their full 

Action &f EUctrkUy on the Auditory Nerve ; Action cf the Faradic 
Current.— The faradic current^ when applied to the ear, or in the 
vicinity of the ear, causes a ringing, or humming, or rumbling sound, 
according to the method of application and the strength of the current. 
These sounds are due, in part, to the susurri of the muscles* 

Action of the Galvanic Current, — To the galvanic current the audi- 
tory reacts by certain fixed laws. 

This normal formula is as follows : 

Ka S Kl, distinct accented sound 

Ka D Kl > , sound disappearing by degrees. 

jCa O — , no sensation of sound. 

An S -. 

An D «, 

An O Kl» weak and short sound, similar in character to Ka S* 

In the above formula, Ka = Kathode (negative pole). An = Anode 
(positive pole), S — closing (schliesnng), O = opening {oeffnung), D 
-=. duration of current 

pf = whistling sound. 

Kl = ringing " 

Z = hissing " 

The sensations with Ka S appear sooner and stronger than with 
An O. 

This formula, it will be observed, harmonizes with the law of elec- 
trotonos (see p. 1 1 1 ), and Pfluger's contraction law — that **a nerve is 
stimulated hy the appearance of catelectrotonos and the disappearance of 
anelectrotonos ; not, however^ by the disappearance of catelectrotonos and 
th€ appearance of anelectrotonos. {See p. 1 16), 

Although the character of sounds varies with the strength and contiu' 
uance of the current and with the individual, yet in the healthy ear the 
polar effects never vary. 




There is never any sensation of sound with the closing of the anodi 
(An S), ex( pathological conditions. 

The polar effect is therefore the leading effect, and the direction of 
the current through the auditory nerve appears to have no demonstra* 
ble influence. 

The use of the rheostat and the changes in the reactions that are 
made by interposing the various grades of resistances in the circuit arc 
represented in the following experiments of Brenner : * 

The experiment was performed on a healthy ear that had been cored 
a short time before of a catarrh of the middle ear. The number of 
elements is in Roman, the number of resistances in Arabic. 

XX 10-80 gave no reaction. 
XX 90-120 KaS — Buzzing of flies 
very short 






XX 130-170 Ka S — Stronger buzz- 
Ka D — Same. 





XX 180-250 Ka S — Distant rum- 
bling of wag- 
Ka D — Same. 




An O — B u z z 1 n g of 

XX 260-400 Ka S — Rumbling di 

Ka D— Same > 




An O — Rumbling d 
XX 410-550 Ka S — Strikingof me- 
tallic plate. 

Ka D— Same > 



An D 

An O — Rumbling. 
XX 560- Ka S — Sharp ringli^*^ 
a silver ta^^* 

Ka D— Same > 




An O— Weaker 2 
shorter rj: 

Erb f gives the following result of experiments on himself: 

• Op, cit.. Band I, p. 105. 

f Archiv Ophthalmology nnd Otolog. 

Vol. I, No. I, p. 2461, 



SO £1 Ka S Kl — 



An D 

8 and 6 El Ka S Kl 
KaD — 
KaO — 
AnS — 
AnD — 
AnO — 

Oo another patient,* 50 years of age, he obtained the following re* 
' icuou with accompanying symptoms of pain and facial contortions : 

8 £1 Ka S^Clear whistlings stinging pain and facial contortions, 
Ka D — Gradually disappeared. 
Ka O — No sensation* 
An S — ^Violent pain. 
An D — Pain remains. 

An O — Short and weak whistling ; slight facial convulsions with 
10 £1 ; the same formula gave still louder sensations 
of sound, but the accompanying pain was very severe. 

Brenner f gives the following reaction in a healthy man : 

Ka S — Rumbling of cannon. 
Ka D— ** •* 




AO — Rumbling of wagons. 

Suae patient treated by a stroaget CUirent, 

Ka S— Sharp ringing. 
Ka D— '* 



AD [ing. 

AO — Weaker and shorter ring- 

The variations of the tone with the difference of the current are rep- 
resented in the following experiment of Brenner : J 

With the Cativxte dosing. With Anode opeotnff. (An O.) 

XX 10 Ka S K XX 30 A O K 

20 Ka S K. 40 A O K 

JO Ka S K. 50 A O K. 

40 Ka S K'. 60 A O K 

50 Ka S K'. 70 A O K 

60 Ka S K'. 80 A O K'. 

70 Ka S K". 90 A K'. 

80 Ka S K", 100 A K'. 

Th^se Jt€(uHons produced directly and not by Mefiex Action. — We 

t Op. dL| Band i., p. 106, % Loc cit.j p, tio 



thorougljly agree with Brenner and Erb that these react ions of the audi* 
tory nerve are obtained by the direct action of the current on the nerve, 
and not" by refl€x action tliroiigh the trigeminus. This view is proved 
by the general fact of the conductibllity of the tissues of the brain (see 
chapter on that subject), by the fact that even when the trigeminus ia 
paralyzed the reaction may yet occur,* and by the fact that when the 
electrode is placed in a condition favorable for the entrance of the 
current into the ear, the reaction is more decided than when the elec- 
trode is placed in a condition favorable for the excitement of the trige- 
minus, but unfavorable for the direct entrance of the current, as has 
been conclusively shown by Erbf and by ourselves,^ VVe have removed 
the pole from the tragus to the malar bone and the cheeky both of which 
points are highly favorable far the excitation of the trigeminus^ and 
have found t/mt with remoiml the reaction diminished or disappeared. 

In order to obtain that normal formula, the following conditions are 
necessary : — 

I . Con ven ient gah an ic apparatus. 

A very powerful galvanic battery is not needed. The range of ele- 
ments to which the auditory nerve sensibly reacts is between 2 to 30. In 
some cases quite strong currents are necessary. The galvanic batteries 
and electrodes described in this work are adapted for these invcstiga* 
tions. There should be a current reverser ; and a rheostat, though not 
exactly indispensable, is yet very convenient. 

2- A right method of application^ and practice in using it 

On the whole, the best method of application to produce these reac- 
tions is the external arrangement, in which one pole is firmly pressed 
on the tragus (the ear external auditory canal having been previously 
filled with warm salt water), while the other is held in or fastened on 
the hand on the opposite side. Any convenient electrodes may be 
used for these purposes. So long as the pole whose specific eftect we 
desire to prodtice is on the right jilace in the ear or on the tragus, the 
position of the other electrode ii> not absolutely essential, provided it 
is so nie where on the opposite side^ so as to allow the current to pass 
through the auditory nerve. It is difficult or impossible to get the 
reaction while the pole is on the mastoid process of the same side. It 


' ♦ Vide Moos^ case, above quoted in Archiv Ophth, imd Otol, vol, I, Now 2« jw 

f Archiv Opbih- und Otol, vol. L, No* i,, p. 261 et seq. 

X For a deiailed discusaon of this ribjcct, sec Brenner*! worlc^ Band I, i Abth » 
p, 94. ct seq. 



l»as been shown that when both poles are placed in the auditory canal, 
^y means of a double electrode, the auditory nerve teacts to the nearer 

A ^umdtr of intelligent and praetised patients with both healthv and 
\ditea^^4 tars, 

Thd advantages of intelligence on the part of a patient are obvious ; 

1st a.s b investigating electro-muscular sensibility, it is necessary to 

Bcpend entirely on the statements of the patient for our information, 

t^ftxk the strong-minded and intelligent are sometimes so distressed by 

be i>^in produced by the applications^ or so distracted by the sensa- 

potts of dizziness^ and the eantr actions of the facial muscles, that they 

ic ixj-^able to rightly interpret their subjective sensations in the ear. 

^ neceisary that the experiments should be matlc on a number of 

\XCT% ts, m order to obtain the variety of reactions above described. 

It is best also to make the first experiment on patients who have 

ea^^rtj ^afs^ for it is as true of the auditory as of the nasal passages 

Itai iLH^ey sonic times become less sensitive when diseased. This is to 

■^^t^l^ined partly by the manipulations and treatment lo which such 

atierx tLS become accustomed, and partly by the fact that ttie morbid 

»s itself produces callousness of the parts. 

operator should proceed calmly and with self-command. After 

J^ P^^tictit is in position, with his head inclined on the back of the 

Or lounge, and one of the electrodes fastened to or held in the 

Opposite the ear to be experimented on, a little w^arin salt water 

/'"■cl be dropped in (which can be very conveniently done by squeez- 

J^^lt-i^ small quantity necessary to fill the external auditory canal from 

"'^-^l sponge or from a teaspoon or funnel shaped glass *} and the 

electrode firmly pressed on the tragus. It is well to begin with 

601^1 1 number of elements, and gradually increase until a reaction is 

^*^tjiL The reaction will usually appear when the current is strong 

^ ''K.ll to produce contractions of the facial nniscles. The patient 

^o«lcj all the time be continually and repeatedly questioned in regard 

^^^ sensations experienced^ especially if he is unaccustomed to the 

*^:ieiit, for at first he may be so distracted i^y the flashes of light 

^^^ the eyes^ the contractioJis of the faeial muscles^ the nausea^ the 

^^ie taste^ and the noise of the water in the ear, and especially by 

' ^*^in, that he may be unable at first to distinguish the true character 

|inth.^ reaction. 

' ^ U well to pUcc A towel about the neck, just as whai synngrug the e*r, m 
'*^** •'Void wettiug the coilaj or other clothing of the patient. 



If the battery is provitled witli a commutators for ina easing 
diiiniiisliiiig the number of elements brought into requisition, a cumni 
rtverstr for changing the direction of the current without removing the 
poles, and a rheostat for introducing resistances into the circuit, the 
labor of the operator will be materially lightened; Out sich appliances 
are not indispensable. 

The operator should remember that the reactions are modified by the 
cxperiuient itself, (a.) Ka.S is most eftVciual after An»S. Therefore 
tlie use of voltaic alternatives is of service. 

(^.) The excitability of tiie nerve is increased by long closure of cath- 
ode (Ka.S.). 

(r.) The excitement of An»0* increases with the strength of the cur- 
rent and the length of closure. 

It should he remembered also that Ka.S. is stronger and quicker 
than An.O. 

Judging from our own researches in this department these three lead- 
ing statements of Brenner — that the auditory nerve reacts to the ntartsi 
electrode in a regular manner, that in health sounds of some kind are 
produced at the closing and in the du ration of the cathode, and that la 
pathological cases a part of the normal formula is more or less changed 
— are capable of sufficient and easy demonstration to those who are 
thoroughly familiar with clcctro-thempeutical experimentation. 

On the other hand, some of the special features of Brenner's system 
offer difficulties in the way of their successful and uniform demonstra- 
tjon that can only be overcome by careful practice in this special de- 
partment. To catch the sounds which in health are heard at the open- 
ing of the anode i to distinguish between the noise caused by the agita- 
tion of the water in the ear, and the subjective sounds that are so fre- 
quently the symptoms of disease of the auditory apparatus and the genu- 
ine reaction of the auditory nerve ; to obtain the complete normal 
formula in health, and to satisfactorily discriminate between the various 
abnormal reactions of disease — the first attempt to fully corroborate all 
the assertions in these particulars will usually result in complete or par- 
tial faihtre, especially lo those who are unfamiliar with the use of gal- 
vanic a]>paratus. 

Degrees of Irritability, — Brenner distinguishes three different de- 
grees of irritability of the auditory nerve, according to the number of 
elements that it takes to excite the reaction. The degrees of irritability 
may be changed during the sitting by the effect of the current on the 
nerve, and especially by the voltaic alternatives. 

1 hus, if at the beginning of the sit ing the nerve reacted to i6 ele 




f»i«:i)is, buo^io number less than tliat, these 16 elements would repre 
senr the primary irrilabiltty of that nerve. 

If by various aiternatious of the current the nerve is brought into a 
condition that it reacts to 12 elements, these 12 elements represent ihc 
secondary irrtiability of that nerve. 

^C by still further excitation, the nerve is made to react to 10 ele* 
merits, these 10 elements represent the fertiary excitability of that nerve. 

'^ opposiLion to the above conclusions l^r. Wreden, of St. Peters- 
^^%% has made a number of experiments which seem to him to establish 
'"^t the sounds heard during galvaniiation of the ear are due not to 
""c reaction of the auditory nerve, but to the contraction of the smaii 
^^tcles of the middle ear. In his experiments he electrized the Eusta- 
^»aii tube, through the catheter, and also the middle ear, by means of 
sniaJl, delicate, and finely graduated sounds insulated to their points, 
^ believes that by this method he causes contraction of the tensor 
^'^Pani and of the stapedius, through irritation of the fifth and seventh 

"^reden asserts that during electrization by these methods the mem- 

'^a tympani is retracted, and believes that this retraction is caused 

y the contraction of the muscles. This, however, has been denied by 

**Pten, To settle this question, Lowenberg devised a manometer^ 

. "'ch consists in a bit of cork or rubber fitted into the external meatus 

^^'*ietically, and receiving hermetically a capillary glass tube which 

'^*^3.ins a drop of colored liquid. The external meatus is filled with 

^^r, which is connected with one of the poles of a faradic machine, 

- ,**^ the other is applied to the skin by a sponge or through the Eusta,- 

_*^^ tube. When the membrana tympani is retracted by the action 

^ 5^^ ^"""^"^t ^^ ^^^P ^^ colored water indicates this retraction by 

*^g» when it is pushed outward, by rising. 

''^^OTitting to the full all that has been claimed by Wreden and Low- 

^ ^^^rg, we do not see that it proves that the supposed complex reac- 

I *^5i of the auditory nerve to electricity are nothing more than muscu- 

^ ^Contractions, Admitting that in some cases where the membrana 

si 1^ \?^'^y is gone, the reactions are not obtained, still the following con- 

^lations are, to our mind, convincing : 
^ ^ ^ The reactions of the galvanic current^ when applied to the ear, are 
^ ^^uently similar to some of the sounds of tinnitus aurium. They arc 
^*^etimes so much alike that they cannot be distinguished. 

A resume of this subject is preseoted in Dr. Roosa'a work on I>isfmet Qftkt 
" Pr* 493-495- 



3. The differential polai' effects of the galvanic c irrent on the ear 
wnich are very easy of demonstration, cannot be explained by any 
theory of muscLilar contraction. 

3. Sooie of the reactions are produced by the steady action of the 
galvanic current, without any interruption, and with a strength not suffi- 
cient to produce muscular contraction ; while it is true that certain 
reactions in some cases require strong and interrupted currents, it is not 
true of all of them. 

4. A reaction of the auditory nerve similar to some forms of tinnitus 
can be obtained in some sensitive cases, not only by galvanisation of 
the ear, but of the other parts of the head» and even the trunk. 

We have had a patient who complained every time we galvanized 
the spine that buzzing, hissing sounds were excited in his ear. Simi- 
lar sounds are produced by galvanisation of die car. The effect in 
this case was probably reflex. 

All these considerations convince us that the variety of sounds pio- 
duced by galvanizalion of the ear is due to the excitation of die au- 
ditory nerve, and diat this excitation may be both direct and reflex* 
We are fully aware, Jiowever, that for the present this fact has a greater 
interest for the electro-physiologist than for the electro-therapeutist. 

Olfactory Nerve— ^^ have observed in frequent experimenting on 
ourselves that the negative pole of a strong galvanic current applied to 
the Schneiderian riien^brane caused, in certain sensitive localities, an odor 
much resembling suljihu retted hydrogen. The odor obsen^ed in the neigh- 
borhood of docks will perhaps suggest the peculiar character of this re- 
action more than any formal description. This reaction is obtained only 
when a powerful current is used. It is obtained at the opening of the 
circuit, while the circuit is closed and for somehttle time after the circuit 
is opened. We have found that this peculiar reaction varies much with 
the individual, and with the same individual at difl'eren! times. A sen- 
sitive, or even an ulcerated condition of the mucous membAne would 
seem to form it Although we are frequently treating cases of rhioiiis 
{nasal catarrh) by intemai galvanization with metallic electrodes, yet our 
patients never speak of this peculiar odor. The mucous membrane 
of the nasal passages is very sensitive, and in ordinary therapeutical 
applications only gentle currents will be borne, whereas this reaction of 
t the olfactory nerves demands powerful and painful currents. 

The difl'erential reaction of the positive and the negative pole of the 
ascending and descending currents that were long ago claimed by Bit- 
ter, we have not been able to conflrm. The phenomenon of sneezing, of 
a disposition to sneeze, of which Ritter spoke, is due, not to any rcac 






^oti of the olfactory nerve, but to the mechanical irritation of the sen 

^^ nerves by the electrode. Sneezing, as all aurists know, is called 

*^h by a single introduction of the Eustachian catheter, and we observe 

*^ Continually in introducing the nasal electrode. It is observed most, 

"**^evcr, just as the electrode is being inserted ; and when the current is 

^^niijg, the symptom does not usually annoy us. The action of a gentle 

^'irreni on the sensory nerves of the nasal passages seems rather to have 

^s<:dativc effect, and in a measure counteracts the tendency to sneeze 

mt k excited by the mechanical irritation of the electrode- 

Schonbein suggests tiiat the peculiar smell experienced from the pas- 

^ of the electric current through the olfactory nerve is caused by 

^^ne that is generated, 

This peculiar odor, observed in powerful galvanization of the nasal 

^*^*^3^c, is unquestionably due to the reaction of the nerve to the elec- 

"^^l stimulus, and corresponds to the effects produced by the same 

flgent on the nerves of seeing, hearing, and tasting. 

^^nxiiklinic electricity, electro tnagnetisni, mag neto-electri city, are 
^I«, in any strength that can be endured by a person in health, to 
excite the peculiar reaction of the olfactory nerve, 
^^m^^^^ion of Ehctrkity 0n the Gustatory Nerve — Action of the Galvanic 
^K^^'^^fU, — In 17S4, long before the discovery of galvanism, it was 
^PJ^^^Ged by M. Sulzer that lead and silver, when connected and then 
^■vrou^l^t in contact with the tongue, gave rise to a peculiar taste similar 
th^t produced by vitriol of iron. If we apply a piece of zinc to the 
Pper, and one of silver to tlie lower part of the tongue, a powerful acid 
'^ Vfill be experienced under tlie zinc pinte, and a slight alkaline 
'^^ under tlie silver plate. These sensations are perceived as long 
e circuit is closed ; but if the plate or the tongue be warmer or 
f than natural, or very much benumbed by acids or other irritating 
*^bsta.nccs^ very little, if any, sensation is produced. If the tension ol 
^ Current be much increased, by using several pairs, the tongue be- 
^ftif^5 convulsed and a flash of light is perceived. When neither of the 
^^^^^odes touches the tongue, a metallic instead of an acid or alkaline 
^^^ is produced. 
^'^^ peculiar reaction of the gustatory nerve to the current is gen- 
*3^ described by those on whom we have experimented as ** cop- 
P^'V*** Qr I* sour,'* or " metallic," or ** bitter/* Sour or coppery are, we 
^Ve, the designations most frequently employed by tliose persons 


experience the sensation for the first time, and who have no 
*^*^*"ies in tlie matter to prove or disprove, and who therefore are 
I *y to give their real impressions. If we asV them whether they have 


a taste in the mouth while the current is passing, they usually reply th^s-- ^ 

the taste is sour or " coppery," and sometimes they may call it "bitter. - — 

If we ask them whether the taste is " metallic," they usually reply in th^ 
affirmative. Our observations on this subject have been very numera 
ous, and they have been made with both currents. It is not necessar^IT" 
to send the galvanic current through the tongue or through the chordi^s^ 
tympani nerve, or through the face even ; for galvanization of the ne 
in the anterior and posterior regions, and of the head in almost an)^^_ ) 
direction, and of the spine — the lower as well as the upper region — ^wiUL-^EZU 
be felt in the gustatory nerve. 

This metallic taste is felt almost as soon as the galvanic current i^ s 

closed, grows stronger while the current runs up to a certain point, and i 
sometimes felt for several minutes after the electrodes are remove 
In some temperaments on which we have experimented, the metallic 
taste remains on the tongue for several hours, and even all day, ; 

In susceptible temperaments the faradic current produces in a lesr — ^^ 
degree this metallic taste, and that, too, not only when applied to th^^ ^*5 
tongue, but also the head, neck, and spine. In the operations of cea 
tral galvanization this reaction of the gustatory nerve becomes of ' 
siderable value in showing us that the current is passing as we wish il 

and that the patient is receiving all that is well for him. The gustatoi Z^ 

reaction thus answers the purpose of a galvanometer, showing that th — ^ 
current is passing, and to a certain degree regulating the dose. 

There is little doubt that this metallic taste, caused by electrizatioc 
is due to a peculiar excitation of the properties of the gustatory nerve 
by the stimulus of the current. 

The theory that it might be of an electrolytic character, and therefoi 
explained by the products of decomposition at the poles — acid at tl — »c 

positive, and alkalies at the negative — Rosenthal, by a variety of e^^^ ^• 
periments, has shown to be untenable. 



^^^iiahUify of nerves and muscles is thai property by virtue of which 
they £ran^uci the natural stimulus of the hody^ or external impressions^ 
^ ''^^J^'^d to artificial stimulation, 

^er\*es and muscles are called irritable so long as they retain this 
P^Perty. Irritability of the nerves is a property inherent in thenu, 

^ other tissue excq>t nerve tissue possesses ihis property, 
' *^uring life nerves and muscles manifest their irritability by fulfilling 
the natural functions that belong to them ; it is this property that 
_''ahl^s them to conduct that mysterious vital agent, which, in heu of 
*^anite knowledge, we are obliged to call nerve force. This nerve 
^*^e, which is peculiar to living beings, may possibly be correlative to 
^ other forces of nature — light, heat, electricity, magnetism, and 
^^^itation — but the theory that it is identical with electricity is, as will be 
^*^^n. untenable. 
^^ ^'^Hfalulity, how long Retained after Death. — ^The irritability of nerves 
^^T^^ rnascles begins to diminish after death, and sooner or later disap- 
^KTT^^^- It disappears much sooner in warmblooded than in cold- 
^^ ^^>c3cd animals. 

^H ^*\ wami-blooded animals, as the rabbit and the dog, the muscular 
^^^^"^nt may disappear in half or three-quarters of an hour. In the 


of a frog that has been properly protected and under a cool tem- 

"_^tnre, it may remain for two, three, or even four weeks. It is on 

*imt of this persistence of irritability in frogs that they are so fre- 

Illy chosen in electro-physiological experiments. Irritability also 

^^^ with the temperature- It lasts longer in cold than in warm 

_*^her, and under extreme heal it remains but a short time* 

^^ ^'^^e local application of poisons and powerful chemical substances, 

^ detract of opium, acetates of strychnine, morphine, creasote, nitrate 


Silver, mineral acids, rapidly destroys the irritability. 

^^^ow Muscular Contractions are Produced. — There are, then, two 



ways by which the muscles can be made to contract under electncit 
(i) by acting on the motor nerves, and (2) by acting on the muscles 
themselves. There is, however, this interesting and ijnportant differ- 
ence in the effect of electrizing the motor nerves and the muscles, that 
when the former ate electrized all the muscles supplied by them con- 
tract, and when the muscles are electrized, only that muscle to w^hich 
the electrodes are applied, or that part of the muscle between the 
electrodes, will contract. When direct applications to the muscle arc 
made, the best contractions are produced by putting one electrode at 
each end. The muscular contractions produced by directly fara- 
dizing the nniscle are due to the excitation of the muscle, and also of 
the intra-muscular nerve-fibres. The most powerful muscular contrac- 
tions are produced by placing one electrode on the muscle, and the 
other at the point where the motor nerve that supplies it is most super* 

Differential Action of Positive and Negative Pole in Producing Can- 
tractions. — Not only is there a difference in the degree in the opening 
and closing contractions of the fiiradic current, but there is also a dif- 
ference in the action of the poles in producing contractions. Wlien the 
interruptions are rapid, as in the majority of machines, the muscle does 
not have time to go through all the process of lengthening and shorten* 
ing with each movement of the current to and fro, and consequently 
it is kept in the state of tonic contraction above described. If, now, 
one pole be placed on some indifferent point, while the other pole 
is placed over the nerve to be acted on, it will be found that the nega^ 
fwe pole j produces stronger contractions than the positive. 

This experiment is easily made, and it is not difticult to demonstrate on 
one's self that this stronger action of the negative pole in producing mus- 
cular contraction is entirely independent of the direction of the current 
— is, in short, a polar effect. We have already seen that on sensory 
nerves the negative pole is more powerfully felt than the positive. 

Simple Fluctuation in Strength of Current sufficient to Produce Con- 
traction, — In order to produce muscular contractions, it is not necessary 
that the current should be opened or closed. A moderate variation in the 
strength of the current — such as is obtained by adding one or more 
cells, or by uniting another and independent current in the circuit, or 
by taking off some portion of the current from the circuit — will cause 
muscular contractions. The contractions produced in this way are^ 
however, less vigorous than those produced in closing and opening the 
circuit. It is to be observed, also, that the vigor of the contractions is 
proportioned to the suddenness of the closing or opening the cira!tt 





Hjif point is frequently forced upon oar observation in the treatment of 
puraJysis. If the electrodes are armed with large sponges, and are 
slowly ajipUed over the muscle, with gradually increasing pressure, 
namely any contraction, or at least only a feeble one, is produced ; 
I'tttif the interruption be made in the metallic part of the circuit — in 
the electrode by an interrupter, or in the battery — the contraction with 
tht same current will be very energetic. 

By refemng to Electro-Physics (p, 55), it will be seen that the law of 
inuscutar contraction under electrization follows the laws of current- 
^ mduction. Both contraction and induction occur when a change is 
in the strength of the current by closing, opening, increasing^ 

MM^s^iular Contractions more Vigorous when a great letigih of the 

bt€n*c Ij Qa/ra/tizat — The muscular contraction caused by gaivaniza- 

hm Is greater when a large than when a small extent of the nerve is 

tuciuded between the electrodes. It is not a difficult matter to demon* 

this fact. The experiment can be made on nerves of rabbits, 

frogs, or other animals. 

^'^'n^'/j of Living Man, — Our previous remarks have been applied to 

"^ ''^action of the nerves of animak in a condition not purely physio- 

wgicaK When the galvanic current is applied to a living and healthy 

"^otor nerve tn a healthy man, contraction takes place only on dosing 

^ ^*^cuit* This fact is constant with either pole and any direction of 

^^Urreot The negative pole applied to the nerve produces stronger 

'^**'action than the positive. At the opening of the current there is no 

. y<idiQn, When the nerve is separated from the body, or injured, or 

. ^ Stied in any way, the phenomena already described appear. The 

'^ sympiom of flitigue is contraction both at the opening and closing 

* . ^^ current, Wicn the nerve becojiies more exhausted the contrac- 

'* are produced on closing and opening the inverse current ; and 

*^ the exhaustion is still greater, contraction is obtained only on 


^»^g the direct current. 

^*^Mion of the Faradic Current.— The faradic current, when rapidly 

^r^*^uptcd, as in most of the faradic machines, and applied to the 
BE/^ ^r nerves, keeps up a tonic contraction of the muscle supplied by 

^*^. This GOQiraction is maintained so long as the current runs. 
^^^ ^ a contrivance for making slow inductions be connected wnth the 
^^P'^ciic machine, then the contraction of the muscles corresponds to 
^ Opening and closing of the current, and the opening contraction is 

^^ger than the closing, 

*^icn the current of the secondary wire is closed by placing the 



electrodes on the skin, the current of the primary coil (extra'CurrentJ 
exercises a retarding inlluence on the secondary current, and then the 
closing contraction is rendered more gradual and gentle from nothing 
to the maximum. 

When the current of the secondary coil is opened, the current of the d 
primary coil (extra-current) does not exist (see Electro-Physics, p. ^%)^ ™ 
and consequently the current of the secondary coil is not retarded and 
goes rapidly from its maximum to nothing, fl 

Differential Action of Primary and Secondary Oi/r.— Duchenne has ■ 
stated with a measure of truth that the current of the primary coil (ex- 
tra-current) of his apparatus has a more powerful effect on the sensi- 
bility and contractility of the organs beneath the skin, while the current 
of the secondary coil acts more powerfully on the retina and on the 
skin. The primary coil is composed of thick, short wire. 

The secondary coil is composed of long and thin wire with noan^ 
windings* ■ 

The difFerential action of the primary and secondary currents on the 
skin, muscles, and optic nerve is due to these two causes : 

1. The primary current, circulating through a short thick wire, has 
less tension than the secondary current that circulates through a long 
thin wire, because tension is developed only in the presence of resist- 
ance- Since, now, the skin offers greater resistance than the muscles, 
the secondary current, by virtue of its greater tension, is able to pene* 
trate it, and also to penetrate the brain and affect the optic nerve. 
But the primary current, having less tension, passes through the skin, 
circulating in it but slightly, and goes to the muscles beneath, which are 
good conductors, and on these it spends its force. In other words, a 
current of low tension selects the best conductors, avoiding the pooi 
conductors so far as is possible, while the current of high tension 
traverses also poor conductors. 

2. The primary current moves in one direction, and has a mild eleo 
trol)'tic power, while the secondary current moves to and fro so rapidly 
that it cannot perform electrolysis. 

Action of the Galvanic Current, — The intermpted galvanic current 
of moderate strength, if applied to a motor nerve, causes all the mus- 
cles supplied by that nerve to contract. 

If the current be interrupted slowly, the contractions wiir be chnic^ if 
rapidly interrupted, the contractions will be tonic^ The violent contrac- 
tions that occur at the moment of closing and opening the circuit of 
an intense current may be avoided if we begin wth an extremely mild 
current and slowly and gradually increase its tension. Bv this metliod 




Rittcw wa/ enabled to pass through his own person, without experienc- 
ing either the closing or opening shock, tlie enormous current gener- 
ated ironi a battery of two hundred elements. 

Gt!2h'atio-^onic Contractions, — When very powerful currents are 
applied continuously to the nerves, tonic contractions are produced dur 
itig tlje whole time that the circuit is closed Contractions thus pro 
ducf^d were called by Remak gaivanotonu contract wns. They are 
c^^d galvano-A?rt/V contractions to distinguish them from the clonic 
cofi tractions produced by the faradic current* When the galvanic cur- 
tent is applied continuously to th'' surface of the body, by means of 
n>oist sponges, the galvano-tonic contractions increase in vigor, up to 
^ Certain point, the longer the electrodes are kept in position. This 
phenomenon is explained mainly by the fact that the skin becomes more 
moist as well as hypersemic (p. no) by the effect of the current, and 
thus becomes a better conductor for the electricity. With the faradic 
^ttrrent this increase of effect is not so observable. The current 
'^9tiired to produce galvano-tonic contractions is quite powerful and 
^*^nfuL The strength of current required will depend on the position 
^he nerve acted on, the length of nerve in chid ed between the elec- 
^des, and the individual experimented on. 

-^onic Contractions in Antagonistic Muscles, — Remak states that when 
^*^nic currents of great power are used, certain nervous tonic con- 
^^^tions appear in antagonistic muscles. Thus, for example, when 
^ tiicdian nerve is subjected to the continuous action of a powerful 
»^*vanic current, contractions appear in the common extension of the 
^*^e arm» so that the fingers are raised. It is probabie that this phe- 
^niicnon is due to reflex action. 
^^ Effect of the Will in opposing and aiding Contractions produced hf 
^^^Itctricity, — The contractions produced by electricity can be materially 
"^^iled or opposed by effort of the will of the person operated on. If a 
^^rson whose muscles are being electrized concentrate his mind on the 
^^uscle that is subjected to the influence of the current, and simultane- 
^^usly with the closing of the circuit, wills to contract the muscle, the 
^ODtracHon will be more vigorous and complete than when the elec- 
^ricit)'is not so aided. The will coH3peratcs with the electricity, and the 
'^wo agents reinforce each other, and thus accomplish more than would 
\>e possible for either alone. This can be very conveniently demon- 
strated on the communis extensor of the forearm. In electro-therapeu- 
^cs this CO operation of the force of will and electricity becomes of 
^real practical value. It has long been known that paralytic patients 
oC all kinds, even those of a cerebral clironic incurable character, can be 



greatly benefitecl by slightly concentrating the mind on the parts to be 
fftOi'Cii^ as the Jingers or ioes^ and resolutely willing to move them* 

In practice it has been found that such treatment is of positive and 
permanent service. 

The combination of the force of will with electricity is very much 
more eficacious than either when used alone. When a muscle becomes 
so diseased that the will is powerless to remove it, the electricity 
may extract it with ease. Where electricity alone causes feeble or 
imperfect contraction^ electricity, co-operating with the will* may make 
the contraction vigorous and complete. In order to make experiments 
of this kind fully successful, it is necessary that the will and force should 
be concentrated simuUaneously with the closing of the circuit i and 
yet experience shows that the effect of the electrization, if not too 
long continued^ is to give tone of the muscle, so that it responds more 
readily to the will for several tninutes^ or even hours, after being sub- 
jected to the electrization. This is especially observed in muscles that 
are in a condition of paresis. In all these experiments much dei^ends 
on the organic energy and grit of the patient. CotHersely, it is found 
that by an effort of will the contraction of muscles induced by electri- 
city can be within a certain limit, successfully opposed. The experi- 
ment can be made on the communis extensor of the forearm without 
difficulty. A feeble current will cause this muscle to contract so as to 
bring up the hand and fingers ; by an effort of the will this can be 
resisted so that the hand remains on a level, or nearly so. When very 
strong currents are used the will is completely overborne, and has no 
effect whatever. 

Extent of Shortening of Muscle during a Contraction. — In the process 
of contraction muscles shorten in proportion to their length. The 
greatest possible shortening is obtained during tetanic or continuous 
contraction, and not during a momentary contraction. The maxmtum 
of shortening is reached, not suddenly, but gradually, and it does not 
long remain at the maximum even when the electrization is continued, 
but begins to lengthen at first rapidly and then more slowly. 

The greatest amount of shortening possible to a muscle is thrtt-quar^ 
Urs or two -thirds of its length. 

In contraction the muscle becomes a little smaller in bulk. The 
cause oF this is not fully understood.* 

Immediate Strengthening or Meliorative Effect of Electrization on' 

• Elictro-Phythhgy and Eleeira- Theraptutiet. 
York, 1S6S, p, 573. 


By C E. Morgan, M.D. Nen 




Vchinhiry Muscles, — One x^ry interesting effect of electrization on 
v'oIuniai>^ muscles is to increase their power of doing work. This effect, 
which is called by Heidenhain and Remak restorative^ can be demon- 
strated in various ways. The capacity of walking, in cases of paralysis 
of the lower limbs, is sometimes increased at once after electrization ; 
the patient steps across the lloor easier and more 6rnily and rapidly, 
and can walk further; or he can raise his leg higher and with less 
iMculty. In one case of paralysis of the tibialis anticus muscle there 
was no response to the will until a current of medium strength had 
been applied, when it contracted without much difficulty. Dr. Poore * 
found, on placing a weight of 17 oz. in the hand of a man holding his 
«rni out at right angles with his body, that in four minutes the pain was 
so great that he could not go on ; applying now a mild current through 
the nerves of the arm, the strength returned. Another man could hold 
Out his arm 13^ minutes when the current was applied, but only 6 
«ninutcs without the current. 

The dynamometer is a good means of studj-ing this subject. In one 
Oase Dr. Poore found that eight successive squeezes of the dynamome- 
ter until electrization gave 477 lbs. ; without electrization^ 58S lbs.; a 
c^ifference of 89 lbs. In another experiment made, when the hand was 
*:50E tired by prcviotis experimenting^ the difference was even more 
:xmarkcd, being a gain of 152 in six squeezes of the dynamometer. 

Effect of Fatigue of Muscles on the Contractility. — Wh^Xi a striped 

*-nuscle becomes very much weakened or fatigued it behaves under elec- 

"^rizatioQ much like the smooth muscle. Dr. Beard has demonstrated this 

Mact on dying rabbits and dogs. Beginning tlie electrization just as 

"ttey arc cut open, the striped muscles react vigorously and normally to 

Xhe current; but as the animal dies the character of the contraction 

changes, becoming slower and more deliberate. If, now, the current 

l)e rapidly interrupted, no contraction occurs, for there is not time for 

the muscle to respond. If» now*, weak currents are used, the muscle 

contracts very much after the manner of unstriped muscle — that is, with 

a slow drawing rather than a rapid and vigorous action. 

Effect of Muscular Tension and Relaxation on Muscular Contrac 
tion, — Dn VVm, R. Fisher, of New York, has called attention to the 
fact that muscles contract more easily when somewhat relaxed than 
when in a tense condition. This experiment can be tried very easily on 
the common extensor of the forearm or on the peronei muscles of the 
leg. The fact is of practical importance in the treatment of paralysis. 


Tki Praciithner^ Jan., 1873. 



Ziemssen,* on experimenting with unpolarizable electrodes, and 
gradually increasing the strength by the aid of the th cos tat, obtained 
the following results : 

1. With the weakest current that caused muscular contraction th*re 
was opening contraction at the cathode. 

2. With a current a little stronger there was strong closing contrac- 
tion at the negative polt^ and weak opening contraction at the positive, 

3. With still stronger current there was also weak contraction at the 
opening of the positive pole. 

4. \Viih still stronger currents there was a tonic contraction at the nega- 
tive poU\ continuing for some time after the contraction at the closing. 

5. With a nmch stronger current the tonic contraction was more 
vigorous; the other contractions are also increased in strength, and there 
appeared a contraction at the opening of the negative pole. 

6. With tlie strongest current that can be borne, all the other contrac* 
tions were increased in strength, and there appeared, besides, moderate 
tonic contractions at tlu positive pole* 

The above results can be verified only when unpolarizable electrodes 
are used, for with ordinary electrodes the pain would be far too great 
to be endured. The opening and closing of the current must be tnade 
in the metallic part of the connection, in order to give it the greatest 
possible suddenness. Ziemssen suggests for these experiments the 
median and ulnar nerves at a point a little above the wrist. At this 
point the epidermis is quite thin and the nerves saperficiaL Judging 
from our observations, it is impossible to reduce this subject to a rigid 
mathematical law. The words "strong** and *'weak/' as applied to 
currents, are quite indetinite, and the irritability of nerves varies in dif- 
ferent individuals at different times. It is for these reasons that observ- 
ers differ in the results of their experiments. 

Electro-muscular Contractility and Electro-muscular Sensibility, — 
The susceptibility of the muscle to contract under the influence of the 
electric current is called electro-muscular contractility. The sensation 
that accompanies this contraction of the muscles under the electric 
influence is called electro-muscular sensibility. Electro- muscular con- 
tractility and electro- nuiscular sensibility vary in different individuals, 
and in different parts of the body. They are greatly modi^ed by dis* 
ease. This fact is of great importance in diagnosis of paralytic affec* 

In using the terms electro-muscular sensibility and clcctro-muscular 
contractility, we do not wish to convey the idea that they represent anj 

♦ Op. cit , p. So. 




special nerve-functions, but rather that the general sensibility of the 
nerves, and the general contractile power of the muscles may be excited 
by the application of electricity. The question, whether there is any 
special sense of muscular contractility, aside from the general sensibility 
of the nerves^ of the muscle, of the tissues that surround it, and of the 
bones and cartilages with which it is connected, is one that we are dis- 
posed to answer in the negative. There appear to be hysterical cases, 
■ where the consciousness of muscular contractility under the electric 
current remains^ while the skin is almost perfectly anaesthetic ; and there 
are certainly cases where the muscles respond to the will, but do not 
respond to electricity. Practically, therefore, the terms electro -muscular 
sensibility and contractility, especially the latter, with its subdivisions 
into farado- and gal vano- contractility, are of great value in electro- 
physiology and therapeutics, and it appears to us are perfectly legitimate. 
The manifestations of the electro-muscular contractility and sensibility 
of the muscles in the different parts of the body are modified, _;fr^/, by 
the anatomical position of the muscles ; secomlly, by the quantity and 
distribution of the sensitive nerves ; and thirdly^ by the thickness of the 
skin and adipose tissue. 

The muscles of the face, the platysma myoides and stern o-cleido- 
mastoid are, in health, very sensitive to the electric influence. Next 
in order of sensitiveness to the electric current are the anterior muscles 
of the forearm and of the inner side of the thigh. On the other hand, 
the muscles of the back possess a much less degree of electro-muscular 
contractility and sensibility, and the posterior muscles of the forearm, 
and posterior and other muscles of the thigh are much less susceptible 
to the electric influence than those of the anterior and inner portions of 
these limbs. In corpulent patients it is more difficult to atfect the mus- 
cles, because adipose tissue is comparatively a poor conductor. In 
women and children the adipose tissue is relatively more abundant than 
in males and adults. 

Increase of Temperature after Muscular Contraction. — It has been 

ascertained by careful experiments, that an increase of temperature 

H results from muscular contractions produced by the electric current 

^P Increase of temperature in the muscles of paralyzed limbs, after elec- 

K tmation, is firequently perceptible to the touch of the operator, and the 

H Bensations of the patient. We have repeatedly demonstrated the same 

f results from faradization of the arms, the legs, the face, and, indeed, all 

parts of the body. In very many cases this increase of temperature is 

CO marked as to be powerfully appreciated by the patient, and entirely 

^rceptible to the hand of the operator. General faradization causet 


more oi less elevation of the temperature of the body. This it 
demonstrated by the sensations of the patient,* and by the thermom- 

It has been showTi by Brown-S6quard and Lombard that excitation 
of the nerves of the skin causes an increase of temperature in the 

The development of heat is not aided by increasing the strength 
of the current above the degree necessary to produce a full contrac- 
tion. It has been demonstrated that, in patients afflicted with trau- 
matic tetanus, there is a great increase of temperature that remains 
for some time after death* 

Investigations on the effect of muscular contraction on temperature 
should be made by delicate surface thermometers. Some of the super- 
ficial muscles of the forearm offer a good surface for this experiment 
The thermometer must be kept firmly and uniformly pressed on tlie 
skin, and the modifying effect of currents of cold air should be guarded 
against. The thermometer should be kept in situ about fifteen minutes 
before beginning electrization, so as to get accurately the normal tern 
perature. Then the nerve tliat supplies the muscle or muscles to be 
tested should be faradized. 

The following investigation is from Ziemssen.J The patient was a 
strong man* who was suffering from complete paralysis of the extensor 
muscles of the hand and finger from nerve injury. This fact accounts 
for the low temperature before faradization. 

Temperature on the forearm, between the extensor digit comni- 
ftnd exten, carp, radi. brev. ; 

The skin uncovered , 34-7** Cent. 

After 4 minutes* faradization through the radial nerve : 

At opening of current 34.8 

I minute after opening the current 55.3 

* 5 minutes '* ** ., * 55.7 

10 ** " " 35.35 

" " *• *' 353 

In the 13th minute faradization was renewed for i minute : 

Temperature at opening the current 34.7 

I minute after opening the current . . , 35*1 

4 minutes " " 35«45 

• Elutridtat in dtr Mtdtcin^ iS66p p. 29* 

\ Archives de Phytioitfgie^ November and December, 1S6S. 

% Op. dt p 90. 


b the 6tii EDtDiite faradizadoct was renewed far i minute : 
Temperature At opemng the cuirent 

I miiiute aAer opeotiig the current , 
5 minutes " *• 

55. J 

^( general results of all the investigations that have been made ic 
'^^ depoitmeot by Becqaerel, Breschet, Helmhott^, Ziemssett* AlthaitSi 
«»rfoiirsc!vcs are these ; 

'* ^Vhen muscles axe made to contract under faradixation of the 
fi€n?«s that supplj them their temperature rises. 

^* This elevadoii of temperature is not necessariljr accompanied bj 
^J ii^crrease tn sixe of the vessels^ although iaradizatioo usually increases 
tik si^e and appearance of the vessels more or less. 

3' 1"lic more v^orous the contraction and the longer it is continued, 
^ b*glicr the temperature rises. 

4 l^f the firadLzatioo be continued long enough the temperature will 
^ *o tuuch increased that it can be detected without difficulty by the 
™*J» and by the sensations of the person operated on, 

S- Mlien all the superficial muscles of the body are Earadixed, as in the 
"™<>d of general faradization, the temperature not only of individual 
^'^^'^^Ica, here and there, but also of the whole body, rises. This fact we 
^'^ ftpeated and demonstrated by obser\'ations made on many varie- 
^ Qf temperament. 

'^ tiK>rc accurate method of investigating this subject is by means 

^« thermoelectric pile (see Electro-Physics, p.6j). This instru- 

T^* 15 capable of measuring a small variation in temperature, and 

^^ indicates the variations much more quickly than the thennom 

^*'- The thermo-electric pile is connected with a reflecting galva 

J^ ^ter (see Electro-Physics, p* 41). Ziemssen gives the following ob 

^^'^tioii made on the extensors of the forearm ; 

"X'na OF Fa&adizatiom. Deflecttom of the Needle 

MittMia* Steamds, OF the Gai.vai«oiietee. 

o 15 •-- -. - "5 

o 30 , + 2-3 

o 4S .". + SO 

i — ,, .... - 7.1 

M — +19.0 

3 ^ ••- +3^1 

4 -- .....*....•. +40.a 

»• - 1: win be observed that with the increase in the time of the faradiza- 
1^ ^ there is greater and greater deflection of the needle, just as thcrt 
^- rise of the mercury in the ordinary thermometer. 



Source of Heai in Muscular CmttracHon* — According to Hermanni* 

who has specially studied the chemistry of the development of heal 
during muscular contraction, muscular work is the result of the decom- 
posit ton of nitrogenous substances. Among the products of this de- 
composition are ^ fixed add^ carbonic acid^ and myosine. Of these the 
carbonic acid leaves the body, while the fixed acid and the myosine re- 
main and are worked over again in the organism. The muscles grow at 
the saane time that they work and develop heat, and urea and creatine 
are found in the residuum. The muscle is restored by the action of 
oxygen, an album inoid» and a non-nitrogenous substance m the blood. 

All these complex chemical changes that are excited during muscu- 
lar contraction give rise to heat. If the muscle is prevented, by me- 
chanical means^ from contracting, the heat develops in it more rapidly 
than when it is free. This follows from tlie recognized law of tlie cor- 
relation and conservation of forces. The force that does not appear aa 
work appears as heat 

Duration of Electro-muscular Contractility after Death, — ^The 
muscles retain their contractility under electricity several hours after 
death. The length of time that the electro-muscular contractility is 
preserved varies with different muscles, with different animals, and 
probably, also, with the mode of death. In order to detennine this 
question, Dr. Beard has mad© experiments on dogs and rabbits, Dr 
Onimus,t of Paris, has experimented on the body of a murderer who 
had been guillotined. He found that the muscles of the tongue and dia- 
phragm were the first to lose their electro-nmscular contractility. Next 
came the muscles of the face, among which the masseter retains its ex- 
citability the longest. Ttao and a half Hours after death the electro 
muscular contractility was lost in all these muscles. 

In the limbs the extensor muscles first lose their electro -muscular 
contractility, and in about an hour the flexors followed. The muscles 
of the tnmk responded _/fi/tf or six hmirs after deaths and the abdominal 
muscles longer still. 

Onimtis observed on the criminal what Dr. Beard has observed on dogs 
and rabbits, that when the muscle is dying it contracts most noticeably 
at the point where the electrodes are placed, and very slowly at a dis- 
tance from the electrodes ; and that the muscles respond to direct 
electrization with needles after they have ceased to respond to the cur- 
rent when applied through the sicin. 




•Morgan, op. ctt.^ p. 582 ct seq. 

\ Le Mmtvement Medicate^ Fcb», 1 873, 



P-r deviously, in January and February, 1802, Aldini, a nephew of 
(*3.1^viini, obtained permission from the government to experiment or 
tm-o criminab who were executed at Boulogne, Immediately aftet 
<J^^>t:H the bodies were submitted to powerful galvanic excitation. The 
ttiiis<iles of the face contracted vigorously in such grimaces as to frighten 
^^ assistants. The limbs were violently convulsed, and the bodies 
a'C:te<i as though they would rise again to life. 

A.t: Glasgow, Ure made similar experiments on the body of a crimi- 
naJ t:l^at had been on the gallows one hour. The applications were made 
^o title spinal marrow, the phrenic nerves, and the intercostal muscles. 
A^cciording to the position of the electrodes the body was bent forcibly 
oa^olc:, the chest rose and fell as in the act of breathing, and the various 
etnot^ions of rage, terror, despair, were depicted on the countenance. 
Ork^ of the spectators fainted, and several were obliged to leave the 

-^^^ectrO'Physiological Anatomy. ^El€ctro-physiologic<U anatomy treats 
^^ ^^e physioiogUal action of muscles under the influence of the electric 
^^^^^^^^nt applied in such a way as to produce contractions. 

^*l^c contraction observed in an individual muscle, when submitted to 

™^ influence of the electric current, closely resembles the contraction 

* ^t>.« same muscle when under the influence of the will 

t>i2chenne was the first to investigate this subject systematically, and 

Mis researches have done much to modify the accepted views concerning 

"^ Functions of certain muscles. 


Those who desire a more complete 
of his views than is given in the following brief r^x//jw^, we refer to 
*^ "Mrritings.* 

-^^^itscles of the Face — Electro-physiognomy, — ^This name has been 
,f*l-*lied to the study of character and expression, through localized 

^-<3l2ation of the muscles of the face. By means of small electrodes 

^ ^rtirrent can be localized so as to produce contractions even in the 

.^/^"llest musdes. For these experiments a recently dead subject has 

^*^ advantage over the living man, that in the case of the latter con- 

^^P^^trjons produced by the current would be complicated and interfered 

*^ by involuntary movements. 

"^^-ccording to Duchenne, who has chiefly investigated this subject, the 

>,^ i^ 1* Electrisation Loc^is^e et dc son Application 4 Ja Pathologic ct i la Thfrm- 
^^^i«<jue. Paris* t86t. Also, Mtchanisme dc la Physionomie Humaine, ou Analyse 
^J^^^^^fO-physiolo^que dc I' Expression des Passions applicable i la Pratique dcs Arti 


^ique^ Paris, 1863, This work contains photographic representations of the 
^^**^us ap])eimnces tA the face under electrization of the differeDt muscles. These 
^^*t^cigrapl» are frequently referred to by Dai win ia his worlt on Exp^tssion^ 



fratUalis muscle, when a little contracted, expresses pleasure ; whe« 
more contracted, astonishment or doubt; when strongly contracted" 
with other muscles, terror. 

Contraction of l\\^ pyramidalis nasi expresses sadness; of the cffr^ 
rugator superciiiit contemplation ; of the orbicularis palbebrarumy con- 
tempt. Contraction of these two, united with the pyraniidalis naa, 
gives ^ hateful, malicious expression* Contraction of the trianguhfM 
nasi expresses lust ; of the tygomaiicus major ^ various degrees of niirth; 
of the zygomaiicus mitwr^ melancholy ; of the platysma myoides, hypo 
critical laughter; of the p/a/ysma myoidesj pain. Contraction of the 
platysma my o ides Sind frontalis gives an expression of terror. Contrac- 
tion of the platysma my o ides and pyramidal is expresses rage. United 
contraction of the zygomaticus major and frontalis produces an ex- 
pression of agreeable surprise. Contracdon of the buccinator indicate! 
age, by making furrows in the cheek. 

Contraction of the levator alae and labii super ioris causes anon- 
pleasant expression, such as a child exliibits when about to cry ; contrac- 
tion of the triangularis oris gives an expression of sadness or disgust 

Contraction of the external fibres of the orbicularis oris gives tbc 
lips a position of whistling or kissing ; contraction of the internal fibre* 
of the same muscle compresses the lips against the teeth. 

Muscles of the Upper Sxtremity, — The contractions resulting from 
electrization of the extensors of the fingers give to the hand a peculiar 

The first phalanges not only become extended, but are spread apart, 
while the last two phalanges become flexed. 

The metacarpus forms an angle with the forearm, and in this condi- 
tion the hand resembles, to a certain extent, a bird's claw. 

Electrization of the extensor digiti minimi proprius separates the lit^ 
tie finger from its neighbor, while contraction of the extensor indicis 
proprius brings the index and middle finger together. By the raetho* 
of localized electrization the adductors and abductors of the fingcrs» 
and the interossei and lumbricales, are found to act not only in draw* 
ing these members together and separating them, but also in extendinj 
the second phalanx of the thumb and the second and third of the other 

\ The flexor pollicts brevis is concerned in extending the second 
phalanx of the thumb, as well as in flexing the first. 

So long as the arm is in its natural position, the supinator longus ba* 
no function to perform ; it is only when the forearm is prone that ics^ 
l>eculiar action is manifest. 



h paralysis of any one of the above muscles, it is readily seen thai 
tJ.eol»cfvation made concerning their function is correct 

For example : if the adductor longus and extensor brevis pollicis be- 
come paralysed, the metacarpal bone of the thumb is addiicted. If the 
^ttcnsor longus poUicis is paralyzed, the thumb is incUned towards the 
metacarpus, although its movements are not markedly impaired if the 
ertcusar brevis and adductor longus are strong. 

Electrization of the deltoid not only raises the npper arm, but also 

*cry perceptibly changes the position of the scapula. The external 

4r»gieof the shoulder-blade becomes depressed, the internal angle is 

^cvated, while the distance between its postenor spinal border and the 

^ is slightly increased. In paralysis of the deltoid the arm hangs by 

^«e si(Je almost completely helpless. The muscle is composed of three 

*^tinct groups of fibres, and the degree of paralysis depends upon the 

"•^^bcr of groups or special group involved. 

*^he pectoralis major and !atissimus dorsi muscles, although situated 

'^ the most part on the trunk of the body, are especially useful in 

^'^ting in the movements of the arm. 

Muscles cf the Trunks — When all of the fibres of the trapezius are 
WOiiijtted to electric excitation, the shoulder-blade becomes elevated* 
^ posterior border approaches the median line, the shoulders are 
'^Wn backward, and the head is thrown slightly forward and toward 
^^ opposite side. Like the deltoid, the trapezius is made up of three 
*^ts of fibres. 

'Vhen the superior set is electrized the head turns toward the side 
Stated, and the face looks toward the opposite side. 

The middle set of fibres elevates the shoulder-blade, while by the 
^^tion of the lower set its inner angle is depressed, and its posterior 
"^t"<2cr is drawn toward the median line. In complete paralysis of the 
'^^pczius the follomng symptoma are manifest : The back is rendered 
'^Oadcr, on account of the scapula removing slightly from the spinous 
pf ocesses ; the shoulder becomes depressed, and, on account of the 
*t>3<nce of steady support for the arm, its movements are rendered difii 
^^It Electrization of the rhomboideus major and minor muscles ele- 
^^tes the scapula and slightly turns it on its outer angle. 

^f the current be sufficiently intense^ the lower angle of the scapuL* 
^PVoachcs nearer to the spinous processes than the inner, 

^ the rhomboideus muscles are paralyzed, the scapula removes itself 

•oinewhat from the walls of the thorax, the skin between the shoulder- 

made and the spine appears in folds, and tlie lower angle of the bone ig 

^^** n forward and outward, on account of the action of the serratus' 



amicus major. By excitation of the serratus anticus major the scapuli 
is drawn forward and outward, so that the space between its posterioi 
border and the spine is doubled The posterior border is pressed 
against die ribs, while the anterior border is markedly removed from 

When the muscle is paralyzed the shoulder-blade sinks but little, so 
long as the arm hangs motionless by the side ; but as soon as it is 
moved from the body the posterior border and under angle of the 
scapula are lifted from the thorax, while the anterior approaches it more 
closely. In complete paralysis of the serratus anticus the movements 
of the arm are much impaired. 

A single external intercostal muscle may be electrized by pressing a I 
hmall electrode against the lower border of one of the upper ribs, neat ] 
the origin of the serratus magnus muscle. 

The individual abdominal muscles are readily influenced by electric | 

Electrization of the rectus muscle so stretches and draws it inwanl| 
that the abdominal wall becomes flat. Irritation of the external oblique | 
expands the abdomen laterally. 

If we electrize the transverse abdominal, powerful transverse con* 
tiuctions of the abdomen follow. When both phrenic nerves are sob- 
milted to electric excitation, powerful and frequent contractions of tht 
diaphragm are produced. An increased amount of air rushes into the 
lungs, on account of the capacity of the thorax enlarging through the 
descent of the diaphragm, and the moving outward of the false ribs. 
Atrophy of the diaphragm causes, during inspiration, a depression of 
the epigastrium and abdominal walls, while the thorax expands as 

Afusdes of the Lower Exfremifies,—ElGCtrtc excitation reveals the 
fact that flexion and extension of the foot cannot be produced by the 
flexor or extensor muscles alone, since these muscles tend to abduct 
and adduct as well as flex and extend. The flexors and extenson. 
cause direct flexion and extension only when they act in conjunctio 
with certain other muscles. 

Tlie movements of the foot are controlled by four sets of mus 
These are : 

The tibialis anticus, which at the same time flexes and adduct 
foot— the flexor adductor muscle, the extensor digitomm commu 
longus and extensor hallucis, which flex and abduct the foot — the 
flexor abductor. 

The gastrocnemius solius and tibialis posticus, which extend and 



lact the foot — the extensor adductor, and the peroneus longus ind 

which extend and abduct the foot — the extensor abductor- 
Electrization of the tibialis anticus, or, in other words, the flexor ad» 

ductor muscle, not only extends and adducts the foot, but lifts the inner 

border of its upper portion as well* 

Electrization of that group of muscles called the flexor abductor, be* 

sides flexing and abducting the foot, extends the four last toes, lifts the 

outer border of the foot, turns the sole outward, and bends the great 


Pes equinus may result from the stronger action of the extensors, 
If the flexor abductor group become paralyzed, the movement of the 

el is reversed — the sole turning inward and the anterior portion turn- 

Electrization of the extensor adductor group so extends and adducts 
Jhr foot that the heel is directed outward and the great toe inward. The 
Kst phalanges of the toes become extended, and the last flexed, giving 
to them the form of claws. 

Electrizadon of the extensor abductor so extends and abducis the 
foot that the internal malleolus becomes decidedly prominent through 
the sinking of the inner border and the elevation of the outer border 
of the foot. Paralysis of this last-named group of muscles produces in 
the course of time what may be termed a flat foot. This results from 
the disappearance of the arching of the foot. 

In consequence of paralysis of the extensor adductor the foot natu- 
laliy becomes abducted, the arch of the dorsal surface is increased, and 
instead of the flat foot above mentioned, we have a very decided hollow- 

\oat of the plautar side. 



nearly closed. When the electrodes are removed this constriction 

iJowrlYiiisappears, These phenomena are seen both in the large and 

STriixll intestines and in the rectum. The duodenum responds most read 

v\y, the rectum and colon less so. These phenomena are more or less 

modified by the condition of the animal, whether living or dead, and 

whether recently or long killed. This fact of electro-physiology, which 

has \yttn frequently demonstrated on animals, is very suggestive in a 

:tical point of view. The value of electricity in constipation is, in 

of these observations, partially explained 

^/^^.— WTicn the spleen of certain animals, living or recently killed, 

the dog, is submitted to the action of a tolerably strong current, 

ither faradic or galvanic, a visible drawing and contraction through- 

ut the entire extent of the organ', not only where the electrodes are 

plied, but between them and beyond them, in ever)^ direction, there is 

lifest shrinking of the tissues, with change of color. This fact, which 

as been disputed by some physiologists, we have demonstrated in a vari- 

lety of experiments. The phenomenon is not so noticeable in the 

I spleen of the rabbit as in that of a dog, and in order that it may 

occur rapidly and be easily seen, the current used must be of consider- 

*ble strength. The shortening and discoloration of the spleen imder 

eiccirizaiiou appears to be more or less permanent. This physio- 

Wg^cal fact suggests the query, whether the enlarged spleen of inter- 

wiittent fever might not be treated by electricity. 

^^iadd^r.—Whcn the filled or emptied bladder of a living or recently 


^»^imal is acted on by either current, of moderate strength, a 

^stblc drawing and contraction take place in various directions. The 
"^^^ *>ecornes firmer and harder, the cavity diminishes, and if it con- 
^5 |irinc a portion of it is expelled. This electro-physiological fact 
I w utilised in cases of paresis and paralysis of the bladder. 

^w/r.^Xhe uterus of animals and of the human being contracts 
Jv^'' ^^le manner of the intestines, bladder, and other involuntary muscles. 

"^^^ver pole is used, or in whatever direction the current be applied, 

wutraction takes place whenever the current is applied, whether the 

WU5 i^ ^^ *g ^^j ^j^ ^ gravid condition. Both faradization and galvani- 

^'^ have this slow contracting influence on the uterus. 

^ «ie cKa[)ter on Diseases of Women, the very interesting and im 
'^^^t practical applications of this physiological fact will be pointed 
, ^ ^ detail. It applies especially to the electrical treatment of me- 
^"* ^^d uterine engorgements. 

Y^ters. — The ureters are constricted and shortened by electrization, 
"*^ ** iii the case of the uterus, the intestines, and the spleen, die con- 


tractions take place, according to the law of thetr physiological action 
from the kidneys toward the bladder, and the contractions continue aftei 
the electrodes are removed. M 

Fas Dtfercns^EpididymiiSj and Tunica Vaginalis. — ^WTien the electric ■ 
current is applied to the vas deferens, the epididymus, or the scrotum, 
they likewise contract after the manner of the intestines, uterus, and so 
forth. The scrotum contracts rapidly, almost instantaneously, under a 
strong current, and remains contracted for some time, as we have 
demonstrated on rabbits and dogs, and on the living human being, 

Gaii'biadder. — ^When a current of considerable strength is applied to 
the gall-bladder by pointed electrodes, constriction takes place at the 
points of application, and the whole bladder tends to contract, and, 
like the urinary bladder, to discharge its contents. It is not impossible 
that a powerful current sent through the liver of the living subject, 
by external applications, may cause contraction of the gall-bladder ; 
and in this way we may in part explain the value of electrical treat- 
ment in jaundice. 

(Esophagus, — In rodents the cesophagus consists of striped muscle 
only ; in birds it consists of unstriped muscle, and in man of a com* 
bination of both striped and unstriped muscle. Both sets of fibres, 
longitudinal and circular, contract under the current, not only at the 
points where the electrodes are applied, but through the whole length 
downward toward the stomachs In the treatment of dysphagia this 
foct may well be considered. 

Heart, — The effect of electrization of the pneumogastric and other 
nerves that supply the heart has already been considered. The effect 
of direct electrization of the tissue of the heart itself is not without 
interest. Galvanization, with currents of moderate strength, of the 
heart of an animal that has stopped beating, may cause a return of its ^ 
rhythmical action. It has been sometimes observed that the contrac- ■ 
tions return moie vigorously in the right than in the left side. Accord- 
ing to our observation, in the hearts of dogs and rabbits much depends 
on the strength of the current used. If a strong current were directed 
through pointed electrodes to the substance of a heart of a dying 
animal, the pulsations are in part arrested, but they recur as soon as 
this current is broken. These conclusions are based on a large number 
of observations. When the heart has fully stopped it may be restored 
by a weak current, and again arrested by a strong- current. 

Bloodvessels. — ^The small arteries that contain considerable unstriped 
muscle contract under the current, after the manner of the intestines ; 
that is, the contraction does not appear instantaneously, but a little 




^In^ after the needles are applied it goes on slowly, and after the 

Dce<M<?s are removed they gradually return to their normal condition. In 

^* l^^j^ger arteries this contraction is not so marked. 

B Ic 'will be observed that electricity acts on unstriped muscular fibre, 

in tl^ is respect at least, very much like ergot. The power of ergot to 

coti^tringe the blood-vessels is the explanation of its great value as a 

rcDi^^cly in spinal and cerebral congestion. The efficacy of electrization 

m the same affections, as well as in sprains and various local in^amma- 

tions, may be in part explained by the same theory. This subject will 

be fiiscussed in the chapters devoted to the Influence of Electricity on 

Nutrition and Spinal Congesdon. 

I The above conclusions are based largely on our own experiments, 
although many of the observations had been previously made by various 
^cre were, however, certain queries in regard to the differential 
action of the poles, and of the two currents, and of weak and strong, 
on involuntary muscle, that had not been answered- These queries 
*^^ aimed to solve by a large number of experiments on animals. 
inc records of one set of these exiieriinents, noted at the time by our 
^t\Q t)r, John Van Bibber, of Baltimore, are herewith presented. It 
^"1 be observed that the chemical and other effects of the current, 
"^^*J^s the contracting influence, are noted. 

^^periment i. — The abdominal cavity of a good-sized rabbit was 

opened, and a medium faradic current, with needle electrodes, was 

*PP^»ecl to the upper part of the small intestines. Contraction produced 

^^orous at the positive. A vermicular motion was also observed not 

I y^^ the part within the circuity but extending some distance beyond 

' Pole. The rabbit was fully undt^r ether, and the only other raus- 

tnovements were cardiac and respiratory. The co!or of intes- 

^^^as normal and healthy, and was undisturbed during this operation, 

fc^^Ptriment 2. — A galvanic current, sixteen cells, was now applied, 
^ 'Needle electrodes, a Uttle below point of first experiment There 
^ immediate change in the circulation of the part. It became 
. ^^t and venous in its appearance, presenting the appearance of a 
^ The intestines, before so flaccid as to render the insertion of a 
^^le difficult, became very full and hard. The negative pole was 
T^^^ i^ the tissues, with bubbles of hydrogen generated around it, and, 
* ^c other hand, the positive pole became very firm in its insertioni 
^5^ evident constriction of muscular fibre around it. 

he first effect, therefore, seemed to be congestion, and afterward, 





Experiment^, — On stomach, with galvanic co.xent, sixteen cclli 
In region of positive pole the circular fibres arc much contracted, and 
the same disintegratiog effects of negative pole were observed* 

Experiment 4.— Faradic current on large intestine. Contraction of 
muscular fibres was observed, and thought to be greater at positive 

Experiment 5, — Faradic current on spleen. The smooth surfisu:c of 
that organ was soon corrugated, tending to show that the tissues were 
contracting under its inJiuence, 

Experiment 6. — Galvanic current on spleen* Generation of hydro* 
gen at negative pole, also congested appearance, and after removing 
needle very dark spot at negative pole. 

Experiment 7, — Faradic current on bladder. The bladder was par- 
tially filled with urine, and when the current was applied there wis, 
great and immediate contraction of muscular ibres and expulsion of 

Experiment 8. — On left kidney, faradic current. Muscle con* 
tracted, and seemed to be permanently so, at least during observation. 

Right kidney, galvanic current Same effect at negative pole, dark 
congested spot ; but during passage of current the bladder, which had 
been much contracted by faradic current, seemed to fill up. 

Experiment 9. — On Uver. No action. The rabbit seemed to show 
remarkable vitality, and it was necessary to renew ether very frequently. 
It was determined then that the electricity seemed to prolong life, cveo 
after it had been so taxed by anatomical mutilation. 

The conclusions from a large variety of experiments, of which th* 
d(bove is a fair illustration, are these : 

I, Both currents — faradic and galvanic — cause an unstriped musde 
to contract in accordance with the law of its physiological actioQ. It 
remains contracted, and after the breaking of the current gradually 
returns to its normal condition. 

a. The time when tiie contraction begins, and the vigor with whidai 
it continues, and the rapidity with which it returns to its normal condL — 
tion, after the breaking of the current, varies with the organ acted on 
with the strength of the current, and with the condition of the animi 
acted on, whether living, dying, recently or long dead. 
I 3. The positive pole has a more powerful contracting influence 
unstriped muscles than the negative. The differential action of 
poles is seen in both currents, but is more decided with the galvanic 
This fact we were, we believe, the first to discover. This fact of th< 
more potent action of the positive pole on unstriped muscle is of con- 

on ^ 
ml— 4 




signification In the treatment of engorgements of the uterus 
etc It will be discussed in the chapter on Diseases of Women. 

4. Unstriped muscles can also be made to contract by faradiiation 
or galvanization of the nerves and nerve -plexuses that supply them — 
iDciirect electrization. 

5. The behavior of the different organs that are supplied with un 
stnped muscles under electrizadon depends on the relative amount of 
muscle in their tissues. The intestines, the scrotum, contract rapidly 
and vigorously ; the spleen and arteries less perceptibly and more slowly. 

The liver and lunga do not apparently contract under eitlier currenL 
"Tlie electrolytic action of the current is observed in these organs, as 
in all other tissues* 

6* The differential reaction of voluntary and involuntary muscle to 
the current is mainly a matter of degree. Both kinds of muscle con- 
tract in accordance wnth the law of their physiological action, under 
both currents, and both return to their normal condition ; but involun- 
tary muscle returns very slowly, while voluntary muscle returns rapidly^ 
almost instantaneously. When voluntary muscles have become greatly 
exhausted through fatigue or death, they behave very much like invoV> 
untarv muscles. 



The action of the gahanic curreot on the blood is a subject lo 
which we have given at different times considerable attention. 6k o<) 
coagulates so qyickly after leaving the living body, that the action of 
electricity upon it can only be studied with satisfaction when the elec 
trodes are placed within an artery or vein, or in a current of blood as 
it flows from the wounded blood-vessels before the process of coagula- 
tion has set in. We have experimented on blood with the gal- 
vanic current in both ways. 

When the needles connected with the poles of a galvanic battery are 
inserted into the feebly tiowing blood of a wounded animal, electroly- 
sis at once takes place with differential polar action of a striking char- 
acter. At the positive pole a small, firm, and dark clot forms, thai 
adheres closely to the needle, especially if it be steel that is readily oxi- 
dized. At the negative pole a larger, soften lighter, yellowish clot 
forms, with a miicture of foam or froth from the bubbles of hydrogen. 

If the current be strong, and the operalion protracted, the positive 
steel needle will become either destroyed by oxidization or greatly 
reduced in size. 

From the above it will be seen that the action of electricity on the 
blood is mainly, if not entirely, of a ckemkai character — in a word, 
tUctrolysis^ or electro-chemical decomposition, Golubew and Burdon- 
Sanderson have studied the effect of faradization on the blood -corpuscles 
under the microscope, and Rollet and Neuman have studied the same 
under the influence of the galvanic current It has been shown that 
the red corpuscles of the blood are discolored by the alkalies of the 
negative pole, and caused to shrink by the acids at the positive pole. 
Under the discharges of the Ley den jar the red corpuscles change their 
shape and lose their color. 

March rath and 24th, 1S71, Dr, Beard made, with Dr. E. L. Keyes, 
a number of experiments on dogs, in order to determine the differen- 
tial action of the poles in producing a clot. One method of ex 








pcrinienting was to etlierize the animal, open the abdomen through 
the Jinea alba, and expose the aorta, into which needles, insulated with 
fcard rubber up near , to their points, and connected with b6th poles, 
wre introduced In some cases the artery was constricted, in others 
fiot. We condense the record of the experiments from the published 
stacements of Dr, Keyes,^ based raainly on notes made at the time 
by the physicians who co-operated with us, 

ExpERiJftNT L — March 17 th. A. small dog was etherized, the 
*bdomen laid open through the linea alba, and the aorta exposed 
Pt>«ttive and negative needles, insulated (imperfectly) with hard rubber^ 
■"^^■^ introduced into the aorta about one inch apart. Both needles 
^en; of steel, gold plated at the points. The negative needle was acci- 
dentaJlj ran through the artery, and emerged into the muscle beneath. 
*^^ Current from sixteen cells of a Stohrer^s battery was passed for ten 
'***ntites. The artery was not compressed. Blood flowed through it at 

^e^MgU, — Bloody foam surrounded the negative needle, the blood 
<^T»ergi ng from the artery. Needle loose. It dropped out, the blood 

'^^^sitive needle adherent to arteiy, requuing a little force to pull it 

^^y^ Artery was cut, before the needle was removed, to look for 

*^^ No clot discovered in the vessel. A little black material was 

^^ttd adherent to the wall of the artery, and to the positive needle at 

^ Point of entrance. The lining membrane of the artery was altered 

discolored, wherever either needle had touched it, over a space 

^ ^ one and a half line in diameter. 

^ ^«*ERiMENT IV. — Medium-sized dog etherized. Positive needle 
^^i'Tium), insulated with hard nibber, was placed in the artery. Ncga- 


— , "Needle (platinum )♦ insulated with shellac, in muscles near the spine. 

^. ^^t:<;cn cells Stohrer. Time, ten minutes. Current of blood about 

^^^^fourths, arrested through the artery, by compression with thumb 

^ ngers, one inch above and below the needle. 

J ^^^^stilL — Firm black clot outside of the vessel at point of the erv 

^e of needle, and where the opposite wall was touched by the 

1^ ^le's point. Inside — firm, black clot, adherent to the wall, but not 

^^ enough to obliterate the vessel. 

^'^^ning membrane of artery blue-black, and coats of ^-essel adherent 

^ Condensed at point of entrance of needles, and where opposite wall 

^ \>ccn touched Needle not much acted upon. A little flake of 

^rictical Flfctro- Therapeutics, New York Midk&l Journai^ December, 1 87 1. 



hard rubber came r ff, and was left attached to the clot. A few bubbles 
of oxygen escapee*, from the vessel alongside the needle. 

Experiment VII, — Positive needle gold, norvinsulated. Negative 
needle steel, non insulated. Both in vessel. Sixteen cells. Time 
ten minutes. 

Result — Clot same at the positive pole as in Experiment IV., but 
action on lining membrane was much less than in that experiment. 
Gas escaped at negative needle. No clot at negative needle. Artery 
compressed only below, circulation arrested. 

Experiment XI.^Renal artery of dog was cut, and blood allowed to 
flow into peritoneal cavity. As it flowed, negative and positive steel, 
non insulated needles, connected with eighteen cells, were dipped into 
it Action commenced at once. A dark clot formed about positive 
needle, and a light foam around negative. At the end of one minute» 
at the positive needle, a black clot had formed, a quarter of an inch in 
diameter, dense enough to be lifted out of the fluid on the point of the 
needle^ and to sustain its own weight At negative needle there was a 
spumous yellow mass, which could be lifted in part from the blood on 
the needle* s point, but which had no consistence whatever. 

The experiments were continued with Dr Keyes, at the slaughter- 
house, the needles being placed in the warm blood, as it flowed from 
the arteries of dying animals. These experiments were performed 
under great difficulties, and at some risk of being kicked by the expiring 
bullocks, and did not therefore lead to any important results. 

Blood coagulates so quickly after it leaves the body that when we 
wish to determine the chemical action of the electric current on it, it ia 
necessary to introduce the needles into the vessels of theUving animal, 
or into the blood, just as it is flowing from the vessels. 

, During the winter of 1873 Dr. Beard made, with the assistance of Dn 
J. H. Raymond, similar experiments on dogs and rabbits. The animals 
were etherized, cut open, and the needles (platinum) inserted into 
different arteries and veins. In some cases also the arteries were rup- 
tured, and the needles were introduced into the pool of blood before it 
had time to coagulate. 

The conclusions in regard to the electro-coagulability of the blood, 
to which we have been led by these repeated experiments on animals 
and on men are these : 

1. Both poles of the galvanic current cause a clot in blood, eithet 
running in an artery or vein, or freshly drawn, and stationary. 

2. The positive clot is black, hard, and small ; the negative clot 
IS h'ght, soft, and bulky. 






J. These clots are the result of the electrolytic action of the current, 
mth the evolution of oxygen and hydrogeni of acids and alkalies, and 
cheir subsequent combinations. 

4* The largest clot and most satisfactory observation in an artery if 
caused when both/a/es are placed within the blood-vessel and near ta 
gether. The reason of this is, that when the poles are near together in 
the blood, the resistance is very much less than when one of the poles 
is 00 the surface, 

5. In order to produce a firm clot of sufficient size to obstruct a 
Urge artery, strong currents — from 20 to 40 cells — are required, anc* 
quite protracted stances. The process of coagulation under the cur 
rent is comparatively a slow one. 

6, Electro- coagulation in a blood-vessel is aided by any compression 
that impedes the rapidity of the How of the blood. The slower the cur- 
TCTit runs, the more rapid and firm the coagulation. Small and recent 

dots^ especially those connected with the negative pole, may possibly 
be washed off. The practical bearings of these conclusions on the 
electrical treatment of aneurisms will appear in the section on Electro- 




The chief constituent in the human body is water, which is about 
three-fourths of its average weight.* The saline constituents which the 
water holds in solution vary in quantity and quality in the different 
tissues and the different parts and organs of the body. 

The conductibility of the body, as a whole, may be best understood 
by regarding it as a mass of water and saline ingredients, with solid 
tissue interspersed. The degree of resistance to the current that differ- 
ent parts of the body offer will therefore depend on their structure. 
Those parts which, like the bones and epidermis^ contain little water, 
will offer a much greater resistance, and be poorer conductors, than 
those parts which, like the muscles, nerves and tendons, and carti- 
lages, contain a large percentage of water. Soft parts, like the stomach, 
intestines, and mucous membranes in general, offer comparatively 
little resistance, because they contain so large a percentage of saline 
solutions. Saline solutions conduct better than simple water, and 
warm saline solutions conduct better than those which are cold. 

The human body, as a whole, conducts electricity fifteen to twenty 
times better than pure cold water, provided the skin is thoroughly moist* 
ened. If owes this superior conductibility to the warm saline solutions 
which it contains. According to recent experiments by Richardson, 
the blood is the best conducting material of the body* 

Percentage of Water in the Tissues. — To ascertain the relative pro- 
portion of water in the different tissues of the body is a subject that 
has occupied a number of observers. The results of the different inves- 
tigations do not agree mathematically, for the reason, partly, that indi- 
viduals differ in the water-holding capacity of their tissues, as in all 
other respects. 

The following table \ gives at a glance the results of the different 
investigators : 

♦ Pereira, Food and Diet^ Am. cd., p. 39, 

f Ziemssen, Die Electrititat in der Medicin^ vierte ganx umgearbettete A»fliige 
Erstc Halfte, pw 18. 1S73. 







Gny Mmtltf of tlic bndn, . 

On.'y matter of spmal cord 

Whi|L'tLj« *' ** ** ** 

(E. Bbrhoff) 
85.0 1 
)[ 77- 

(Lassaig) j 
730 (i 

(Lassaig) J 

(U Herit) 


77-0 39-68-- • 
(Ranke) (VonBibm) 
**»^^<=ie 81.2-S4.8 

3 . 

70.8 . 

i nuitter. 



^ ( cornea . , , 

^^**ioective Ussat < skin 




76.1 , . 
(Von Bibra) 

70.4 ... 

S0.9 . . , 

75.8 •.- 





New-born cIuIf 


88. 6 



(Von Bibra) 







'^'H examination of the above table shows clearly these two facts i 
^ *- The percentage of water in the different tissues of the human 
^^^y, excepting the skin and bones, is almost uniform — ranging be- 
'''^^cn 70 and 90. The percentage of water in the skin is almost two- 
^^^ds as great as in the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. In the bones 
^ percentage of water is one-fifth that of the soft tissues. 
^. There appears to be more water in the tissues of new-born chil- 
^n tlian in adults. The difference, however, is but trifling. 
Investigations of a similar character have been made on the tissues of 
^^en, dogs, frogs, cats, hares, and rabbits ; the results do not differ mate- 
^•^lly from those obtained on the tissues of human beings. 
^ Compared with a number of metallic substances, the human body 
^^ an exceedingly poor conductor. Thus it has been estimated that 
^^^ppcr is several thousand million times a better conductor than the 
*Xuman body. 

Dr. C, K Radcliffe made three experiments, in which he measured the 

Resistance of nerve, tendon, and muscle, as nearly of the same shape 

^nd size as possible. The pieces were taken from tlie sciatic nerve, 

the tendo-Achillis, and the adductor longus of a recently killed rabbit. 

He found the mean resistance of one inch of the sciatic Derve to be 



40,000 units (see p. 66)— that is, about eight times the resistance of the 
Atlantic cable; of the tendon, 38,000 units; and of the muscle^ 12,000 

Bones and Skin poor Conductors. — ^It should never be forgotten that 
the epidermis, in a dry state, is a poor conductor. In practice thii 
resistance of the epidermis is overcome by thoroughly moistening it. 
The hair and nails are also poor conductois. In making applications to 
the top of the head it is necessar)' ro thoroughly moisten the hair. The 
bones contain less water than the soft parts, and are consequently poorer 
conductors. Soft parts which are thus enclosed in a bony covering arf 
less powerfully affected than soft parts %vhich are not so enclosed* 

The Current tends to take the shortest Way between the Electrodes.^ 
The electric current always takes the shortest and most direct course 
from one pole to the other, provided the media intervening between the 
electrodes is of a uniform conductibility. WTicn, therefore, the ix}sitive 
electrode is applied to one part of the body, and the negarive to the 
other, the current would diffuse itself uniformly between the poles, 
provided the structures of the body between them were uniform. Bat, 
as has been seen^ the different parts of the body vary widely in regard 
to their conductibility,— those which contain a large quantity of saline 
solutions being good conductors, and, vice versd^ those which contain 
a snmll quantity being poor conductors, — the difference of conductibility 
between muscle and bone being nearly twenty to one. 

The current does not affect all parts alike* The extent to which any 
part is directly reached, when the current is applied over the surfece, 
will depend both on its structure and its situation. 

Soft parts, which contain a large amount of water, like the braifli 
spinal cord, and abdominal viscera, are good conductors, and unlcsi 
their situation is unfavorable, they are directly and powerfully aflfected 
by the current, when applied to the surface by means of moist conduct- 
ors. On the other hand, bone, whidi contains a much less percentage 
of water than the muscles and soft parts, is comparatively a poor con — 
ductor. Accordingly, soft parts which are partially or entirely encloset^K. 
by bone are much less readily affected by external applications tbarr^^ 
would be the case if they were exposed. ■ 

Another legitimate inference from the accepted theories of the natui*— ^ 
of electricity, and from what we know of the relati%''e conductivity O"^" 
the different tissues of the body is, that when electrodes are placed O'M^ 
the surface of the body the current moves between them in a kind < 


* Dynamics of NertN? and Musele^ P* I9»> 



Ocdulativc or wave-like manner^ extending on both sides of the median 
"''e between them for a considerable distance. 

jfhat these theories, in regard to the electro-conductivity of the bodfi 
^ sound, is proved in three ways : 
^' By experiment on the living subject 

»* By direct experiment with the galvanoscopic frog and reflecting 
galfanometer on the dead subject 
3- By the evidence of pathological cases* 

'I*Hat the tendency of electricity is to take the shortest road between 
the electrodes, is proved by the foOowing experiment : The two fore- 
^''^s are crossed so that they touch each other a little distance above 
vit wrist Placing now one electrode on the outer surface of each arm, 
*^^ letting the galvanic current run, a feeling of heat and pricking is 
^^K not only beneath the electrodes, but also, to a less degree, at the 
P^<*f- mr faces of tht forearms where they touch each other. On remov* 
*^S the electrodes it is observed that not only the spots beneath the 
'^^^ctrodes, but also the spots where the arms touched, have become 

This shows that a portion of the current takes the shortest way from 
^^ electrode to the other, although that road lies through two layers 
^f eindermis, which is a very bad conductor. 

A portion of the current, in this experiment, goes up the arm, across 
tae body, and down the other arm. 

In order to ascertain what proportion of the current took the route 
across the arms, Ziemssen * made the following experiment : Putting 
one forearm over the other, as in Erb's experiment, he placed between 
them iwo plates of zinc, connected with a delicate reflecting galvanom- 
eter (see ElectrO'Physics, page 41), The result of the experiment, when 
*^ elements were directed across the arms, was a deflection of the 
fleedJe zl^-'^* The same arrangement made on the dead body gave, 
^''^ lo elements, a deflection ofS^S*^ ; with 15 elements, a deflection of 
.^^** ' ^^ ^^ elements, 28.2**. On separating the forearm, so that 
- ^ *v^hole current must run around through the arms and body, he 
. ^^ that with 10 elements there was a deflection of 15,9^ ; with 15 
•jw "^^nts, a deflection of 51,7° ; with 20 elements, a deflection of 48.5"^. 
^ ^ conclusion was that in each experiment one-half of the current 
jl^^^^ across through the forearms, and the other half up and down the 
^^ ^ and through the body. 
"^^^ndence of Paihohgical Cases, — When \he spinal cord is in a condi 

^r cit, pt 3a» 



ntt— ^ 

tion of health, a powerful current may be ap|)lied down the back ^itb 
out discomfort ; but m cases of myelitis, spinal congestion, and otbe« 
morbid states, very marked and peculiar symptoms are sometimes ob- 
served. We have seen a case of myelitis when even a very mild faradii^ 
current over the spine, near the supposed seal of the disease, causeci 
severe pain in the right leg that continued for several houi^. Such 
phenomenon is never observed in health. The fact tliat it does occur^ 
especially when the electrodes arc not placed near any promineni 
nerves, shows very clearly that the current affects the spinal cord in a 
more direct way than by mere retiex action. 

The sensations of the patient, and the results of treatment, also sho 
that the stomach, liver, spleen, intestines, and the genital organs 
both sexes, are traversed by the current in external applications of eithe 

Experiments on Dead Subject with a Frog Preparation, — Erb open© 
the skull of a dead body, took out the brain, and covered the out- 
side of the skul! with pieces of muscle about three-quarters of \ 
inch thick* Over the muscle pieces of skin were placed, and ov 
the skin the electrodes. The skull was then filled with the brain, i 
such a way as to avoid any direct connection with the muscle. The 
skul! was thoroughly dried, and a prepared frog placed on the ccrcb 
matter. A y^ry gentle current was then let on^ and both on opemn* 
and closing the frog contracted energetically, showing that a portion c^** 
the eleclricity at least passed through the brain. Branch currents nu^p?^ 
also have gone around through the layer of muscular tissue ; but th^^ 
important point, that some of the electricity took the short way dircc^'^ 
thioiigh the skull and brain^ was in this experiment conclusively showi*— ^ 

The same experiment with the faradic current showed the sam^^* 

Similar experiments on the spinal cord showed that the current pcn^^=^ 
ti-ated the vertebrae as readily as through the skull 

Actual Experiment with a Reflecting Galvanometer, — The evidenoe^^^^ 
already given are sufficient, with corroboration, to establish the faci 
that the electricity, when applied to the surface of the body, 
through the tissues lying between the electrodes, and that all the i 
temal organs may be thus acted on by the current. The mathematic 
demonstrations of this fact that have been recently made by Burchard 
and after him by Ziemssen, are, however, none the less interescin 
Ziemssen's method of investigation was to insert two platinum needle- — 
insulated to their points, into the organ to be experimented on, as th»* 
brain, spinal cord, sympathetic, lungs, liver, etc., and connect them wi^^^ 


on o-*^^* 



a delicate Wiedmann's reflecting galvanometer, while the electrodes of 
a galvanic battery of from i to 50 elements were applied €x{ernaU}\ m 
Mchaway that the current, in passing from one to ihe other^ must 
pass through the place where the points of the needles were inserted. 
These experiments were performed on the dead subject, and on ani- 
mals, living and dead. Unpolarizable needles (Electro-Physics, p, 31) 
i«^ere used* The body, or part to be examinedt was isolated on wood 
w glass. By these means he easily demonstrated these two facts : 

I. That ail thi internal parts and organs of the body can be traversed 
h dtrivcd currents (^i^^ page 29) when the electrodes connected with 
^i<iivanic battery are properly placed on the skin, 

^lien the electrodes are placed on the headj derived currents pass 

through the brain. When the electrodes are placed on the spine, de- 

nvcd currents pass through the cord* In the same w*ay it was demon- 

*^tcd that the sympathetic, heart, lungs, liver^ spleen, intestines, and 

"*^der were traversed by derived currents when tlie electrodes were 

Wied respectively to the neck, thorax, and abdomen. Similarly also 

'"C Derve-plexuses and great veins were shown to be traversed by cur- 

'^^ts when external applications w*ere made. 

^. The derived currents were usually most powerful^ that is, the 
V'^atest quantity of electricity passed in a direct line^ between the elec- 

When the end^ of the unpolarizable needles were removed from one 

pother, near the central line, the needles showed less and less deflec- 

"^H^ proving that the derived currents were weaken To this general 

^W there are, however, exceptions. The current which contains a very 

^^S^ percentage of water conducts electricity better than other neigh- 

^^**^ng parts, even when out of the axis of the curve. 

^ 3. The derived currents can be sent through the internal parts in any 

*^^ection^ and increase in strength with increase in the strength of the 

^^^ncipal current, 

^Vhen the principal current is reversed, the derived currents will be 

X/ersed also. In one experiment, on the dead body of a young 

-^ji, the electrodes of the principal current were placed behind the 

Two holes were made in the parietal bones, in the track be- 

een the electrodes, and two other holes were made, abotU six centi- 

etres farther forward, and about eight centimetres from each other. 

'^ the holes made through the bones into the brain were placed the 

Tipolarizable needles connected with the reflecting galvanometer 

wo needles were also in the tubercula quadrigemina. The results 01 

le observations are contained in the following table : 



No, of elements^ 

Needles ifl posterior 

poles indirect line 

of current. 

Needles in anterior 
poles out of 
direct line. 

Needles in 


quadri^eoi iniv 








>.,» m 




3.5- • 







In the above observation, which may be regarded as a crucial and ^ 
convincing one, these three points are distinctly proved : 11 

J^irsi^ That the cyrrent passes from one electrode to the other 
through bone and brain. 

Second, That most of the derived currents take the direct route in tlie ■ 
axis between the electrodes, and that the strength of the derived currents, 
the conductivity of the parts being the same, diminishes in proportion 
to their distances from the axis. ■ 

Thirds That the tubercuia quadrigemina, by virtue of their fluid 
structure^ conduct electricity better than the after parts of the brain. 

Fourth^ That the strength of the currents sent through the body is 
proportioned with considerable exactness to the strength of the current 
employed in the application. 

The laws of conductivity of the body, as here demonstrated in the 
brain, have also been similarly demonstrated in the spinal cord and in 
all the organs of the thorax and abdomen. 

The grand conclusion from all these experiments, and from clinical 
experience, is that ike eiectro^ondtuiivity of the human body is to ^i 
explained^ mainly^ by the ordinary physical laws of electro^onduction^ 
and only to a very limited extent by physiology. 

Fhysi&logy and pathology may come in to modify, to a slight extent, 
the conductivity of the body ; for, as we have seen, individuals differ in 
their conductivity. Increase in the quantity of blood or salts in the body 
increases the conductivity, and diminution of blood or of the salts, as 
takes place in some diseases, diminishes the conductivity. But all 
these varying factors have caused only a very slight perturbation of the 
physical laws of electro-conductivity. 

There is some difference in the conductivity of the living and dead 
body, but this difference can mostly be explained by /yi^-j-iVa/ principles. 
It may well be questioned whether the principle of life, whatever that 
may be, exerts any very important influence on electro-conductivity. 
Burchardt found that when more saline solutions were injected into the 
dead body the electro- conductivity was increased. This is just what 




should expect on physical pnnciple&p because warm saline solulions 
re good conductors of electricity in the body or out of it* 

According to Ranke, living muscle conducts much worse than dead 
duscle^ the proportion being as loo to 56* Living muscle conducts 
It 15,000,000 times, and dead muscle 64^400,000 times worse than 
copper Dead muscle conducts better than livingi on account of the 
decomposition and chemical changes that take place after death| and 
e^}ecially on account of the accumulation of lactic acid* 

ElectrO'^onductivity modified by Age and Temperament, — Young peo- 
pie ofier greater resistance than old people, for the probable reason that 
the tissues of the old contain more of the salts than those of the young. 
|The hands of those who labor with muscle, and whose epidermis is 
liereby thickened, offer greater resistance than the hands of those who 
ivc by brain alone. The right hand, being more used than the left, 
a thicker epidermis, and therefore presents a greater resistance. 
DiflTercnt individuals of the same age and condition differ in their 
>nductivity in a manner that cannot be fully explained. When 
f" shocks*' of a battery, or faradic machine, or Leyden jar are sent 
through a number of persons in a row, some will feel it slightly, others 
Lstiongly, and perhaps one or more may be almost if not quite pros- 
Itrated. This fact may explain some of the freaks of lightning, for it 
f has long been known that when a number of persons are standing near 
together some maybe struck down and others unharmed. Some Indians 
and negroes, it is said, can take hold of the electric eel without receiving 

The same individual may conduct differently at different times. As 
^e body is perpetually changing, as it varies in its intimate constitu- 
f'on, not only from year to year, but from day to day, and from moment 
*^ nioment, it is easy to understand why it should vary in its suscep* 
^Mity tQ electricity, just as it varies in its susceptibility to the articles 
^ ^^''dinary food, to stimulants and narcotics, and to internal medi* 



It is not a little surprising that electricity should have been used ai 
a therapeutic agent for more than a century before it began to be 
recognized among scientific men as a powerful means of aiding nutri- 
tion. In 1867, after a series of preliminary experiments^ mainly con- 
ducted by Dr. Rockwell, we ascertained that electrization was a tcnk 
of most remarkable efficacy ; that its permanent tonic effects were, in- 
deed, far more wonderful, as well as more valuable, than its primary 
stimulatiog effects. When we announced this discovery to the pro- 
fession » in our Treatise on the Medical Use of Electricity, the statement 
was received by many, and especially by those accustomed to and 
familiar with other electro- physiological and electro- therapeutical re- 
searches, with incredulity and surprise. 

The attention of observers has been so exclusively directed to the 
primary stinmlaiiug effects of electricity, that they have neglected to 
pursue the subject further, and to study its permanent effects on nutrition. 

The effects of the passage of electricity through the body are of a 
fourfold character ; 

1. Mechanical • 

2, Physical. 

3, ChtmicaL 

4. FhpioiogicaL 
Inasmuch as the effect of electricity on nutrition is a resultant of 

all these four orders of effects, it is necessary to speak of each in 
some detail. 

The mechanical^ physical^ and chemical effects of electricity on the 
body are similar in character to the same effects of electricity on any 
substance whatever ; the physiological effects are those which take 
place in virtue of the vital properties of the tissues. The mechanical 
effects of electricity on the body are most markedly appreciated undei 
the faradic current. The reason is clear from the nature of the faradic 
current It is a current of alternation, of to-and4ro motion, of con 
itant closing and breaking (see Electro- Physics, p, 54). 


^ ftf ■ 



passes through ihe bod>% even when it produces no muscular contrac- 
*wn, St acts very much in the same way as gentle tapping, or pound- 
er or rubbing on the tissues ; and this gives passive exercises to all 
the ci^eper lying as well as the superficial tissues. We may believe 
that the molecules of the tissues are agitated by the passage of the 
tw^^rit, as the particles of a bar of iron are moved by the influence of 
•"••gtietiiation (see p, 9), or as bodies are expanded by heat, *rhe 
nuaieroMS branch currents going to and fro act as so many shuttlecocks, 
^cepLng every atom in incessant disturbance. That the simple process 
of ta^pptng on the surface of the body, by means of the vihratwns that 
it excites, has a positively beneficial effect in certain chronic affec- 
^1**^, has long been recognized. It is reasonable to suppose that this 
t*CQ«fictal effect is in part due to the increase of endosmotic action, 

Physical Effects, — The physical effects of the passage of electricity 
^ough the body are heat^ and the modification of ertdosmosc and exes* 
^^se^ and the transferrence oi substances from one pole to the otiur. 

The beat excited in the body by the simple passage of a weak cur- 
f^^ that causes no muscular contraction, is small ; but there is little 
question that heat is thus excited, although it is difficult or impossible 
^ measure it by the thermometer. The main arguments in favor of 
this belief are (i), that all conductors of electricity become heated 
roarc or less in proportion to their resistance — the body offers great 
^^istance, and more or less of the electric force must be converted 
into heat ; and (2), powerful currents, either galvanic or faradic, 
^^Xk when not used so as to excite muscular contractions, cause in- 
cfea^e of heat in the track of its passage, so marked as to be easily 
"Steeled by the touch. No thermometer is necessary to show that in 
eleetfolytic operations, where strong currents are used, the tissues near 
^c needles, and between them, become intensely heated, so that to 
^^%t. the finger on them almost causes pain. This fact we have demon- 
'itraied over and over again in various parts of the body. It is equally 
cWa.r that the faradic current, even when not very powerful, raises the 
temperature of the parts through which it passes. The sensation of 
the patient and palpation by the operator demonstrate this beyond 
^oubt. Cold extremities are warmed sensibly and quite rapidly by 
w^idization or galvanization, even when no sensible muscular contrac- 
tions arc produced by the current. It is logical to infer that very weak 
'^rrents, either faradic or galvanic, cause a slight increase of heat by 
*'"^iie of the passage of the current, and as a physical effect of such 
''^^sagCj without reference to ihe physiological phenomenon that must 
^^Drnpany the physical phenomena, which must probably also cause 




a rise of the temperature. SchiflT declares, as a result of his observat, 
lions, that a nerve is warmed by an almost momentary passage of i 

A second important physical effect of the passage of an electric car 
rent through the body is the transference of substances from one pole 
to the other* This physical effect of the current has long been recog- 
nized. In the electric light, for example^ the particles of carbon gOj 
from the positive to the negative pole, and to so marked a degree thaB 
the positive carbon is quite rapidly worn away. A very remarkable 
illustration of this transference of matter in the track of electricity some- 
times occurs in lightning stroke. Trustworthy cases are reported ofl 
individuals whu have been found struck dead by lightning, and bearing' 
on their bodies distinct images or impressions of some object, as a tree 
or house, near which they stood when they felL ■ 

In 1864, at Nibelle, in France, three men who were gathering pcarb 
were struck by lightning. One was killed at once. The others were 
thrown to the ground unconscious, and one of these, when taken home, 
was found to have on his breast a ** distinct daguerreotype of the tTee."j 

In i860 a woman of Sisonne, in France, who svas struck by lightning J 
carried on her back a complete image of a tree — trunk| branches, and 
leaves — ^that was near the place where she fell. A similar case is re- 
corded by Franklin.* 

The explanation of all these cases is the same. The particles of the 
tree, reduced to great fineness by the elcctricitj', are mechanically trans- 
ported and burned in the skin. The process is therefore not chemical, 
but mechanical and thermic. 

Bodies have been literally tattooed in this way. Transference of sub- 
stances is a part and result of the electrolysis in organic substances 
already described {Electro- Physics, p. 47)^ and also of the electrolysis 
of organic bodies to be hereafter described. 

The electric currents also exercise a positive and very interesting in- 
fluence over endosmose. By the passage of a galvanic current the endos- 
motic phenojuena may be both stimulated or reversed. This is shown 
in the following experiment of D 11 troche t : A tube containing gum- 
water is closed at one of its ends by animal membrane and dipped in 
a vessel containing common water. By the ordinary operation of ihe 
laws of endosmosis the gum-water rises in the tube on account of the 
•ntrance of some of the ordinary water through the membrane into 


* Demlli by Lighmtntj, by M, Dr. Fedet (Clermont Fcrrand), GoMetU iiM B$f$>> 
ioHx, June S-io, 1871, trwisbted in T^€ C/inu, July 6, 1872, 



fc tube But if the positive pole of a galvanic battery be placed in 
''^^coramon water, and the negative pole in the gum-water, the cndos- 
ajotic action is stimulated to such a marked degree that the level of the 
^«m-water rises with much greater rapidity ; if we reverse the pole the 
'^^e! of the gum-water in the tube sinks instead of rises. The faradic ciir- 
^mi from the secondary coil produces no such effect. The current from 
^^c inner coil — the extra current so called — ^produces these effects to a 
'*^^s degree. It is pretty clear^ therefore, that these phenomena de- 
pend on the chemicaiy and not on the mechanical i^ower of the current, 
&^ctrkal Endosmosis is influenced by Strength of Current and Eeslst- 
^^^^e of Ciraiif. — It is found that the quantity which rises is in exact pro- 
l*ortion to the strength of the current, and to the extent of the porous 
^^rface. It has been found that the greater the resistance of the liquid 
^ electrolysis, the more it yields to this endosmotic action, 

"l^be above phenomena have been demonstrated at different times, and 
"y a variety of observers. 

Hesides the physical effects above described, there may be many 
*^fhers that we cannot at present recognize or appreciate, but which 
toay be revealed by the spectroscope and other means of refined re- 

W//^r Physical Effects of the Currents. — ^It has been observed that 

^■^tinum wires are contracted by the passage of electric currents through 

^'^m, and that copper wires that are used for conducting electricity 

'^^crome brittle thereby. The differential action of the faradic and gal- 

^^^ic currents in this respect is quite interesting, for, according to 

^^limkorff, the copper wires that conduct faradic currents break more 

^^^^^edily and more fiequently than those which conduct galvanic currents. 

This physical fact is very suggestive of what may be facts in physi- 

*^^g}'and pathology. We have already seen that magnetization has 

*^ysical effects of a most decided character. We have seen that it 

^^^^uses sounds to proceed from the body magnetized ; that the body 

^^^^^^etized also becomes elongated ; and that this elongation is proba- 

^^^y due to the fact that the particles arrange themselves, during mag- 

^^ ^tization, lengthwise in the direction of the bar. It is not improbable 

^^at the human body in health and in disease may also be changed by 

^^e action of the currents in a manner that we do not yet comprehend, 

^^ud that such physical or physiological changes may account for souie 

hf the therapeutic effects of electrization. This probability applies 

pecially to the after effects of electrical treatment, effects that arc 

"^^oiiced not while the applications are being made, or during the course 

^>f ibe treatment, but weeks and months after the treatment is discos 




tinucd. On this subject we shall speak »n more detail in the sectioi 

Che mica i Effects. — ^The chemical effects of the current are mainly of 
an ekctrolytic character. They consist of an electrochemical composi- 
tion of tire fluids of which the body is composed. The general laws 
and phenomena of electrolysis in its relation to inorganic substances 
have already been set forth in the chapter on that subject in Electro- 
Physics, It remains for us here to speak of electrolysis, in its rela- 
tion to organic life. At the outset we may remark that there is no 
evidence that organization^ as such, seriously modifies electro -chemical 
decomi>osition. The fluids of the body decompose under the influence 
of the current, just as the same combination of fluids with tissue would 
decompose if not endowed with life. If the results of the electrolysis 
of the dead body are different from the results of the electrolysis of 
the living body, it is because of the chemical changes that take place iri 
the body after life has departed. 

The human body is composed of fourteen different chemical sub- 
stances, many of which are singly capable of decomposing under the 
current, and in their various combinations are capable of many decom- 
positions and recompositions, with secondary results that cannot well be 

The general facts of the electrolysis of inorganic substances, the ap- 
pearance of oxygen and acids at the positive pole, and hydrogen and 
alkalies at the negative pole, apply also to the electrolysis of the living _ 
body. The great law arrived at by Faraday, that in electrolysis I 
substances are decomposed in equivalent proportions (see Electro- 
Physics, p. 46), also finds no exception or interference in organic 

Some of the Phenomena of Electrolysis of Living and Dead Tissues.^ 
In order to determine the electrolytic effect of the current on organic sub- 
stances we have made a wide variety of experiments on both living and 
dead tissues, fluid and solid, in a normal as well as pathological condi- 
tion, on animals and men. We have tried the galvanic current on the 
voluntary and involuntary muscles ; on the mucous and serous mem- 
branes J on brain, spinal, and nerve matter j on the lungs, the heart, the 
liver, spleen, stomach, intestines, bladder, utenis ; on the saliva and the 
urine ; on the cartilage and on bones. The general conclusions at 
whi:h we have arrived from these experiments are these : 

1. All these animal tissues, living or dead, decompose, so far as caL 
be seen, like inorganic substances, and by uniform laws, 

a* The fact most patent to superficial oMervation is that the rapidit} 





of the electroly^s depends more on the amount of fluid in the tissues 
Ehan on all other factors combined. 

3. The great difference in the effects of electrolysis on organic and 
inorganic substances is seen after the current has ceased to act. In 
the electrolysis of most inorganic substances — such for example as iodide 
of potassium, acetate of lead, chloride of sodium, and so forth— the 
«fifccts cease as soon as the current ceases ; the substances remain in 
%l>e condition that the current left them. The electrolysis of organic 
substances starts a process thai continues long after the current ceases to 

Eiectroiysis of the IVfiite of an Egg. — Wlven the white of an egg is 
elcctrolyzed by copper needles or wire, white flakes rapidly form around 
the needle connected with the negative pole, covering the needle as 
cotton covers a bobbin of a loom. This white covering soon becomes 
detached from the needle, if the current is tolerably strong, and floats 
on the surface of the albumen, and then another similar envelope is 
formed over the needle. In a little time the surface of the albumen 
becomes covered with white, slight masses, resembling what are known 
on our tables as "floating islands/' These formations are not coagula, 
IS might be supposed, but are simply composed of hydrogen gas envel 
oped by very thin layers of albumen, into which it is mechanically driven 
by the electrolytic action, after the analogy of soap-bubbles and the froth 
of a beaten egg, where the distension is caused by common air enveU 
oped by water and albumen. 

Besides these changes the albumen becomes discolored, and reddish- 
yetlow streaks are found at both poles. This discoloration is due partly 
to the action of the oxygen or the albumen on the copper of llie elec- 

AJthough, as has been said, platinum wires at the point of insertion 
into the substance arc best for these experiments, since they are not 
acted on, and exhibit the changes in their punty, yet a common sewing 
Or darning needle, or coi*per wire, will answer ; but it should be borne 
in mind that the action of the substances on these will complicate 1^^ 
observation, and that they will in a short titne become destroyed by 

Electrolysis of Fresh J///^.— When fresh cow's milk is electrolyzed 
^ilh platinum needles an odor of chlorine is distinctly perceived, due to 
decomposition of the chloride of sodium, and little islands of foam appear 
tn the surface. This foam, on being broken ut>, gives forth an odor of 
chlorine, and disappears, showing that it is not coagidatcd albumen, 
but simply chlorine gas and albuminous envelopes. 




Ehdrolysu of the AgueoLs and Vitreous Humors of the ^^'^.— Wheo 
platinum net^dles connected with a galvanic current are inserted into 
the aqueous and vitreous humors of the eye of a dead or dying rabbit, 
rapid electrolysis takes place at both poles, with evolution of gases in 
albuminous envelopes, A cloud resembling cataract is speedily formed 
over the pupil, and in a few moments, if the current be of medium 
strength, the covering of the eye will be ruptured, with a violent escape 
of albumen -enveloped gases. This process, which Dr* Beard has fre- 
quently studied in the eyes of rabbits and dogs, is similar to that which 
takes place in the electrolysis of hydrocele and of certain cystic tumors. 

MUctrolysis of Beef. — It is possible to gain a measurably correct idea 
of what changes take place during and after electrolysis of the living 
body, in health or disease, by studying the phenomena that appear 
during electrolysis of dead tissue. If a piece of beefsteak, for example, 
be subjected to the action of the galvanic current by needles connected 
with the positive and negative poles, a process somewhat resembling 
frying can be distinctly seen and heard and felt ; more specifically, 
bubbles of hydrogen appear at the negative pole, and a kind of liissing 
sound is heard, even when the ear is al some little distance, and a posi- 
tive sensation of heat is felt when the finger is pressed over the part 
that is being electrolyzed. Under the microscope this process can be 
more closely studied. Chemical examination shows that oxygen, acids, 
and albumen go to the positive pole, while hydrogen, alkalies, and 
coloring matter go to the negative, and the action at the negative pole 
is much greater than at the positive. Under this process the beef be- 
comes gradually dried and changed in color, owing to the disappearance 
of the watery constituents and the other electrolytic action ; and, in ■ 
proportion as the beef grows drier and the fibres begin to lose their ad- 
herence and fall apart, the electrolytic process becomes less and less 
motive, because there is less tluid on which to act. 

For some hours after the needles are removed, the process of drying 
and disintegration and decoloration goes on, until the portion that lies 
between and near the poles shrivels, contracts, and crumbles, until it 
resembles the burnt corners of a piece of roast beef. 

Electrolysis of Fruits and Vegetables, — ^We have experimented on a 
variety of fruits and vegetables — as oranges, lemons, apples, pears, 
peaches, potatoes, turnips, etc The effects of the electrolytic action, 
as they appear to the eye and the ear, though consistent with the great 
general laws of electrolysis of inorganic substances, yet are more or less 
modified hy the varieties of structure. When a sound apple is electro- 
lyzed, the part around the negative needle changes in color and laokt 




as though it had been bruised and was beginning to decay, and the 
needle soon becomes loosened and will easily fall ouL The process of 
dicing and decoloration goes on after the operation is discontinued. In 
fruits and vegetables the electrolytic changes that take place are largely 
due to the electroIyzatiQQ of water, which is aided by the acids that 
they contain. 

When muscles have been separated from the body and submitted foi 
several days to the action of a strong galvanic current, there have been 
found at the positive pole sulphuric, phosphoric^ hydrochloric and azo- 
tic acids, and at the negative pole alkalies — ^as soda, potassa, and am- 

Legros and Onimus have shown that when an alkali, as carbonate of 
soda, is placed at the positive pole in electrolysis of the human body, 
and an acid — as tartaric acid — at the negative pole, the usual eschars 
have not been formed. This would seem to indicate that the cauteriza- 
tion in electrolysis is due in part to the acids and alkalies that result 
from the decomposition. 

This cauterizing action is not solely due to the acids and alkalies, for, 
when other acids and alkalies are applied to the body, eschars of the 
same degree are not obtained. The current penetrates and pervades 
the tissues and induces various changes beyond and beneath the eschar, 
which changes continue long after the current is broken. 

The phenomena above described all occur under the galvanic cur- 
rent^ and with needles as electrodes. 

The current from the primary coil of the faradic machines has some 
electrolytic power, and even the current from the secondary and ter- 
tiary coils is not without some chemical effect. It is not necessary to 
use needles or pointed electrodes of any kind in order to produce elec- 
trolysis ; but with a sufficient strength of current the phenomena may 
\>e produced by large, flat, metallic surfaces. There is more or less 
electrolysis in all the ordinary applications of electricity to the body, 
whether made with metals or sponges, small or large. 

Physiological Effects. — The physiological effects of electricity, pro- 
perly so called, are those which take place by virtue of the vital proper* 
tics of the body. The other effects above described — mechanical, 
physical, and chemical — are not peculiar to living bodies ; they are 
observed on the dead as well as the living, on inorganic as well as 
organic substances, although they are, as we have seen, more or less 
txAodified by vitality. But the physiological effects of which we are here 
to speak are peculiar to organization ; they cease when life ceases, foi 
ihey arc mainly the modification of the vital processes by electricity. 



There are in geneml four ways in which electricity applied .0 the ds 
iues modifies their physiological functions : — 

1. It may increase thein. 

2. It may diminish them. 

3. It may arrest them, 

4. It may modify their quality. 

Some of the more important illustrations of their effects have becS" 
already discussed. 

We have seen that electricity, according to the kind that is employed, 
and according to the method and strength and length of the applica 
tion, causes various phenomena on the skin, contracts voluntary and 
involuntary muscles when applied either to the muscles themselves oi 
to the nerves, that supply them, and increases the process of oxidation, 
and raises the temperature, excites the nerves of common and special 
sense so as to cause pain, flashes before the eyes, noises in the ears, and 
a peculiar taste and odor. When applied to the pneumogastric i< 
increases, diminishes, or arrests the action of the heart. 

It remains here to speak of die following physiological effects of elec- 
tricity :— 

1, On the circulation. 

2. On secretion and excretion. 
J. On absorption. 

The effect of electricity on the circulation is somewhat complex. It 
includes the effect on the heart and on the unstriped muscular fibres of 
the arteries, as well as on the central and peripheral nervous system in 
general, since the tiow of blood in the arteries, veins, and capillaries is 
influenced by the quality and quantity of innervation that they receive. 
We have to speak merely of the direct effect of electricity on the capil- 
lary circulation. It has been shown already that electrization of the 
cervical sympathetic may have the directly opposite effect of contracting 
or dilating the vessels of the retina* That the same opposite effects 
may follow electrization of any part or organ, depending on the tern* 
^)erament of the ])atient, the quality of current, and the length and 
:trenglh of the application, is also demonstrable. One effect is con- 
stant under all conditions, and that is, that the circulation is modifietl 
in one or the other, or in both ways. The average ultimate effect is 
to increase lhc_fi0W of bloody raise the Umperaiure, and dilate the veins. 
Dilatation of the veins, after prolonged electrization, is a phenomenon 
tliat can be demonstrated with ease or any part of the body where the 





*«ifis arc proniinent. The back of the hand is the best place to study 
is phenomenon, aud faradization illustrates it most distinctly. 
This enlargement of the veins is accompanied by a rise in tempera 
re, and especially if the muscles have been brought into vigorous 
contraction, that is not only indicated by the thermometer, but is ap^ 
preciated by the subject. Under j^eneral fjiradtzatbn the hands and 
feet become waim^^r during the sitting, and may remain warmer for 
hatxTs, Central galvanization, or galvanization of the cervical sympa- 
thetic, also wanns the periphery. 

On. Secretion and Excretion, — The secreting power of the secreting 
^*rg3^s of the body is very markedly influenced by electrization. The 
usual effect is to increase their activity ; but when very mild currents 
•^c ^sed, such effect is not always observed, and it is probablcj from our 
^^P^rinients, tliat very strong currents may produce a reverse effect. 

On the lachrymal glands the action of the current is not so easily 
^^'^WTx, because strong currents are not well borne on the face or head, 
ancl tHe glands themselves are not directly accessible. It is difficult to 
"C^:^fie whether tlie flow of tears that accompanies strong electrization 
*" tKc foce is the result of the mechanical irritation or the physio- 
logic^l action of the current on the lachrymal glands or the nerves that 
supply them. 

^^^ secretion in mucous membranes is quickly increased by electriza- 

"*^'*» a^ can be demonstrated most easily on the Schneiderian membrane 

^ _ *^«ans of metallic electrodes introduced in the nasal passages. 

'^^s f;act becomes of practical importance in the treatment of the so- 

j*^ *^<i **dry catarrh/' and also in exhausting diseases, associated with 

^^'^^■^5 of the raucous membranes. 

^-'"^ the Wmzry secretion the effect of the current is very easy of de- 

*^«tTaiion» That application of the current, both galvanic and faradic, 

*»^crcase the secretion of the salivary glands, is very easily demon- 

^^«*cl. We have shown this at various times during the past five years, 

^^'^^lizing or laradizing the tragus of the ear, with either pole, or against 

, niembrana tympani. This effect is due to the excitation of the 

^^^ tympani nerve, some of the fibres of which go to die submaxillary 

_^ Klia. This increase of saliva is sometimes so great that, while the 

^^nt is flowing, continual swallowing is necessary, 

*^ sensitive persons the same effect follows, by reflex action, electri- 
^Of^ in almost any part of the neck or face. In certain pathological 
^^^ a£ Addison's disease. Dr. Rockwell * has found the annoying dry- 

• Sec Case 187, 



ness of the mouth greatly relievetl by elecrHzalion, and in [jdlhological 
cases of the sever^i character, as in diabett;s, when the salivary secie 
ttOLi may be greatly diminished, we have found ceotral galvanization to 
increase the secretion quite rapidly. 

On the biliary secretion the action of the current is less easy of mathe- 
matical demonstration. The results of external electrization in patho^ 
logical cases seem to prove diat the quantity of the bile may be Increased 
Whether this increase is due to the action of the current on the sub- 
stance of the liver, or the nerves that supply it, we are not able to 

The secretion oi gastric Jutce^ and of the intestinal fluids is in all prob- 
ability increased by external electrization. Analogy would show these 
fluids ought to be secreted in greater abundance under the inOuencc of 
the current, and the results of treatment »n pa-tbological cases give this 
probability something of the force of certainty. Appetite is sharpened, 
digestion is quickened, and constipation relieved, both by local and by 
general electrical treatment, so rapidly and so decidedly as to make it 
pretty evident that the gastric and intestinal fluids are made to secrete 
more liberally by the action of the current on the nerves that supply 
these organs than on the tissues of the organs themselves. 

An excellent means of studying the variations in the nutrition is 
found in the elimination of the urine. This is beUeved to be a result 
of oxidation processes tiiat may take place either in tlie kidneys or in 
the tissues, or in both. 

Legros and Onimus have studied the effects of electrization of the 
6pine on the elimination of urine* 

Their conclusions, derived from more tlian 250 analyses, made on 
the urine of rabbits and of themselves, are these :— 

1. Interrupted currents diminish the quantity of urine and of azote. 

2. Centrifugal galvanic currents increase the quantity of the urine 
and diminish that of the urea. 

3. That continuous centripetal currents increase the quantity of urea 
fritiiout increasing the quantity of urine. 

On the urinary secretion the effect of electrization can be demon- 
strated in pathological cases witliout difficulty. In cases of diabetes 
insipidus and meUitus, local and general treatment may cause great di- 
minution in the discharge, while in dropsy and in rheumatism we have 
knowTi the kidneys to be stimulated as much as by powerful diuretics. 

On the average man in health there is considerable difficulty in esti- 
mating a moderate increase of the urinary secretion under electriza* 
don, for the sufficiently apparent reason that the quantity of urine 







irarici with so many conditions of food, drink, and exercise, and sa 
forth Unless the effect of electrization on the kidneys were immediate 
and decided, it would be difficult to differentiate between its effects 
and Uie effects of the other important and varying factors. 

On the menstrual secretion electricity acts with remarkable power, 
lioth currents, applied externally and internally, centrally or generally^ 
in ph>^iolog^cal as well as patliological cases, affect the quantity ol 
:iiienstrual secretion rapidly^ and sometimes permanently. The effects 
are sometimes immediate, taking place during or directly after the 
application. The number of days that the menses appear are some* 
times increased^ and entire suppression is slowly or speedily cured. 

In pathological cases, where there is an excess of menstrual flow, 
electrization corrects and diminishes it. These apparent and interesting 
effects of electricity on the menstnial secretion may take place through 
the direct action of the current on the ovaries and the uterus, or indi- 
rectly through the brain, sympathetic, and spinal cord, and the nerves 
that supply the pelvic organs. They may take place through reflex 
action from electrization of the feet or liandii, or other and distant parts 
of the body. Franklinic electricity also produces these effects. 

The whole subject is of immense practical importance, as will be 
seen in the chapter devoted to Diseases of Women. 

On the lacteal secretion electricity, especially the faradic cuncnt, 
acts with decided though varying power. It has never been known to 
diminish it, while it sometimes increases it, and it may restore it after 
it has been temporarily suppressed. This physiological fact has a. 
I>ractical significance that will appear in the chapter devoted to Mid- 

Similarly also the secretion of the spermatic fluid is increased by gal- 
vanization or faradization, A mathematical test of the power of elec- 
trization to increase the secretion of the testicles cannot, for obvious 
^'easons, be obtained ; but the statements of individtials on whom the 
Experiment was tried seem to establish this point. The applications may 
\^ made not only through tbe testicles, but through tlie perinieum and 
^:>vcr the spine. The results are not invariable, but are obtained in a 
Sufficient number of cases to make it fair to regard such effect as a 
law of electro-physiology. 

The secretion of the sweat glands is also increased by powerful 
f alvaniiation of the central nervous system, and especially of the cervi- 
cal spine and sympatlietic. In very susceptible patients either galvani- 
sation or faradization of the head, n«*ck, or spine, and strong electriiation 
of almost any part of the body, will cause sensible perspiration. We 



have seen individuals whom a few minutes of general faradization with 
feeble currents brought out large drops of sweat on the forehead, and 
made the hands as moist as though they had been dipped in water. 

On Aif sorption, — The action of electricity on the absorbents is best 
studied in pathological cases, such as hypertrophies, effusions, and 
morbid growths. 

In thickening of the skin that appears in some cutaneous affections, 
in corneal opacities, in enlarged joints, in pleuritic effusions, in hydro- 
cele, in dropsy of various parts, in pa^ssive cede ma, and in enlarged 
glands, in tumors of nearly every variety, can be demonstrated the power 
of electricity to produce absorption- Reasoning backward from patho- 
logy to physiology, we justly infer that the same effect takes place, more 
or less, in all applications of electricity to the body, but that the degree 
of it is modified by the condition of the part to which the application 
is made. The effect on secretion is apparent at once to the eye or the 
sensation ; the effect of absorption is apparent only to the eye, and 
then only when there is a visible excess of fluid or solid in the part to 
which the application is made. This part of our subject will be prac- 
tically illustrated in various chapters both in Medical and Surgical 

Effects of Electricity produced by Reflex as well as by Direct AcHtm^ 
— The reflex effects of electricity seem not to have been fully recognized 
by electro- therapeutists. There is considerable difficulty in ascertaining 
the precise reflex eflects of electricity on animals. The effects as they 
show themselves on man are largely sensory, not motor ; the stimula- 
tion of the circulation of absorption and of secretion that might and 
probably does take place, reSexly as well as directly, is too minute to 
%e readily observed. We are justified in believing that electricity acts 
in absorption, secretion, and exertion by reflex as well as by direct action, 
from the fact that in irritable constitutions sensory effects on the sensa- 
tion and on circulation, of a marked character, are produced by electric 
irritation. Thus, for example, when the hands or the feet are traversed 
by strong currents, either continuously or in sudden shocks, pain or 
disagreeable sensaiions may be felt in the hands and feet, of the oppo- 
sile side, or in the back, or stomach, or side. These reflex effects are 
not constant, and when we look for them we may not And them. They 
can be best studied in persons who are susceptible to electricity, and 
whose spinal cords are weak and irritable. In some pathological cases 
also, such as chronic myelitis of the anterior column (anterior spina] 
•derosis), the reflex action of electricity is ilkistrated with great dis- 
tincoiess. Localized faradization, or galvanization of the lower Hmbs 



Hiijr be felt not only in the part traversed by the current, but in the 
^'Ti^s, in the opposite limb, in the back» and storaach to such a degree 
*^ to cause pain. 

Strong currents acting on irritable constitutions may sometimes b> 

refl^^x action shock the whole system, provided the application bf 

iocr^^^lljjed in certain localities. Thus in a case of very obstinate con 

sti Jik^tion that we once treated by internal galvanization of the rectum, 

^ • *^ Vnrent of not very great strength, suddenly intemipted, was disagree* 

*'^*^ felt in the head, left hand, and feet. Very frequently, indeed, in 

^'^X^erinienting on ourselves or otJier individuals, or on animals, and in 

^^^^^ting patients, we have received shocks through the hands or arms 

"^^t seemed to be felt in all parts of the body. In some instances the 

i*^^in and dbagreeable sensations thus caused by the reflex action of the 

^^^^^*Tent last for several minutes or hours. 

On the circulation the reflex effects of electrization are demonstrable 
3^ delicate apparatus for testing temperature. It has been shown by 
^^periments that electrization of one hand affects the circulation in the 
^^^nd of the other side, so as to change its temperature under the thermo- 
electric pile. 

Powerful electrization of feeble persons may cause a general chilli- 
ricss of the extremities that may last for hours. A sensation of hav- 
ing caught cold has been known to follow strong peripheral faradiza- 

Whether the action of the current on the retina and on the auditory 

aind gustatory nerve is direct or reflex has been long disputed. Our 

researches induced us to the belief that electricity acts on the nefvcs of 

special sense both reflexly and directly. That the gaistatory nerve can 

be treated by reflex action, we have shown in a variety of experiments 

with both currents. Sensitive patients appreciate the sour or metallic 

taste when the application is made to the lower part of the spine or to 

the arms. Similarly, flashes before the eyes may be produced when the 

electrodes are so placed that the current cannot traverse directly the 

region of the brain where the optic nerve takes its origin. Excitation of 

the auditory nerve by reflex action is not so easily demonstrated, but 

tinnitus annum sometimes follows electrization of the spine and neck, 

and it is not unfair to infer that it is the result of reflex excitation. 

In thus admitting the possibility of exciting the nen'cs of special 
Sense, w^e do not desire to give the impression that the ordinary physio- 
logical excitation of these nerves under electricity is purely of a reflex 
character ; on the contrary, we have shown already, in the chapter on 
•-Electro-Conductivity, that the current penetrates the brain and goes 



through those parts where the optic nerves originate, and also 
pass through the labyrinth and act directly on the auditory nerve. 

Id reference to the reflex effects of electricity these two considera- 
rions are of importance : — 

1, The galvanic currents operate much more powerfully by reflex 
action than the faradic. The partial explanation of this fact which we 
offer is that the greater chemical power of the galvanic current, due to 
its acting always in one direction, causes it to operate more distinctly 
on the nerves than the faradic current. This fiict of the superior reflex 
capacity of the galvanic current is one of high practical import in the 
treatment of disease, and explains in part, if not entirely, the dangerous, 
or at least unpleasant, effects that sometimes follow careless or ignorant 
galvanization in cerebral hemorrhages and other irritable conditions oi 
the central nervous system, 

Althaus has recorded a case of anaesthesia of the fifth pair of cerebral 
nerves of a most profound character, in which there was a complete 
absence of cerebral symptoms — dizziness, flashes of light, and galvanic 
taste— whenever a galvanic current of twenty cells was applied to the 
face. A current from thirty cells, which on a person in health would 
cause powerful flashes, a hissing sound in the ears, feeling of heat, and 
perhaps perspiration, caused in this patient only a slight sensation of 
giddiness and metallic taste and phosphoric odor. 

This remarkable case is a strong argument in favor of the opinion 
that the results of electrization of the head and the results of experi- 
ments like those of Erb are due in part, if not entirely, to reflex action. 

It is possible that in the above case the portion of the brain where 
the optic nerve originates was also diseased so as to render it insensible 
to electric excitation. 

2, These reflex effects occur in all the applications of electricity of 
either form, and complicate the direct effects. The physiological and 
therapeutical effects of electrization of the brain, the eye> the ear, the 
cervical sympathetic, the spine, the trunk, and the periphery, every- 
where are a complex resultant of both direct and reflex electrical ac- 
tion. Lacalized electrization, strictly speaking, is an impossibility, how- 
ever closely together the electrodes may be placed, and however dis* 
tant from the great nerve tracts and nerve centres the spinal cord must 
take cognisance of the impression made by the current on the sensory 
nerves, and other parts and organs must share in the effects, for bet- 
ter or for worse. It ts for this reason that cantion is requisite 
faradizing the paralyzed muscles in recent hemiplegias and in active 






even in ■ 
:tive my* I 



l*he very remarkable results that follow general faradization* — a 
method to be subsequently described^are to be accounted (ox in part 
by reflex actions, which are continually taking j>lace during all stages of 
the application. 

Pr»iciicai AppHcaiion of these Physwlogical Principles to Elccira* 
Tkcrapeuiics, — With the above facts and reasonings before us we are 
prepared to intelligently appreciate the effect of electricity on nutrition. 
We do not profess to have exhausted the rationale of the complex action 
of electricity on the tissues, but to have indicated the leading principles 
by virtue of which it affects the nutrition of the animal body. Many dis* 
coveries may yet be in store for us in this department ; it may e shown 
that ozone is j,'enerated in the tissues with every passage of the current, 
and that this ozone is taken into the circulation- the subtle and intri- 
cate chemistry of electrolysis of living tissues in their secondary and 
tertiaryj as well as their primary changes, may be unfolded to the vision 
of the future, and what we now see in a glass darkly posterity may 
behold face to face ; but sufficient is known to explain in a most in- 
teresting w^ay the unrivalled effect of electricity on the nutrition. 

An objection sometimes brought against electricity is that we do not 
understand its action ; and yet in the whole round of stimulating tonics 
there are but few whose action can be so well explained as that 
of electricity. Who knows how arsenic feeds the nervous system or 
how quinine breaks an attack of chills and fever? Why does oxide of 
iinc act with magic force in chronic alcoholism ? How does opium 
produce sleep and relieve pain ; and who has entered into the myste- 
ries of anaesthesia ? 

Animal nutrition is a process of enonnous complications. There is 
tio single chemical change at which one can point and declare that 
this explains the growth and sustenance of the body ; but there are 
nameless and nymberless phenomena every moment going on in the 
living tissues, and as a result of all these, in their infinite play and com- 
bination, the body Hves^ moves, and has its being. Electricity in pass- 
ing through the body modifies many or all of these processes, and thus 
modifies nutrition. As a resultant of the complex physical, chemical, 
and physiological action of electricity on the tissues, there is increased 
development and growth. 

Bxperimetiial and Clinical Proofs of the Effect of Electricity on Nutria 
Hon, — ^We have studied the effect of electricity in great detail on animals 
and on man. On animals our experiments have been confined to the 
effects of general faradization ; on man we have studied the effects of 
tK>tli loc Uized and general treatment* 


Of a litter of four puppies, Dn Beard submitted two to general fara 
dization every other day, for eight ramutes each, and two were not sc 
treated, all having an equal chance at their mother*s breast and noUiing 
besides. All the pupi>ies were carefully weighed at the beginning and 
at the end of the treatment, which lasted for four weeks. It was found 
that both of the pups that had been electrized weighed more than the 
puppies that had not been electrized ; all had, of course, increased in 
weight, but of those electrized one had increased /<?j5/r ounces and the 
other itn ounces more than his fellows that had not been electrized. 
The difference of size in favor of the puppies that were electrized was 
SCI marked and so easy to see^ that without great difficulty one who had 
never seen them succeeded in picking out, from ocular inspection, 
those that had been treated, and that too in the evening, and in a bad 
gas-light. It was observed during the treatment that the puppies which 
were electrized became ravenous, and sucked with greater energy than 
their less-favored companions. 

The method of treating the pups, we may remark, was to put thera 
on a sheet of copper, while the hand of the operator or a sponge- 
electrode was rubbed all over the surface of the body, previously moist* 

The details of the experiments, prepared by our assistant, Dr. J. W. 
Sterling, who made the applications, are as follows * 

July I, 1871. — Weight of 4 paps, fo days old : 

2 black pups (weight each). .,.»...♦. i lb. 6 oz* 

2 yellow pups, weight of one i lb. 34- osu ; other, i lb, 2I ot, 

July, I, 1871, — Commenced general farajdization, each application about 8 mlnulei^ 

Apptted U to one of the btack pups, weight i lb, 6 oz.« and the lightest of the yel- 
low pupa, weight 1 lb. 2^^ os. 

Continued the applications four weeks, making three each week, 

July 28, 187 1. — Weighed the pups after twelve applications. 

I black pup (general faradization) ,.♦ ^ *,,.,.....,..,• , 3 Ib^ 7 oz. 

I black pup Cno fa^radization) 2 ** 13 •* 

I yellow pup (general faradization) ..».,, ,,,..♦• 3 '* o •* 

I yellow pup (no faradization).. . » .,»,., 2 *• !2 •* 

Making a dear gain for ihc electri*ed pup (black) of to ot, for the yellow electriied 
I»p, 4 ot 

This we believe, was the first comparative experiment of this kind 
made with the faradic current. Subsequently, Dr. Beard repeated the 
experiment on a litter of three rabbits. Two were faradized every other 
day ; to the other no treatment was given. At the end of six weeks the 





one not treated was visibly larger than either of those that were treated 
We explained this unexpected result by the theory that the current had 
Deen used too strong and too long for the young and delicate animals* 
The experiment was carried on while we were in the country, and the 
details were intrusted to those who w^ere utterly incompetent for theit 
duties. The directions given were to put the feet of the rabbits in a 
basin of tepid water, and after well moistening the back of the neck to 
|«iss the current through for ten minutes; on account of the non-con- 
ducrivity of tiie dry hair of the rabbit, general faradization was almost 

Legros and Onimus electiized with the galvanic current some pup- 
pies for a quarter of an hour every day, by placing one of the fore-paws 
MLd one of the hinder paws in tepid water connected with the elec^ 
trodes. At the end of six weeks those that had been electrized weighed 
more than the same lot that had not been electrized ; and this differ* 
enoe was perceptible to simple inspection ; one was galvanized with the 
ascendingi and the other with the descending current. 

The effect of faradization on nutrition is powerfully illustrated by 
the experience of those who habitually or frequently apply general fara- 
dization through their own persons, taking an electrode in one hand, 
and applying the other to the body of the patient In this method the 
current passes through both arms, and vigorously contracts the muscles. 
The permanent effects of the current on the person of the operator 
are : 

1 . To cause very marked and sometimes rapid growth of the muscles 
0f the arms. 

The explanation of this phenomenon is sufficiently easy. The mus- 
cular contractions that are produced by the current in its passage 
through the arms cause increase of the local processes of waste and 
repair, and accordingly the muscles increase in size, just as they natu- 
rally do under the influence of any other form of active or passive exer 
cise. This mechanical explanation would be of itself sufficient, but, in 
addition, it is entirely probable that the electric current exercises a 
direct and specific influence on the nerve-branches, which effect is ex 
pressed by the increased size and vigor of diq muscles through which 
^he nerves ramify. 
, Dr. Rockwell, during his Erst experimental attempts in the treatment 
Of disease by general electrization, observed a decided increase in the 
development of the muscles of the arm. It began to force itself on his 
A.ltention a few weeks after he commenced to give special attention to 
iteoeral electrization, and at the present time it is fully as marked as 



ever. Both arms of each one of us have not only increased much m 
sUc by actual measurement, but also coixespondingly in strength and 
hardness. This effect is observed in the arm and forearm, but most 
decidedly in die muscles which, from their position or nerve supply^ 
contract most readily and vigorously when the current passes from 
hand io hand, such as the deitoid, brachialis anticus, biceps, and the 
flexors and extensors of the forearm. This same etfect has been noticed, 
to a greater or less degree, by our students, and, so far as we have 
been able to ascertain, by others, who have employed electricity through 
their own persons for any considerable period. This development of the 
arms seems to progress up to a certain limit, at which it remains* 

2. A very gradual but decided tonic influence on the system. 

This effect is so exceedingly slight, that in a very hardy and vigorous 
person it would not be recognized. That the current, in passing from 
hand to hand, so frequently and so long, should, in the course of time, 
mildly affect the general system, is entirely jirobable. Like any other 
muscular exercise of the arms — gymnastics and the use of the clubs — 
its infiuence, so far as it goes, must be positively toniiig and beneficial 
to the constitution. 

Effects of Electricity on Bacteria. — Cohn has experimented with 
electricity on bacteria.* Currents from two powerful elements, steril- 
ized the nutritive solution completely at the positive pole in twelve to 
twenty-four hours, so that afterward the bacteria produced did not in- 
crease. At the negative pole the action was weaker, tJie liquid not 
being completely sterilized. At neither of the poles were the bacteria 
killed, and when brought into another nutritive fluid tiiey developed 

Yeast-cells, on the other hand, and mycelium fungus, brought into 
the liquid that was sterile for bacteria, increased plentifully at the posi- 
tive pole. A battery of five strong elements killed the bacteria dis- 
tributed in the liquid within twenty -four hours and sterilized the liquid 
at both poles. 

Effect of Electricity on the Growth of Plants. — The influence of 
electricity on the growth of plants has recently been studied by Mr. fL 
H* Bridgenjan, of Norwich, England. On a plate of glass three inches 
square, two strips of sheet-tin are laid, so as to ahnost touch in the 
centre. On this glass, and over the tin strips, is spread a piece of felt 
moistened with rain water. On its dampened surface cress-seeds are 
thickly strewed. The tin plates are connected with the poles of a weak 

♦ Med, Preis and Circular^ June 9, iSSa 



^aWanic battery ; the result is that one-half of the felt is charged withJ 
Ppositive and the other half with negative electricity. At the side of Ihisi 
plate is a second plate, which has connection with the battery, and 
upon which the seeds grow, subjected to no artificial conditions. After 
four days the seeds on the opposite side of the first piece of felting gave 
signs of germination, and the hulls were shrivelUng up and becoming 
black. On the negative side of the felting the seeds were s^rollen, and 
their hulls, which retained iheir natural color, vvere beginning to burst. 
At the end of six days the first shoots niatle their appearance. Several 
days later the first shoots appeared upon the second plate, A strange 
result of this trial was, that while on the negative pole, where there was 
every sign of stronger dcveloimietit, the root-sprout sank down ward 
into the moist felting, the roots frojn the positive side rose upward from 
the blackened and dried-up seeds. 



EUctrO'Therapeuiics is ihi science thai treats of the study of eledri* 
city in its relation to disease. 

It includes both Electro- Medicine and Electro-Surgery^ or as they 
are more commonly termed, Medical and Surgical Electricity, Undet 
Medical Electricity are included ^/^r/r^-Z^/^^z/^m, or Electro-Pathology^ 
as it is sometiiwes termed, and Electro-Therapeutical Anatomy, 

The earliest history of electro-therapeutics, as of many other depart 
ments of medicine, is shrouded in obscurity. It dates back to a mythi- 
cal and legendary age, before mankind had been trained to habits of 
scientific criticism, while y^t history was a mass of traditions, and rumot 
was a substitute for truth. 

It is said that centuries ago the negresses of West Africa were accus- 
tomed to dip their sick children in water where lay the electric fish called 
the torpedo. The remedial powers of electricity were also referred toby 
Pliny and Dioscorides. Scribonius Largus, a physician of the time of 
Tiberius, was accustomed to prescribe the same remedy in the treat- 
ment of gout. As long ago as the days of Phny, necklaces of amber 
were worn by women and children for the sake of their supposed reme- 
dial powers. 

The mysterious power of the magnet was known to the ancient world, 
Dut we have no reason to believe that it was ever extensively resorted 
to by them for the cure of disease. In Europe, during the middle ages, 
the loadstone was nsed in the treatment of disease, and although its 
luccesses were trifling it aroused the professional attention and received 
extravagant praise from the distinguished Paracelsus. About the mid- 
dle of the eighteenth century, Maximilian Hehl, of Vienna, and others, 
excited a new and more successful interest in the use of magnetism in 
disease by the manufactiire and en^plojTiient of artificial magnets. 

The real history of electro-therapeutics may be divided into three 
eras .* the Era of Franklin ic Electricity, including the early and crude 
experiments with the frictional machines and the Ley den jar j the Erm 

HISTORY OF e:^ctro-the:rapeutics* 


^ Cnhanisaiwff^ beginning n-ith the pubHcation of the discover)- of 
tiaivani, in 1791, and including the inveDtion and medical employment 
^ Ute voltaic pile ; the Era of Faradi%^'wn^ beginning with the discov- 
^O^ of induction, in 1831-32, and including all that has since been ac- 
complished in the department of localijted and general electrization. 

In the first era only franklinic electricity was used, because it was 
*^^ only form that was known ; in the second era, both franklmic 
^^^^^ctricity and galvanism were used, since the latter supplemented, but 
**^^>t entirely supplanted, the former ; in the third era, all three forms of 
^^^tridty — franklinic, galvanic, and faradic — were brought into requisi 
^^^^, tbongh the use of franklinic is confined to a few, and will proba- 
* 3' soon become hbtoric. 

Tht Era of FrankUnic Electricity, ^-Th^ records of this era, though 

^^^t extensive^ are yet both interesting and suggestive. It is probable 

^^^t (Q this, as in the second era, very mxich was attempted and even 

^^^complished in this department that has never been recorded in pcr- 

*^:ianent medical literature, and therefore could never become of value 

^^ science. 

In 1 730 Etienne Grey first observed divergence of the hairs in an 
isolated subject put in communication with static electricity. 

The same experiment was repeated by Abb^ Nollet and Du Fay. 
l>u Fay observed the electric sparks drawn from the isolated subject 

Nollet says, ** I shall nev^r forget the surprise which the first electric 
spark ever drawn from the human body, excited both in M, Du Fay 
and myself/' 

Sparks were then drawn from the body in various shapes — one of 
which was called the electrical kiss j other forms were known as the 
"electrical star/* "electrical rain," and so forth. The drawing of the 
sparks constituted a great source of amusement in the society of tlie 

in 1743 Kruger d'Helrastadt suggested that these electric spark 1 
might be made of service in therapeutics. 

In 1744 Kratzenstcin, a German physician, recorded a case of 
cure of paralysis of the fingers by sparks drawn from a frictional ap- 

In 1746 the discovery of the properties of the Leyden jar by Mus- 
chenbfoek gave physicians a new means of using electricity in the 
treatment of disease. 

In 1749 Jallabert,* of Geneva, published a treatise on the medical 
Use of electricity, in which he reported a cure of long-standing paralysii 

• Exp€ri€n€€S mr EUcirkiti^ Paris^ I747i 





of the right arm, resulting from injury, by electric sparks. The cii 
was brought about in two or three months, and may perhaps be re- 
garded as the first decided and unquestioned result of the kind that wai 
obtained in the early days of electro-therapeutics, 

1750 Nebel showed that contraction of the muscular tissue was pro* 
duced by electrization. 

Bobadtch, of Bohemia, also recommended electricity, especially for 
the treatment of hemiplegia. 

In 1753 Lindhult, a Swedish physician, reported a cure of epilepsy 
by electricity. 

In 1754 Suker made his famous experiment on the tongue with zinc 
and copper plates. (See Electro-Physiology). He did not, however, 
pursue his experiments, and it was reserved for Galvani and Volta to 
discover galvanism. 

In 1755 De Haen reported a large number of electrical cures of 
paralysis, spasmodic and other nervous affections, and also of suppres 
sion of the menses, and SL Gu/s dance. About this time, also, 
Schaeffer and Nebel published cures of rheumatism, toothache, hypo- 
chondria, paralysis of the optic nerve, and of intermittent fever and 
neuralgic pains. Between 1750 and 1 75 7, cures of paralysis were re- 
ported by Br}'done, Bertholon, Sauvages of Montpelier, and Spry, the 
latter of whom cured a case of lockjaw and pviralysis. 

The position that electro-theraiieutics held at that time, and the 
hopes that were entertained of it, is very well represented in a little 
treatise by the eminent divine. Rev. John Wesley, entitled, The Desid- 
eratum ; or^ Electricity Made Plain and Useful^ by a Lover of Mankind 
and of Common Sense, 1759,* ^ 

In this treatise the author anticipates, in a sort of theoretical way, fl 
verj" much that has since been demonstrated, both in electro-physics and 
electro-therapeutics, and with surprising accuracy. In the preface he 
acknowledges his indebtedness ** to Mr. Franklin for the speculative 
part, and to Mr. Lovett for the practical." He also mentions as authori- 
ties. Dr. Haadley, Mn Wilson, Watson, Freke, Martin, Wat kins, and 
the Monthly Magazine, whence we may conclude that even at that 
early day the subject was exciting much interest, but more among the 
laity than in the profession. 

From the tone of the book it is clear that the Faculty, as Wesley 
calls the profession, were disposed to despise electro therapeutics 

* This treatise lias been recently republished by Bailli^re, TbdaU h Cox. Loadofv 


tad to reject its claims, as they have been ever since* until withiu a few 
years, and consequently they suffered what was really valuable in medi* 
cine to be monopolized by the laity. 

The mind of Mr, Wesley, as the t%'orld knows, was of the practical 
sort, and in this treatise he does not suffer himself to be carried away 
into gross hyperbole or serious untruth. He expressly disclaims any 
idea of regarding electricity as a panacea, but says what we now know 
to be true, that it is indicated in a wide range of disorders ; but that if 
any one agent should ever become a panacea, electricity stood the best 
chance of being that agent. 

Evidently ignorant of Franklin*s invention of lightning-rods, in I77S# 
he suggests that buildings and ships might be saved from the effects of 
lightning, by " upright rods of iron, made sharp as needles and gilded to 
prevent rusting," and connected with the earlh. He further suggests^ 
that the northern lights are of electrical origin. 

He gives the following list of diseases in which electricity is of service, 
with a number of illustrative cases, most of which are very imperfectly 
detailed. It will be observed that most of these diseases are still treat- 
ed electrically, and with greater or less success. It seems from the list 
that the treatment of diseases of the skin by electricity is simply 
another attempt to effect what was accomplished with success more 
dian a century ago. 

All these conclusions of Wesley and his contemporaries were, how- 
ever, based on experiments made with franklinic electricity. The 
World was to wait forty-one years for the Voltaic pile, and seventy-two 
years for Faraday to discover induction, 

** Agues, St. Antliony*5 Fire ; Blindness, even from a Gutta Serena ; Blood Extra- 
tisated • Bronchoccle ; Chlorosis ; CoMness in the Feet ; Consumption j Contraction 
of the Limbs ; Cramps; Deafness; Dropsy; Epilepsy; Feet violently disordered ; 
l^dons ; Fistula Lacrymalis; Gout; Gravel; Head-ache j Hysterics; Inflamma- 
^icms; King^sEvilj Knots m the Flesh; Lameness; Leprosy; Mortification; Pain 
1*1 the Back, in iJie Stomach; Palpitations of the Heart; Palsy; Pleurisy; Rhcu* 
%nattsm; Ringworms; Sciatica; Shingles; Sprain; Sore Feet; Swellvngs of all 
Vuids ; Throat sore ; Toe hurt ; Tooth-ache ; Wen,** 

In 1763 Watson cured a case of general tetanus in a young girl of 

«even years. Although the fame of the cures wrought by electricity 

attracted crowds of invalids, yet by the ignorant and superstitious it 

was confounded with witchcraft, and the aid of the priest was invoked 

to save them from its baneful inSuence.* 

. • A Trtaiist m Medkml El^tricity, Tht^retkal and Praetkal By J. Alth«i% 
Af ,D, 1S70, p» 284. 



Abb^ Sans published a work on rhe medical use of electricily, and 
recorded important cures. According to this authority, there were 
seven different methods of emplo)nng static electricity — " an electric 
bath^ drawing sparks, by irroration, friction, insufflation, exhaustion, and 
couimotion." Injurious and negative as well as favorable results were 
sometimes reported Thus Dr, Hart brought on paralysis in a girl, 
and Abb^ Mazras excited epilepsy in one of bis patients, Benjamin 
Franklin failed to cure the invalids that flocked to him after his great 
discovery, and Abbe Nollet, after many years' experience, was com- 
peHed to admit that he had seen but little permanent benefit from 

Symptoms only treated in these early Experiments. — In these early 
and many of the later experiments, not disease, but the results of 
disease, were both studied and treated. Wlien electricity was applied, it 
was to the symptoms and not to the pathological condition ; hence the 
enormons blunders and frequent failures of the early electro- therapeu^ 
tists. The symptoms most treated, and in the treatment of which the 
greatest hopes were entertained, were blindness, deafness, paralysis of 
morion, syniptoitis which are now known to depend, in very many in- 
stances, on pathological states, which are in their very nature as incurable 
as death itself Still further, the applications were made to the seat of 
the symptoms exclusively, instead of to the seat of the disease, and this 
mistake helped to swell the number of the failures. 

Physiology and pathology had not yet reached that degree of strength 
and breadth of sureness lo furnish good foundation on which to erect 
the science of electro therapeutics, and withal the appliances for gene- 
rating electricity were bulky and untrustworthy. 

Electro therapeutics was therefore baffled in its first attempts at 
growth, through lack of needful support from allied and fundamental 
sciences ; it must wait for physics, for physiology, for pathology to come 
to its rescue, which in due time they have done and are now doing. 

In 1773 and 1778 Maduyt presented memoirs * f '^'^ the subject, 
in which he aflirmed in his report that electricity was a remedy of vast 
and varied powers ; that it had a positive and very beneficial influence 
over nutrition ; and that it equalized the circulation, raateriaPy affected 
the pulse, the perspiration, and the secretions ; and was surprisinglj? 

• Mem. stir les cflTels generaux, I& nature ct I'usagc du fluide ^Icctrique con^jder^ 
rotnme nielicamcnt. Lu en d^ccmbre. 1778, ii la Socielc loyale dc m^edne. 

f Mem. snr les difTerentcs muniires d'iidniinislrer r<fleclridiei, et observations 
les efreUc|uecei divers moyetis ont produiti. Ltt en dcccmbre, 1783* ^ 1 
rnyalc de m:'decmc 









cfiicacious in the treatment not only of paralysis, but also of other con 
ditions, such as constipation and oedema. This report aroused con- 
siderable' interest in electro-therapeutics on :he part of the profession, 
And for a season the apph'cation of franklinic electricity became eacten- 
sively popular. In 1777, Cavallo published a work * which excited con- 
siderable attention. He reported cures of epilepsy^ paralysis, chorea, 
deafness, blindness, rheumatism, glandular enlargements, and recum- 
inended electricity as a means of artificial respiration. 

On the theory that medical substances might be combined with 
electricity, Pivati, of Venice, placed in his electric machine a glass 
cylinder, filled with Peruvian balsam, and Giuseppe Briini affirmed that, 
fcy the same arrangement, filled with purgatives, he had produced the 
same effect on an electrified patient as though the remedy had been ad- 
ministered internally, f 

In 1785 VV^ilkinson presented the results of some experiments with 
electricity in England. Although the fame of the cures wrought by the 
new remedy attracted thousands of the people^ yet by the ignorant and 
superstitious electricity was confounded with the spirit of evil.| 

Of the seven methods of employing statical electricity recommended 
by these early experimenters, but three were in common use. These 
were, the tkcirU hath, ehctrization by sparks, and shocks from the Ley- 
d^n Jar, 

The Era of Galvanization, — Animal electricity was discovered by 
Oalvani in 1786, and made public in 1791. It was by the experiments 
of Oalvani that Volta was stimulated to investigate the subject of 
electricity. He denied the existence of animal electricity which Gal 
i^ani had discovered. One of the most important fruits of the discus- 
sion that arose between them and their respective followers was the 
Construction of the voltaic pile, which for many years physicians 
Employed, with various alternations of failure and success, in the treat- 
'^ent of disease. 

In the period intervening between the discovery of animal electricity 
fcjy Galvani, and the construction of the pile of Volta, electricity was 
Applied to the body by means of metallic plates, joined together by a 
%i;ietaUic arc* Sometimes these were simply placed against the skin, 
^uid sometimes over spots denuded by a blister. | 

• A CoTnpkte Treat I'se on Electricity^ in Theory and Practice, with original Ex- 
Y»enments^ Londres, 1777. Id.^ Medical Electricity, Londres, 1780, 
f AUliaus, op. ciL, p. 2S7. 

% A, Trrpicr, Manuel dVlcctro-th^rapic, cxpos^ pratique et critique des applrcationi 
■i^tcaloi ct chirurgicAles dc P^lcctric td, Paris, 1S60. § Tripier, op. cit., p. 262. 



In 1792, Behrend, Creve, and Klein suggested the u?e of gal 
as a means of distinguishing real from apparent death. The firsl 
attempts to make galvanism of practical service in the treatment of 
disease were made by Professor Loder, of Jena. The results of hij 
experiments were unsatisfactory. 

In 1793 Hufeland and Rctl advised the use of galvanism in 

In 1796 Pfaff advised the same remedy for amaurosis. None of 
these authorities spoke from much personal experience.* 

In 1797, Alexander von Humboldt f suggested, on theoretical 
grounds, the use of galvanism in paralysis, rheumatic pains, and dis- 
eases of the eyes. 

Valli actually restored to life, by galvanism, frogs and fowls that had 
been nearly suffocated. J 

* The voltaic pile, invented in iSoo» marked an era in the medical use 
of the galvanic cuiTcnt, because, with all its imperfections, it was vastly 
superior, for therapeutic purposes, to the metallic plates that had pre- 
viously been employed during the period which had elapsed since the 
discovery of Galvani. It was at once employed by Loder, in Jena, by 
Grape ngiesser,§ Bischoff, and Lichtenstein, in Berlin, and by Haller, 
in Paris, chiefly in cases of paralysis. 

In 180 r, Augustin, of Berlin, published a treatise on galvanism, in 
which he reported results of treatment of paralysis by applying the 
negative pole to the central end the nerve, and the positive to the 
peripheral. Prof Schwab experimented with the voltaic pile in cases of 
deaf- mute ism. In 1802 Sigaud de la Fond published a work in which 
he recommended fraoklinic electricity for nearly every form of disease. 
In 1804, Aldini, a pupil of Galvani, published a treatise on galvanism, 
in which he theoretically recommended it for deafness, insanity, and 
amaurosis, and also to produce artificial respiration. || 

Even during this era, and for many years after the invention of the 
voltaic pile, franklinic electricity was still employed. 

In I Si 7 Dr. Thomas Brown, of Albany, published a work entitled 
** The Ethereal Physidan^^ in which he recommended franklinic electri- 
city for paralysis, ric-douloiireux, epilepsy, chorea, and in a large variety 
of disorders. 

* Tripier, op. cit,, p, 263. 

f Versucli liber die gerekte Muskel and Nervenfaser, Berlin, 1 797. 
% Ejtp^ricncc sur le galvanisme, traduit par Jadelot. Paris, 1799. 
§ VersDche den Galvinismus lur Heilutig dnigcr Krinklieilen anrtiwcnden. 
Berlin, I Sot. ] Essai tb^oriquc ct exp^rimenta sur le galytuiisme. 1804. 








Jn iSi8 Dr. Everett, of New York, published something on the use 
Df elecrricity in medicine that was based oa experience that he had de- 
rj ved with the apparatus of Dr, Brown. 

In spite of all these endeavors on the part of scientific men to give 
irtiporlaoce and dignity to the cause of electro- therapeutics, it failed to 
Tiilfil the extravagant expectations that had been formed of it ; a reaction 
followed, and it fell into disrepute. Electricity had been tried for a 
^^ride range of diseases, but partly on account of the inconstancy of the 
V-oltaic pile, and partly through the ignorance of the operators, it was 
fcDund to be a most uncertain remedy* It was confounded with raes- 
x^aerism, which at this period came into notoriety, and for a time it 
shared its fate. 

Many of the early Experiments made by the Laity, — It will be seen by 
^ glance at the above*mentioned names that the earliest experiments 
vji electro-therapeutics were made by the laity. A science that now 
^^ommands some of the best brains of civilization was born among the 
tumble and the lowly. It was cradled in ignorance and reared and 
"fostered by those who, however eminent in other walks, knew little or 
^nothing of medicine. Chemists, physicists, priests and paupers, monks 
and mountebanks, were in the eighteenth century the leading authorities 
in electro-therapeutics. If there were those at this time who had faith 
io the coming of a better day, when electro-therapeutics should be a 
recognized and permanent part of the medical science, it was their mis- 
fortune to die without the sight. Not until the close of the eighteenth 
Century were the great discoveries of Galvani and Vol ta revealed to the 
workl, which was to work and wait for at least half a century before it 
should see even the beginning of the fulfilment of its hopes. Some of 
the great sciences, like some of the great religions, have had the hom- 
^iest origin. 

Of the early history of electro -physics, Whewell* thus remarks:— 

** At such a period a large and popular circle of spectators and ama- 

^^urs feel themselves nearly upon a level in the value of their trials 

'^-tid speculations mth the more profound thinkers ; at a later period, 

'^^hen the subject is becoming a science, that is^ a study in which all 

*"^au5t be left far behind who do not come to it with disciplined, informed, 

'^^nd logical minds, the cultivators are far more few, and the share of 

^S^pplause less tumultuous and less loud. Electricity, to be now studied 

^^ghtly, must be reasoned upon mathematically,*' 

What AVhewell here says of electro-physics may just as truly b« 
^fcpplied to electro-therapeutics. 

• History of the Inductive Sciences, 2d ed., vol. iL, p, aoow 



In the earlier experiments, the philosopher and the fool were jJiett) 
nearly on the same level in their knowledge of the application of this 
sul tie force to the treatment of diseases, with this advantage on the side 
of tJie fool, that throtJgh tlie very excess of his ignorance he dared and 
ventured where the philosopher knew just enough to fear to tread. 

It was, as we shall see, a long time before electro-therapeutics should 
be gradually developed into a science of sufficient positiveness to com- 
mand the attention of men of science for its own sake, and to excite the 
despair of the iguorant. 

Here, as in all other realms of investigation, the development is from 
simplicity towards complexity, from generals to specials, and from truthi 
that are common to all classes, to truths that only a few specialists can 
thoroughly master. We are reminded here of the beautitul thought 
of Thoreau, When reproached for his exclusiveness and love of solitude, 
he replied, *' It is not so much that I love to be alone» as that I love to 
soar, and the higher I ascend^ the company grows thinner and thinner, 
until at last I am left almost alone/* 

Strikingly this principle has been illustrated even in the most recent 
history of electro-therapeutics, both in Europe and America. A field 
now occupied by some of the ablest scientists of Germany, England, and 
France, was formerly crowded with lawless intruders. 

When we began to write on this subject in 1866, a tide of in- 
quiries at once set in upon us, from all parts of the country. The 
authors of these letters, with some few exceptions, we have never seen ; 
but, judging from the style of composition and the character of the in- 
quiries, they were as a rule comparatively ignorant, and belonged to 
the lower strata of the profession. Letters that we receive more re- 
cently during tlie past three years, evidently come from many of the 
best men in the profession. As the science develops, brains and cul-- 
lure are attracted to it. In our large cities, those who are studying this 
subject are among the most promising names in science. 

In 1825, Sarlandi^re proposed the employment of acupuncture 
needles in galvanization, so that the current could be more exclusively 
and definitely localized on the desired nerve or organ. This method 
of treatment was called electro-puncture.^ He used for this purpose 
franklinic electricity. Subsequently Magendie successfully experimented 
with galvano-puncture in neuralgia, paralysis, and other nervous dis- 

The discovery of electro puncture was the beginning of the science 

* M6m. sur r£lectro-|mncture« Farl% iSaS* 



of etefo-surgery, a department which at that time commanded a 
wiikr luterest than the medical use of electricity, and which has now n 
most important position in science. 

Gcra/d and Prava2 suggested, and P^trequin and Ciniselli succeedeo 

in ctiring aneurism by galvano-puncture. Subsequently galvano-cauter* 

.jption has been in%^estigated by Steiuheil, Middeldoq)flf (1859), Amus- 

'^'m Allhaus, Byrne, ourselves, and many others. (For detailed history 

of the surgical uses of electricity, see Electro-.Surgery, Chapter I.) 

In 1826, Baura^ published in London a work on gaJvanisni, which 
two years later reappeared in a different form, and was translated into 
f^reuch by Fabre PaUprat, who was the ftrst to use the galvanic current 

Tht Era of Faradization, — The publication of the discovery of in- 
ductive electricity by Faraday, in 1831-2, changed the whole course of 
L^ electro-therapeutics. On the basis of this discovery electric machines 
^1 were constructed that were both more reliable and more convenient 
^^hflto the ordinary voltaic pile. The first magneto-electric machine was 
^^Wtetructed by Pixii in i8j2, and was first employed in the treatment 
^p of dbeases by Neef of Frankfort. Afterwards electro-magnetic {volta- 
^^ electric) machines were constructed by Neef, Clarke, Stohrer, and 

k others, which from time to time have been variously modified by a 
^g« number of experimenters in different countries. 
From this time electricity in the form of faradization began to be ex- 
pensively and indiscriminately employed, both in this country and in 
*''^rope. It was used by the laity as well as by the profession, though 
^^ ftrst without any recognized method, and without any very clear 
^^eas of the indications for which electrization was adapted. Since 
J ^'^t time four distinct methods of medical electrization have been intro- 
j coced, in which the galvanic as well as the faradic current have been 
[Appropriated, and under one or the other of which may be classed all 
applications of faradic or galvanic electricity tlmt have since been 
rtoyed. These methods are localised faradization, localized galvan- 
^^fiifft, general faradization^ and central gaivanization. 
^^m-^ist<^jf of Localised Ftiradization. — The history of localized electri- 
B^*^*^^ is identified with the name of Buchenne, whose experiments and 
wsooveries have given such an impetus to this important and growing 
^^^Partment Duchenne was not, however, the first to employ localized 
B'|''^^»^ation. Prior to his time, faradization had been used by Masson 
^'Unce, and Neef of Frankfort ; and in this country it has been em- 
^ ^ye<3 |jy the profession and by the laity from the period of the first 
^**Iari2ation (*f machines of induction. 



Even as early as 1845 loaiVucd /a tadtsaH&n was used in tliis countr> 
side by side with general faradization, though, like the latter, il had re* 
ceJved no distinct nomenclature, and was indiscriminately recommended 
and unscientifically applied.* The t\vo methods, localized and general, 
were frequently confounded, and both wei^ known under the vague 
term, •'electrifying.'* Dtichenne's earhest attempt to call the attention 
of the profession to this subject is thus recorded in his own words : — 

** De Tart de Iimiter rexcitation 4lectrique dans les organes sans 
piquer ni inciser la peau, nouvelle mfithode d' electrisation appel^e il^^- 
trisaiion localiset^ et dont les princii>eSj r<5som^s dans une note adress^e 
en 1847 \ rAcad6mie des Sciences, ont 6t6 d<Sveloppls et publics dans 
\qs archives gtnerales de M6dicine en julllet et aout 1S50, et ft5vrier et 
mars 1851." In 1855 he published his chief work, " De TElectrisatioa 
Local is€e, et de son Application % la Physiologie, k la Pathologic, et ik 
la Th^rapeutique." 

This work became known to the profession in Germany through the 
abridged translation of Dr. Erdii>ann, M 

The leading idea of the method of localized faradization of Du-™ 
chcnne was, that the current can be localized over a fixed point under 
the skin if well-moistened conductors are strongly /r^'^j-^'^/ upon the skin. 

He observed— what is perfectly familiar to all experimenters in eleo 
tro-therapeutics — that when dry electrodes are applied to the dry skin^fl 
sparks with a crackling sound are produced, but no sensiition and no 
muscular contraction. He observed that when the electrodes are well 
moistened, contractions are excited in the muscles, with the phenomena 
of sensation. 

He recommended three forms of electrodes — solid metallic elec- 
trodes, metallic bnishes, and the hand. 

On these observations and experiments Duchenne based a system of 
electro-therapeytics and electro-diagnosis which, as since refined, de» 
veloped, and modified by himself and by numerous other laborers in 
various countries, has now grown into a permanent department of , 
science. 1 

Loc^alized faradization was ap]jteciated by electro-therapeutists more 
rapidly than some of the other methods of using electricity, as electro* 
lyzation, general faradization, galvano- cautery, and central galvaniza- 
tion, for the reason that it is the easiest learned of all the methods and 

• In Pike's Caladoguc of M sit hem attend, Optical, and Pliilosophical Instruments^ 
184S, there is a cut of the faradic apparatus that had t>ecn in use for five years by 
these early experimenters^ The same work also contains a cut illustrating thek 
oielhol A localiied faradization of the leg. 




f^uti only the simplest and cheapest form of batteiy. To be an 
p^pert in it requires a degree of skill and experience and manual facil- 
% as well as familiarity with the diseases for which it is indicated, and 
^^e knowledge of electro-physics and electrophysiology are of essen- 
"^ serdoe ; but in none of these respects is this method as exacting 
^ ^tiy one of the others. 

Hence it is, that localized faradization is the method with which 
''ovices usuaUy begin their experiments in this branch, and it is the 
'''cthod which by the mass of the profession is now more used than 
^^y other. 

^ Among specialists, however, of all countries, localized galvanization 
'^ tiiore used than localized faradization, since it meets on the whole, 
^ experience shows, a larger range of indications. 

Jitstory cf Zccaiized Galvanization. — One of the ablest and most 
f**^ominent of those whom the writings of Duchenne inspired to enter 
/^t^fcon the study of electro-therapeutics was Professor Remak, of Berlin^ 
**^is first work, ** Ueber Methodische Electrisirung Geldhmter Muskeln^^ 
On the Methodical Electrization of Paralyzed Muscles," was pub- 
L *^hed in 1855* In this work he revived and recalled tlie attention of 
K^lle profession to the galvanic current^ and he furthermore announced 
P^^tiat in order to bring a muscle to complete contraction it is bettet to 
[ 'feitcite its motor nerves than to allow the current to operate on the 
'^^mscular substance itself His second work, ** Gahano-Therapie dtr 
^Ycn^en- and MtiskeUKrankhtitiny^ was pubhshed in i858, 

Remak became the founder of a school of electro-therapeutists in 
C^ermany, as Duchenne had been in France, Their systems, as has 
%>een said, differed in two important particulars. Both used locaUzeA 
electrization. Duchenne used the faradic current, making the applies^ 
tions to the muscles ; Remak used the galvanic current, making the 
applications to the motor nerves, 

Duchenne declared that the galvanic current was useless for the 
treatment of disease, while Remak contended that it was the only cur- 
rent that was of any value. Duchenne was unwilling to admit the 
reality of the discoveries of Remak, and Remak as emphatically re- 
jected the conclusions of Duchenne, Both enforced their statements 
by the resuks of experiments, and both appealed to experience. 

It is now well recognized by all electro-therapetitists that there was 
l^ruth on both sides of this interesting controversy^ that the galvanic 
^d faiadic currents are both of service in the diagnosis and treatment 
^f disease, and that too in more than one mode of application. We 
•^ow see that if Duchenne was too dogmati''^ Remak was too extrava- 





gant» but that both of them, by their experiments and labors, 
positive sen'ice to sciencei and niade the way easier and safer for those 
who have since followed them in the department of localized electriza- 
tion. ^ 

Remak, shortly before his deaths published a work entitled ** >#///i*^| 
cation ///. Courant constant au Traitt'mcnt des A^hroscSy^ Paris, 1865, 
which coi-lained the leading ideas of his system, and has been the means 
of stimulating many other experimenters in this difficult department 

Remak did more than merely introduce the galvanic current to the 
profession— he discovered and recommended special applications of 
the current, and suggested the theor}' of its catalytic action. He was 
the fir^t to scientifically investigate localized galvanization of the cer- 
vical sympathetic, of the brain and spinal cord, and thereby greatly 
widened the sphere of electro-therapeutics* Although at first his 
theories were scouted, and his statements discredited, yet since his 
death they have, in the main, been strikingly confirmed, and are now 
•egarded as accepted facts in science* 

Even during this last era, franklinic electricity has been by no ^ 
/Cleans laid aside- In 1847, Dr. Golding Bird published very - 
i-'*markable results obtained in the treatment of amenorrhoea by 
static electricity, in Guj^s Hospital. He made use of a Leydcn 
jar. Franklinic electricity' has been successfully used by Drs. Gull 
and Clement. It has, for a number of years, been successfully 
employed by Dr. Radcliffe and others, in the London Hospital for the 
Paralyzed and Epileptic. Quite recently Prof. Schwanda, of Vienna, 
has reported suggestive results from franklinic electricity generated by 
Holti\s electrophorus machine. Dr. Arthius, of Paris, has recently pub- 
lished a work on the subject ; this has been translated by Dr, Leveridgc, 
of Chicago. 

Within the past fifteen years localised faradization and galvanization 
has been developed and improved in France, in Germany, in England \ 
and America, by a nuniber of able and laborious men of science. 
Among the voluminous authors in this department may be mentioned 
the names of Meyer,* Becquerel,t Baierlacher,| Althaus,§ Tripicr,! 

* Die Electricitftt in thrcr Anwcndung auf praktische Medidn. Berliii, 1S54 Atid 
I86S. Tfaiislaletl by Dr. H amnion J. 

f Traits des apf lications de I*elcctricite 4 Ja Th^mpeuiiquc. Paris, 1857. 

X Die Induction^-Electriciiat in physiologiiich'thefapeiitUcher Beztehung. 
ocrg, 1857. 

g Treatise on Medical Electricity, London, 1859* L it eft edition, 1873, 
Tanism in Paralpis, Ncurnlgia. etc., 1S66. 

I Manuel d'Electrothdrapie. Paris, i86i« 






Roicntbil,* Fronxmhold^t Xierassen^J Garratt^g 6enedikt,| Brenner, ^^ 

History iff Gincral Faradisaiidtt, — ^Jn general faradization the aim 
is to bring the whole body under rhe influence of the faradic current, so 
tar as is possible, by external application. 

The origin of general faradization, like that of localized, is somewhat 
uncertain, since it is difficult to determine how long it was used by the 
laity before we formally introduced it to the profession. It is certain 
that both methods have been in popular, and, to a certain extent, in 
professional use in America, from a period not lung subsequent to the 
alarization of the discovery of induction, certainly a long time be- 
TOre they were introduced to the profession. One of the first — and 
probably the very first — to employ a form of general faradization was 
iVillianj Miller, of New York, who began the empirical use of this sys- 
*<^ of treatment in 1843, Since that time some form of general far- 
^^tion has been employed by Sherwood, of New York ; Dr. \\\ Dem. 
! lumg, fyf Portland ; Drs. Garratt, Cross, and Guthrie, of Boston ; Dr. 
[ ^^^^ of Rochester, N. Y. ; Drs. Page and Channing, and by a very 
s^ niuiiber, both in the profession and out of it, of whose names and 
*^*al metliods but little is known, since they have taken but little pains 
Establish the treatment on a scientific basis, or to introduce it to the 
^^lion of the profession. Many of these practitioners combined 
^lued with general faradization, and some, perhaps the majority, em- 
P^^yed the latter exclusively, tliough with little definiteness or precision. 
Althougii^ as has been said, some of these early experimenters were 
^^Cated physicians, the majority were ignorant not only of medicme, 
m\ of every other department, and not a few, unfortunately, were as 
i^Principled as they were ignorant* 

Although many of these experimenters were laymen, although they 
Iwd no part nor lot in the realm of science, and although many of theni 
ire as devoid of conscience as of intellect, yet we should none the 
bfs eagerly seek for and accept whatever of truth they may have stum 

^ Dk ElecrrothemptCf ihre Begnindung und Anwcndung in der Medlnn. Wien^ 

65. L»rest edition, 1875. 

f Elect rot he ra pic mil l3e<!ondercr Riicksicht attf Kerven-Krankbaten ; vom prak* 
riichen Stindpunklc skizzirt, Peslh, 1865* 

I Die ElecthLltat in der Medictn, Berlin, iS66« Latest edition, 1872. 

I Medical Electricity. Philadelphia, 1866. 

I Ekctrptb^rapie. Wien, iS68. Second edition, rSj^. 

^ Unteriachungen und Bcobachtungen auf dem Gebtete der Elektrotherapie 
Idpiig. t$68 und 1869. 

•• Princip«d*EleclrotWnipic, Paris, 1873. 



bled irjion or discovered. In the history of thefapeulics it ha 
been the fortune of the ignorant and the lowly to hit by chance oi» 
some great fact for which the wisdom of the ages has sought in valiu 
Says Dr. Stills, " Nearly every medicine has become a popular remedy 
before being adopted or even tried by physicians; "* and according tt» 
Pereira^ nux vomica is one of the few remedies the discoveiy of wbictm 
is not the effect of mere chance. f 

Impartial history must, we think, record that, before Diichenne i 
Re male were known on either side of the Atlantic, before our mor< 
recent electrotherapeutists had commenced their professional labors (^^ 
studies, there were in this land not a few empirics who, by some fon*^ 
of general or localized faradization, or both combined, or by method ^^ 
various and inconsistent, and in spite of their own ignorance or ricc^— 
were achieving successes in the treatment of disease which, in certaix^^^' 
features, even the most advanced physicians of our day have notyc*^ 
surpassed. If they did not belong to the chosen ranks of the pro fess* *' 
sion, it is none the less true tJiat the results which they secured wer^^ 
oftentimes such as the ablest leaders in science might wqW have envieA— ^ 
If their methods were empirical^ their empiricism was often justified h;^^H 
its success. If their nomenclature was imperfect and confused, an«3 
their diagnosis erroneous, yet their confusion and errors were not a li^^ 
tie redeemed by the skill with which Ihey met emergencies when th^^ 
therapeutist was far more needed than the pathologist or the diagnosti- 
cian, T/ie great defect of these empirics was not in thetr results^ whip* 
oftentimes were truly remarkable^ but in the fad that their gi\ 
ignorance^ and especially their ignorance of medicine^ rendered it imp 
sible/or them to discriminate in their eases or their methods^ or to inir-^^ 
ligently communicate their experience to others^ or in any way to make ^^ 
of permanent value to science. They treated all cases about alik^^^ 
without reference to the pathological condition, and in spite of all the "•' 
successes frequently failed where, with better knowledge, they niig^^^ 
have succeeded. 

In Europe, so far as we can ascertain from tlie published writings o*^ 
the subject, or from our own personal observation, the method oi gener*^ 
faradization^ as described in tliis work, has not been used or rccon*^ 
mended, at least by men of science. In 1852, BcckensteincJ'^ 

♦Therapeutics, vol L, p. 31, The same author states that ••byfiwib* 

greater nuraber [of medicines] were first employed in coimtries which were 9X^ 
arc now in a state of scientific ijjnorance," 

f Materia Malica, vol. ii», p. 336, Hydrate of Chloral may now be %Mt\\% 
thU list. % Etui^es sur T Elect rid L^ TarU, 1S59. 




suggested the idea of ** aoimalizing ** statical electricity by passing it 
through the body of the operator, and making passes over or near the 

In 1857, M. Dropsy* de Cracow published a new method of 
£u^LzatioQ, the modus operandi of which consisted in connecting an 
electrode by two branches on the top of tlie head and the epigastrium^ 
ivhile the other electrode was connected by four branches with the 
hands and feet At each sitting the poles were reversed In 1858, 
Seilerf proposed to cure consumption and many other obstinate and 
Lncurable diseases by passing a faradic current through two electrodes 
riear to but not over the body of the patient* 

In 1863, GublerJ suggested the treatment of conditions of debility 
fcy placing both hands and feet in separate basins containing salt 
'water, and passing a faradic current through the body. 

Our own attention was called lo the subject of general faradization 
in 1866, and in that and the following year we introduced it to the 
profession, describing in a general way its powerful tonic effects and 
modus operandi. 

{The Medical Use of Electricity^ with special reference to general 
electrization as a tonic ^ &*c. Beard and Rockwell^ New York, 186 7.) 
The name general electrization^ as descriptive of this method of 
treatment, was first employed by us and in the writings to which we 
have referred* In the present edition of this treatise we restrict the 
terms to general faradization^ for the reason diat our method of 
central galvanization, to be hereafter described, has to a considerable 
extent taken the place of ^^/i^r^/ galvanization. 
Our own claims in regard to general faradization are : 
1st To have studied the method as practised by the laity, and to 
have improved it, reduced it to a system, and given it a scientific 
basis, and to have shown its relations to other methods of using 
electricity— in short, to have done for this naethod what Duchenne did 
for localized faradization. 

2d- To have interpreted its special and general effects, giving it a 
t^me, pointing out the true rationale of the method, and the in- 
dications for its use* 

3d, To have first called the attention of the profession to this 
tiaethod, enforcing our views by the results of personal experiments. 

* Elcctroth^rapie oi applicaUon m6dkale pratique de P^lectricit^ bas^« sor d« 

f Galvaniiation par influence. Paxis, 185S. 

% De r iiicctriiiitiQn g^n6i\le. Bulletin de Therapeutique, Dec., iS6^ 



4th. To have discovered in our experiments wiln this l ethod, thai 
electrization was a tonic of great and varied efficacy, and tberefort 
indicated in a large range of conditions of debility, and to have forced 
this fact on the professional miod until it has become widely accepted, 
and has become the basis for the use of electricity in the tie 
of medical diseases. 

The length of time required to make a thorough application of genera© 
faradization^ and the amount of piactice necessary to acquire skill inii 
facility in its employment, have interfered somewhat with its populana — 
fion among specialists in electro-therapeutics ; but in spite of theses^ 
difficulties the method is now used with the highest success by hundreds 
of physicians, specialists and general practitioners, &c, and its popular- 
ity is very rapidly increasing* 

In Germany the method has been from the first received, in par^C 
through the careful resume of Prof. Erb, of Heidelberg^ with greaic*' 
interest and appreciation and with more favorable consideration tha«Ti 
in any other country, excepting perhaps the United States. Dr* iL- 
Vater, of the University of Prague, in his preface to the Genua** 
translation of the first edition of this work, has warmly recommeDde*i 
the niL'thod, basing his recommendatiou on his own personal experience ^ 
and more recently, Benedict of Vienna, in the latest eduion of his worlcir 
has given the method intelligeot and appreciative consideration. 

History of Central Galvanization. — The method of central galvam— 
i^ation, as has been described in our published papers (Electricity an^ 
the Sphygmograph, N, Y. Medical Record^ December 15, 1871; alsc^s 
Recent Ueseaiches in Electro -Therapeutics, October, 1872, by H)^-^ 
Beard ; Central Galvanization, N. Y. Med, Journal, May, 1872, \>^ 
Dr. Rockwell), consisted in placing the negative pole at the eptgas^^ 
rium^ while the positive was applied over certain portions of the hesrn^^ 
9ver the sympathetic and pneumogastric in the neck, and danm 0^-^ 
wh&le length of the spine from the first to the last vertebra. At th*-- ^ 
time we had used the method with the highest success, in hysteria, ir^-"" 
sanity, neurasthetiiai gastralgia, dyspepsia, and certain diseases of ih ^^ 
skin, and since that time this method has been extended to a wid - 
variety of atiections. In some diseases it has supplemented, in others i 
has supplanted, general faradization and galvanization of the 

The full method of central galvanisation, as it will be described l^*' 
this edition of the present treatise, was not stumbled upon byacciden*> 
but is the result of a long period of experimendnf,* When we began t*^ 
use the galvanic current, we sometimes treated gastralgia and dyspc^J 


[ita. I>v placing one pole, usually the negative, in the epigastric region, 
nd cJie positive on the nape of the neck at about the sixth cervical ver- 
tchrs^^ Gradually we extended the domain of the application so as to 
inci u^ <3e the mastoid fossa and the anterior border of the sterno-cleido- 
mas €:<::}](] musclej down to the sternum on both sides. Afterwards we 
re54>l-%^ed to apply the positive electrode to the forehead, still keeping 
the ^r^^gativc on the epigastrium. 

I«^ ^uenced by the fact of observation, that the top of the head be- 

twe^ wn the cars was frequently tender and painful in hysteria and neur- 

isth^^iaia, in both sexes, it occurred to us that this might be a good 

plao^ to plant the electrode so as to affect the brain. Another consid- 

criti<2iti of practical moment was, that this place in both sexes is quite 

acc^is^sible, even with the present methods of arranging the hair, Look- 

"*8 ^1 the subject from the standpoint of anatoni}^ physiology, and 

palHcalogy, also, it was sufficiently clear that in galvanizing the brain, 

^^ c^hject should be, not so much to aifect the anterior lobes as the 

I ws^ an(j posterior portion, where originates the great cranial nerves, 

^^ Soon found by clinical observation, that little dizziness was caused 

^ten the electrode was placed in this position, and that a stable current 

I " ^ number of cells could be borne without unpleasantness, and that 

™^^ri times a peculiar sensation was experienced, very different from the 

■^^^^ing and pricking sensations that are felt when the electrode is 

inP^^^^d on the forehead. Last of all we extended the application, so as 

f W i-n elude the whole length of the spinal column, passing the electrode 

Beri^^^ the clothes of the patient, loosened and pulled up for that pur- 

r**^* Since the first publication of this method of central galvaniza- 


we have modified it by changing the position of the negative pole, 

1* ^►nddo^ft-n the breast and abdomen, so as to avoid over-irritating the 


^^^^^oie of the processes of central galvanization had been used by 

a^^^ pl^y^icians^ long before we worked up the complete method as he 

^^^^«ibed Dr* Althaus writes us, that several years since he had em- 

" *3^ «d \he first step in the process — one pole at the epigastrium and 

^^ther at the back of the neck, but becoming alarmed by unpleasant 



"t*'oras, had abandoned it ; and Dr. Meredith Clymer, of this city, 
**Tiis us tl^at during the past three or four years he has independently 
^3. the processes of central galvanization with tonic results that have 
*^^ ^ most pleasing. 

^he ill-fortune of Dr. Althaus was due, we suspect, to the fact that 


"Used powerful or interrupted currents — a mistake that we repeatedly 

•'^^^c during our earlier experiments, a mistake that is frequently made 
W those begmning any new method of electrization. 



EUctriciiy in its Medical Relations is a Stimulating Sedative Tanic— 
TTic cause of medical electricity has been, and still is, greatly re- 
garded by vague and incorrect notions of the position of electricity in 
the materia medica. It has been classed as a stinuilant, and up to the 
^rae when we began to wTite on the subject, in 1866^ nearly all the 
^writers on the subject had assumed without question or discussion that 
the stiniulanng action was the main if not the only action of electricity 
The idea that it was also a tonic was not even discussed. The first 
formal presentation of the use of electricity by the method of general 
faradization appeared in a paper by Dr. Rockwell, based on consid- 
erable experience and many experiments, and entitled ** Electricity in 
liie Treatment of Rheumatic Affections," and published in the Medical 
Ri£0rd m 1866. In this and subsequent papers by both the authors 
of this treatise, the tonic effects of electricity were fully demonstrated. 
Those few in the profession who used electricity at all had gone no 
further than Duchenne, and supposed that when they had used this 
agent to kick up palsied muscles, they had exhausted its therapeutic 
indications. In obedience to the same narrow and exclusive dogma, 
electricity was supposed to be exclusively contraindicated in febrile and 
^tiflararaatory affections, and w^as supposed to be of value only in a 
Very limited range of subacute and chronic diseases* The acceptance 
Of the view that electricity is a tonic has wrought a revolution in 
electro-therapeutics. An agent which was formerly used mainly if 
*:iot exclusively in paralysis and rheumatisnij is now used^ and with far 
Ignore brilliant success* in hysteria and affections allied to it, in insanity, 
^.nemia, neurasthenia, in nervous dyspepsia, neuralgia, chorea,. in the 
^:onvalescence from fevers, and all fonns of pain and debility whatso- 

It is necessary to state, at the outset, that in classing electricity as a 
stimulating sedative tonic ^ we use the words in the sense in which they 
we ordinarily understood and employed when applied to other reme- 
ties and systems of treatment, and without any reference to the mere 



verbs.' distinctions that may be or have been made in the dassficitifl» 
of materia medica. 

Stimulants are usually understood to be those agents which ^uu)^ 
excite the system, and temporarily arouse its activity. They arc like 
the goad, which forces the exhausted beast to draw the burden^ bat 
does nothing to increase his strength ; or like the blast of the for- 
nace, which increases the combustion, but adds no fiieL We do iw* | 
accept this definition, but would prefer to regard stimulants as iH&st 
agents that correct, intensify or economize the forces of the system 

Sedatives may be severalty defined as those agents that allay iitid* ] 
bility and pain and induce natural repose. 

Tonics are ordinarily understood to be those agents which gradttiDf 
improve nutrition^ restore enfeebled functions, invigorate the syst«tt, 
and permanently increase its capacity for labor. 

It is because electrization is capable of producing at once the effects 
whidi are ascribed to all these classes of agents, that we have dcfii««l 
it a stimulating sedative tonic. 

These various effects are not always mathematicaHy distinct, but n» 
into each other. The stimulant eti'ect may at once lead to scda 
and the permanent improvement to nutrition follows after a long i 
and is in part a result of both stimulation and sedation. 

Of these three orders of effects, stimulation, sedation and imfr^ 
ment in nutrition, stimulation is the one that is of the least importaoc*» 
and yet it is the one that first strikes the observation, and the one wb*^ 
until very recently has been regarded as the exclusive test for the U^ 
of electricity in medicine. If electricity were merely a stimulant ** 
would scarcely pay to use it in the treatment of disease^ for its no^ 
would be so narrow, and the result of its use even in that narrow niit^^ 
so temporary and unsatisfactory, that physicians would not find it *- 
their advantage to spend time and labor in making the applications. 

The ill success of all previous attempts to popularize elcctro-thef^' 
peutics is to be explained in part by the fact that those who experiment^ 
with it looked upon it as a simple stimulant and nothing mote, »^ 
recommended it accordingly. If it depended on its stimulating acli<?^ 
only, the cause of electro-dierapeutics would have little vitality. T-^'^ 
reason why electricity is now growing in popularity in the profession 
because it is found to relieve all forms of pain, and to add tone to t' 
System and improve nutrition after ordinary sedatives or tonics h»vc 

T(fmc Effects of Electricity best elicited by General EaradisaHm ani 
Central Galvaniiatian, — Reasoning from analogy, as well as from expch" 


ence,it would seem that the full effects of electricity on the human body 

could only be obtained by making the applications ail oifer the person and 

i^n the central nervous system in such a way as to affect the whole system. 

The influence of any drug or remedial agent on the constitution can 

only be ascertained by bringing the whole system under that influence 

A man who habitually washes one of his fingers in cold water ap 

preciateb the tonic effects of the cold only in that finger ; but a mar, 

^^o habitu*illy takes a shower-bath, or plunges into a tub of cold 

filter, realizes powerful tonic effects on his entire system. If a man 

°**Jy exposes one arm to the sunlight, while the rest of the body ia 

^closed in a dark cell, he receives direct tonic effects only in the 

*^*Posed member \ but he who walks forth and exposes his whole per- 

*^*^ to the solar rays will in time experience the full tonic effect of siift- 

"80 1 on his system. If one hand or one foot is vigorously and regu- 

^^^y exercised, the muscles of that limb exhibit the tonic effects of the 

^^►crcise, and increase in hardness and perhaps in size \ but if all the 

•Anions of the body are vigorously and regularly exercised, all the 

•^^ncipal muscles will increase in tirmness and perhaps in size, and 

^^mc effects will be appreciated by the entire system. 

Just so with all other tonic remedies and inHuences. If quinine, 

^rj'chnine, iron, arsenic, oil, etc, could be localized in a single limb, 

\jnly that limb would be directly intluenced by them. Their tonic 

effect is only obtained by administering them in such a way that they 

will penetrate every portion of the body* 

Electricity is no exception to this law. In order to ascertain its full 
effects on the system at large, and to determine its position among 
remedies, the applications must be made in such a way that the whole 
system shall, so far as possible, be directly or indirectly brought under 
its influence. This is best accomplished by the methods of general 
faradization and central galvanization that are hereafter to be ex- 
plained in delaih 

In making a detailed comparison, therefore, between the effects of 
electrization and the effects of recognized tonics^ — quinine, iron, strych- 
»iine, physical exercise, sunlight, cold bathing, etc.— it is logically neces- 
sary that the applications should be so given that the whole body 
Should be brought under the direct influence of the current, just as it is 
tjTOught under the influence of other recognized tonics as ordinariiy ad- 

The immediate effects of an application of general faradization and 
central galvanization are often a feeling of enlivenment and exhilaration, 
^owsiness, temporary relief of paio, and increased warmth of the body. 




5, a-^'fl 

The same eifccts are notably observed after the shower-bath^ a Hiiublc 
in the surf| a brisk walk in the open air, or from the administiatioD of 

Like other stimulating tonics, general faradization and central gaU- 
vanizationj when given in an overdosci or in too great strength for ^^ 
constitution of the patient or the condition of the system at the tiaic^. 
may be followed by secondary or reactive effects that are both dis^ — 
agreeable and positively alarming. The second or third day after air^ 
injudicious application, the patient, especially at the outset of trcac — 
ment. may experience soreness in the muscles, an indefinable feeling o^^ 
nervous exhaustion, irregularity of pulse, and sometimes exacerbalioir^ 
of special symptoms. It is well known that severe physical exerds^^ 
will produce all these unpleasant secondary effects, especially in pj^— 
tients who are feeble and unaccustomed to muscular exertion. A col*:3 
bath, either in the surf or at home, that is too prolonged may give J 
to all these symptoms the night or day following. Unpleasant effc< 
may secondarily follow an overdose of our ordinary stimulants, 
alcohol, or from internal tonics, as iron, quinine, strychnine. 

The permanent effects of general faradization and central galvanize— 
tiou are as closely analogous to those which come from other ton* ^^ 
remedies and systems of treatment as arc the immediate and seconci' 
ary effects. 

The very marked permanent effect of general faradization and centr^^-^ 
galvanization is improvement in the sleep. Physical exercise— wall^* 
ing, boating, g}'mnastics, bowling^ — cold bathings and the ordiaa*"^ 
internal tonics do the same, though not so markedly and with far le^^^_ 
uoiforniity. ^H 

General faradization and central galvanization also permanently ii^^-^ 
prove the appetite and digestive capacity, and regulate the bowel ^^^* 
Improvement in the various operations of digestion is one of the i 
tiiiiform effects of our ordinary tonics, and it is for that purpose, 
perhaps than for any other, that they are employed. 

Like other tonics, general faradization and central galvanizatia 
equalize the circulation. This effect, when it immidiately follows 
application, is nearly the temporary excitement^ similar to what follow 
a rapid walk, or gymnasdcs, or alcoholic stimulants, and soon 
away. But when it becomes a permanent condition — when the 
feels less annoyance from chilliness and cold extremities — ^it is a resti^- 
ant of the imjirovement in nutrition. 

Like other tonic n^easures — gymnastics, active games, and outdo^^^^ 
BLiiiusements, etc., etc. —general faradization and central galvanizatic?'^ 


cir^use the muscles to ucvelop in Azc and hardness, and sometimes, 
tiliough by no means uniformly, produce important and rapid increase in 
C:lie weight of the body, tlie result of the improvement in ntitrition. In- 
^urease in weight is familiarly observed after a trip of pleasure, a vaca< 
m:ian in the country, a voyage by sea, and very frequently indeed from 
'^lie use of cod-liver oil and strychnine. General faradization somc- 
'Cimes causes the patient to increase in weight from the very outset of 
^hc treatment and to an extent that is most surprising. 

Uke other tonics, general electrization, faradization and central 

galvanization, in Iheir ultimate effects, increase the disposition and the 

^rapacity for labor of the brain or of the muscles* This is indeed the 

*:hief end to which all tonic treatment is directed, inasmuch as dmiin* 

^shed capacity for labor is perhaps the condition for which tonics are 

most frequently advised, and it does not usually increase the capacity 

for toil until it has first improved the sleep, the appetite, the digestion. 

The same is true of many other, if not all, tonic remedies. 

Experience shows that general faradization and central galvanization 
arc usually contraindicated in those diseases and for those temperaments 
that will not bear any of the internal tonics. We find almost invariably 
that they must be used most cautiously, and meet with their worst failures 
in cases where quinine, strychnine, iron and stimulants have proved to 
be injurious. 

Whatever difference of opinion there may be concerning the ration- 
ale of electrization, or whatever dispute there may be concerning the 
use and the meaning of the words srimulant, sedative, and tonic, the 
majority of advanced practical electro-therapeutists must substantially 
endorse the emphatic words of Prof. Niemeyer : " In the constant cur^ 
rent we have a means more p(yiverfnl than any other of modifying the 
nutritive conditwm of parts that are deeply situated ^ * 

Rationale of Electrization. — The stimulating, the sedative, and the 
tonic effects of electrization are resultants of the various and diverse ac- 
tion of the currents on the tissues. These effects have been defined as 
^nechanical^ physical, catalytic (increase of circulation and absorption), 
mlectrotonic (modification of nerve), electrolytic (electro chemical decoin- 
posirion), and chemical The mechanical effects are more markedly 
observed from the faradic current, the other effects from the galvanic. 
These teFms, considered as explanarions of the action of electrization, 
arc, it must be admitted, quite unsatisfactory, since they are incapable 

♦ Text- B 90k 9f Fraetical Medicine ; TransJation of Drs. Hninphreys and Hackr 
ky, voL ii, p. zqo^ 


of exact and complete definition, and must, to a certain extent, include 
each other. It is safe to say that we know as much of the rati 4iaii 
of electrization as of most of our internal remedies, (See chapter on 
the subject in Electro- Physio logy.) 

Is Ekciricity Trans/ormtti into Nerve Force f — Nearly all of the 
earlier and very many of the latter experimenters in electro-thera|>eu- 
tics assumed without argujuent, that electricity was identical with the 
nerve force, or, at least, that it was directly transformed into it. Although 
the weight of evidence is at present decidedly against the theory of the 
identity of those forces (see Experiments of Helmholtz), yet the assump> 
tion that they are identical or can be directly transformed into each 
Other, still lingers. The taking phrase, " Electricity is Life/* is con- 
stantly used as the war-cry of rival instruiiient makers, and as the 
motto of travelling charlatans, on the street corners and at country 
fairs, Whatever future science may unfold, we are now forced to say 
that not only is there no evidence that cleclricity is identical with life, 
but also that the theory that electricity, when applied to the body, is ever 
directly transfonncd into nerve force has few if any facts or arguments 
in its favor- That the body can be charged with electricity, and that 
the normal electricity of the body can be changed in character is clear 
enough ; but it does not follow that such changing of electrical condi- 
tion has any direct influence on the quantity or quality of the nervous 
force. Whether galvanic or faradic electricity charge the body to any 
extent in passing through it may rightly be doubted ; if they leave 
more electricity in the body than they found in it, it must be by virtue 
of the direct influence of the current over the nutrition. Electricity 
is no more life than light and heat are life. Like light and heat it may 
sustain life, not by direct transformation, but indirectly through its in- 
fluence over nutrition. When the light of the sun falls on a plant or 
animal, when artificial heat is applied to a cold and paralysed limb, 
growth is stimulated and nutrition improved, but not, so far as can yet be 
den^onstratcd, by any direct transformation of light or heat into nervous 
force. Similarly, also, we have no sufficient evidence as yet that the 
varied and marvellous improvement in nutrition that follows electriza- 
tion is the result of anything more than the indirect improvement in 
nervous force, which is a part and result of the general improvement in 

In the time and manner of their development the tonic effects of 
general faradization and central galvanization resemble those of other 
tonif's in these tivo particulars. 

T. Tiityare Devekptd Sitnviy, — This slowness of development marki 




s radical disrinction between tonics and mere stimulants. The agree- 
able stimulating effects which immediately follow an application of 
general faiadization and central galvanization, just as they follow the use 
of gymnastics, walking, active games, etc., soon pass off or merge into 
the permanent or tonic effects that come more or less slowly, and 
after repeated treatment. 

2, They are often Developed long after the Treatment is Abandoned.— 
Weeks and months after a patient has taken a course of general treat- 
ment by general and central electrization he may continue to improve- 
in his general condition, even though very little progress may have 
been made while the applications were being received. Just so the 
tonic effects of a trip by land, of a sea voyage, of our ordinary summer 
vacations, are sometimes not appreciated until after we have returned 
home, and are again fully at work. 

Why were not the Tonic Effects of Electricity sooner Discovered t — 
The inquiry now very naturally arises, why it is that the important fun- 
damental fact — that electrization is a powerful means of improving 
nutrition, and capable of producing effects on the constitution similar 
to those which are familiarly obtained from the tonics in every-day use- 
has escaped the observation of the very able writers who in different 
lands have devoted themselves to electro- therapeutics, until we called 
attention to them. 
The inquiry is thus answered : — 

I, Because most of the recent scientific observers whose writings are 
i4uthorities in electro- therapeutics have used electricity locally, in some 
forai of ^^ localized electrization^ 

For obvious reasons, that have already been presented, localized elee- 
trizaiion must produce chiefly local effects, which although they are 
Menie in their character, so far as they go, and reveal themselves by 
marked improvement in the local nutrition, would not ordinarily sug- 
gest the powerful constitutional tonic powers of which electrization is 
capable when applied all over the body, any more than the feeble 
effects of washing the hands, the face, or the feet, or any single member 
or organ, would suggest or give any intimation of the well-known con- 
stitutional effects of surf-bathing or the shower-bath. 

Indirect constitutional effects result from localized electrization of the 
central nervous system, and especially from galvanization of the brain. 
Spine and cervical sympathetic, although, as will be seen, they are not 
is marked as those which follow general faradization and central gal- 

It is a very ii tcresting and significant fact, however, that since the 



introdticrion into medical practice of the methods of localizing M 
galvanic current in the nervous centres first suggested by Remak, dec* 
tro therapeutists have achieved success in a variety of diseases ass(^ 
ciated with debility and impaired nutrition^ where before electriaw 
treatment was supposed not to be indicated, at least by those who co» 
fined themselves to localized electrization** A suggestive fact rclatiii| 
to this subject is that Gubler, who is one of the very few Europeai( 
writers who had used faradization in such a way as to directly affect th^ 
whole system, also remarked tonic effects in conditions of debility, egg 
from his very awkward and imperfect method. f ^| 

2. Because the immediate effects of electrization are so marwSS 
stimulating as to suggest the idea that it is simply and only a stimdadl 
or irritant. In some of the cases for which localized electrization U3 
used the stimulant are the effects which are chiefly desired* But, M 
has already been shown, many of otir ordinary tonics are primaril 
stimulating, and so much so that they have been classed as stimulaiif^ 

There is little question that if many tonics in ordinary use, hai 
been used only locally, as electricity has been used, they might ha^ 
been regarded merely as stimulants, 

3. Because until quite recently most of the recognized authoridJ 
and writers on electro- therapeutics of modem days have not usii 
electricity in those diseases and morbid conditions where tonics, /■< 
excellence^ were demanded. They have used the agent mainly with 
view to stimulating effects, and in some form of localized electrization 
On this principle they have treated paralysis, rheumatism, neuralg^ 
etc* As we shall demonstrate hereafter, besides those diseases 
which the efficacy of localized electrization is fully estabhshed, t3 
morbid conditions and s)Tnptoms for which electrization is most rapid 
and permanently successful, are precisely those in which we use a* 
ordinary tonics — such as dyspepsia, nervous exhaustion, insoniiu 
hypochondriasis, hysteria, general neuralgia, chorea, spinal irritatic?! 
and some forms of paralysis dependent on or associated with gene J 

Furthermore^ in prosecuting this inquiry we must not overlook r* 
important historical facts : — 

I. In the latter part of the last and early part of the p^|d 

• Vide the writings of Rcmak, Meyer, Benedikt, Niemeycr, ^H 

f Dc r Electrization g^n^rale considcr^e commc agent tonique ci stimulant J 

fusible. BulUtin dt Thkrapeutiptc^ Dtfccmbrc, 1863. (For descriptioii < 

method, see p, 3460 


century franklinic electricity and the current of the voltaic pile were 
used for a variety of diseases for which we now use tonics, and often- 
times with some success. But the agent was used mostly empirically, 
without any definite idea of its nature or the rationale of its operation. 
Partly on account of the inconstancy and uncertainty of the voltaic 
pil^ and partly on account of the many failures that were necessarily 
mevitable with such poor apparatus and desultory experience, partly 
also as a reaction from the extravagant hopes and promises of the 
earlier experimenters, this system of treatment soon fell into disrepute. 
t. ITcnic effects have been obtained from various methods of em- 
ploying electricity by non-professional men — charlatans and outsiders 
—in tl^e United States at least, for many years, although very few of 
them i^ave kr own or suspected the nature of the agent they dealt 
with, or of the diseases they have treated. 




Before describing in detail the different methods of using t\e^' 
tricity, it may be well to offer some suggestions of a gener^ 
character that will apply to all the different methods of electrizati^'** 
localized and general, with the faradic and with the galvanic cuircnt^^ 
It is of the §rst importance that those who are beginning to study an*" 
practice electro- tlierapeutics should have correct notions not only c:^' 
the general therapeutical action of electricity — the principle on whic:^'* 
it is used — but, also, of the general laws of its apphcatioo, Su^^^^ 
knowledge fits one to intelligently study the special methods of ipj*^' 
cation, and tlie treatment of the various diseases. A want of this kno^r *^ 
edge is a constant hindrance, and not nnfrequently utterly discoura|^^^ 
the beginner in this science* 

Genera! Indications for tht Medical use of Electricity. — An erro*" 
that appears prominently in nearly all the works on medical elcclricityt 
and one that seriously interferes with the progress of healthy and phii-^ 
sophic electro- therapeutics, is the habit of treating the name of Lt*^ 
disease rather than the canditian &f the system of which the symptof^* 
are the result and expression. Men ask whether electricity is good ^^^ 
this disease or that disease without any well-defined idea of the position 
that this powerful agent occupies in the annory of therapeutics. It shouW 
be understood that electricity is a powerful stimulating sedative tonic, ana 
as sucli is indicated in any subacute or chronic disease, where stimuli'' 
ing, sedative or tonic effects are indicated, and without reference to the 
name of the disease by which the condition expresses itselt With this 
general principle before us, we cease to wonder that electricity is uscrf 
and recommended in such a wide variety of diseases, many of them of 
an apparently opposite character, and we see the injustice of th»l 
criticism which condemns electricity because it is good for so msuif 
differeat affections. Just as quinine^ which h not a specific for iQ? 


-unless it be chills and fever— is yet used freely as a tonic in 

^1 indefinite number of diseases where tonic effects are reqaired> so 

^^ctricity, which is not a specific for any one disease, is yet used with 

^ood results in any number of diseases where local or general nutrition 

^ impaired and needs to be improved. The indications for the use of 

•electricity are wider than the indications for the use of quinine, for 

tri^ threefold reason that it has a powerful sedative action which 

*l*^inine, or indeed any other single tonic remedy does not have ; 

^*^"^t its stimulant and tonic effects are more decided, and that its 

^^f^cts, sedative^ stimulating or tonic, can be confined mainly to certain 

^^^ans, nerves or muscles, or be distributed through the whole body, as 

^^^y be thought necessary. ^Vhen the propriety of using electricity in 

^^>y medical case is discussed, the first questions to be answered are : 

1. Is there any pain to be relieved ? 

2. Is there any need and chance for improvement in local or general 
*^\itrition ? 

If these questions can be answered in the affirmative, then electricity 
^ *i some mode of application may be administered. The result of the 
^>catment will depend on the sktll with which it is conducted, on the nature 
^^f the lesion and length of time that it has existed, and on the agree- 
'*~iicnt or disagreement of the temperament of the patient with elec- 

Stage of Disease when Electrical Treatment is Indicated. — Electricity is 

indicated mainly for subacute and chronic diseases; at least the best results 

^that come from the use of this remedy have thus far not been obtained in 

ihe acute stages of disease. And yet there is no question tliat in ihe 

acute stages of rheumatism faradization is of value, and there is reason 

to believe that future experiments will show that relief of pain, of 

sleeplessness, and of general nervousness— with perhaps permanent 

benefit — may be obtained in the active stages of febrile and inflammatory 

afections. The chief theoretical objection to the employment of 

electricity in acute diseases is the fact that the tonic effects of 

electrical treatment require so much time that any disease that runs 

but a limited period will not be able to appreciate them. This objec* 

'I'on does not, however, apply to the stimulating or sedative effects : 

*^hcse can be feit instaijtaneously or within a few hours after an application. 

Electricity is certainly one of the most potent of sedatives, and in 

Very many acute affections sedatives arc constantly indicated. 

The old notion that electricity was merely a stimulant aided in forming 
^ii the professional n)ind another very gross error, that in active inflam 
•nations electricity is contra-indicated Experience proves every day 



that the sedative effects of electricity are exceediDgly grateful in even 
the acute stages of sprains and diseased joints. 

The dogma that in hemiplegia from cerebral effusion it is better tc 
wait for several months until all the active irritation has subsided^ 
before beginning electrical treatment — which error is yet maintained by 
uiatiy of the ablest writers on n»edical electricity — took its origin in 
the erroneous conception of the position of electricity in the materia 
medica. ■ 

It is difficult to conceive of any actively inflamed or febrile state, 
where electricity, in the hands of one who knows how to use without 
abusing it| ma)' not be used without injury even if U does no good. fl 

Differential Action of the Foles^ and of the Ascending and Descending 
Currents. — This is a subject on which much has been thought and writ- 
ten, and concerning which opinions have been expressed with ao 
absoluteness not justified by experience. Almost tlie first question that 
the beginner in electro-therapeutics asks, is, ** Which pole shall I use?" 
as though that were the fundamental problem to be solved. Another 
question that is put in almost the same breath is, " Shall tlie current ^ 
be ascending or descending ? *' ■ 

These queries seem to the novice to be of hupereminent importance, 
and he is annoyed that his instructor or text-book does not lay down 
8uch positive rules on the subject as to set his doubts at rest forever. In 
after years, when he shall have had much experience, he will learn these 
two facts: Firsts that the question, which pole or whidi direction of the 
current to use in any given case, is one of various complexity, aU can- 
not always be solved by a dictum. Secandly^ he will learn that the prac^ 
deal therapeutical difference in the action of the pole or of the ascend- 
ing and descending currents^ is much less demonstrable than he sup- 
posed, and that the special directions for each disease are not at hand. 

The difference of the physiological action of the poles of the galvanic 
current, when appHed to the body, is, as we have shown under electro- 
physiology, of a radical character. It has specially been shown that 
the anelectroionic region at the positive pole is in a condition of dimin- 
ished, while the catekctr&i&nic region near the ne^tive pole is in a 
condition of increased irritability. Moreover, it is easy of demonslra- 
tioD that the negative pole of both currents is more painful than the 
positive, and this fact, as we have seen, enables us to distinguish the 
poles in cases of doubt, or when we do not understand the construe 
tion of the battery. Still further we have seen that on the ner\es of 
fpeciat senses — ^notabiy on the optic and auditory nerves — the polet 
have a difierential action of a speciBc rnd demonstrable character* 



When now we leave physiology and enter into the complex reahn 
of therapeutics, we find that it is usually better that irritable parts of 
tHc surface of the body should be treated mainly by the positive pole. 
Thisrtlarive position of the t^lectrodes is not usually departed from in 
general faraditaiion and central ga vani-zation, for the reason that the 
majority of cases that require these methods of treatment are abnor- 
mally irritable. 

The negative pole, being more irritJiting than the positive, is indicated 
when it is desired to cause contraction in a paralyzed muscle, and the 
diference between the poles in producing muscular contraction is chief- 
ly 1 difference of degree only, since both poles cause contraction when 
placed on the body of a muscle or over its motor point, but with the 
«i»e strength of current a more vigorous contraction will be produced 
by the negative than by the positive pole. 

In regard to the diflferential action of the ascending and descending 
ctirrents there has been an almost infinite amount of shallow observation 
«!nd imiiulsive writing; for how the differential therapeutical or differ- 
ential physiological action of the ascending and descending currents is 
to be Tightly discriminated from the action of the pales we cannot well 

T^c object of applying electricity to the body in disease is to /m- 
frtftt mitrition^ and nutrition is a process of infinite complexity ; in- 
flwd, the most complex and most mysterious of all the wondrous pro- 
^^*se* of nature. He who solves it will become immortal, both as 
™^ greatest scientist and the greatest theologian of history, leaving 
Newton and Calvin far behind. The relief of pain, the reduction of 
*>wnor», the increase in size of muscles — all these everyday results of 
el€ctruatir>n are signs of improvement in nutrition, and it is in>possib1e 
*o cxhautfively explain them by anything we now know of electro-phy- 
****^Sy' Any man who attempts to base all his electro-therapeutical 
pfoccflijfc^ on the laws of electrotonos will find himself involved in com- 
Pl*<^^Hons that have no end. 

yhe one practical rule in regard to the poles, which wc have arrived 
•*♦ '3 that ^t positive pole is the less irritating. In accordance with this 

_ *fe place the negative pole at the feet or coccyx in general faradi- 
**^^^ and at the pit of the stomach in central galvanization, so that 
"^^atl, neck, and spine, and other sensitive parts affected may be 
"^^' the influence of the positive pole* 

^at differential effects — physiological and therapeutical — may arise 
^^ a difference of current direction is not at ail improbable— cer- 
^nly no oue can well pro> c the negative — but we see no way of 



demonstrating such differential effect. In every attempt that we make 
the differential polar effect comes in to complicate, and in out 
judgment, to override any differential effect there may be in current 
direction. Take the familiar experiment : an electrode in each hand ; 
in one aim the current will be ascending, in the other descending. 
If now one arm were differently affected from the other, have we any 
right to rush to the conclusion that such differential effect is due to the 
fact, that in one arm the current is ascending, in the other descending? 
Is it not far more ptobable that such differential effect is due to the 
fact that the positive pole is in one hand and the negative in the other ? 
The differential effect of the poles can be demoustrated m varioui 
ways, and our knowledge of it influences our practice \ the differential 
effect of current direction, if it be not entirely a myth, is to say the 
least undemonstratcd. J 

Take again, for illustration, the method of galvanizing the spine. If ■ 
the negative pole be placed at the nape of the neck, and the positive at 
the lower end of the spine, the current is ascending, and if a certain 
effect is produced, or believed to be produced, such effect is attributed 
to the fact that the current is ascending. The upper part of the cord 
is under the influence of the negative pole, and the lower part of the 
cord is under the influence of the positive pole, and what evidence is 
there that there is any differential action of current direction aside from 
the differential polar action ? 

Similar difficulties beset us when we place one pole, say the negative, 
on some indifferent point, as the feet, or thigh, and pass the positive 
up and down the spine. Have we any right to attribute the effect pro- 
duced to the fact that the current is descending, when we know that the 
positive pole has a very different physical, physiological and therapeuti- 
cal effect from the negative pole, without any regard to current direc- 
tion, while we, as yet, do not know that the ascending current has a 
different effect from the descending current, without any regard to the 
differential polar effect One thing is clear and indisputable, and thai 
is that the differential effect of current direction, assuming that it ■ 
exists, is largely overborne by the differential polar effect. This is true 
of both currents. A crucial experiment for determining the question of 
the differential action of the ascending and descending cunents, would 
be to experiment on a piece of nerve in a physiological condition, all 
parts of which give the same response to electrical excitation, and are 
known to have the same function. 

If such a nerve-piece could be supposed, and if the positive pole 
could be placed on the middle of it^ and the negative ^^ile at the peH 




pheral end, we should have a descending current j the positive pole re* 
maining at tlie middle and the negative transferred to the central end 
of the nerve, would give the ascending current. If now the effect aftCi 
these procedures should be different, the strength of current, pressure 
employed, and time of stimulation being the same, and if the effect of 
previous stimulation could be eliminated before tlie second part of the 
estperiinent is made, we should have a conclusive demonstration of the 
«lifferential physiological effect of the current direction. But such an 
experiment is ideal, and the complications are too great for science at 
present to make it actual. In all physiological experiments of this kind 
differential polar effect complicates, if it does not neutralize, the dif- 
ferential effect of current direction. 

In therapeutics, the complications of the subject are all the greater, 
because all the statements that have been and are made in regard tc 
the advantages or disadvantages of the ascending or descending cur- 
rent in this or that direction are of little worth. 

The practical rules on this subject to which experience, enlightened 
and fortified by physics, physiology, and pathology, have led us^ may be 
thus recapitulated. 

1. The stimulating, sedative and tonic effects of electricity, faradic 
and galvanic, are obtained by either pole, or by both combined or in 
alternation, the difference in their therapeutical action being merely 
a difference of degree. 

2. In cases where the sedative effects are more indicated than the 
stimulating effects, the positive pole is preferable to the negative, since it 
is less irritating, and with the uninterrupted galvanic current, produces 
catelectrotonos, or a condition of diminished irritability. 

In the great majority of the nervous cases, where general faradization 
Or central galvanization are used, sedation is more needed than stimula* 
^on ; hence the general nile to use the positive pole in these methods. 

3. Incases where the stimulating effects are more indicated than the 
sedative effects, the negative pole is preferable to the positive, since 
it is more irritating, and with the galvanic current produces cat- 
electrotonos, or increased irritability. 

For those temperaments, now and then met with, that are exceedingl) 
tolerant of electricity, who can bear it in any doses, however given, and 
for cases of local or general anaesthesia and paralysis of motion, whatever 
njay be the pathological cause, stimulation is more needed than sedation * 
bence it is an advantage in such cases to use the negative pole, and in 
some cases ** voltaic alternatives," which are more irritating than eitha 
i>ole when used alone. 


Inasmuch as we cannot tell the degree of electro-susceplivity ir* 
a patient iiniil we have tested it, it is well always to begin general 
faradization and central galvanization with the positive pole, Thisrul^' 
is especially important in the United States, where the majority of cni»^ 
liatients of both sexes are susceptible :*nd nervous and require sedatior^ 
more than stimulation. 

^ofA the Seat of the Disease and the Effects of the Disease t$ ^^ 
Treated. — The query whether in localized electrization we should direct 
the treatment mainly to the seat cf the disease — the pathological Usim^^ ^ 
or to the seat of the prominent symptoms — ^the effects of the lesion — ha^W 
given rise to some discussion, 

It sounds very practical to advise the treatment of the syniptom^Sf^ 
without regard to the seat of the lesion. It sounds very scientific tc^ 
claim that the electricity should be confined to the exact seat of th^ 
disease. Now the wise physician is both scientific and practical, ancdR 
keeping clearly before the mind this central thought, that the leadinj 
action of electricity is that of a stimulating tonic with a powerfi^l 
sedative influence, we can readily discern the truth on this subjectr-.^ 
Both the seat of the disease and the seat of the symptom should \p^ 
treated, for in both there is need of improvement in nutrition. Lx% 
this view common sense and experience accord In hemiplegia» for ^^ 
typical example, the lesion, the seat of the disease, is in the braiw^* 
while the leading symptom is in one-half of the body, which is para- 
lyzed. The muscles of that side become atrophied, and the ncrv^s^ 
become amesthetic. To restrict the electrization to the brain, and to ih^^^^H 
side of it where the lesion is or is supposed to be, is so imposing ar»^B 
scientific in theory that electro-therapeutists of limited experien^:^^ 
might advise this treatment exclusively. To purify the stream, fii 
purify the fountain. Lay the axe at the root of the tree. All the 
analogies are beautiful, but they are fallacious. The symptoms of t^^ 
disease will not disappear when the disease disappears. The eflfecrt^^ 
remain after the clot is absorbed. In the larger number the half *^ ^ 
the body is as much the seat of the disease as the brain; fort^^ 
several parts of this human machinery are all members one of anoth^^*^ 
When one suffers all suffer. To confine the treatment to the paraly3:ecf ■ 
muscles is also irrational, although the purely peripheral treatment ^ 
far more successful than purely central. If we are to be exclusiw .t^'^ 
one-sided and theoretical in our treatment, it is better to exclusivt 
treat what are called the symptoms or effects of the disease, and 
neglect the brain altogetlier. Rut it is the part of the higher wisdoffl 
to use both methods — central and peripheral, to attack the seat of the 
lesion and the seat of the sympton. 



The most satisfactory results in hemiplegia come from a coiiibinatton 

of peripheral and central treatment. Similarly with diseases of the 

^^>inal cord, as congestion, sclerosis, resulting in paralysis of motion 

<^*" sensation. Purely central treatment — ^galvanization of the spinal 

<:^<:>rd — is not sufficient ; the symptom also, the paralysis, must be 

^*-^ated directly in the muscles and nerves where it is most prominent, 

Jf ^m^ diseases of the spinal cord, treatment confined to the seat of the 

^^iscasc does more good than in diseases of the brain, for the reason 

^^^Xnat the cord is more accessible to the current, its surface being more 

^^ Dci>osed, as it were, throughout its entire length. But those who 

^^^ontent themselves with treating diseases of the cord by simple galvani- 

^^^ation, to the exclusion of peripheral treatment^ make a grav^e mistake ; 

"^^ey fail where they ought to succeed, and they succeed only in a small 

'^ZDercentage when a large percentage was possible. Cases of ataxia, 

^as well as of motor-paralysis need peripheral treatment with the moist 

^5sponge or wire brush, or both, as well as galvanization of the spine. 

^n the same principle our method of central galvanization is some* 

Times more effective in diseases of the cord and brain than localized 

galvanization of these parts, as usually practised. In neuralgia also, 

where the seat of the disease is in the nerve^cntres, the application 

e -should be made both to the tender and painful points^ as well as over the 
root of the nerve, and a very good method of application is to place 
one j>ole over the origin of the painful nerve, as near as possible, and 
the other over the tender point and along the whole course of the 
i»erve» Frequently neuralgia, as we shall see, yields to our method of 
central galvanization — where not only the painful and diseased parts, but 
^'so the whole central nervous system, whether healthy or not, is treated, 
*^when it does not yields at least as rapidly or as surely, to local appli- 
<^tions either central or peripheral. 

If €alihy parts may be benefiUd by Eiectrimtwn, — ^There is a kind of 

*^ nconscious idea abroad among electro- therapeutists that in applying 

Electricity to the body it is necessary to avoid acting on healthy parts, 

^.Tid that the direct effects of the current should, so far as possible, be 

^^onftned to the part that is supposed to be in a diseased condition. 

*^hi5 erroneous doctrine takes its origin, firsts in the teaching of 

"%^ucheT>ne and other advocates of localized electrization, and, secondly^ 

i n the narrow and incorrect ideas of the general physiological and thera- 

'j>eutical action of electricity. 

Duchenne, by embod>ing the term " localized '* in the title of his work, 

kas done much to popularize in the profession the notion that in eleC' 

trical applications the aim should be to concentrate the current on th« 





part where it is supposed to be neededt and to avoid affecting olhet 

The idea that electricity is a mere siimiilus, and only valuable as a 
means of exciting paralyzed muscles or waking up dormant nerves, 
would very naturally lead to the adoption of the view that it should be 
used only in those parts that arc in need of stimulation, and that 
healthy parts would be injured by it. The false ideas that have pre- 
vailed in regard to effect of stimuli, which we have elsewhere discussed, 
have tended to increase this absurd dread of ajiplying electricity to 
healthy parts. A little common sense applied to this subject may per- 
haps help us to find the truth without great difficulty. 

First of all, we must bear in mind always that the doctrine taught by 
the European writers, that electricity is a slimtilus merely, is narrow 
and erroneous. Electricity^ applied to the body, acts as a stimulating 
tonic with a powerful sedative intiuence. Then, again, stimulants are 
something more than mere goads or spurs ; they correct and intensify 
the forces of the body, and may be useful and as necessary in conditions 
that we call healthy as in those that we call unhealthy. Stimulants 
tonics^ and sedatives are called for every day, and are every day em- 
ployed by nearly every member of the human race, young or old, sick 
or well.* 

Still further, pathology is not so nnich a special and separate condi* 
tion as a degree of the noniial condition of health. No one can tell 
just where physiology ends and pathology begins* Reasoning from all 
these considerations, it is clear not only that electricity need not be 
confined to diseased parts, but that the parts that we call healthy may 
be benefited by it just as truly as those that we beiieve to be un- 
healthy, and the benefit they receive may react favorably on the dis* 
eased parts, and thus aid the treatment. _ 

These views are enforced by analogy. Very few of our stimulating ■ 
tonic or sedative remedies are limited in their action to parts that are 
diseased* The metUcines that we give by the mouth or by the s^xinge 
go whither they please, and if they sensibly affect some diseased organ, 
it is not because their action is confined to that organ, but because that 
organ, on account of its readier operation or of its disease, is more sensi- 
tive than other [>arts to the influence of remedies. Alcohol or opium gq 
to the brain, lead affects the exterior muscles of the forearm, and the 
indiience of chlorate of potash is quickly felt in the mucous membrane 

•This subject is discussed in detail in Dr. Bearc's work on "Stimulants motf 



I ^ the mouth ; but none of these remedies restrict themselves to the 
Vitls that are the most perceptibly affected by them. 

Indeed, the fact that our most vahied medicines are used for such a 

[ variety of local and general affections shows that their effects are not con 

pncdto separate parts of the body to the extent that has been supposed. 

Klectricity can be localized, in cases where it is desirable to do so, 

?tter than almost any other remedy, and yet the most careful and suc- 

?ssfu! localization of the current is more or less imperfect The re. 

Hex effect of electrization that always complicates the direct effects, 

^ati which are sometimes of more value than the direct effects, cannot 

avoided. Then, again, the branch currents, which, as we have 

'^t move in undulations not only directly between the electrodes, but 

considerable distance on either side of the median line between 

Mn^ will be likely, in nearly all forms of application, to touch healthy 

h-Tts that' do not stand in especial need of treatment. The most com- 

-te form of localized electrization is electrolysis when the needles are 

P'-acc<i close together, but even here the reflex effect is most powerful, 

id Operates w^ith a mild as well as with a strong current, 

[But fortunately it is never necessary to localize electricity, in the 

"^^t sense of the term. It is sometimes necessary, however, to avoid 

educing too strong reflex effects, and in applications near sensitive 

^^s the possibility that the branch currents, if powerful currents are 

^d« may over-irritate, should ever be borne in mind. Experiment and 

cxpericQce show that healthy animals and men can be electrized with 

^^fit all over the body, or in any part of it. In applying electricity 

Any part of the body we' improve the nutrition of that part ; in ap- 

Py^iig electricity to the whole body we improve the nutrition of the 

^^le body, or, at least, of those parts which are directly or indirectly 

'fenced by the current. Faradization of a healthy muscle makes 

K^ow faster than it would grow without faradization j in other words, 

fP''o<Juces the same effect that it would if the muscle were paralyzed. 

^^ft a part is in a pathoiogical condition-^ when, for example, a 

^*^lc is atrophied — any improvement in nutrition under electrization 

*^otc quickly obser\'ed, and is probably more rapid and important 

J^^ when the same muscle is treated tn a physiological condition ; 

'*^ the improvement of the healthy muscle is none the less real, 

^**Kh it may be relatively less important than in the diseased muscle, 

*tie tonic effects of general faradization and of central galvanization, 
^^^ indeed, of many forms of localized electrization are due to the 
*^^^cct or indirect action of the current, on parts which are more or less 
^^*ithy, or which, to say the least, are not in any recognizable patho 



logical state* The objection sometimes brought against these meth^ 
that they do thus affect healthy parts^ siraply attempts to prove too 
much. The same argument would banish all, or nearly all our stimu 
lants, tonics^ and sedatives from our materia medica, and practically 
discourage all attempts to relieve or cure chronic diseases of the nen 
vous system. 

Dose of Electricity. — Nearly all our medicines are prescribed by an 
average standartl dose. This average standard is derived from experi* 
raent and experience, and, with the majority of drugs, is a safe guide 
in administration^ although every judicious and thoughtful physician 
studies each case by itself, and varies the dose according to the ap 
parent indications. 

In the case of electricity, when medically employed, the dose cannot, 
in the present state of science, for obvious physical reasons^ be arbitral* 
rily or mathematically stated. 

The dose of an application of electricity consists of these factors : — 

1. The strength of the current, or the quantity of electricity that 
flows in a given time. 

2. The length of the application. 

Both of these factors are so modified in various ways that they can- 
not attain anything like mathematical precision. The strength of the 
current, or the quantity of electricity that flows through the circuit, ai 
we are taught hj Ohm's law, is the electro motive force divided by the 
resistance. We have previously shown (in Electro Physics, chapter vii.) 
that both of these factors are susceptible of almost infinite variations, 
some of which are and others of which are not imderstood. 

In the time of the application there is less vagueness, but even in 
this factor the precision is more apparent than real ; for the effect of 
electricity depends so much on the manner in which application is 
made, whether with interruptions or without interruptions, whether 
with large or small electrodes, etc. The method of the application, 
whether local or general, and if local, to what part, and how directed, 
also modifies seriously the determination of the dose from the length 
of the application. Ten minutes of general faradization or central 
galvanization will have a much more powerful general effect than 
ten or even twenty minutes of local electrization. Five minutes of 
galvani/ation of the brain will accomplish more good or evil than 
fifteen minutes f.tradiz ition of the uterus, or of any one of the extremi- 

The time may y^\ come, in the advance of science, when electrical 
measurement will attain such a degree of precision that we shall be able 





to presenile so m2,i\y farads of electricity, as we now prL*scribe so many 
grains of quinine, or so many drops of laudanum ; but tlie day when 
such eitactness shall be possible in applications to the human body ii 
probably not very near. Our present method of measuring tlie gal» 
vanic current by the number of degrees of defiectioti of the needle of a 
galvanometer is very unsatisfactory, for the twofold reason that tlie de 
flection beyond a certain angle does not accurately represent the relative 
itrength of the current, and especially because when applied to the 
l)ody a different and varying resistance is encountered, which at once 
destroys the value of the comparison. Electro-therapeutists have some- 
titnes stated the amount of the deflection which the current caused 
before being applied ; but all such statements are of little or no 
Valtie, and particularly when we do not know the construction of the 
particular galvanometer which they employ. A further difficulty in 
tmeasuring electricity by the galvanometer, is that the strength of the cur- 
rent in most of the batteries in common use declines during the appli- 
ca,tions» so that a current which is powerful at first may in the course of 
*«n or fifteen minutes be only medium. 

The graduated scale on some of our faradlc machines, and which in 
^icates the number of inches that the rod or helix or tube is moved, 
is also a practically useless guide, except as far as it may be resorted 
^a to encourage and amuse silly and weak-minded patients. In any 
Caxadic machine the strength of the current in the cell, and consequent- 
ly the strength of the induced current in the coil, varies from day to day, 
^nd varies during the application ; and the amount that passes through 
^e [ladent is dependent on the size of the electrodes, and the amount 
^ moisture in them, and their relative position. 

In default therefore of any trustworthy means of prescribing electricity 
l>y farads, or other definite measures, we are compelled in practice 
to depend on these two indications : 
I . The sensations of the patient. 

Very fortunately the sensation of the patient during the application 
indicates with considerable correctness whether the current is of the 
proper strength. The rule is thai where strong currents are home 
without discomfort strong currents are beneficial ; where only mild eur^ 
rents are borne only mild currents are indicated* The difference in the 
natural sensitiveness of patients to electricity is very great. This dif* 
ference is further modified by disease* In anaesthesia local and general, 
in sclerosis of tlie nerve centres, and certain local affections, very power 
fal currents cause but little pain. On the other hand in hyperesthesia^ 
iu hysteria and allied atfections as a rule, and in acute and subacute 



locil inflammations^ only raild currents can be borne. To disregard 
the feelings of the patient and make the applications exceedingly pain- 
ful will tend to produce the evil rather than the good effects of dec 
tricity. To give only mild applications when painful ones could be 
well borne is to rob the patient of a part of the benefit to which he u 

To the rule that the sensations of the patient arc ti e guide m dec 
trical applications there are some exceptions, just as there are smne 
exceptions to the rule that the appetite is the guide in the quantity 
of food that we eat. It is partly to guard against these exceptions, and 
to keep on the safe side, that the first few apphcations'on a new pa- 
tient whom we have not before treated by electricity, should be mild and 

Not only do different individuals vary in their sensitiveness to elccm- 
city, but different parts of the surface of the body in the same individual 
also vary, as we have seen through a considerable range ; and in tlic 
cavities of the body and on tlie mucous surface the range of variatioQ 
in sensitiveness is yet greater. The mucous membrane of the mouth, 
tongue, urethra, is very sensitive, and this sensitiveness should be in- 
spected by the electro -therapeutist. 

There are some quite rare cases of hysteria where the great scnsi* 
tiveness of the patient may be disregarded, or chloroform or ether may 
be administered. The sensitiveness of the patient is a guide oalyttf" 
mainly in regard to the strength of the ciurenL Id regard to tii* 
length of the application we must be guided by — 

2, The immediate <t secondary^ and remote effects. — This second giu^Jc 
serves to correct the mistakes of the first. A meal that disagrees 
with us may show its ill effects in a few minutes or hours, or the 
following day. Similarly we should study the effects of electrical ap- 
plications. So far as any one or all of the good effects described in this 
chapter follow an application, so far we may judge that the ^ppli^a* 
tion has done good ; so far as any or all of the evil effects described 
in this chapter follow an application, we may judge that it has dotic 
eviL The evil and the good efl^cts may sometimes be associated 
1*0 rightly interpret these effects, and to distinguish between those that 
are produced by the applications and those that are produced by 
moral, hygienic or medical causes is one of the severest tests of roedv* 
cal skill There is less liability to deception in studying the imroediaW 
effects, since there is less chance for othe* forces to complicate ibc 
results. After a few hours, the complications of diet, exercise, weathcfi 
medicine and so forth begin to appear, and obscure the effects of tive 



electricity* The secondary and remote effects can therefore only be 
ascertained by repeated observations. A single application gives U3 
little opportunity to answer the question whether, electricity is really 
tl^e remedy that the case requires. 

One caution must not be forgotten : the immediate and secondary 
effects may be mi while the remote effects may be good, 

A long walk that much fatigues us is often beneficial, though the 

benefit does not appear for several days. Those who take travelling 

^'acations to recruit exliausted energies, frequently feel worse while 

^"cy are travelling, but are stronger on their return and for months 

wliowing. The fatigue aind soreness and stiffness that sometimes fol- 

'ow skating and gymnastics, and other exercises, do not always indi- 

^^^tt that benefit has not been derived. The next day the appetite 

^n<i spirits may be better, sounder sleep may follow ; the evil and the 

goo^j effects contend for the mastery, and the good effects triumph. 

"^he best results of Electrical Treatment usually obtained with Mild 

*^*^rents, — For the average constitution, and with the exceptions that 

^^e from certain idiosyncrasies and certain diseases, such as anesthesia, 

^^ best results of electrical treatment are obtained by wz/r/ currents. 

1*he temptation to disregard this rule and usV painful currents is, 

^ ^^n for the experienced electro-therapeutist, very great, and sometimes 

^^^sistible. The dogma, " no smart no cure/* which has wrought so 

^^ch misery in the world, still lingers, even among the intelligent, 

The descendants and near relatives of the man who growled at he 

^^titist for extracting his tooth without pain or bhister, because he 

^^d been accustomed to being hauled all around the room during that 

tkeralion, are yet very numerous. Even in cultivated circles there 

^n be found those who have no faith in medicine unless it is bitter, 

^^^^d no respect for the doctor unlesis he half kills them. Then again 

^^:>rne patients make a virtue of bearing pain, and will pretend that they 

^4fo not feel the current when they know they are suffering all the 

*Xorrors of the damned. Moreover, mercenary patients wish to get 

^^cir money's worth, and if they pay so many dollars for an application, 

^^ey want so many dollars' worth of agony. For all these reasons com- 

V:^ined, we are, in spite of our experience and caution, continually 

'^'^aking the blunder that we here warn against. Over the doors of the 

^alectro-therapeutist, and in full view of the operating chair, we would 

inscribe this raolto» ** Better give much too little than a little too 

%nuch.' * 

Thi use of Salt on the Electrode. — A very good device to prevent using 
too strong currents, particularly the galvanic current, is to saturate the 



sponges or cloths of the electrode with plenty of salt water Sale vtter 
is a good conductor, much better than simple water, and mil att$e 
the patient to seosiriveiy feel a current, of which, if the salt wiiet 
were not used, he would not be conscious. 

With the same strcngtli of current, a sponge or cloth electroi^ 
saturated with salt is more painful than a similar electrode twt so 
5Jit\irated. The current when conducted though salt seerns to pass io- 
points from the electrode to the body just as when conducted thioi:* 
metal or the metallic brush. In a word, an electrode saturated with >^ - 
not only conducts a greater quantity of electricity, in accordance wi^ 
Ohm*s law, but conducts it more painfully than an electrode saturated 
with ordinary water, 

Care in the Details of the Applications. — There is as much diffe*'- 
ence between a skilful and an awkward application of electricity •* 
there is between a skilful and an awkward operation in surgery, ^y 
those who desire to become experts in applying electricity, the follo*r- 
ing points should be considtfred : 

I. To avoid suddenly interrupting the currents in cases where intc*^ 
ruptions are not required, and especially in applications on or ntfsrtH* 
head. In the treatment of paralysis of motion and of sensation, iQte^r* 
ruptions are required, but in the treatment of the brain, spinal < 
and sympathetic, and in very many peripheral applications jAjiWfO*^j 
rents only are required. In all such cases the current should be do( 
gradually and delicately, if iK>ssible by means of a rheostat of i 
kind, or by increasing or diminishing the pressure on the sponge of 1 
electrode. Interruptions made in the metallic part of the current ft** 
always more sudden and violent than those made in the electrodes, ft** 
the physical reason that the connection of the current is more sharp tf^ 

Delicate patients should be treated with delicacy. Those k^o iX* 
sensitive and apprehensive should never be annoyed by sudden br£a3^ 
in the current, except in those forms of disease where sudden brc*.*^* 
are required. 

In presenting this caution we do not intend to endorse the notion th-^^ 
serious pathological lesions are caused by interrupting the current, t'y^^' 
on or near tlie brain. There is little or no evidence besides the O^^ 
of Duchenne, that any serious injury to tlie retina, or to the indito*^ 
nerve, or to any part of the brain, or sympathetic, or spinal cord, h^^ 
been produced by faradization or galvanization with the strength ofctt^ 
rent ordinarily employed in electro-hiedical applications. The ditf*' 
nessy the sour taste in the mouth, the flashes of light before the cyrt i 



shock or agitation produced by the sudden interruption of the 
\fmc current, are annoying, and to the delicate patient unaccus- 
to iheni, sometimes alanning, but with the batteries in ordinary 
and with the strength of current that is, or ought to be employed 
iroiigh the head and neck, they are rarely if ever dangerous : they 
temporar)* effects that soon pass away, and are forgotten. But 
they are to be avoided in cases where they are not required, for the 
t-fold reason that they do no positive good, that they may interfere 
ith the success of tlie treatment, and that they alami or annoy the 
:nl We are to avoid worrying our patients in this way, for the 
reason that we are to avoid treading on their corns, because it is 
eeable and discourteous. 
2' To avoid making the applications unnecessarily painful through 
carelessness in the manag-ement of the electrodes. By the use of fine 
if4 soft sponge — the best that can be found in the shops — the smarting 
it»d Slinging pain of the applications can be much diminished. Aside 
from the fact that, with some exceptions, less satisfactory results follow 
l»tnful than pleasant currents, the feeling of pain should, so far aspos- 
*We, be avoided. There are, as we have said, a certain number of pa- 
»*nts who carry into medicine the same views that once dominated in 
Khgioii, and who desire to suffer, and have very little respect for any 
Ircatment that does not cause more or less agony. Such patients i^ill 
wmctimes ftnd, after one or two severe and painful applications, that 
weyarc injured more than benefited, and will submit to the advice of 
^ physician and take the treatment that is best for them. 

3- To avoid surprising and startling the patient by allowing the wires, 
ihe metallic portions of the electrodes, to touch any part of his ex* 

i**^ body. If the connecting wires slip out of their connections with 
*^ electrodes they are liable to fall on the exposed skin and give a 
Nnful shock- If the edge of the electrode not covered with sponge 
*^'oth touches the skin, it will give the patient sudden pain, and 
'^^^y both him and the operator. Connecting wires that are not pro- 

<^N by rubber are liable to lose their silk or cotton covrrings in 

**^ which when they touch the skin cause pain, 

4- To be always and every moment sure that the current is nmning. 
■"c batteries should be tested before the application, either by the 
f^^^oometcr or through the hand or person of the operator, that he 

y be sure that it is in order, that the connections are properly made, 
^" that the electrodes are sufficiently wet to conduct the current 
**^ft mild currents are used, salt may be added to the solution in 
rtwch the flectrotle is dipped^ so that a slight stinging sesi^^Hon 



beneath the electrode, may keep the patient assured that the cmre 
is passing. 

Disrating of the Patient. — The great majority o£ electrical applit^'] 
tions require, on the part of the patient, more or less loosening O*' 
removal of the dress. Not only is this necessary in general (andii»- 
tion and central galvanization, but in very many local applications to 
the spine, abdomen, and upper and lower limbs,— excepting merelflJfc^j 
face, head and hands. To know how to direct the patients to ananyc 
their clothing so as to give the operator sufficient and easy access to tki^ ' 
person, is a part of the art of practical electro-therapentists, and it i* 
an art not to be despised* Male patients have less trouble in this le- 
gard Ihan female patients, since their gannents are fewer and simpler^ 
but they are more annoyed by the little they have to do than wofDco j 
are by iheir vast paraphernalia. The art consists in loosening andpu^ 
ing up without entirety retnoving the underclothing^ thus avidity 
irouhUy exposure and waste of time. 

Temperature of the Electrodes and of the Operating J^oam,—! 
question is often raised by patients whether there is any danger of tak- 
ing cold after an application of electricity. The answer is clearly 
the negative. The electricity, as such, so far as it goes, fortifies 
system against cold ; but, by careless exposure while undressed b 
cold room, it is possible to take cold, just as by similar exposure i 
electricity is not used. It is also possible to make the applicari 
quite uncomfortable by using sponges moistened with cold instead < 
tepid water Our aim should be to have the temperature of 
operating and dressing-room a little higher than is necessary for a pc*"j 
son fully dressed ; to moisten the sponges or electrode covers in i 
or — in very cold weather — in hot water; and when, the feet are placed < 
a foot-plate of tin or copper, to have a warm soapstone beneath i 
foot-plate to keep it always comfortable. 

Time of day for the Application, — Applications of electncit)- may l>*' 
given with advantage at all hours of the day and night. In ourcxpC* 
ence, and probably in the experience of all electroaherapeutists *^' 
majority of the applications are given in ordinary business hours, in t 'f 
forenoon and afternoon. We have never been able to see that anyth' ;' 
w*as gained by gi^'ing any particular heed to the hours of eating ; '- 
before meals, and just after them, ordinary electrical treatment mav •: 
given with apparently as much benefit as two or three hours fronw 
meaL Tn some impressible temperaments, central galvaniiation aai 
general faradization temporarily increase appetite, and for s\ich pctsow 
^n apnlicalion might very properly be given a little before meali. Fa 



^hose who siiflTer from dyspepsia, a seance pretty soon after dinner might 
^Bjc of service in aiding digesliion, but we cannot say that we have seen 
.^ny such results. 

For all delicate, hysterical, sleepless patients, the evening is an excel- 
'Ment time to receive electricity. The powerful sedative effects of central 
^nd general electrisation are in this class of patients most gratefully re- 
alized a little bcfoK* going to bed, or after they have already retired* 
For these reasons we have, for years, been accustomed to treat some of 
our patients in the evening, before or shortly after retinng, and, were it 
not for the inconvenience, we should do it more frequently, 

Timf ef Applications. — ^The time of an application is an element of 
the dose of electricity that has not been siithciently studied. Electro- 
therapeutists have fallen into the conventional and routine habit of using 
the cnrrent all the way from five to ten or fifteen minutes or so, at a 
sitting, without sufficiently investigating the question whether the length 
of the application ought not to be varied with studious care, in each 
CISC, and varied during the course of treatment. 

For irritable, sensitive and impressible patients this law certainly 
holds ; that long applications with mild currents are hitter than short 
sppluaiions with strong currents. This law, which is the outcome of 
all owr observations in the department of electro-therapeutics, applies to 
all modes of using electricity, 

A sudden shock, or a series of shoclcs with a powerful current, may 
Injure, where a prolonged ap[jlication with a gentle current may work 
^o harm and much good. That this element of time becomes a practi- 
cal diflficult}Mn the use of electricity by overworked general praclitioners, 
^ust be admitted : but if it be a scientific fact^ — as it surely is^ — that 
time is required to gain the choicest and best effects of electrical treat- 
■^lent, then we must recognize and accept the fact, and treat our palienta 
Accordingly, and expect them to reward us for our labors more liberally 
^l»an for a mere prescription or suggestion. 

We insist on this point, because we feel that through neglecting it 
»^any mistakes have been made, and through a disposition to neglect it 
^ihere is danger that in some minds electro-therapeutics itself may fall 
^nto disrepute. WTiile many patients and many cases do w^ell under five 
^>f ten minutes of electrization, very many others, especially after they 
^ave become accustomed to it, require at least double that time. 

With all our might, we should avoid the error of supposing that -the 
l>e5t eflfects of electrical treatment will succeed by short applications 
with strong currents. In this way we may both save time and lose oof 




Economy of this sort may prove to be the worst of extravagance. 

Frequency of the Applications. — Ordinary stimii! anting and tonic me Ji 
cines are given one, two, and usually three times a day. The dose of 
electricity cannot usually be administered so frequently without doing 
more evil than good. It seems essential to the electro-therapeutical 
treatment, whatever the mode employed, — general and local faradiza- 
tion, central and local galvanization, and even electric baths and the 
use of the body batteries, — that there should be a considerable period of 
rest between the applications. 

Electrization sets in motion forces that slowly act and react hours and 
days after the electrization has ceased. The time required for these 
forces to operate to the best advantage varies with individuals, but in 
all cases a certain period of rest is required, and if the application be 
repeated before this period or some portion of it has elapsed, the bene- 
fits of the previous application are more or less neutralized, and the 
patient may be weakened more than strengthened. This at least appears 
to be the conclusion that long experience forces upon us. All the 
way between every day or once a week the applications can be given 
with benefit. Three or four times a week is about as often as the aver- 
age patient cares to make his visits, and it is safer to begin treatment 
with at least an interval of a day or two between sittings. Some pa- 
tients require at the outset of a course of treatment, intervals of three 
or four days. If by accident or intention, strong and long applications 
are made, unpleasant reactive effects may follow that at once suggest 
the necessity of wairing for a day or two. Many a time does it happen 
to us to visit a patient, and, on learning the history of the symptoms, 
10 put off the application twenty four or forty-eight hours. 

On the other hand, there are those who can take full applications every 
day for a month in succession, and in some cases, as it appears to us, 
with greater benellt than would be derived from applications given every 
other day. At the founding of the Electro-Therapeutical Department 
of Demilt Dispensary, we re ceiv^cd patients only twice a week, and good 
results were obtained under that system, but we afterwards found it de- 
sirable to add another day. I n private practice we make the applica- 
tions more frequently than at first, and find an advantage in so doing, 
for the reason, mainly, that we use milder currents than formerly, and 
our patients can bear and be profited by more frequent sittings. 

General and central applications require longer intervals than local 
and peripheral applications, for the patent reason that they more 
powerfully affect the whole system, and are more frequently followed 
by re I ctive effects 



In rare cases, — when the patient has but a short time to remain in town, 
I or wben an intolerable pain is to be relieved, — we have given appHca* 
laons twice a day, but have not usually obtained any advantage thereby. 
Cbionic nervous diseases cannot be cured in a day ; time is as neces- 
ttiv as the electricity. Long standing pathological lesions are not to 
be carried by assault, however bravely conducted ; they yield only to a 
|ifOlracted siege, 

R€gukrity of the Appikations. — It is the custom with some electro- 
therapeutists to insist on regularity in the days and hours of the 
applications, and there are those who believe that the best effects 
follow regular and methodical treatment On this point we are in some 
^ubt Patients who are methodical in their habits, and who are 
"^^lar in their visits, will be less likely to omit visits, and will be 
more likely to persevere, and consequently will be more profited than 
those who omit half of their visits and abandon treatment before it 
* fiilly tried. There is no evidence that regidarity, as such, is any 
*ov^aatage; although tliere is strong probability that for some constitu 
^^K and, perhaps, for diseases with periodic symptoms, it might be 
*" advantage to give the applications at the same hour daily, or 
[ ^^^ ether day, as the case may be. Our own custom in this regard 
l^ines. Practically we find it impossible to treat all patients with 
"^tc regularity, and in those cases where we are able to do so we have 
***♦ ^tisfar, been able to see any special therapeutic advantage, 
"^^Jonged Applications, — A metho<i of using electricity that has been 
*itrle studied by the profession is that of prolonged applications 
*^*iild currents, 
■^^ c::ertaln diseases^ both medical and surgical, it is of advantage to 
the current — galvanic or faradic — to run for several hours — all 
* J^"^ all night — as may be convenient, 

^ have become so accustomed to the use of short, or comparatively 

""^ ^pjihcations, that we forget that the current if sufficiently gentle 

""^y !:><* passed through the body, or part of the body for hours, if not 

^ consecutively, without injury, and with great benefit^ provided 

J^^^ij cautions are observed. 

*>^en the galvanic current is thus used, care must be taken not to 
^^^'^ the sponges, or metals, or cloths, to remain too long in one 
''^^ since they will cause a disagreeable though not serious ulceration 
^*>e skin, that may be some time in healing. In order to avoid this 
^A'^^^tion, it is well to use sponges instead of metals, and to change 
tfO^ time to time the posi ion of the electrodes, so that they may no! 
|0 too long on one spot. 



The details of this method of using elcclricily must be varied with 
each case and the circunistaoces of the patient 

Intervals between the Courses of Treat ment,—\i\^ sometimes of service 
to suspend a course of treatment after it has been going on a number 
of weeks, and to allow an interval of one or more weeks, according to 
circumstances. It is sometimes observed that patients improve as 
nuich during the interval as during the treatment, and when the appli- 
cations are renewed, they have greater force than at the close of 
the course of treatment. It is true of electricity, as of almost every 
other stimulant, tooic, sedative remedy, that after receiving it a certain 
time the system becomes so accustomed to it as to tolerate it, and 
then its full force is not appreciated. In cases where this toleration of 
electricity is observed, when the improvement halts, so to speak, a 
brief sirspension of treatment iiiay be indicated, and on renewing it, 
all the benefit at first realized may be repeated. 

On the other hand, there are patients who seem to prosper best under 
steady, uninterrupted treatment. 

Combination of Methods of Application, — Comparatively few diseases 
are to be treated solely by any one method of application ; many of the 
purely local affections ever yield better to electrical procedure, when 
the ajjplicatioDs are varied, than when one mode only is persistently 
used. Both currents, galvanic and farad ic^ may be tried in alternatioo 
or succession, and both the direct and indirect methods may be em- 
ployed at the same silting or at different sittings. In all diseases where 
the whole system is involved, the method of application may be yet 
more varied. General faradization and central galvanization may be 
used alternately, and the alternation may be by the day or week. 
These methods may be varied with galvanization of the brain in all 
directions, galvanization of th-* pneumogastric and sympathetic and of 
the spine. In some diseases, as notably in those where central le* 
sions are accompanied by peripheral injury and general exhaustion, as 
hemiplegia, ataxia, and so forth, all the methods of application may 
be used, including faradization with the wire brush* We observe not 
unfrequently that after one method of electrization has done all that 
it is capable of doing, after it seems to have lost its power, another 
method of electrization, or a mere n*odification of a method, may push 
the improvement yet further, until it in time loses its force and the fresh 
Btimulus of another method is required 

In this respect the behavior of electricity is in no way peculiar; ta 
ill powerful remedies the s)'stem in time becomes so accustomed, as to 
tolerate them without appreciating their remedial bHuence. In the 



titi a^ istratior. of tonics in cases of debility, and of astringents In cases 
(T^^^onic diarrhoea, a necessity fo( frequent change of remedy is 
r^Iy recognized. 

^wtsiif judge 0ftht Effects of ElectrUal Treatment, — It is of the first 
impor-taoce for the electro therapeutist to have a clear, just and sys 
tenta^^c method of determining the effects of electricity, both good and 
cviL Much of the difference of opinion tliat prevails among those 

no i^se electricity, as to its general and special value, and much of the 
rejiic3ice that exists against electro-therapeutics is the result of a want 
a Icnowledge of the tests by wiiich Ihe action of electricity on patients 
to \>t determined. 

When we give opium, we know very soon whether it relieves pain 
ad produces sleepy or, as not unfreqttenily happens, has effects pre- 
ly opjiosite. We learn to judge without great difficulty whether the 
chJoraJ and quinine are doing the work that we desire. With stimulants 
*«>d tonics, as used in the chronic affections, greater difficulty is ex- 
pcnenced, but there are certain tests which we study and look for and 
by which we are guided. The effects of electricity should be similarly 

^^^ ^<v^ effects of electrization are in general as follows : 

*' ^^iief of Pain and Disagreeable Sensations local and general,^ 

""^lief may appear shortly after the application is commenced, 

^^'^^ tt tta5 been continued for some minutes, or at its close. In some 

there is no relief during or immediately after the sitting, but 

cvcral hours subsequently. We include painful sensations of every 

^the vague wandering pains of neurasthenia and hysteria, the 

Amit^g ^j- jnfl^njumtion as well as real neuralgia. 

^mprovemeni in the Pulse, — Where the pulse is abnormally slow 

' ^> be quickened bolli during and for some time after the sitting- 

^'^ it is abnormally rapid it may be lowered. The pulse, there- 

. ^ *3jay be a guide in the administration of electricity, as it is a guide 

^^J^^ administration of alcohol and various other forms of stimulanls 

^^nics. If the quiet [julse is made much quicker and so remains 

^^me time, we may suspect that the 
^^ or too long. 

application has been too 

Improvement in the Temperature of ihe Bod}\ or of the part which is 
e/— Parts that are abnormally warm are cooled, or as is more fre- 
^ L^^^^y the case, parts that are abnormally cold are warmed, during and 
^^^^qucnt to the operation. The temperature may be tested by the 
^^tions of the patient, by the touch of the operator, or by the ther 
I ^^^^'^Icr. 





4, Generai calming Influence and Disposition to Sleep, — Nervousness 
is allayed, just after taking wine^ or food, or a bath, or a drive by the 
sea. The disposition to sleep comes on usimlly after the application, 
in rare cases during the sitting, especially when tlie head or neck is 

5. Menial Mxhiiaraiion.-'^The. effect of sea-bathing, or the inhalation 
of oxygen, is to exhilarate in a way tliat defies minute analysis. The 
effect of electrization is similar* This effect is seen more strikingly 
in hysteria and hypochtmdriasis* 

6, Increase of Appetite and Improvement in Digestion, — In some 
instances the appetite is sharpened by a single sitting; the permanent 
improvement is, of course, a slower effect, and is only observed after a 
number of applications. 

7. Improvement in Local and General Nutrition.— "Xo accomplish 
tmprovcment in nutrition is the great object of electrical treat- 
ment- The relief of pain and of other special symptoms, during 
a sitting, may justly be regarded as results and accompaniments ol 
improvement in nutrition. At a later stage of a course of treatmcntt 
the improvement in nutrition may be seen and studied by the senses. ■ 
Improvement in local nutrition is produced by local electrization, im- 
provement in general nutrition is produced by general or central elec- 
trization. Peripheral local electrization, may, however, reflexly pro- 
duce improvement in general nutrition, particularly when prominent 
organs, as the uterus, the stomach, and liver, are treated. 

The evil effects of electrization, by the occurrence of which we may 
suspect that the applications are too strong or too long, or improperly 
given, or that wrong methods are used, or that the temperament and 
disease of the patient contra-indicate electricity, are, in general^ as 
follows : 

1. Headache and Backache, — Sudden shocks, or interruptions of the 
current, may cause momentary' headache that passes away as quickly 
as it came. When the headache persists for a considerable tijne, one 
may know that there has been somewhere* a niistake in the applica- 
tion. Backache follows as a nile only general or central treatment. 

2. Irritability and Insomnia, — Patients may feel nervous, irritable, 
and indefinably disagreeable after an application, and the sleep the 
following night may be less sound and ixiore disturbed by dreams than 
usual. These are evil effects* and are to be guarded against* 

3. General Malaise, — This symptom, which is the reverse of the 
exhilarati >n spoken of among the good effects, appears not unfrequently 
after an over-dose, especially of general faradization. It sometimes 






9hoDgh less frequently, follows central galvanization, and there is no 
Corni of local electrization, central or peripheralj that may not in some 
temperaments and conditions give rise to it. 

4- Exaiaiion or Parn^ or Increase of Pain already existing, — 
Neuralgia is sometimes increased on the application of the current, and 
^LTticxilarly when the currents are strong and interruptions are made, 
A harsh and rough faradic current, even when mild, may aggravate 
pain. Sometimes there is no effect during or immediately following 
tht seance ; but in the course of a few hours, the pain is excited oi 

Similarly the pains that accompany malignant tumors may be excited 
when electricity is applied daring an interval, or they may be increased 
if treated dining the paroxysm. 

5. Over-Excited Pulse.— The pulse may indicate whether the appli- 
cation has done good or harm, with some considerable certainty, pro- 
vided the operator is sufficiently familiar with the normal pulse of the 
patient. This familiarity can only come from previous acquaintance, 
A stranger, seeing a patient for the first time, and treating him by 
electricity, is quite likely to be deceived. The pnlse may be over-excited 
hy the mere coming in of a new physician, or by the thought or dread 
of electricity. Thus the value of the pulse as a means of determining 
the degree of the ill effects of an application is much diminished. As a 
t^st of the good effects of electricity, it is much more worthy of trust. 

6. Chilliness and olhtr Nervous Sensations. — An application which has 
t^een made injudiciously may be followed almost immediatly by a feeling 
^:^i chilliness, as though the patient had taken cold. There may be also 
^^ stiff*ness of the neck, and pain on turning the back» as though the 
patient were rheumatic, and heat and burning in tlie spine, and crawling, 
^Dreeping, pricking, stinging, sensations in the face, down the back, and 
•^^n the limbs and other parts of the body. 

These sensations are not due to a cold, as is sometimes supposed, — 
ibr, except through gross carelessness, patients do not take cold during 
an application of electricity » — ^but they are merely nervous sensations, of 
an hysterical character, precisely like the symptoms described under 
hysteria and allied affections, and are due to over^rritation of the spinal 
cord, and perhaps also of the sympathetic They more frequently follow 
faradisation than galvaniiation, especially when a hard, rough, unpleasant 
current is used, lltey aiipear only in the exhausted and neurasthe- 
Dic, and most frequently in women. 

7, A feeling of Soreness^ Stiffness^ and a dull Aching. — These sensi^ 
tioDs are closely allied to those described in the preceding paragraph i-^ 



they aie the result of over irritation of the nerve-centre; the sorenesi 
that is felt in the muscles after severe £2U"adization is somewhat like that 
which is experienced after violent exercise in the gymnasium, on skatei 
or on horseback. 

The dull, aching pain tlirough the whole body is like the sensation 
that is experienced after taking cold* It is a purely nervous sensation 
6D I is caused by over-irritation of the spinal cord. One patient whom we 
treated for an exhausted and irritable condition of tlie cord, resulting 
from ceiebro-spinal fever, persisted that every application caused hini 
to ** take cold'* 

S. Pre/use Perspiration. — Gentle perspiration is one of the good effects 
of electrization J it is observed both after general and local treatment. 
But profuse perspiration of any part, as the head, or one of the limbs, 
or of one side of the body, or of the whole body, occurring during a 
s^ncc, or directly following it, is a bad syinptom, and indicates over* 
irritation. In some hyper-sensitive conditions profuse perspiration 
may appear under a very mild current, and at the outset of the appli- 
cation. We have known a paralyzed arm in hemiplegia break out w^ith 
abundant perspiration. In cases of cerebral and spinal irritation we 
have known the forehead and the hands to perspire freely during 
the application. Some constitutions are specially impressible in this 
regard We once treated a case of paralysis of the bladder by external 
galvanization ; the patient was of the average strength and health, but in 
less than tive minutes his whole body was as freely perspiring as in the 
botest summer day. Nausea and faintness also came on and stopped 
the application. 

9. Frohnged Reartwn of the Nerves of Special Sense, — In the section 
devoted to Electro* Physiology, we have seen that the nerves of special 
sense, the auditory^ the olfactory, the ophthalmic and the gustatory 
nerves, all have their special and peculiar reactions to electricity. 
These reactions are normal and physiological, but in degree and variety 
they au^e greatly influenced by temperament. These reactions are, on 
the part of the auditory nerve, hissing, rushing, boiling, seething sounds ; 
on the part of the ophthalmic nerve and retina, flashes of light ; on the part 
of the olfactory nerve^ under a pow erful and painful current, peculiar 
phosphoric or ozonic odor ; on the part of the gustatory nerve, an add 
I or coppery taste. For the great majority of temperaments in health Of 
disease, these reactions disappear with the cessation of the application ; 
but where there is special susceptibility to the electricity, or when very 
severe or proloiiged applications have been made, some of these reactions 
may continue for hours or days. Thus we have known patients Ic' 




cooiplaia of the peculiar taste in the mouth two or thiee days after aj3 
a|>plication. The buzzing in the ears also does not always stop when 
the cuurent is opened^ prolonged flashes before the eyes are sometiines 
noticed, though but rarely. Prolonged reaction of the olfactory nerve 
we have never obsejrved* 

W'e call these prolonged reactions evil efifects, because they appear 
la very susceptible patients, or after careless procedures, and are U5U> 
ally accompanied by other effects that are unmistakably cvW, 

Disturbatues of ihi N€rvts of Motion and Common Sensation, — Undet 

this head we include h)^jeraesthesia, general or local , that an overdose of 

clccirijcatioQ sometimes produces in nervous and hysterical patients, or 

the opposite condition of anesthesia and niuscular spasms, contractions 

And rigidity. These phenomena are not frequent, but in rare instances 

"*^y have been observed ; muscular spasm, where it already exists, may 

^ ^g^a^vated tf^mporarily by elccuicity, 

^Jf^^ne of Poiients after the Applications.— Vd,\X^nl^ who are strong, 

^ ^^^ treated for purely local troubles, may be entirely indifferent in 

J^^^o t<:> their behavior after electrical applications ; they may exercise 

^ muscle, or remain idle, as may be convenient, and the improve- 

c|it ixr^j^f t|)e treatment will go on just the same* But delicate 

•tient^, who are treated for grave conditions of debility, and especially 

Jiuies^ do better to avoid exertion after an apphcation ; better for them 

* ^ ^-^^^hile, or rest on a lounge, and if they are treated in bed to 

Inhere ; and this, we believe, is anotlier advantage in treating such 

*«e& jvi.^t after retiring. 

U iTi^ fancy they take cold as a result of an application, it is a pure 

^^\ ^^c it is the nervous dnll that sometimes follows over-electrization, 

' *^ the result of exposure in a cold room while undressing. 

^^UJathfi action of Electricity. — ^It sometimes happens in the treat- 

^^^ Of a painful and tender nerve, that a sudden shock is felt, after 

I *^ctrodes have been a long time in position, even when the current 

^Tr" tnildand is scarcely felt on the surface, 

•Medical friend, who by our suggestion treated a case of ulcer of 

^^tomach by the galvanic current^ informed us that a very mild 

^mfrom a few z\nc carbon cells, which gave no burning sensation 

^ ^ *>e surface whatever, would, after the electrodes had been kept in 

^ioij a few minutes, one on the epigastric, and the other on the 

'*^i cause all of a sudden and without any warning a painful shock, 

though a strong current had been suddenly intemipted in the 

IV ^iii^ pjLit of the circuit* This phenomenon occurred so often thai 

1 w^ ^baudoned the treatment. 




We have occasionally made the same observation on other parts of the 
body. Thus, in a case of sciatica that we were treating by the galvanic 
current — one pole on the course of the nerve below the trochaaier, 
and the other on the back — only a very sliglit sensation was felt for 
two or three minutes, when all at once the patient gave a jump as 
though shocked hy a powerful current. A number of times during the 
ieance the experiment was repeated. Every pains was taken to avoid 
error by assuring ourselves that the current was actually running all the 
lime, and that there was no actual interruption. 

This cumulative action, if wc may call it such — would seem to be 
somewhat analogous to the cumulative action of strychnine and some 
other remedies. The rationale of it is in the present state of our 
knowledge hard to determine. It may be that as the skin becomes 
more and more moistened, its conductivity so increases diat a portion 
of the nerve is traversed by the current which at first was not toudied, 
and that this physical explanation is sufficient. It may be that the 
nerve, already in an irritable condition, may have its irritability so 
greatly iucreasedi that it develops it suddenly under continued though 
mild stimulation* We have, as yet, no evidence diat such shocks are 
specially harmful, although they are unpleasant and startling. They 
can be avoided as a rule by shifting the electrodes every moment, so 
as to avoid a long irritation of any one spot. 

Increased Toleration of EUctricity^ — The system can become 
habituated to electricity just as it becomes habituated to alcohol, or 
opium, or any other potent remedy. Mter a long course of treat- 
ment, extending over several months, nearly all patients bear very 
much longer and stronger applications than at first. This is observed 
in those whose sensitiveness to electricity is at first extreme. It is 
not therefore necessarily a discouraging fact if at the outset of a 
course of treatment very gentle currents and very short sittings are 

The Temperament^ as well as the Disease^ to ie considered in using 
Electricity, — ^There are individuals whom electricity always injures, the 
only difference in the effect on them between a mild and a severe 
application being, that the former injures less than the latter. There 
are patients upon whom all electro-therapeutical skill and experience 
are wasted ; their temperaments are not en rapport with electricity. 

It matters not what may be the special disease or symptoms of 
disease from which they suffer^paralysis, or neuralgia, or neurasthenia, 
or hysteria, or affections of special organs — the immediate and tlie per- 
manent effects of galvanization or * farad izatinn, general or localixedi 





atc ^ viland only evil We have not arrived at this opinion by theorizing ; 
wcH^SLve been driven to it by the accumulating and inesistible logic 

I i)f (averts, The first query that arises, in the mind of the electro-thera- 
yeutist, when a case under his care responds badly, is, *' Am I rightly 
um^ this remedy I am I making the application too long or too 
severe, or by improper methods ? Would a change of current be de- 
wable?** But after we have tried all electrical applications ; after we 
*>ave gone from galvanism to farad ism, from general to local ixed elec- 
Inzation, from long and severe to short and gentle treatments j after we 
have rung the changes on all these, and yet persistently aggravate 

t lather than mollify the disease, and instead of strength and relief, pro- 
duce weakness and distress, and instead of calmness cause irritation, — 
tben We have only to make as graceful a retreat as possible, and put 
^^ patient down as a case that was not born to be treated by elec- 
tricity. Wc have no explanation to offer of the phenojuenon ; and the 
popular belief or supposition, that the excess or deficiency of animal 
electricity has something to do with thtfse matters, is as undemonstrable 
^ It IS plausible ; he who should attempt to prove or disprove it would 
W^^ '^^ had undertaken anything but an easy task. It would seem to 
■*<^*^€ in the list of those strange but familiar likes and dislikes in regard 
to certain articles of food or drink, or of certain sights or odors. We 
know of no physiognomical or rather external appearances by which 
to ^eiermine whether a patient does or does not belong to the unfor- 
tunate f^^ ^i^Q c^^Q ^a^ve no lot or share in electrotherapeutics. The 
strongest equally with the weakest, the plethoric and the enervated, 
are *ouu^ among these Gentiles of science. 

• ne reverse proposition, that there are certain constitutions for 

, ^^ ' by whatever form of chronic disease they may be afflicted, elec* 

|tr^c:^ty is always indicated, is equally true. There are patients who 

1 6^^ \n electrical treatment almost a specific. Whether they suffer from 

AyH^psia or neurasthenia, from hysteria or diseases of special organs, 

fh^^imatism or neuralgia, electrization always relieves thejn up to a 

c*^^in point, at least, if it does not positively cure. T/t^ broad fact to 

y understood is, ^hat it is not so much the disease or the symptoms^ as 

if*^ temper amefft that indicates or contraindicates electrization. 

^Vhile some chronic diseases are more amenable to electricity than 

c^tbers, among all patients there are individuals to whom it is a matter 

id indifference what special affection they may suffer from ; so long as 

improvement in local and general nutrition is indicated, they will be 

' bet»<^6ted by electrical treatment. 

To all this it should be added that some persons are indifferent tc 



electricity — they can bear almost any strength of either current reiy 
frequently and for long applications, witliout experiencing any ctfect 
either good or evil. Electricity may be poured over them in liiuitlcs^ 
measures ; they may be saturated with it, and they may come out fron^ 
die applications not a whit better or worse. Patients who are qmi^ 
delicate and sensitive exhibit this supreme and provoking indifercnc^ 
to cleclricity. We are inclined to believe also that patients vary tx* 
fAeir susceptibtlity to electrkify at different times of life, Susccprilnlity 
tn stimulants and narcotics oftentimes undergoes strange modificatiom^ 
during the lifetime of an individual Those who at one time canno* 
drink coffee, sometimes find that a few years so modify the rempcr»'^ — 
ment that they can drink it with absolute freedom, and viee vm^< 
Similarly, also, alcoholic liquors act in a most capricious way, some- 
limes benefiting, at other times injuring even when nearly all the other J 
conditions except age are the same. Idiosyncrasies in regard to cer' 
tain articles of food arc by no means constant through life — thej* ma^ 
change either way, and that too in the course of a few years; thf^ 
may be modified by febrile or other diseases that revolutionise Ih-^^ 
system, or by residence in various climates, or by mere lapse of y 
Analogy would lead us to suppose that susceptibility to electricity migt» 
also be thus modifiedi and our observations seem to convince u^ that 
such is the case. 1 

We are further inclined to believe that susceptibility to elecmcit>r^^ 
favorable and unfavorable, like all other constitutional tendencies, « 
subject to the laws of hereditary descent, and runs in families. W* 
have treated by electricity three members of the family of a physidar^^ 
who are afflicted with quite diverse maladies, but al! of whom not onl 
improved under the treatment, but can be electrized wnth great frcedoc^ 
by either current ; and yet none of them are strong, and two of thcr^ 
are delicate* 

On the other hand, we have treated families where several of ti*^ 
members are so susceptible to the electric current that the applicatio ^ 
must be made with great care lest unpleasant results occur. We are fiiU ^ 
convinced also that the proi>ortion of those who do not bear electricity 
well is larger among the higher tlian among the lower classes; 
hospital and dispensary practice, the number of patients who cxhibi* 
excessive susceptibility to the electric treatment is quite limited, whereat 
in private practice, among the intellectual classes, one out of five of 
ten, take the cases as they nm, must be treated with very considerable 
caution, lest disagreeable symptoms arise. 

Relation of Elect? -^susceptivity to Prognosis. — Between electro-suscep 



Hfrty and prognosis there would appear to be no constant relation. One 
patient may be extremely susceptible to electricity, and another capable 
nf bearing it in large doses, and both shall be benefited. If there be 
any law in the matter it is this, that those who occupy the medium 
ground, who are neither specially sensitive nor the reverse — offer tht 
best prognosis under electrical treatment. It is equally sure, however, 
that those who are exceedingly sensitive may become so tolerant of 
the remedy as to derive great benefit from it For this reason we 
should not be discouraged, even by extreme electro sensibility or 
tlectro susceptibility in our patients. 

The most provoking class are those who cannot be influenced in any 
way by electricity, but who can even from the very first receive it 
in enormous doses without showing or feeling any gCK)d or evil effect, 
and yet even such cases may by protracted treatment be benefited. 

Regard for Age, — In the apiJortioning of the dose of electricity the 
Only general rule to be considered is, that the extremes of life — the 
Very young and the very old — demand rather more caution than those 
in youth and middle life. It is not however necessary to divide the 
^oses of electricity for infants and children, as we divide the doses of 
c>rdinary medicines ; children from three years douTi to three months 
^nd even younger may be treated by general faradization and central 
galvanization almost as freely as adults. On theoretical considerations, 
^nd in order to be on the safe side, we do not usually treat very yonng 
crhildren as long^ or with as strong currents as adults, nor quite so 
frequently, but we have not often seem any especially bad results from 
^uite prolonged applications, provided mild currents are used. The 
vule is to give the average baby about half as nmch treatment as the 
^average adult. Children crj^ when the current hurts them, and this to 
"^hc merci^ful physician operates as a check against over-dosing them. 

Very old patients — between seventy and ninety — need to be 
treated with reasonable, but not extreme cant ion. The moderately 
aged — between fifty and seventy — often bear electricity better than 
those in the more active period — between twenty and fifty. 

Regard far Sex, — As a rule females are somewhat more susceptible to 

electricity than males, and require to be treated with greater caution ; not 

*hat there is any difference of susceptibility of the sexes, but because in 

t^iyilization woman is more delicate than man, and more readily influenced 

^Or good or evil, by all remedies and systems of treatment. But 

Although the law that woman is more impressible than man holds well 

^n the average, yet the individual exceptions are very numerous* 

S^Mne women^^-even those who are exquisitely delicate — can bear enor- 




inoiis doses of electricity, while some men who are very hardy can beai 
none at all. The rule however, is constant enough to nuke it 
advisable always to begin the treatment of delicate females with con- 
siderable caution* 

The higher susceptibility of women to electrical influence, roikes 
them yield more rapidly than men to the treatment, when it suits tb^ 
temperament and disease, and hence it is that many of the most dclightiijJ 
results of general faradization and central galvanization, have beet* 
obtained in neurasthenic, anemic, hysterical women. 

The menstrual period in women does not contraindicate electna^ 
treatment at all, but on considerations of delicacy the operations of 
general faradiiatioii and central galvanization cannot well be performed! 
at that time. Local applications to the periphery can be made without 
regard to the menses. 

Regard for the Mtthad of Application and tlie Skiil of the Ekdr^^ 
therapeutist. — It is not electricity in the abstract, but electrization ^—i\\^^ 
is, electricity applied to the body — that cures disease. Ever)*thing, thci^' 
fore, depends on the method of application. Patients frequently say ih** 
they have *' tried electricity" and it did no good, We have long sinc^ 
ceased to pay any heed to such statements, or to allow them to in^ti- 
ence our prognosis, unless it is expressly stated who gave the electrir^ 
treatnient, what methods were employed, and how faithfully the irci-t-" 
menl was caiTied ouL Some of the best successes we have are gained 
with patients who have "tried electncity" and found it wanting* 
WTiat should we think of a patient afflicted with a broken leg wa^^ 
should say that he had "tried surgery," and it had failed to &et tb^^ 
bone ? Would we not ask, " What surgeon ? Was he a pretender, or ^ 
man of science? And did he have a fair chance?" It is ijossible, evc^* 
if good treatment at the hands of good men failed some time ago, th^-*- 
the conditions may now be so altered that the same or different ifd^'* 
ment will be successful 

It is not the remedy, it is the manner of using it that determines i1 
value. There is as much difference in electro-therapeutists zs there 
in general surgeons, ophthalmolologists, or aurists, or gynecologists, ^ 
obstetricians. In the ranks of those who use batteries arc all grade 
of genius, and lack of genius, especially the latter. In e1ectro-ther»^ 
peuiics two currents are used, and six different methods of application* 
and these methods are all capable of indefinite variations, dei)e!idcD^ 
on the taste, skill or experience of the electro-therapeutisL When one 
mode of application fails^ another may succeed ; when one electro* 
therapeutist fails with any mode of applicatioHi another with the same 



mode of application may succeed* And yet, patients with some 
obscure disease, that requires the best diagnostic as weli as therapeutic 
ikill, who have had, perhaps, half a dozen ai>pUcatJons of the magneto- 
electric or rotary machines, at the hands of some stupid servant-girl, 
declare that they have "tried electricity." As well might a sailor 
whose broken bone had been badly set at sea by a comrade before the 
mast, declare that he had ** tried surgery/' 

^^ Dtffer^ntial Prognosis of Accidcfiial and Hereditary Uisease^ 

^nder EUcirieal Treatment — The prognosis of any case under electrical 

''^atiiient depends more on the time that the disease has been existing 

tnai) on the nature of the disease itself. Very grave and severe symp- 

'Otiis of the most threatening character yield promptly, when they are 

^^^cnt^ and, so to speak, accidental^ while mild and nameless symptoms, 

^•^l appear to be of the most trifling character, when long standing, and 

especially when they are inherited, may be exceedingly obstinate. It 

■*^comes therefore of the first importance to inquire how long the mor- 

■<a symptoms, or other symptoms allied to ihein, have been existing in 

patient, before making a prognosis. This principle applies to all 
^ases for which electricity is employed. It is illustrated in a most 
^tcresting manner in hysteria and allied affections. If two cases pre- 
^"^nt thcraseives, both suffering from symptoms of hysteria and neuras- 
*^enia, but in one case the symptoms are a life-long heritage, while in 
^e other they have arisen recently, and, so to speak, accidentally, 
^e prognosis in the latter case is^ other conditions being the same, con- 
^^^quently more favorable. Even if the symptonis in the recent case be 
"^f a severer type, the prognosis may be much better than in the inher- 
ited case. On this account it becomes necessary to inquire with dili- 
"^ence, and repeatedly, of the patients and of their friends, in order to 
3see whether any allied symptoms have been their portion through life, 
mnd whether die special disturbances for which they require treatment 
are simply branches of a great tree of disease that has grown up in them 
from the moment of their inception. 

When, for example, a patient appears with sciatica, or tic-douloureux, 

»t 15 not enough to learn how long that particular symptom has dis 

Pressed him in the present attack. The questions to be asked are j 

Has he ever at any period of his life had this or any other form of 

• 'leuralgia ? Is he of the nervous diathesis ? Have his parents or any 

^f his near relations suffered from neoralgia, or from any disease^ or 

Symptomi of disease that are allied to it ? On the answers given to these 

'^iucries will depend our probable prognosis, not only as to the rapidity 

tH relief under electrical treatment, but also as to its fermanen<y. 



Inherited diseases are inclined to relapse : the symplom rair gn^ 
way, apparently, before the force of treatnient, but may reappear ** 
easily as it disappeared, even while the treatment is continued. 

After- Effects of Ekctrkal Treatment. ^\K is a fact well recogniied 
that the tonic effects of a trip to Europe, or to the mountains^ or of 
a short vacation anywhere, or at any season, are frequently but little 
appreciated while the patient is travelling or recreating ; but ippc^* 
days, weeks, and months subsequently. A debilitated man may receive 
no strength while on the ocean, or at the hotel, or farm-house b tl^^ 
country, may, indeedt seem to grow weaker instead of stronger* a»" 
may become disheartened thereby, but on his return to his duties, heal 
may gradually, perhaps imperceptibly, come to him, and he may cx|)cr^ 
cnce a renovation and a recuperation that can only be explained as tt^ 
after effects of his vacation. 

It is, perhaps, not so well recognized that tonic remedies, and sysl 
of treatment of various kinds, may act just in the same way. Not onl^^ 
the evil but the good effects of medicines may be cumulative* We m^J^ 
see this principle illustrated in the administration of quinine, strychaim 
arsenic, phosphorus, and iron. 

Electricity obeys the same law, and in certain constitutions, andc^r** 
tain stales of the system, especially those of debility^ it does little *3 

nothing that the patient can see or feel during the treatment itscH 

but prepares the way for a perfect and permanent recover)'. VV^e ha^^' 
seen this principle illustrated in a large variety of cases of chronic d-** 
ease. The practical lesson that we are to derive from this is to er 
courage patients who do not feel fully satisfied with the progress th*^ 
they make while under treatment, to watch closely, if possible, tb^ 
career long after treatment is abandoned. 

Electrization in its Relations to other Forms of Treatment. — The qu^^ 
tion, so often asked, whether electrical treatment will interfere w"» 
internal medication, or with gymnastics, the Russian, Turkish or oil* 
baths, and so forth, is very easily answered. It harmonizes with allvK!^ 
tonic remedies, and methods of treatment that are employed for t 
common purpose of relieving pain, or building up broken -dowm coni^ 

Except m cases where we wish to experiment and learn the tlierapcr 
tical value of electricity by itself alone, uncomplicated with ot^t 
healing factors, it is a positive advantage oftentimes to employ, at il" 
same time with electricity, external or internal medication of vario*^^ 
kinds. So far as we now know there is no medicine that is incot*^ 
patible with electricity. There is no evidence that any remedy has w»/ 



ipecific reenfordng effect upon electricity, such^ for example, ascertain 
stimulants have on hydrate of chloral* Some of the best therapeutical 
results arc obtained from a combination of electrical with other 

Qpt ih€ Use of Electricity by the Laity. — Even at this advanced stage 
of electro-therapeutics, it seems to be necessary to constantly warn the 
profession against indiscriminately intrusting the details of electrical 
a^pplications to the nurses, friends of patients, and the patients them- 
selves. Having just rescued this department from the hands of the 
la^itVy and given it a position among men of science, it seems strange 
^^at those physicians who are familiar with the subject should even now their influence to return it to the people at whose hands it for* 
m:xierly suffered so much; to restore it to the captivity of prejudice anr^ 

The temptation on the part of the people to use electricity them. 
^telves, and on the part of the profession to allow thera to do so, is very 
strong. The majority of physicians know little more of electro-thera- 
peutics than their patients. Some have a theoretical, but not a practical 
^.cquaintance with it Then there are those who are well practised in 
^he art, but are too closely occupied to employ it. They have no ap- 
paratus, or if they have any it is very likely out of order* Perhaps no 
specialist is accessible, or the patient is^ or is supposed to be, too poor 
to employ one. The physician, forgetting that it is not electricity, but 
electrization that cures disease, forgetting that there are two kinds of 
electricity in common use, and six different methods of application, 
every one of which is capable of various modifications, forgetting that 
there are certain temperaments that will not bear electricity, however 
applied, and that there are others who must be treated at first with 
great skill and caution, and on whom the currents and methods em- 
ployed must be studiously varied during a course of treatment, in 
short, forgetting that electro- therapeutics, considered as a science or an 
art, is wonderfully complex and exacting, orders the patient to ^^ get a 
^aiftry and try electricity.^' 

This prescription is usually carried out in the following manner : An 
old magnetO'electric machine (rotary) is trumped up from some neigh- 
bor's garret, where, after having failed to cure any member of the family, 
^t has been rusting for years. If the patient be wealthy, perhaps a new 
faradic machine is ordered, that gives a harsh, rough current, and when 
applied, drives the patient to despair. The friends of the patient are 
t>ored with the request of the patient to apply electricity, and only hall 
^%o their duty ; consequently the patient tries to make the application 



to himself^ and, of necessity, makes awkward work. Pretty soon tlu 
metals become corroded, and the current ceases to flow, and the batteiy 
is soon consigned to the closet or garret, where it will do no hann, 
and probably as much good as in the hands of the patient. 

This picture is not drawn from fancy ; it is a picture of genuine and 
fiequent experience. 

Abbreviations used in Electr<hTherapeuiics, — It is a decided con- 
venience and saves much time in recording cases, in giving pnvate 
instruction, in public lecturing, and in conversation, to describe elec- 
trical applications by abbreviations. About a year since wede^'ised 
the following abbreviations, which have been used with satisfactioo in 
giving private instruction and in conversation with our assistants and 
others who are familiar with it, and in records of cases from day to di.|* 
We do not adopt it in the present treatise, for the reason that it i& nA 
yet widely known, and might perplex and bewilder die reader : 

L. F. Localized faradization. 

L. G. ** galvanization. 

G. F. General faradization. 

C. G. Central galvanization. 

G. B. Galvanization of the brain. 

G. C. S. " " sympathetic 

G. S. " " spine. 

E. Electrolysis. 

G. C. Galvano-cautery. 



Much of the confusion that exists concerning the differential indie a^ 
^^ons for the use of the galvanic and faradic currents arises from an iin- 
Ifc-^crfect or erroneous or exaggerated conception of the distinction in 
"^^lieir physical and physiological effects* The general belief orsupposi- 
'^^ion i% that there Is between them a radical and important difference 
"*. Ti kind^ as though they were two different agents or forces. 

We can most intelligently compare the therapeutical effects of the two 
^Currents, if we first compare their physical characteristics and their phy- 
siological effects. 

By referring to the section on electro- physics, it will be seen that both 

currents — faradic and galvanic — are capable of producing chemical de* 

-composition, of deflecting the needle of the galvanometer, of producing 

sparks, and of being changed into heat. Generally speaking, these 

effects are produced more powerfully by the galvanic current ; b\it in 

Oramme's machines we shall see that magneto- electricity is capable of 

producing great heat and of electroplating on an enormous scale. 

Both currents are obedient to the law of Ohm, with this qyalificatioUt 
that the faradic current must be regarded as having passed through a 
great resistance, 

Faradic and galvanic electricity are therefore the same force — elec- 
tricity, only each variety is modified by the nature of the substanct 
^ftrough which it circulates, as well as the manner of its production. 

Light is light, whether its waves are shorter or longer, and in spite of 
''^terferencc and polarization, and whatever may be the color that it ex-x 
^i tcs in the retina ; sound is sounds whether its undulations move slowly 
^f rapidly. So electricity is electricity, however generated or however 
^*\odified by the medium through which it moves; and all forms of it, 
*>^agnetism, as well as franklinism, galvanism, and the many varieties of 
^^radism, are merely different expressions of the one great force — elcc 






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t:>Tc body as mainly cf degree^ — practically amounting, it is true, to a 
difference in kind, — and that this is the scientific basis for tlieir differen- 
lial employment. 

In the form of localized electrization both can produce muscular 
<ron tractions in paralyzed muscles, and relieve local neuralgias ; both 
cr3.usc absorption of abnormal secretions j and both can directly aflect 
tilie brain, spinal cord, sympathetic, and all the internal organs, pro- 
ducing, in different degrees, the various therapeutic results that directly 
2i.nd indirectly flow from electrical excitation of these parts. In the 
£omi of general electrization both currents, besides producing most of 
t:he other results of locaUzed electrization, act as powerfully stimulating 
tonics, and thus form most efficient aids in the relief and cure of nerv- 
ous exhaustion, nervous dyspepsia, constitutional neuralgia, and of a 
"ipride range of nervous diseases associated with or dependent on general 

In electrO'Surgery both currents avail to discuss tumors, heal ulcers, 
sind hasten absorption, although for these purposes the galvanic is 
'incomparably the more effective. 

And yet the difference in degree between die effects of the two cur* 

m-ents is so marked and so clearly demonstrable, as to be practically 

^jquivalent in certain instances to a difference in kind, and to give very 

important and remarkable advantages to one current or the other, ac* 

wording to the indications required* 

The advantages of the galvanic over the faradic are :— 

f. A greater power of overcoming resistance^ It therefore affects the 

^fain, spinal cord, and sym[)athetic more powerfully than the faradic, 

^'Hce the anatomical position of these parts is such that considerable 

''^sistance mi^t be overcome in order to directly affect them. For the 

*^me reason it is usually to be preferred when it is desired to affect the 

^liddle and internal ear, the retina, and the muscles of the eye. 

1, A power of producing muscutar contractions in cases where the 
.faradic fails. This peculiarity of the galvanic current has now been 
Observed so frequently, and in such striking instances, that it has be- 
^ottie an accepted fact of electro-therapeutical science. Illustrative 
Examples will be given in the section on paralysis. After a certain 
Amount of treatment by the galvanic current the paralyzed muscles 
frequently res ime their susceptibility to the faradic. 

3. A far more potent ekctratonic^ electrolytic^ and thermic actimu 

*The chemical power of the galvanic current is most markedly seen 

when used for the puqxjses of galvano-cauterj- or electrolysis. The 

superior efficacy of the galvanic current to the faradic, so oftec 




observed in the treatment of neuralgia, of atrophied muscles, rheuma- 
tism, is probably due to its greater " catalytic ** action. It probably 
induces more rapid and more important molecular and other changes in 
the tissues. This superiority of the galvanic current is supposed to be 
due to its more coniinuous duration ; it moves constantly in one direc- 
tiotty and thus produces more powerful electrolytic effects than the f«- 
radic current with its rapid interniptions can possibly produce. 
The advantages of the faradic over the galvanic current are these : — 

1. By virtue of its frequent interruptions it mare easily pr&dueef 
muscular contractions when passed over the muscles or the nerves that 
supply them. In order to produce full muscular contractions with a gal- 
vanic current of moderate strength it is necessary to internipt the cur 
rent, and, unless it is quite powerful, to localise at least one of the 
electrodes over the motor nerve by which the muscle is supplied — that 
is, over the so-called ** motor points-'' On the contrary, the faradic 
cunent is in a condition of rapid interruption and produces contractions 
when iodifferenlly passed over the surface of the muscle, as well as when 
localized on the main motor nerve that supplies it. 

This advantage of the faradic current is best appreciated in general 
faradization, the powerful tonic effects of which, as will be seen, are 
partly and quite largely due to the passive exercise and consequent 
oxidation and other important changes of tissue that result fixim the 
several thousand muscular contractions that take place during an ordi- 
nary sitting. In localized electrization this advantage is not so clearly 
and strongly marked, since, in this method, by a proper knowledge of 
electro therapeutical anatomy and sufficient care, it is possible to direct 
one of the electrodes on the "motor points ; " and yet even here4he 
faradic current is much more convenient, because its employment re* 
quires no arrangement for intemiption, and less minuteness of attention 
to the situation of the motor nerves. The exceptional cases of paraly* 
sis, where the muscles have lost their susceptibility to the faradic cur- 
rent, do not interfere with the general rule. 

2. // produces greater mechanical effects. These mechanical effects 
of the faradic current are due to its rapid interniptions, which cause 
contractions not only of the muscles, but also of the contractile fibre- 
cells, thus stimulating the circulation, and with it the processes of 
waste and repair In this respect its action is similar to that of nib- 
bing, pounding, movements and vibrations. These mechanical effects 
are especially indicated in the treatment of diseases of the abdominal 
viscera, which are supplied with contractile fibre-cells ; annestbesia, anif 
i^eneral muscular debility. 




3' ^ is less likely to produce unpleasant or harmful effects^ when 
iMe'autr^:^:Misly used, than the galvanic. 

To ^r^^Dnfinii this statement we rest mamly on the evident results 
oT ciini ^i::!^ observation. We may indeed refer to a number of cases of 
fevere ^z^onstitutiooal neuralgia and excessive nervous exhaustion where 
(|,e far^^z^ic current invariably relieved, and where the galvanic current 
^s inva^^*^ably aggravated, the symptoms. For this reason it is better to 
Ijcgin t^t^ « practice of electro-lherapcutics with the faradic currentt and 
Cor tho^^^ families who desire a scicnlific plaything, the faradic machine 
\% safer^ than the galvanic apparatus. 
|lo ^-%1 applications to the head, neck, and spine especially, applica- 
ons «:*€* the galvanic current can rarely be protracted without injury, 
lf\vilcVx> many cases the spine and neck may be faradized through very 
[ipTO\0^ Sed sittings, with positive benefit to the patient. To the head, 
also, a. Caradic current of a proper quality may be applied much longer 
toi ^ galvanic current, before unpleasant dizziness or headache is 
cxdteci, Xhe belief, pretty generally entertained in Europe, that the 
feradvcr current cannot be applied to ih^ head without injury, is to be 
**^coanicd for by the fact that most of the electric machines there em- 
ployed are separate coil machines, and do not furnish a current of suffi 
C'^nt smoothness for faradization of the head. Most of those who at- 
tempi this method of treatment use too small electrodes, and thus give 
^"^ ciirrent greater density than the brain can bear. Galvanization of the 
^yc Or ear, or of the cervical sympathetic, must always be shorter than fara- 
^^tiofi of the same parts. These considerations, hoiveverj need not inter- 
^^^ with the use of the galvanic current to these parts, in all cases where 
infers a positive advantage over the faradic. There is no real danger 
'^siog either current on any patient, provided it be used properly, 
^ Consideration of some practical importance with general practt- 
*^^rs is^ that the faradic apparatus is more convenient, more portable, 
/* even the compactest galvanic apparatus that has yet been devised. 


'^ impossible, however, for any practitioner to realize anything like 
^\\ benefit of electrization without apparatus for the galvanic as 


3« the faradic current. 

^c general differential Indications for the use of the two airrenta 
I y W thus summed up. The galvanic shoidd be used— 


^^ffin, spinal cord^ sympathetic, or any part of the central or pertph^ 
""^ Nervous system. 

** To produce contractions in paralysed musclex that fail to respong 
*> ^^ faradic. 


5* In electro-surgery^ to produce electrolysis or caute* hathn. 

The faradic should be used^ — 

1. To act MILDLY on the drain, spinal cord^ sympathetic^ or any pan 
of the central or peripheral nervous system* 

2. To excite muscular contractions wherever the muscles are not J# 
much diseased as to be unable to respond to it. 

3. To produce strong mechanical effects. 

Both are essential in electro-diagnosis — the faradic especially for the 
muscles, and the galvanic especially for the nervous system ; and both 
are adapted for general as well as localized electrization, although in 
general electrization the faradic current is chiefly used. It logically 
follows from what has been said that very many — perhaps the majority 
-—of diseases are best treated not by one current exclusively, but by 
both cui rents, either in alternation or succession. Special indications 
will be given under the special diseases. 

The two currents compared to bromide of potassium and hydrate of 

We arc accustomed to compare in a rough way the differential action 
of the currents with the differential action of bromide of potassium and 
hydrate of chloral, the faradic current being the bromide of potassium, 
and the galvanic the hydrate of chloral. 

Bromide of potaf^sium is a safer remedy than hydrate of chloral, 
but there are very many cases where it is powerless, and the hydrate of 
chloral acts as a specific ; so the faradic current is safer than the gal- 
vanic, and therefore better adapted for general use, and, for those who 
use but one current, fulfils a larger requirement \ and yet there are 
many cases where it fails and the more powerful galvanic is demanded. 
Except for the cases where the galvanic current is clearly indicated, it 
is well to begin with the faradic current, just as we use bromide of 
potassium before resorting to hydrate of chloral - 

A combination of bromide of potassium and hydrate of chloral is 
frequently more effective in producing sleep and relieving pain than 
either remedy when used alone : similarly the combined or alternate 
use of the faradic or galvanic currents will sometimes accomplish much 
more than either current used exclusively. 


In order to secure the advantages of both currents, and at th*: same 
time to avoid the trouble and inconvenience of employing them in suc- 
gsion, or alternately, as is so freqyently necessary, we have c!evi$ed % 



lliod of using them simultaneously. To this method we have given a 

iie which sufficiently expresses its character — galvana-faradizaiion* 

may be either general or localized 

The method of general galvano-faradization requires a double 

ctrode, with one part for the galvanic and the other for the faradic 

trenL The copper plate may be connected at one part with the 

it of the faradic, and at another with that of the galvanic apparatus ; 

tisthe circuit is completed for both currents. 

fa localized galvano-faradization it is necessary to have in use t>¥o 

iWc electrodes; for this puq>ose the double excitors of Duchenne 

^r very well. By a proper construction and adjustment of the 

trodes it is possible to localize the two currents veiy near to each 

^* Whether any special therapeutical advantage arises from the 

Ita^eous use of the two currents, we are unable to state. 

t aJlow the above description of galvano*faradization to stand jusl 

ippeared in the first edition. 

ce we have used central galvanization — a method to be subse- 

Ijr described — we have dispensed almost entirely with general 




In this chapter we shall speak only of the principles on which 
electricity is used as a means of diagnosis in medicine. The details 
and special applications of these principles will appear under the van- 
ows diseases. 

A history of the use of electricity as a means of diagnosis would very 
likely be the history of electro-therapeutics itself. As soon as men 
began to use the voltaic pile in the treatment of paralysis and kindred 
diseases, about the middle of the last century, just so soon, probably, 
they began to test the power of the electric current to diagnosticate 
nisease. We logically infer that electrization was used as a means of 
diagnosis much earlier than the published treatises on the subject would 
show, from the fact that It has been so used— in a blind and empirical 
way, it is true — in this country, for thirty or forty years. Mankind, 
always and everywhere, are superstitious, credulous, ready to receive 
whatever approaches them with an air of mystery, much more so in the 
last century than in the present ; and it is certainly not unfair to sup- 
pose that the earlier experimenters in this department consulted, to a 
greater or less ejttent, the diagnostic or projihetic power of the subtle 
agent— electricity. Their ex]>eriments, we may suppose, were unscien- 
tific and unsatisfactory. They were probably neither based on any 
well-defined principles^ nor conducted by any intelligible system. Ac- 
cordingly, they secured very few tangible, or at least communicable, re- 
sults, and if scienti&c men had not espoused the cause of electro-thera- 
peutics, the phrase electricity as a means of diagnosis, would never have 
been known. Nearly all that has been accomplished in a scientific 
way, in this department, is comparatively recent ; though Marshall Hall 
earnestly called the professional attention to the fact that Electricity 
might assist us in differentially diagivosticating paralysis as far back as 
1839.* Since that time the subject has been studied by nearly all the 
prom nent workers in the department of electro-therapeutics 
♦ Medico -Chirurgical Transact iona, 1839, 



In order to be expert in electro-diagnosis, it is necessary lO be 
thoroughly {limiliar with the normal reaction of the different parts and 
organs of the body to faradic and galvanic electricity. The founda- 
tion principles, on which Electricity caji be made a means of diagnosis 
of disease, are simply these four : — 

FirsL The fact that all (he parts and organs of the body are more or 
less sensitive to the electric current^ and that this sensitiveness is modified 
^y disease. This electro-sensibiUty may be cither increased or dimin- 

If an electric current be passed through a boil, or irritable ulcer, or 
the skin, like any other irritant, it excites more pain than when it is 
applied ovei the healthy skin \ and this pain which it causes usually 
bears quite a direct proportion to the nature and condition of the 
inorbid process. This is so familtar and so apparent an example of in- 
crease of electro-sensibility, that to state it is to demonstrate it. The 
electric currents, during the various processes of electrization, penetrate 
beneath the skin, and, as it has been experimentally and practically 
demonstrated, traverse, to a greater or less extent, the principal vital 
organs. It is evident, therefore, that those organs which are abnor- 
mally sensitive, tlirough disease of any kind, must feel the current much 
mnore appreciably than when in a condition of health. 

But the mechanical effects of the electric currents work both ways, 
-and organs which are indurated or changed into an anaesthetic condi- 
tion by disease are less sensitive than is normal to the electric current, 
^ust as they are less sensitive to any other mechanical cause acting upon 

Accordingly, we find that when even powerful electric currents are 
passed through an indurated joint, or an atrophied liver, or any part the 
sensory nerves of which are paralyzed, they may produce little sensa- 

Before making examinations to determine the sensitiveness of the 
different parts of the surface of the body, it is necessary to know their 
relative normal sensitiveness, as indicated and described tn the chapter 
on Electro-Therapeutical Anatomy. 

No absolute Standard of Electro-sensibility, — ^We have no absolute 
or mathematical standard of electro-sensibility by which to compare 
the deviations that appear in disease. We can only compare the 
sensitiveness of parts with the average sensitiveness of the same parts 
in health. When half the body is diseased, as in hemiplegia, it may 
leidily be compared with the electro-sensibility of the healthy side. 
In all these examinations into sensibilitv we are dependent on the 




statements of the patient^ and the results will be influenced bj^Uiift 
telligencc and honesty. 

It need hardly be said that the diagnosis obtained by obsenring tlirt 
increased or diminished sensitiveness, of any part or organ, must^ofi^t 
cessity, be a very general one. It simply informs us of, and directs oni 
attention to, the fact that such a part or organ is in some way diseased 
The special nature of this disease uiusi be determined by the ordiiury 
means of differential diagnosis at our command* 

This sensitiveness to the electric current is particularly marked over 
the prominent nerve-tracts, and in those regions endowed with grt*^ 
tactile sensibility. If even a mild current be applied at those points ofl 
tlie upper or lower Umbs where the prominent nerves are superficial* * 
feeling of tingling or numbness is felt through the branches of ^^ 
affected nerve ; and if the current is very much increased in strcog 
a decidedly anaesthetic effect is experienced. In paralysis of sen 
tion, or anesthesia, this feeling of tingling, thrill, and numbness ^ 
very much diminislied under the influence of the electric current, of ^ 
ent\riJy absent It is on this principle that electricity becomes amo^ 
valuable means of diagnosis in the various stages of anaesthesia. ^ 
condition of anaesthesia or analgesia (loss of sense of pain) can readOT 
be detected by the brass ball employed in general faradization, or ^f 
the metallic brush, or by any other form of electrode* To dctc^^ 
analgesia the electrode should be moistened so that the current m^y 
penetrate the epidermis. 

General faradization is found to be of practical utility in aiding us ^^ 
determine the locality of certain diseases, if not their precise natar^' 
In dyspepsia, electrization often reveals great sensitiveness in tt^^ 
epigastric region, and on the left side over the spleen. In sevr*'^ 
dyspepsia, accompanied by emaciation, a current is sometimes pai*** 
fully transmitted from the middle of the back to the neighborhood ^ 
the epigastrium. A peculiar sinking sensation is sometimes felt at t^^ 
pit of the stomach when a strong current is applied over the seven ^^ 
cervical vertebra, or over the brachial plexus. All these sympioir»^» 
taken together, undoubtedly suggest an aggravated case of dyspepsia* 
and usually of the nervous variety. Congested or irritable states of th^ 
liver are revealed by an abnormal and peculiar sensitiveness when lb* 
current is applied over the right hypochondriac region. Care must M 
taken t however^ rwt to confound the normal sensitiveness of the superacid 
nerves over the ribs, with an abnormal condition of the liver. There 
are certain diseases of this organ in which it is less sensitive than mo J 
to electrization, ar i sometimes it appears to be decidedly anaesthetic. 


f^3~ A lady padent of ours who had suffered for years from liepatic disor- 

«5^r was very sensitive to the current excepting over the right hypcchon- 
ci riac region, where she could bear the w^hole power of the apparatus 
^vtthout any discomfort, except that which was necessarily caused by 
^^e natural tenderness of the skin. The precise condition of the liver 
Sk.t that time we were not able to ascertain. The evidence> howeveri 
-was sufficient to confirm our previous suspicions in regard to the exis- 
tence of some affection of that organ. It may be said in general, 
Xliat those diseases which cause the liver to be sensitive to external 
|^>ressiire, also cause it to be sensitive to electrization. The same 
general principle will apply to the stomach, the spleen, the intestines, 
2Lntl the ovaries. Our experience in the electrical treatment of diseases 
of the lungs has not been large, but it has been sufficient to make it 
quite probable that certain sensitive conditions of tuberculous deposit 
mxiay be suggested by abnormal sensitiveness to the faradic current over 
t-hc apex of the chest. 

Electro-diagnosis of the sensory nerves requires us to examine the 
«:zondition not only of the various portions of the skin, but also of the 
^^erve-branches, and the plexuses. 

If in cutaneous anaesthesia we find normal sensitiveness on the nerve- 
fcjranches, we judge that the disease is confined to the nerve ramificap 
^^lions only. 

If in complete ansesthesia of an extremity the nerve plexus exhibits a 
'^normal reaction, we also judge diat the disease is not central but peri- 
:^pheral, including the nerve branches. 

Far ih€ purpose of testing the condition of sensation the faradic cur- 
^rent is usually to be preferred, for the reason that its mechanical effects 
.arc greater than those of the galvanic 

The electro-sensibilit}' may be normal or nearly so when ordinary 
sensibility is much diminished. In some cases of posterior spinal scle- 
rosis, for example, a moderate electric current may be fully perceptible 
while a pin may be thrust into tlie flesh without causing any pain. 

The Head, — In health the head is y^jy sensitive both to galvaniza- 
tion and faradization, in all parts except the posterior. This electro- 
sensitiveness of the frontal and parietal regions of the head is due to 
the superficial nerv^es, and not to the brain itself. In pathological cases 
this sensitiveness may be either increased or diminished. 

Spine,— \u health the spine is but Utile sensitive to the current. In 
pathological cases it may exhibit a sensitiveness to the electric current 
that is not revealed by pressure or by any other method of irritation. 
This con d: tier i is found in neuralgia, spinal jritation, hysteria, etc \t 





is interesting, also, to know that electric examination sometimes indi 
catcs abnormities in the sensitiveness of certain parts of the body thai 
exhibit no functional derangement.* 

Sympailuik and Pneumogasirir. — The ganglia of the cervical synipa 
thetic and the pneumogastric raay be examined electrically by the innci 
border of the slerno-cleido-mastoid muscle. Sometimes there is abnor- 
mal sensitiveness all along the border of the sterno-cleido-mastoid 
muscle in the track of the pncumogastric. This sensitiveness is found 
in a large number of pathological conditions, locomotor ataxia, muscular 
atrophy, various cerebral affections, etc. We have observed it also in 
spinal irritation, and during paroxysms of sick headache. This abnor- 
mal sensitiveness may be frequently demonstrated by mechanical pres< 
sure. We are disposed to regard this sensitiveness as due to the pneuino- 
gastric more than to the sympathetic. 

EUctro muscular Sensibility, — Electro -muscular sensibility includes a 
feeling of pain and a feeling of contraction. The latter may exist with* 
out the former. 

Success in investigating electro-muscular sensibility depends on the 
condition and intelligence of the patient. 

In conditions of cutaneous hyperaesthesia it is exceedingly difficult, 
even for the most inielligent patient^ to distinguish between the sensi- 
tiveness of the skin and that of the muscle. 

In paralysis electro muscular sensibility is frequently diminished^ 
together with the electro-muscular contractility ; they often rise and 
fall together. In hysteria, electro- muscular sensibility to pain is some- 
times greatly increased. For remarks on the physiological nature of 
clectro-muscular sensibility, see Electro-Physiology, p, 148. 

Secondly, The fact that the electro-muscular contractility and irriich' 
bility are more or less modified by disease. 

Irritability strictly refers to the quivering which muscles exhibit 
under mild currents ; contractility to the power of actually contracting 
under whatever strength of current may be necessary. The two terms 
are very frequently used interchangeably. 

That muscular contractions can be produced by the electric currents, 
has been known since the period of the earliest investigations in the 
department of electro physiology. 
, The first systematic attempts to make this a basis for establishing 
differential diagnosis were made by Dr. Marshall Hall, and subsequently 
by Dr, Todd The conclusions of these distinguished experimenter! 
are quite familiar, and as they were unsitisfactory and partly en oni 
• Beixedikt op. cit., p, 6a 



it IS not necessary to present them in detail More recent investiga- 
tions liave established that the behavior of the deep-seated muscles, in 
tegard to their contractility, is a much more complicated question than 
w^s formerly supposed. The contractile power of a muscle is made up 
of two factors, viz.: the excitability of the intramuscular nerve -fibres, 
md the functional capacity or irritability of the muscular substance 
itself. When, therefore, the contractile power of a muscle differs in 
any respect from the normal, this variation may be due to an abnormii 
eofidition of either one or both of these factors. Still further, it is 
aiated that when the excitability of the intramuscular nerve-fibres and 
the irritability of the muscular substance are increased, yet if the 
Conner has suffered more than the latter, the contractile power may b** 
citiiiinished, and vk^ v€rsd. 

In comparing htaiihy with diseased sides in paralysis^ it is necessarj^ 
^^ use not only the same itrength of current^ but also the same relative 
^^s it ion and pressure of the electrodes^ 

The general principles that have thus far been established, b regard 
•^o the relation of electro-muscular contractility to disease, are as fol- 
^^ows : — 

ist In paralysis of motion, the electro-muscular contractility is 
^metimes normal, occasionally increased, and very frequently dimin- 

Increase of electro -muscular contractility, or at least of irritability, may 
-3>c observed in dbeases of the brain, attended with irritative lesions, in 
-certain spasmodic and hysterical afifections, and occasionally in loco- 
^:inotor ataxia. Diminution of electro-muscular contractility is usually 
obseived in grave lesions of the anterior columns of the spinal cord, 
and motor tract of the brain, in rheumatic paralysis, lead palsy, in well- 
marked progressive muscular atrophy, and in paralysis from injury of a 
ocrvc in some part of its course. 

2d. In certain central diseases, the electro-muscular contractility is 
It first normal or diminished^ and afterwards increases with the progress 
of the disease, until it becomes greater than normal 

The length of time that is necessary to illustrate ttiesc variations de- 
pends on the nature of the disease. In chronic inflammations of the 
spinal cord, in effusions in die brain, causing hemiplegia, these varia- 
tions may run through many weeks and months. In cases of hemiple- 
gia also, these different conditions of the electro-muscular contractility 
may run in a circle; being sometime? normal, sometimes increased, 
tnd sometimes diminished (Benedikt), All these changes correspond, 
of Course, to certain changes in the pathological condition of the 



diseased brain* Just what this correspondence is in each case, cannoC* 
in the present state of electro-pathological science, be well detemMticd- 

3d. The fact that certain forms of paralysis behave very J" 
under the faradic and the galvanic current. Muscles over 
faradic current can have no influence, may contract easily under * 
milder galvanic current than is necessary to produce contractions of th^ 
same muscles in health. Sometimes, as the paralyzed muscles reco^rr* 
they regain their power of contracting under the faradic currentt al ^ 
same time proportionately losing their contractility under the gatm**- 
current. This law is most readiiy demonstrated in peripheral iad^l 

This fact, that in certain peripheral paralyses gahano myscukf i^^ 
tractUity may remain after far ado- muscular contractility is whlhl*st^ 
was first pointed out by Baierlacher in 1859. His observations W^ 
since been confirmed by Schulz, Meyer,* Althaus» Hammond, Ra^clfc 
Ziemssen,t Legros and Onimus,J our5elveS|§ and other observers. (Sc« 
section on peripheral paralysis.) 

Some of the more specific principles on which electricity is used 3* 
a means of diagnosis in medicine may be thus stated* Although ^^ 
tractions occur only on closing or opening the current, yet we &^^ 
guish four kinds designated by the following abbreviations : ist, C ^ 
C. ; 2d, A. O. C. ; 3d, A. C. C, j 4lh, C. O. C. 

The first is the cathodal closure contraction, and occurs when 


cathode, or negative pole, is applied to the nerve or muscle, and ^ j 
current closed. 

The second, a nodal opening contraction^ occurs when the anoJ^ 
positive pole is a[>plied to the nerve or muscle and the circuit opcn^ 

The third, anodal closure contraction, occurs when the anode is 
plied and the current closed. 

The fourth, cathodal opening contraction, occurs when the cath^ 
is applied and the current opened. 

The readiness with which these various contractions are indii* 
relatively to each other, depends altogether upon the strength of 
current and the condition of the nerves, whether diseased or healtW 
If on the healthy nerve or muscle the negative pole is pressed^ an^ 
current of sufficient strength employed, it will be found that on closr' 
the circuit a contraction takes place. In order, however, to induce 
contraction of the same vigor on opening the circuity it is neces 

• Op. cit., p. 417. 
top. cit., p 6i» 

f Eleciridtai in der Medicin, 1 866, p, jl 
§AVw York Medical Rtcord, 1868, p. , 


ihat the strength of the current be increased. Each one can readily 
confirm this statement for himself, and by experimenting thoroughly it 
will be found that contraction in the healthy muscle occurs in the order 
just given* 

In diseased conditions, however, this formula is subject to great va- 
riations. The readiness with which a muscle contracts to electrical 
influences may be increased. This occurs in certain cases of hemi- 
plegia associated with an irritative lesion ; and in the early stages of 
facial paralysis due to the action of cold associated with a rheumatic 
diathesis. In these cases the mtra-muscular nerves are attacked from 
t.he beginning, while there is but Httle if any alteration of the muscular 
^bres. The faradic current causes contractions through the intra-muscu- 
lar nerves ; therefore, in cases such as the above, its [>ower to produce 
xnuscular contractility is lost. The galvanic current, acting more espc- 
<:ially on the muscular fibres, retains its power, and, as experience shows, 
aL milder current will cause contractions than is found necessary for the 
liealthy muscle. As the patient improves, it takes an increased tension 
of galvanism to cause the same effects, until, finally, farado-nurscular 
<ontractility becomes manifest, Again^ the readiness of contraction 
may be decreased and finally abolished, as in the late stages of bulbar 
paralysis ; occasionally in paralysis following acute diseases, in myeli- 
tis, and in progressive muscular atrophy. 

The above are termed quant tlative reactions^ consisting, as has beco 

stated, in a simple increase or diminution in the quickness of re* 

sponse to a current of given strength. Qnalilative^ which includes as 

ireli quantitative changes — in otht;r words termed %\\^ reaction of de gen* 

Nation — consist in an alteration in the order of occurrence of the 

Contractions, These changes are observed in any form of traumalic 

Paralysis where the continuity of the nerve has been completely inter- 

Hjpted, in rheumatic paralysis associated with compression at some 

PoiDt of the nerve, in lead palsy, many forms of infantile paralysis, in 

^inal paralysis where the gray matter is much involved, in progressive 

niuscular aUophy, in some cases of neuritis, bulbar paralysis, in cases 

Of pressure on the nerve by tumors or cicatrices, etc, and in some 

{Paralyses the result of acute diseases. 

The normal formula becomes, in the above cases of paralysis, sub- 
ject to the following changes : The negative pole at its closure (C. C. 
C) becomes as weak or even weaker than the positive (A. C. C), and 
the positive pole at its opening (A. O. C.) becomes weaker than the neg^ 
ative at its opening (C. O. C). At the same time the contractions be- 
come weaker and less rapid than in health. When the circuit is closed 



the con trad ions are also liable to become tetanic* while rapid interriii> 
tions o{ the galvanic current utterly fail to call forth any response. 

VoiUianai Contractility may exist when EitctrO'C&tUractility is di- 
minishid, — ^The volitionai power may remain when the electric contracti^ 
lity is diminished- If a muscle exhibits diminution of contractility undei 
electric irritation, but reacts normally to the wiJi^ the conclusion is thai 
the muscle is not injured, but that the abnormity is caused by change in 
the irritability of the intra-muscular fibres. This is observed in certain 
stages of traumatic and lead paralysis. We arrive at the same conclu- 
sion in those cases where the muscles refuse to contract under direct, 
but respond normally to indirect, electrization. 

Muscles of the eye are an exception to this rule, slncc^ from thetr 
anatomical position, they cannot be made to contract by directi bul 
only by indirect* reflex action from the fifth pair. 

Cases where reaction is lost both to the will and electricity indicate 
actual injury of the muscle* 

Furthermore, it should be considered that the electro-muscular con- 
tractility and sensibility of diseased muscles may be and are greatly 
modified by the treatment, both permanently or temporarily. Modifi- 
cation may take place even during the s<^ance* 

Thirdly. That the special physiological reactions of the centroi 
and peripheral nerious systems to the galvanic current are essentially 
changed when the nerve is in a pathological condition. 

This is true of the spinal cord, the mator and sensory nerves, spinal 
cord and nerves of special sense, and of the sympathetic. According 
to Benedikt, if the negative pole is placed, for example, on the pero- 
neal nerve, and the positive on the patella, with an interrupted current, 
a weaker irritation appears than when the positive pole is placed on 
the cervical or lumbar vertebrae. The more the central parts are in* 
eluded in the circuit the greater the irritation. In pathological con* 
ditions this reaction is changed. 

Opening contractions are regarded by Benedikt as characteristic 
evidences of certain forms of locomotor ataxy. They are observed 
also in neuritis and in chorea minor. They indicate a molecular dis- 
turbance. They accompany both increased and diminished irritabilityi 
usually the latter.* 

Nen^es of Special Sense. — The changes of the reaction of the nerves of 
special sense to electric irritation maybe both ^mintitatire And ^ua/itativf* 

• These views of Benedikt* concerning the significance of ** opening contraction^^ 
have been *everclj :ritij:ised by Brenoca' (»• Untefsuchutigen," kc^ Bd. iL, 1S69, fk 
a 15, et «q.). 



AMdUory Nerve, — It has been shown that the reaction of the auditory 
■>crve to galvanic irritation — the strong subjective sensations of sound 

is materially changed by disease ; and by this we judge of the 

^::oiidition of the nerve. (See Diseases of the Ear.) 

Optic Nerve. — The reaction of the optic nerve under the indu- 

^^nce of the galvanic current, is attended with flashes of light. The 

c^ualitative changes in reactions of the optic nerve to electrical irrita^ 

don are numerous. In certain pathological cases, as we have observed, 

£ashes of light may be produced by tlie faradic current. In other 

13athological cases, as severe atrophy of the retina, the flashes of light 

«lo not appear during galvanization, or only when a very strong current 

m$ used. We have observed very marked differences in the reaction of 

Efae optic nerve in the two eyes when one was diseased and the othei 

Wealthy. Flashes of light from galvanization of the lower part of the 

spine are indicative of abnormal irritability or organic disease of the 

«pinal cord. They are observed in locomotor ataxia and spinal 


Olfactory and Gustatory Nerves. — The peculiar smell that is ex- 
perienced on galvanization of the olfactory nerve may be either in* 
creased or diminished by disease. It is absent in paralysis of the olfac* 
Xmy nerve. 

The peculiar metallic taste that follows galvanization of the tongue, 
or that is experienced by reflex action when the galvanic current is ap- 
plied on the neck and upper part of tlie spme, is subject to various 
modiflcations by disease. In irritable conditions of ilie cord we have 
observed that this metallic taste will appear when the application is 
made in the lower part of the spine. In two striking instances it was 
tJtperieoced from faradization of the cilio-spinal region. 

fourth. The fact that in certain central diseases, and in conditions 

ff great irritability^ as hysteria^ the reflex effect of the current is so 

^aiiedas to excite reactions that in a normal condition of the body never 

^pp^ar. Thus, in a lady of middle life, who for several years had suf- 

tred from all the symptoms of declared chronic myelitis, we were first 

struck by the fact that even a very mild current over the upper portion 

Of the back was sensitively felt down the right leg. This symptom we 

*l^vc never known to occur in a perfectly healthy condition of the 

Spinal cord. Afterwards we found that a very short a-s well as very 

tuild application of the current to one leg caused a disagreeable feeling 

^ pain and heaviness not only in this leg, but also in the other, for 

Several days following the application. In another case of general 

paral)*sis dependent on hysteria, a very feeble current localized ip one 



hand, or in one foot, would be appreciably, and oftentimes iiainfully, 
felt through all the four extremities. The patient declared tliat ihfi 
w^hsation was like tliat of " waves rolling through the body/* 

A still more marked illustration of this diagnostic power of elentruEA^ 
lion was the following : 

In the case of a iady whose lower limbs had been somewhat para- 
lyzed for two years, who presented no marked symptoms of severe 
organic disease of the cord, we were inclined to suspect that her para- 
plegia might be due to nervous exhaustion, until this abnormal redex 
sensitiveness to the electric current seemed to establish the existence 
of myelitis, or at least meningitis. We first observed that a feeble cur- 
rent ill the neck was felt down the spinCi and subsequently the patient 
complained that a strong current down the lower extremities trans- 
mitted pain to the back. The occurrence of this abnormal symptom 
forced us to the unwilling conclusion that we were dealing with a case 
of organic disease of the spine. The subsequent history of the case 
has confirmed this diagnosis. It has been shoiJVTi by Benedikt,* that, 
in certain morbid conditions, electrization of one extremity produces 
contractions in the other. This phenomenon has been observed in 
progressive muscular atrophy, and in certain reflex neuroses. In a case 
of rheumatic gout that we treated the application of tlie galvanic cur- 
rent to the left knee caused a sharp pain in the corresponding part of 
the right knee. 

This fact enables us not only to make a diagnosis of central disease, 
but in certain cases even to suspect the seat of the affection. 

We are confident that in all cases of crossed reflex contractions 
^ust as in the cases of crossed reflex sensation above cited — there is 
always some central disease. This symptom when it occurs may per- 
haps then be regarded as so far forth diagnostic 

Crossed reflex sensations and crossed reflex contractions may be 
manifested simultaneously in a patient aifected with organic disease of 
the spinal cord. This singular coincidence was observed in the case 
above recorded of the lady who complained of waves of sensation all 
over the body when the current was applied to any one of the four ex- 
tremities. These peculiar sensations were sometimes accompanied by 
feeble and spasmodic jiuscular contractions. 

, General shaking and tremor of a limb, or of the whole body, after 
electrization, is also diagnostic of central disease. We have observed it 
in one case of softening of the brain, and in a number of cases of hemi- 
plegia. This general or partial tremor does not appear utiless a coa 
• Die Elcktrotlwarapic, p^ 63. 



siderablc strength ol current has been employed, or the application ha.« 
l)een much prolonged. 

Dipttgu Contractions, — Remak,* of Berlin, was the first to note th* 
fact, that contractions of the muscles of one or both of the upper extrenu 
ties may sometimes be produced by placing the positire pole in the 
auriculo-maxillary fossa, just posterior to the ascending ramus of the lowet 
jaw, and the negative by the side of the sixth cervical vertebra* Th< 
theory of Remak, that these contractions, to which he gave the name of 
^* diflegic,'* were caused by irritation of the superior ganglia of the sym 
pathetic, was apparently confirmed by Fieber,f by experiments on ani 
mals in whom the sympatlietic was exposed^ and sobjected to the action 
of the current- 
Strong currents — from twenty to forty elements — are usually, though 
not always, necessary to produce these contractions. The contractions 
may be of various degrees, from mild drawing, with scarcely perceptible 
oscillations, to violent movements resembling chorea. They may appeal 
in the interossei or in the muscles of the arm or forearm of one or both 
sides. They may also appear in other positions of the electrode than 
the one described. From one to five minutes are usually necessary to 
excite them, and they may continue for a few moments after the appli- 
cation has ceased* 

That these so-called diplegic contractions are a reality and not a de- 
'usion, as some have declared, we have demonstrated in a number of 
C^^es, and especially in progressive muscular atrophy. The cases where 
Hiey are readily demonstrated, are, according to our observation, not 
ft^equcnt, and we can easily see that one might practise electro therapeu- 
tics for a long time without seeing any, especially as currents of con- 
siderable strength, applied in a certain manner, are necessary to pro- 
duce them. 

The evidence that these contractions occur exclusively through the 
Sympathetic is not to our view satisfactory, and there is stronger proba- 
lz>ility that the spinal cord is the centre, which in certain irritable con- 
viitions exhibits these manifestations under strong electrical stimula- 
tion. In none of the methods of application where these diplegic con- 
tractions are called forth is it possible to localize the current in the 
sympathetic. The special diagnostic value of these contractions is not 
^reit. They occur not only in progressive muscular atrophy, but in 
liyslcria and hj steroid affections, and would appear to be patliogno 

^ ApplicanoD iJit courant constant au traLtement des neurones. Pan&, t%i&^m 
f Die diplegischen ContracticMieii n^cb Versudien im Menschen und Thkre^ 
^lin, 1S66, pp. 21, 22, 2J. 




>cpi o ^S 

iDonic of DO one special disease, but mther of a conditioa of trriubifi' 
of the nerve-centres that may appear in many dLfiferent diseases* 
Feigned Diseases. — By the application of the principles stated 
the electric currents may be of great service in helping us to 
real from feigned disease. A case of pretended paralysis of niotioii 
sensation can readily be settled by applying the current to the 
since no force of will can fully resist the energy of the contractioiis 
electricity may excite in healthy muscles, or the pain that can be 
duced by strong faradization of the skin. The principle wdl work botb^ 
ways, andt if the electro niuscular contracttlity is diminished below 
normal standard, we may know that the disease is rcaL Where 
side or one limb only is affected^ the comparison between the healtb^^ 
portions and those where disease is susi^ected can easily be made. 
Russell Reynolds* mentions a patient with hemiplegia who was 
posed to be malingering. Electrization of the limbs on both 
showed clearly a diminution of contractility on one side, as the [jauerL^ 
represented, and accordingly the case was pronounced to be one of 

Dr, Althaus f records a case of suspected malingering that he studw 
by the aid of electricity. A member of a workingmen*s benefit 
cly professed that he had lost the use of his arm in consequence of 
accident— a fall — three years before. The question was whel 
society should give hiuj the j^ioo to which permanently incapat 
lueinbers are entitled. The |>atient, though tall and strong, had 6xM 
work since the accident, and professed to be unable to undress hitiiscl 
On examination with tlie faradic current, Dr* Akhaus found that 
tile muscles of the arm responded without difficulty ; he therefore 
dinied that the nerves and muscles were uninjured — in other 
ihai there was no paralysis. He found, however, that when a v* 
itroilg current was used the patient appeared to suffer, but the arm 
Wt •Kc<ute the movements it should do when the muscles contr 
Aci^urvlingly, he had the patient ani^sthetized by nitrous oxide gas« 
WNt to sec whether any andiylosis existed that might interfere 
Im Wlfyvtn'icnts of the arm. It was found that no anchylosis exists 
IVs Aliluus g»vc a certificate that the patient had no paralysb 
•Na Aiic^losis or dislocation, but that there was a painful affection 
An \pmx which would yield to subcutaneous injections of morphia 
fphOKlWV *iid that the patient could use the arm if he wished l^^ 
Tift dftMii for benefit money was disallowed. 

f iijf a means of distinguishing real ft am apparent deeUk 
«• AprU Id, 187a f ThiM EditloD, ^ 455. 




lUfir-^^J^ioscffpy, — The use of electricity as a means of dstingoishiDg 

tTx>n:i apparent death was suggested as long ago as 1792, by Drs. 

stKl and Creve- Subsequently Boer, of Vienna, used fmnklinic 

on newly-born infants, and found that when muscular con* 

j:ractioiis still existed, then the child was not dead, but could be re- 


In 1852, Dr. Criniotel, of Paris, wrote a memoir in which he stated 
[ that when farada-conira^Hliiy is gone, life is extinct. He stated fur- 
I thcrmore that farado-contractility gradually disappears after death, and 
I ^^ after a period ranging between half an hour and two hours it en- 
rtirely disappears* He suggested the term eUctra-diosccpy^ and recom- 
mended that those who are apparently dead from drowning, syncope, 
J apoplexy, freezing, hysteria^ and tlie inhalation of poisonous gases, 
[Aould, before burial, be tested. 

Rosenthal, of Vienna, has also studied the subject with much care, 
I He has found that both farado- and galvano-contractility gradually disap 
I pear after death. He agrees in the main with Crimotel in the follow- 
[ing general conclusions: 

^*^^^ro.c0ntractiliiy disappears more rapidly after death from ehronic 
I , , **^w// diseases ; it persists langer in well tfian in hadly nourished 
\ 9aa$t^^ ^^^^ ^ usually disappears within three hours. 

*^^^nthal found that in amputated limbs the farado- and galvano-con- 

**Hy were active the first hour, and entirely disappeared in ninety 

» ^^s* In case of drowning electro-contractility disappeared in three 

ajid a quarter. In some cases where rigor mortis has not ap- 

^ ^ ^^, where the temperature of the body is yet quite high, and where 

^ ^^^iiils are flexible, the absence of electrocontractility yet proves 

^ "^^^ question that the person is dead. 

. ^cnthal further records a very remarkable case of trance in a hys- 

*j. ^"^^ woman, where it was declared and believed by the physician 

^iie patient was dead* The skin was pale and cold ; the pu- 

^^ ^ntracted, and not sensitive to light ; no pulse could be felt ; 

^rj ^^ jxtremities w*ere relaxed ; melted sealing-wax dropped on the 

J ^»iised no reflex movements, and no moisture appeared on a 

t ^^^^^ ^ held before the mouth. Respiratory murmurs could not be heard, 

VI ^^ feeble intermittent sound in the cardiac region was just percepti- 

. *^ auscultation. For thirty huo hours the patient had been appar 

^^ dead ; but on electric examination Rosenthal found farado-eon" 

^Jity in the muscles both of the face and the extremities. He 

^^^fore urged the use of the faradic current to restore the patient 

V^ ^^clve hours the patient recovered her speech and movements 


Two years afterwards she was alive and well, and informed Rosenthal 
that she knew nothing about the commencement of the attack of the 
trance, and that afterwards she heard people talk about her death, b it 
she was powerless to help herselil 



Eiectra-tkeraptuiicai anatomy includes a description of the localities oi 

which the different nerves^ muscles^ and organs can he best affected by 

the electric currents , and also the relative electro-sensibility of the dif 

fercnt parts of the body. It is therefore to electro-therapeutics what 

surgical anatomy is to surgery. 

Motor Points of Muscles. — The subject of the motor points was first 

Systematically studied by Ziemssen, who experimented on the recently 

^^ad subject, and marked with nitrate of silver the points at which the 

**l dividual nerves and muscles most readily responded to faradization, 

^'Wany of these points can be easily and successfully studied on the living 

*^ uiiian subject. Those which we have represented in the cuts are derived 

*^"iostly from numerous observations on persons in health, The5^ have 

«:^*^eii found to agree in the main with those of Zienissen, with which 

"^^ey have been compared, and by which they have been made more 

-^^^ccurate and complete. Those who wish to examine the subject in 

l^^reatcr detail are referred to the work of Ziemssen,* 

It will be found, however, that those which are here described are 
^St, ufficien t for most of the purposes of electro-therapeutics. 

The best method of verifying these points is to place one large 
^^pongc electrode, well moistened, on some indifferent point, and to 
*rirmly press a small negative f electrode, also well moistened, over the 
^apot where the nerve or muscle should be affected. If the right place 
'is touched, and the strength of the current and the pressure be suffi* 
■^cient, the normal physiological action of the part affected will at once 
Appear. In the case of muscles contraction will take place, accom- 
panied with a feeling of contraction ; in the case of nerve-branches and 
:plexuses, there will be sensation more or less painful along the periphe- 
* :»al ramifications of the nerves, and, if the excitation be sufficiently 
•trong, contraction of the muscles which they supply. 

• Pic Electricitiit in der Medicin. Berlin, 1866, p. IS4^ et s«q. 
f The negative is to be piefcfred, because it is the stronger, *nd tcU more power. 
fuily in producing cuntnctions. 






It h not to be understood that a studious regard for all of these elec 
trie points is always necessary in making apphcations of electricity. In 
tlie normal condition most of the superficial and many of the deeper 
muscles and nerves are easily excited by ordinary labile applications 
with large sponge electrodes. Some of the miiscles have two or more 
motor points, and are therefore more readily affected by large than by 
small electrodes, 

A large sponge electrode of from 3 to 6 or 3 inches in diameter, folded 
over a brass ball, such as is used in general taradization, — causes full 
contraction of a majority of the superlicial and deep muscles when rapidly 
passed up and dow^n the limbs. 

But when the muscles have become diseased, so that they res pom] 
with difficulty to the electric current, it becomes necessary to give spe- 
cial heed to the situation of these motor points, in order to determine 
their actual electric condition, or to aid in restoring tliem to their nor- 
mal condition by exciting artificial contraction. 

It should be remarked furthermore, that these motor points vary in 
different individuals, just as the anatomical relation of the nerves and 
muscles varies, and that the representations of Hie cuts can be only 
approximately correct. 

The points at whicli tlie nerves and rauscles of the eye, ear, and 
larynx can be best electrized, also llae best method of electrizing the 
oesophagus, rectum, genital and abdominal organs, will be described in 
the chapters devoted to the diseases of those parts. 

We present below a brief description of the points at which the prin- 
cipal nerves, plexuses, and branches can be best excited electrically, 
and also the physiological effect on the nerves and muscles produced 
by such excitation. 

Fudal — at its exit from the stylo-mastoid foramen, between the mas^ 
loid process and the angle of the lower jaw, or at the opening of the 
external auditory canal. 

Pneumogastrk — at the lower and anterior part of the neck, between 
»He common carotid artery and the jugular vein ; inferior laryngeal — 
between the cesophagus and the tradiea b)^ the ganglia of the sympa- 

The superior cenneal ganglion of the sympathetic can be reached in 
the anterior maxillary fossa, just behind and below the angle of the 
lower jaw ; the middie cervical^ by the side of the stern o-cleido-mastoid 
muscle, opposite the fifth cervical vertebra ; the inferior eervicaly also 
by the inner border of the sternocleido-mastoid muscle, opposite the 
second cervical and first dorsal vertebrae. 






Accessory — at its exit from :he sterno-cleido-ma^toid muscle, 
Hypoglossus — between the stylohyoid and hyoglossus muscles, under 
^e by Old bone* 

Phrenic — at the outer border of the stemo-cleido-mastoid muscle, 
%y the anterior border of the scalenus anticus, near the omohyoid mus- 
<Je. Excitation of this nerve causes strong movements of the chest. 

Brachial plexus — in the supra -clavicular space, posterior to the 

^>uter border of the sterno-cleido-mastotd muscle* Excitation of this 

plexus causes a feeling of tingling and numbness in the fingers and 

<lown the arm, and, when the current is strong, dexion of the forearm 

«od fingers. 

J}arsalis scapula^zX the border of the trapezius, near the accessory* 
Supra scapular is — -just before its entrance into the scapula, and ex* 
^c^mal to the omohyoid muscle. 

Anterior fhoracic — at the upper border of the pectoral is major, below 
^^^ clavicle. 

Posterior thoracic — above the clavicle, near the trapezius. 
The thoracic nerves arc irregular in their distribution, and therefore 
fBcult to find. 
v^x/7/tfry— at the upper and posterior border of the axilla. 
Musculocutaneous — between the btceps and coraco-brachialis. 
Median — in the lower third of the arm, at the point where it crosses 
e brachial artery. Mild excitation of this nerve causes tingling in the 
[1 and fingers ; a strong excitation causes closure of the fingers and 
Tonation of the hand. 

Ulnar — at the groove betiveen the olecranon and the internal con* 
yle. Excitation of this nen^e causes pain in the inner surface of the 
^'WDrearra and contracdon of the flexor carpi ulnaris, flexor digitonim 
^^rofundus, adductor polUcis lumbricalis, and interossei of the little 

Radial^n the lower third of the arm, at the point of its emergence 

• rem beneath the triceps Excitation of this nerve causes tingling in the 

^uter part of the arm and forearm, and down to the wrist \ strong 

Excitation produces extension of the first phalanges of the fingers, ex- 

"^cnsion of the hand and thumb and supination of the forearm, contrac- 

Tions of the extensor carpi radialis and ulnarls, extensor digitorum com* 

munis, extensor minimi digiti, extensor indicis prop., extensor pollicia 

bngus and brevis, adductor polUcis. 

Sciatic — in the thigh, posterior to the head of the femur, at the poin( 
where the nerves issue from the pelvis, or in the pelvis, through the 
posterior wall of the rectum. Electrization of this nerve causes sensa- 


Flo 43, Electro-therftpeatical Anatomy of Uie Homan Body. Posterior vien 
(For explanAtions sec letter-presi.) 


tions of tingling in the leg below the knee, and foot, sii;.Qar tc thost 
which we so often experience when we accidentally sit on ihc sciitk 

Crura! — just after its exit from beneath Poupart's ligament, extcricn 
to the crural artery. Electrization of this nerve causes sensations in 
those parts of the leg that are supplied by its branches. 

Obiuratcr — on the horizontal branch of the pubic bone. Iflbca|K 
plication is successful, and the current used sufficiently strong, the thigh 
is abducted. 

PafliUal— 'in the outer part of the popliteal space. Electrization of 
this nerve causes vigorous contraction of the muscles that move the 
foot upward and outward. 

PfToneal — on the posterior border of the capttulum fibulae. ExoBp 
tion of this nerve causes contraction of the tibialis anticus, peronci 
muscles, extensor digitorum communis longus, extensor digitorum Cflift* 
munis brevis, and extensor hallucis longus. 

Tibial, — This can be reached on the middle and outer part of the bee 
When strongly electrized, contractions arise in the muscle of the po** 
tenor part of the leg. The tibial nerve can more easily be reached i<* 
the depression posterior to the internal malleus. 

Farada-smsibility of ihc Surface of the Body.^Y^ry many nittsde* 
have no accessible motor points, and must therefore be electrired int»^ 
muscularly. Practically this is done in the majority of cases. Wc pje- 
sent in the accompanying cuts a bird's-eye view of the electric poiots' 
the prominent ner\xs, plexuses, and muscles, and of the relative 
siliveness of different parts of the surface of the body to the faradic cnr-* 

The relative sensitiveness of the different parts of the surface of lli^ 
body to faradization, we have also ascertained by numerous compirt 
tive observations on persons in health, with the moistened hand a»4 
well-moistened sponge electrodes, The method of making these obser- 
tions is to place the patient in the position for general faradization, *i^ 
his feet on the plate to which the negative pole is attached, while th^ 
experimenter applies the positive all over the surface of the body. 

Degrees of Farado-sensibility. — We have distinguished five degree* 
of sensitiveness, tlie highest being marked one. For all practical pBT* 
poses these are sufficient ; approximate accuracy is all that is attemptw- 
The sensitiveness of the body when irritated by the faradic current i» 
due partly to the quality and position of the sensory nerves, and psrff 
to the peculiar feeling that attends muscular contraction (electrcMini^ 
cular sensibility). 



The feeling of muscular contraction amounts iu some instances to 
actual pain, so that a parr which is not richly supplied with sensory 
nerves amy \et be very sensitive to the current This is especially the 
<ase with the sternO'Cleido-mastoid muscle, which on being touched 
iiear its centre contracts witli a painful jerk. The same is true» to a 
less extent, of the trapezius, the flexors of the arm, and of the pen nei^ 
Jiniscles. In all parts where no muscular contractions are produced, 
the sensitiveness of the surface of the body depends on the quality and 
position of the sensory nerves, and bears a pretty constant relation tci:j 
its sensitiveness to ordinary mechanical irritation. 

Thus it will be observed that the parts which are most sensitive to a 
fc/ow or fallj or to any mechanical injuiy, — as the head, face, or surface 
«^r the bones, clavicle, sternum, scapula, patella, etc., — are likewise 
&aia.rked highest in the scale of sensitiveness to the current. 
To guard against error it is necessary — 

s. To use always the same electrode and the same direction of the 
<:^ix»Tent j therefore the negative pole shoidd be kept at the feet during 
t: l-» ^ entire sitting* 

:3. To make the pressure of the electrodes uniform, and to moisten | 
^^•^^^^11 all parts supplied with hair. 

J. To use the moistened hand for the head and face. The head, es- 
Mr^^ss- -^ially, is so exceedingly sensitive to the faradic current that it will 
*^^=^*- ^rdly bear a sufficient strength of current through a sponge to make a 
^^^^^ mnparative estimate. 

It will be observed that only a few parts are marked 5 — the middle 

^^-**^ the back, the outer surface of the thigh, and the testicles. The peri- 

^^ '^^^^um, which cannot be represented in the cut, should also be marked 

^ ^ It will be observed that the points most highly sensitive are those 

^ "^ere very sensitive nerves pass over the surfaces of bones, as the head 

^*~"^ d jaws. Of the other parts not represented in the figures, the external 

fc^ditory canal should be marked i ; the middle of the sternocleido-nias- 

' id muscle, 2 ; the axilla, 3 ; and the ends of all the fingers, 2 ; the 

*^der side of the penis, 2 j the point between the penis and scrotum, 4 ; 

te under surface of the heel, the plantar arch, tlie ball of the foot, 4. If 

*>e external auditory canal, drum of the ear, conjunctiva, nasal mucoua 

' Membrane, tongue, and larynx were represented they should be marked 

^*^- degree or two higher than i, since they are more sensitive than any 

^^ortion of the surface of the head. The best point to test a current of 

^^ jttrerae feebleness is the tip of the tongue. 

Hke rectum, urethra^ and vagina are but Utile sensitive to the current 
*^ comparison with the mucous membranes of the m&uth^ except at their 



external ori fires* They mighi be marked 4 or 5* The os uteri ind the 
bladder would be marked 4, 5. 

It should be distinctly understood that these remarks apply to the 
applications of the faradic current mth electrodes sutlicierjtly moistened 
to allow the current to pass readily through the epidermis. In dry 
faradi nation die results are somewhat different, the pain at all parts be- 
ing far less. 

Farado-sensihility as compared with Galvano-scnsibiHty, — The gal- 
vanic current causes a burning sensation wherever it is applied ; but this 
is most sensitively fell at ihose parts that are abundantly sui>plied by 
sensory nerves. This burning feeling increases with the length of time 
that the current is applied. 

The greater sensitiveness of the bones to the faradic current, as com- 
jiared with the galvanic current, is due to the greater mechanical action 
of the former. An interrujited galvanic current, of sufficient strength 
to produce muscular contractions, produces the same sensations as the 
faradic current, with the addition of the burning feeling at the surface 
beneath the electrodes. The fact that the galvanic current is less pain- 
ful to the surfaces of the bones gives it a certain advantage in making 
applications to the head, although the pain of the faradic current, when 
applied to the head by the moistened hand, may be reduced to a mini- 

A Knowledge of the Normal EiectrO'SensibUity of tkt Body essenii€ii in 
Electro-diagnosis and Electrotherapeutics. — A knowledge of the relative 
sensitiveness of the diflfereut parts of the body to the electric current 
is indispensable both in electro diagnosis and electro-therapeutics. It is 
at once obvious that to determine by the electric test the extent of anaes- 
thesia, or loss of electro-muscular sensibility, in cases of paralysis* with- 
out a previous knowledge of the norma! sensitiveness of tlie parts to the 
electric current and the normal feeling of electro-muscular sensibility in 
the affected muscles, is simply impossible* From a want of this knowU 
edge \^iy important mistakes are made in eleclro-diagnosis. In local 
and general faradization a knowledge of the relative sensitiveness M" all 
the parts of the surface of the body enables one to make an applies lion 
which would otherwise be painful, and perhaps injuric uf^ botli painter 
tnd refreshing. 



*H^ general principles on which batteries are constnictcd, as wcl 
^ '^^inutc description of some of the best known elements, have already 
'^ Presented in the section on electro-physics. In this chapter we pro- 
Y^ to speak only of those combinations of elements that are used in 
, /^^•"o-therapeutics, and our descriptions will be of a general character, 
^^*^H^ reference mainly to the practical use and caxe of them by the 
^ ^'^^•'^-iherapeutisL 
^*^CV>re entering on the description of apparatus a few general re- 
1 ^*^ ^ njay be appropriate. 

^ good batterj* is not all that is necessary to make a good elertrn- 
'^ ^«&re exists an impression, quite widely prevailing in the profession, 
lat^^^g beginning and the end of the great science of electro-therapeu- 
^"^ ^^S' to get a battery. This impression has wrought much eviL It 
^ *^^:; en tl^e means of leading physicians to invest time and patience 
*^*^oney in a department for which they have no qualification. The 
pure i-^,asc of a battery is simply a first step in the right direction ; 
'* ^Ihe beginning of a long road. 
*^ ^ who uses electricity in medicine requires good apparatus, just 
^ ^^ surgeon requires good instruments and the carpenter good tools ; 
out a_^^ tools cannot make a carpenter, nor instruments a surgeon, so a bat- 
^ ^^^^-annot make one skilful in the therapeutical ose of electricity. It is 
^^^e battery, it is the brains, that makes a good electro- therapeutist, 
^ ^' '"The best and most recent apparatus is not so simple as to entirely 

Qisp^fe: ^^g^ ^,^^jj ^1^^ need of care and experience on the part of the physi- 

* *^^ ^ advance in the construction of apparatus for electro-therapeu- 
tkC* ^XMS been very great, but not sufficient to make it possible for 
^gJ^^Ac or galvanic apparatus to keep in order without attention, 

tj^st as the fire in the grate goes out unless the coil is replenished, 
tc^ ^ the gas is extinguished when the supply is shut off, so electricity 


generated in a battery ceases to flow unless the metals consumed in ihi 
chemical action are replaced or repaired. 

The best and simplest of batteries will sornetiiiies get out of onH 
Unexpected contingencies will arise that demand sosne knowledge «i 
applied electro -physics. The knowledge can be obtained only by ^tudf 
and experience. 

3. Whatever choice we make in our apparatus at the present dif, « 
shall probably not make any very serious mistake. A few years ago it wa 
impossible to get a really good apparatus for electro-therapeutics ; 50f 
It is almost impossible to get a really bad one. 

4, An apparatus to which we are accustomed is much more tracts * 
in OUT hands than a far superior apparatus, the management of vhiC- ^ 
new to us. It is with batteries as with babici — every man thinks Ius0«t 
is the best. We see the same principle illustrated in instruments (0* 
general and special surgery. 

Tike Induction Coil: Its Varitties, and the Differential Indki^^^^ 
far their Use. — There are in the market, and in common use m 
physicians, two quite different forms of apparatus. The first isti 
a separate coil, and the second a eontinmus er smgle coil appirattJS^ 
The separate coil apparatus is the one most commonly used and !•** 
one most generally understood. The separate coil is the variety ^ 
scribed and illustrated in every text-book of physics, but not in suffici^*** 
detail to make clear its mechanism when used for medical purpos^^ 
The accompanying diagram (Fig. 44) illustrates the course and *^ 
fluence of the electric current in an ordinary separate coil fara*^*^ 

All induction machines are composed of not less than two ttf^^ 
The first or primary coil consists of a large, well-insulated wire >** 
rounding a bundle of soft iron wire, which forms a magnetic ceni^^ 
Over this first or primary coil is wound a coil composed of several co**' 
volutions of fine^ well-insulated wire Un the induced current 1^* 
terminals of the first or primary coils of wire are united, one cftd ^ 
the battery that operates the coil, and the other to the part of tl* 
automatic rheotome according to the following description. As l^*^ 
battery is the important factor, let us start from it and follow the ^^ 
nections and action of the combinations that produce the effect: 

The positive pole (P) of the battery is connected with the govern^ 
marked A (Fig. 44). The negative pole (N) of the battery is connect^ 
with the first end df the primary coil, while the last end of the pntviaTj 
coil is connected with the spring support B. The electro-motive ft>fC« 
is conveyed from the battery through the primary coil to the spring ^^f 



rheotome), thence to the platina-pointed screw of the governor 
lastly to the battery, making the cotuplete circuit. 
e centre of the coil and surrounded by the soft iron wires is 
I soft iron rod. One end of the rod is bent at right angles, so 
hammer on the spring is directly over and can move toward 
: iron rod, marked C, When the vibrating spring is resting 
the platina-pointcd screw D and the battery is connected with 




Fir„ 44. 

the current, as it passes over the wire of this primary coil, ren- 
ignetic both the centre bundle of soft iron wires and the soft 

Hgnetism is of sufficient force to attract the soft iron hammer 
Kngi and draw it down or near to the magnetized rod C. 
iDOvement of die spring severs the coooeclion between the 
the platina*pointed screw D and opens the circuit. The 




soft iron rod, therefore^ loses its magnetism. The spring ceases to » 
held down, its tension being sufficient to raise it to a horriontal posiw 
where it again rests in direct contact with the plalina-pointed scie* f' 
Again ihe circuit is closed and the process as <^' 
scribed is repeated with inconceivable rapidity, ^*)f 
the action of the battery current, as it is convc)el 
over the primary coil, and the intlueoce of ihc mj^^ 
netized bundle of soft iron wires, a current is induced 
upon the second coil of fine ^vire which surroumls tHc 
primary coil This power of induction can be esuV 
lished to the fifth and sixth coil, and furtlier ifthc m^- 
netic field is properly arranged. 

In the ordinary form of induction coil just d^ 
scribed, tlie terminals of the secondary or fine wuc 
coil are free and in no manner connected with ik 
primary circuit. The influence of tnagnetism pro- 
duces a current which we call pure induced* 

In the continuous coil apparatus, on the coDtniy, 
we not only receive the Inductive indueoce, but iki 
primary influence as well, since it is carried ovtfT b 
i combination with the induced currents. Allhoogli 
^ called a continuous coil, it is really made vf tf 
several distinct coils, and each successive cci) 
creases in length but decreases in thickness. Tbdi 
coils are wound over each other, and are tapised a£ 
different portions of their length, but, un!*V 
forms, ihey make direct connection with e^ 
This accounts for an apparent contradiction oi 
that might prove confusing, 

These coils (Fig. 45) are, for convenience of 
tration, represented by the upper straight lines I, It 
111, IV, termed, respectively, the priaiaryp first, 
ond, and third induction coils. The letters A, Br C 
D, E represent the different posts of the continuous 
coil apparatus to which the conducting cords are it 
tached, while the numerals r, 2, j, 4, etc., indtcsfe 
^^B-iij-^ the combinations by which are obtained ten diflfcrwt 

j I qualities of current* The short line marked i, start* 

ing from A, represents the current from the sboiV 
thick, primary coil marked I, Second line (2), current from the prionff 
and first (I^ 11) induction coils combined. Third line (3), curreat 

Fig. 46. 
Faradtc Machine, with a tip arrangemem (Kidder). 



the primary and first and second (I, If* IH) induction coils. Fourth 
line (4)^ current from the primary, first, second, and third (I, 11, III, 
IV) induction coil?. Fifth line (5), current from the first (II) indue* 
lion coil only. Sixth Unc (6), current from the first and second (II, 
III) induction coils. Seventh line (7), cmrenl from the first, second, 
and third (tl, III, IV) induction coils. Eighth line (8), current from 
the second (III) induction coil Ninth line (9), current from the sec- 
ond and third (III, IV) induction coils combined. Tenth line (to), 
current from the third (IV) induction coil only. 

Therapeutical consid€ratwns.—\^\\^x\ we consider the many combina* 
tions that are possible in the continuous coil apparatus, and the diHerent 
qualities of current that result therefrom, its general superiority over the 
separate coil is sufficiently evident; and this supeiiorUy becomes more 
marked if we examine into the varied physical and physiological effects 
produced by these combinations* 

Our object of inquiry^ however, is not as to the relative merits of dif- 
ferent machines, but as to ihe comparative value of and the dififercniial 
indications for the use of the various combinations of the continuous 
coil api^aratus. This point of inquiry, although less important than 
when it relates to the two forms of dynamic electricity, is yet of no little 
account, and in some respects has been found to be more difficult of 

Notwithstandrng the many qualities of current that arc derived from 
the continuous coil, 1 have, alter much observation, reduced to three 
the number of combinations that seem to be worthy of differential con- 

Every therapeutic result that can be obtained by any of the ten com* 
bi nations heretofore considered will in all probability result from the 
use of some one of the following : 

1, The current from ihe primary coil, as represented by the lioc 
marked 1 (Fig* 45), 

2. The current from the primary and the first and second induction 
coils in combination, as represented by the line marked 5* 

5. The current from the primary and the first, second, and third in- 
duction cods in combination, as represented by the line marked 4, 

The primary coil )ields a current of large quantity but of small ten- 
sion, owing to the fact that the wire of which the coil is composed is 
short and thick. It is worthy of note, however, that this current has 
considerable chemical power. It will bum iron or steel, giving forth a 
bright detld grating spark, and will readily electro-plate, an clTect not 
obtainable with any of the induction coils, either alone or in combina- 



nun with each other This current is apparently very weak, and in- 
duces but slight muscular contractions in the healthy person. In occa- 
sional pathological conditions, however, this miJd current acts with 
unexpected energ}% producing muscular contractions far exceeding in 
vigor those that are called forth by the stronger action of the inductjon 

On account of its mild but efficient action the current from the pri- 
mary coil is preferable for applications to the head and the more sensi- 
tive portions of the body, and it will, as a rule, relieve pains of a true 
neuralgic character, and especially when great tenderness exists along 
the course of the nerve, far more eflTcctuaily than the current from any 
of the induction coib. It is impossible to account for this frequently 
observed fact, unless it be ascribed to a combination of the battery 
and the inductive influence. When dealing with an agent so subtle and 
so little understood as clectricilyt it is difficult to express one's meaning 
in terms altogether satisfactory, but that such a combination is active 
and effective is evidenced by the readiness with which electrolytic 
effects are produced. Asthenopia is a symptom that I have known to 
be greatly relieved and even cured many times by electricity, but more 
especially through the use of the primary coil. The tired, aching eye 
is both temporarily rested after each sitting and permanently strength- 
ened by continued treatment. There seems to be little appreciation, 
cither among ophthalmologists or general practitioners, of the great 
relief that n^ay follow this treatment in the many cases where the eyes 
ache severely, if used even for a little time before breakfast or at twi- 
light, or where neuralgic pains exist in or near the eye, or where there 
is annoyance from muscre volitantes. 

As we include in the circuit with the primary the various induction 
coils, the current increases in strength with each coil that is added. 
With the addition of the first induction coil a much greater strength is 
apparent, but the combination has no marked physical or physiological 
effects that need detain us. By including also the second induction 
coil in the circuit, however (line marked 5, Fig* 45), we obtain a cur- 
rent of a peculiar and unique quality. Like the primary coil, it will 
electro-plate, but, unlike it, it will not bum steel or iron. The pecu- 
liarity of this combination of the coils is that the nraximum of power to 
contract muscular tissue is here obtained. Each additional coil now 
that is attached simply gives a decreasing contractile power. Why the 
maximum of current strength is reached in the combination of the pri^ 
mary with the first and second induction coils it is difficult to say, ex- 
cepting as we ascribe it to the law of hamiony or polarisation that is 




brought about by 

>erly conditioning the magnetic centre of ihe 
helix, the several coils composing the helix, and the battery influence 
acting upon the coils. The ctirrent from this combination is not at all 
pleasant ; it is keen and cutting in character, and with its strong con- 
tractile properties it is peculiarly adapted to those cases where power* 
ful impressions are called for. Hence in not a few cases of paralysis 
where the response to galvanism is perfect, but where there is a diminu- 
tion of farado-muscular contractility, I have found it preferable to any 
of the other qualities of current to be derived from the continuous coil 

In superhcial forms of anasslhesia it is, perhaps, in no way supe- 
rior, but in certain persistent and more deeply seated forms of lost or 
perverted sensibility it is decidedly more efficacious than other com- 
binations. Its greater contractile power over muscular tissue, both 
voluntary and involunlary, renders it more efficacious in cases of men- 
strual suppression, and also for atrophied conditions of the uterus, for 
which so much has been done by electrical methods of treatment. In 
cases of dysmenorrhcea, as well as in the various neuralgias, my experi- 
ence leads rue to exclude its use. Faradism has been used, and with 
success, to destroy the fret us in extra- uterine pregnancy. While I 
greatly prefer the galvanic current, having always used it without the 
slightest ill effect, yet if the faradic is employed I should not recom* 
mend the current from the coils now under consideration, but the one 
presently to be described ; for with this latter form wc obtain effects 
equally destructive to the fcjetal life and with less violence to the con- 
tractile tissues of the mother. There are several other differential 
points connected with the use of this series which suggest themselves^ 
but they are of minor importance. 

One other condition, however, deserves mention* Impaired virility 
is a defect for which relief is very often sought. Its influence upon the 
mind is most unfortunate, and it should be understood that electricity 
is often of very considerable benefit in these cases. It is sufficient to 
say that no case which is in any way ho|>eful should be abandoned until 
the current Irom the primary and first and second induction have been 

When we include in the circuit not only the primary and the first and 
secondp but also the third induction coil, as represented by the line 
marked 4, eflfects are obtained more interesting and satiskctory than 
from any of the other combinations. 

These effects are pre-eminently Ionic and sedative in character, and 
give for this quality of current a range of usefulness wider than can be 






ascribed to the others. It is in the operation of general Caradt2aiioD, 

when we desire to obtain the best constitutional tonic effect that elec- 

tndty is capable of giving, that we resort to this combination of the 

primary and induction coils. Its action on the motor and sentient 

nerves is less severe, and its general effects far more agreeable. For 

: relief of that great army of symptoms that are so familiar and so 

plciing to those who have had much to do with neurasthenic cases» 

!ie is nothing to be compared with it Even the galvanic current by 

method of central galvanization^ so important in its direct effect 

OD the central nervous system, falls short of the therapeutic results 

follow well-directed applications of general faradization. VVhcn 

astent failure follows endeavors along this line of electrization, the 

of failure must be ascribed to hasty and faulty methods of 



(Fig, 46). 

M he directions that we give under this head will apply in general to 
1*^ or nearly all, faradic machines, and, therefore, need not be repealed 
in Ihc descriptions of other machines that are illustrated in this volume, 
■^^P^^pire thi Apparatus far Us€, — Fill the glass jar with a solution 
ot water and sulphuric acid — one part sulphuric add to eight or twelve 
parts waten It is not necessary to be rigidly mathematical in regard 
° ^ ^i'^anlity of the sulphuric acid The average proportion is one* 
^** ^ bill If ^^y range between one-stxlh and one-sixteenth. The jar 
^*^ f b^ about two-thirds filled with the solution. 

^ ^so necessary to put about a teaspoonful of quicksilver tn the 
[ '^V ^^is touches the lower end of the zincs and keeps them con« 


Amalgamated. (See Electro- Physics, p. 37.) 

^luicksilver should not be allowed to touch the central plate of 

_ ^*^, as it may injure it. In some of the modifications of this 

I^^^^^Us it is necessary to close the prongs between one of the brass 

_, ^^t is labelled and the one in the middle that has no label. 

^ apparatus is now ready for action. If the spring does not at 

.^*brale, give it a slight stroke with the finger. If it still refuses 

.j'j^le, it may be necessary to readjust the screw* If the spring 

. ^^ ^\ but irregularly or too slowly^ the evil may usually be remedied 

[^^^iusting the screw. 

^^ connect the strings attached to the electrodes with the lettered 
V^*^^ A is always the positive pole, and B, C, and D are always neg^^ 
^^^ tclaiively 10 A. 



Ta dhiinguish the Pohs.—\X is always possible to distinguish the 
negative pole by holding the electrodes for a moment in the twohaiwU. 
the one in which the current is strongest f€ it is the negative Jn^e. 

If the apparatus refuses to go, or if it stops at any time while in iis«* 
the cause may be looked for — 

1. In the scrav of the rkeotome or current-breaker. This may not b^ 
properly adjusted The point may be too far from the spring, orio^ 
closely pressed upon it. This want of proper adjustment of the scrc*^ 
is the most frequent cause of a stopping of the machine, and of thcr^' 
fusal of the spring to vibrate. The spring may sometimes be corrodc« 
at the point where the screw touches it, 

2. In the connection of the wires. The wires that unite ihe ^incs md 
platinum may not be properly screwed at their point of conncctiou, or 
may be corroded. 

3. In the battery itself. The battery — ^that is, the zinc and pUtinuin, 
with the solution in the glass jar — may get out of order in four ways. 
Firsts the solution may lose its strength. This difficulty may be reme- 
died either by pouring in some sulphuric acid, or by making anenlirtly 
new solution, or by simply adding more water. Secondiy, the zincs miy 
become so corroded and incrusted as to become incapable of gcncraiiuf 
a current When we have reason to suspect that such is the case « 
should clean them with an old tooth-brush or cloth, or amalgamate 
them. When the zincs have lost their amalgam, local action may take 
place j this will be indicated by rapid evolution of hydrogen, Tkirdlj^ 
a portion of the mercury may have fallen onto the platinum, und covered 
it. When this happens, little or no current can be obtainccL Fourtkij^ 
the platinum and the zincs will, in time, by hard and long usage^ wear 
out, and will need to be replenished. 

4. In the helix. It is very rarely indeed that the helix of this Appt' 
ralus ever becomes so injured as to become incapable of service, 1^ 
after we have properly adjusted the screw and spring, made sure of the 
connections of the wires, replenished the solution, and cleaned the zincs, 
the apparatus persistently refuses to go, we have reason to suspect thai 
something may be wrong with the wires that compose the helix. If 
such be the case the evil can be remedied only by the inventor himself, 
or, at least, by someone practically familiar with the conslructioD of' 
helices. But we should try very patiently and ]^rseveringly before 
accept the conclusion that the helix is thus out of order, for it is an K 
dent of extremely rare occurrence. 

When no current is fell at the electrodes, although the apparatus a 
properly, we know that the connection is broken somewhere in the in 



hifd conducting wires. Somelimes the union of the wires with ihe^ 
electrodes is imperfect, and oocasionally the wire in some part is broken, 
Finallyp the electrodes themselves may become very much corroded, 
and may need cleaning before a good current can be obtained. 

To take can of the Apparatus.- — When not in use, the element can be 
taken out of the solution. When the tip battery is used, all that is neces- 
sary is to merely turn over the jar. If the element remains too long a 
time Id the jar an incrustation of salt will sometimes accumulate on the 
top of the zincs, which will need to be brushed or washed ofiT, This salt 
is the sulphate of linc, resulting from the action of the sulphuric acid on 
the zinc 

We may know that action is taking place in the battery when bub*j 
blcs of hydrogen are rising up by the sides of the itinc. 

Fio, 47. 

Faradic Machine, separate coil, double cell, in box ( Gal vano- Farad ic Manufacturing 
Co.), F F (Fig« 48) are the two elements of tine-carbon; A A the rods by 
which the zinc is rained from^ and lowered into, the solution; D the hammer, 
and 4 thtf helix partly drawn out. These machines are run by one or two zinc- 
carboQ celU (Walker's Battery, see p, 35, in Electro-Physics). 

Methods of modifying the Current* — The strength of the current of 
thb machine may be modified in several ways, as follows ; 

I. It may be modified by withdrawing or pushing in the metallic tube 
that covers the helix. 

When this tube covers the helix an indefinite number of branch cur- 
rents are induced io it that interfere with the main current and weaken 



3. When the current passes through the body of the operator^ the 
cuirent may be modified by increasing or diminishing the pressure of 
the hand on the sponge connected with the positive pole, (Sec Gen- 
eral Faradization.) 

The direciwn of the current can be changed, at any time, by revers- 
ing the position of the electrodes, or by reversing the conducting wires 
in the posts, or by the current-reverser, when one is attached to the 

The faradic machine represented in Fig, 48, besides being of the 
scparatecoii variety, giving both the primary and the secondary cur- 
rent, has also a very convenient contrivance for producing flow or rapid 


Far«dic Machine (continuous coil) (Thomas Hall). 

The machine of Hall is a neat, compact arrangement^ and gives a 
very pleasant current. Chromatcd lead is used for the electro-nega- 
tive element. One -of the metals is raised out of the solution by a 
very convenient spring, instead of the jointed rod* 

Magfi€to~El€ctric Machints. — The magneto-eiectric (or so-called 
notary) machines (see Electro-Physics j p. 61) are not much used at 
the present day, and are not ordinarily to be recommended. They have 
been employed largely and indiscriminately, especially in this country, 
and have done the cause of eJeclro-therapeutics much evil Although 



the current afforded by them is well adapted to produce muscular cod- 
tractions, and is frequently of service in the treatment of paralyss, 
rheumatism, and kindred disorders, yet, for all the wide range ofdis* 
eases in which faradic electricity is indicated, it is neither suffidentlj 
reliable nor sufficiently effective. In most of the conditions of iniu- 
bility, in which general faradization is most effective, this form of elec- 
tricity, as generated by most of the machines, is contra-indicated, m 
account of the rough and disagreeable quality of the current. 

Another very prominent objection to most of the rotary machines 
in this country is, that they require the aid of an assistant lo turn ihe 
crank. This objection may be met by clock-work attachment An 
arrangement of this kind is employed by Dn Morell Mackenzie, d 
London, in the treatment of paralysis of the larynx j but even for inis 
special purpose it would seem to have no advantages, but positive ^ 
advantages, as compared with a compact, convenient, and reliable 
electro-magnetic apparatus as described in the preceding pages, 

M. Gramme* has made a magneto-electric machine which furnishes 
a continuous instead of an interrupted current, which in its effects re- 
sembles the ordinary galvanic current. The machine consists of three 
rings of soft iron, around which is an endless coil of copper ^^re^ Each 
of these rings rotates between the poles of a powerful magnet, and the 
arrangement is such that the opposite currents in the halves of each ring 
form a single continuous current- 

The machine is turned by hand, and in its large form generates \ 
large quantity of electricity. It can produce all the effects of the ordi- 
nary galvanic current. It makes platinum wire red hot, fuses roetalSi 
and is used in electro-plating. 

If this machine can be reduced in size, and modified in shapc^ it may 
become of value in electro-medicine and electro-surgery, 

Gaivanic Affarafus.— The merit of placing in the markeL in an 
accessible form, convenient and reHable galvanic batteries -w^ls in this 
country pioneered by the Galvano- Faradic Manufacturing Company 
Before Yhe organization of this establishment the faradic machines of 
Kidder and others had been long in use, but suitable galvanic nmchines 
could not be obtained. 

Jfydros/a/. ^The hydrostat is an admirable contrivance for keeping 
the fluid from spilling when the battery is carried in a buggy or oa 
long journey. It consists of a rubber covering accurately fitted on tl 
top of the cells, and we have found it a most trustworthy arrangemenLi 

* Altbaus on Medical Electricity, third edition, tS74, p. 8S. 



The zinc-carbon batteries are also constructed on the same geoeial 
principle of sixteen and eight cells. The sixteen-cell combination s 
portable^ and about as heavy, when charged, as a medium sized raliie, 
well packed. 

The eight-cell combination is no heavier than a common faradic m^ 
chine, and when well charged gives a current of sufficient streogih tor 
many applications to the eye and head. 

This apparatus is called the Bartlett galvanic battery (Fig, 51), Itii 
a very convenient apparatus. It has connected with it a hydrostat, which 

Fig. 51. 
Twenty-four zinc-cftrbon battery (Galvano-Famdic M%. Co.). 

quite successfully prevents the spilling of the solution during Irtnspof' 
tatron. The accessories, such as current selectors, commutator, rheo* 
tome, etc., are all attached to the battery. The bottom of the hot tf 
a movable tray, in which the glass or hard-rubber cells are placed 
This movable tray is controlled by two hinged rods, which are fastcarf 
to it, and these by two lifting-rings at the end of the rubber tabfc 
These rings, being screwed tightly down, hold the cells firmly agsis^ 
the hydrostat, or, being loosened, allow the hydrostat to be rctnoved ' 
from the front of the centre of the box. They also serve as handles to j 
lift the tray of cells. 



Praiiual Dirtctions far thi Use of Zinc-Carbon Gah^anic Batteries. 

The following directions will subBtantially apply to all or nearly all 
forms of the zinc-carbon battery, by whomsoever manufactured 

How (he Battery is Constructed and Used, — These batteries are com- 
posed of plates of zinc and carbon in a solution of bichromate of potass, 
sulphuric acid^ and water. The solution is contained in glass jars (hat 
are raised up to the plates of zinc and carbon by the keys at the ends 
of the box, or by a crank. When the jars are raised by the keys to the 
top of the bux, turn the keys at right angles^ or turn the crank, and the 






Fig. S3, 

Tliirty-six l»rge zinc-carbon celJ galvanic battery, wiih circular switch, revers«r, and 
interrupter, for of)ite or hoJ>pita] use (KuJdcr). 

jars will stay in position, and Ihe battery is ready for use, if the jars are 
properly filled with the solution. 

When the battery is not in use the jars should be let down from the 
plates by means of the keys. If allowed to remain immersed day after 
day the battery will rapidly lose its strength, (See Electro- Physics, 

P* 36.) 

Hoiv to Charge the Battery. — ^The solution is made in about the fol- 
lowing proportions : sulphuric acid, i oz. ; bichromate potass, i J oz. ; 

Kic. S3* 

Eighteen -cell zinc-carbon battery (Ividder). 



er, 10 oz. The best way to make the solution is to dissolve the 
bichrotnatc of potash in cold water and then add the sulphuric acid. 
The mingling of the water and sulphuric acid causes great heat. Do not 
$e the solution until it is CO0L We had not been able to get any satis^ 
ctorjr explanation of the fact that solutions when hot injure the bat- 
cry, until Prof. Brackett, of Princeton, informed us that from experi- 
ils he made several years ago he proved that when the bichromate 
' potash solution is used hot a layer of ozone is formed on the carbon ; 
V\% at once weakens the current. 

Lift out the plates by the middle piece to which they are attached, 
ft up the jxrs by the keys and fill each jar with two, or three, or three 
111 a half ounces of the solution* They should be filled pretty uni- 
jrmly, and care should be taken that no more should be put in than the 
im will hold after the plates are immersed. 
Mow A? Chan the Battery and Amalgamate the Zincs. — Every few 
cs or roooths, according to the extent to which the baitery is used, 
; win be necessary to wash the plates and scrape off the exudation and 
Micw ihc solution, or, at least, to add more acid or water, and anialga- 
ice the zinc The ehrame alum that collects in the bottom of the jars 
tc El ectro- Physics, p, 36) and becomes very hard can be softened by 
llowtng warm water to stand in the jars for a time, and then loosening 
lie deposit w*ith any sharp instrument. A good way to amalgamate 
^ is, take a strip of zinc, dip it in a solution of sulphuric acid 
•;r, then dip it in mercury; the mercury will adhere to and run 
^cr it ; then rub up over the surface of the zincs of the battery until 
are wcH covered with mercury. During the process of amalgam a- 
I ibc jiincs should be kept well moistened with a solution of sulphuric 

and water. (See Electro- Physics, p* ^t.) 
fffw t0 teil the Strength of the Current, — Those who have no galva- 
etcr can tell whether the current is running and how strong it is by 
ilting one pole in the hollow of the hand and the other between the 
itnb and forefinger The poles should be wet with salt water or 
uplc warm water* Those who have been accustomed only to the 
3isy and violent faradic (induced) current will be disappointed to find 
lat this galvanic current causes only a slight burning sensation^ with no 
shocks except when interrupted. A current that is scarcely felt when 
applied in the hand may be too strong to apply to the head, or face, 
?r i»eck* The greatest mistakes are made by using the galvanic current 
Mew to distinguish the Poies.-^Th^ current is felt strongest at the 
rrr-AiivE i»oLE. When both poles are dipped in a solution of iodide 



of potassium, the brown color of the iodine appears at the Fosmvi 


Fig. 54 represents a new and remarkably compact and tfho^ 
chloride of silver battery, made by John A. Barrett, of New Yort 
The elements of the cell, as shpwn lo the left of the batter^*, arc fine 
and chloride of silver. The cell is but three inches long and one ioci 
in diameter, and when combined in a series yields a current absolotcJf 
constant in character. The battery does not waste when not in i]se,tt 
the zinc and chloride of silver are insoluble in the fluids and ts unb&i* 
cnced so long as the circuit is open. It has a pecuniary advantage, k 

Fig. s4. 
Chloride of silver battery. 

that the chloride of silver, becoming in time reduced to pure 
silver, may be removed and exchanged for new chloride of silver | 
at moderate cost The electro-motive force of each cell is a fractioil| 
over one volt. 

The Cabinet Battery,* — A little more than a year ago it was 
gested to the Galvano-Faradic Manufacturing Company the possibnitfj 
of arranging a combination of sixty or more Siemens- Halske cleracntti 
of moderate size, in such a way that all the cells and all the connect] 

• Some changes have been made in the form of this battery siaoc ibe Usl { 
but the general principles of its construction remain the fiuoi. 





and appliances should be contained in a small movable desk or bureau. 
The suggestion was made in the belief that all the supposed or real ad- 
vantages of the combinations of large cells that are usually placed in 
cellars or basements^ and connected by wires with the operating room, 
could be secured at far less trouble by a simple, convenient, and acces- 
sible arrangement, in which many of the difficuhies connected with re- 
moval, cleaning, and overhauling should be reduced to a minimum* 

In the roughest possible manner a general plan of a bureau with 
drawers and cover was drawn, and it was further suggested that it would 
be well to have a current-selector, current -reverser, rheostat, and gal- 
vanometer interposed in the circuit, and that the appliances should all 
be in a plane surface at the top ; and that the drawers containing the 
cells should be so made that they could be easily taken out whenever 
necessary to inspect and replenish the battery. We thought little more 
of the matter until some time after, when the Company called our atten- 
tion to the fact that they had completed a battery which they called the 
Cabinet battery, and which is represented in Fig. 55, 

Tlic Cabinet battery is so simple that a very brief description of it 
will be sufficient. The Siemens- Halskc cell is merely a modification of 
Danieirs cell. It consists of a small cylinder of glass, attached at the 

Itom to a cylinder of porcelain. In this cylinder is placed a coil or 
ibbon of copper, and a little water. Outside of this cylinder is a cylin- 
der of zinc, and the space between it and the outer glass jar is sawdust 
on the top, and at the bottom powdered papier-mach6 packed closely, 
and wet with water slightly acidulated with sulphuric acid. The object 
the sawdust and papier-mache is to hold the fluid and avoid spilling 

d to make the action of the battery gentle and uniform. A cork is 
placed in the cylinder so as to prevent mingling of the fluids of the outer 
^jUld the inner cells. 

These cells, like all modifications of Daniell's cells, are very con- 
stant ; that is, they give a steady and uniform current, and can be used 
for a long time without recharging. It is necessary, now and then, to 
drop a little water into the inner cylinder to make up for the loss by 
evaporation, and to put in a few pieces of sulphate of copper; this, 
however, can be very easily done by pulling out the drawers and re- 
moving the corks. Each cell is about the size of an ordinary tumbler. 
There are three drawers, each containing twenty cells. 

The metallic connections of the cells are made at the back part of 
the drawer, and arc completed when the drawer is well pushed in. On 
the top of the bureau are the current-selector, by which one cell or 
tsxty cells can be brought into the circuit ; the cuirent^reverser ; the 



shorUcoil galvsmonieteri for indicating the presence and direclionof lie 
current merely, and the hydro- or water rheostat* for gradually incrtai- 
ing or diminishing the strength of the current. 

The water rheostat is the perfection of neatness and convcaictice, 
and is differently arranged from any that we have seen. The waters 
contained in a small case or cup, with a glass top. By turning t stiiail 
brass disk, connected with a brass lever, a small or large area of the 
water can be brought into the circuit. Besides ail the appliances for 








KiG. S5' 

the galvanic current, this Cabinet battery also provides the faradu^, 

rent. Two Leclanchd cells in the upper drawer arc connected 


a continuous coil and interrupter, on the right hand of the top of ^^ 
bureau. The faradic current can be increased or diminished by pull^ 
out or pushing in a metallic rod in front of the top piece* 
The advantages of this Cabinet combination are these : — 
I. // is very easily moved and managed. The whole Cabinet, CO**' 
taining sixty cells, the electrodes, connections, etc., for both currtDts* 
and the cover to place over the top, is but three feet high and icvcft* 



teen inches broad. It is placed on casters^ and can be easily moved 
from one ward of a hospital to another ward, or about the room» by one 
person, as easily as an ordinary centre* table. The combinations of 
Danieirs cells are generally v*laced in the cellar, and the apparatus 
throughout is permanent, and when the physician wiFhes to move his 
office the labor of resetting the battery is very great. This combina- 
tion, without taking out the drawers, can be transported bodily from 
one house to another as easily as any bureau the drawers of which are 
filled with heavy goods. 

Although the battery will probably go for years without thorough 
overhauling, yet occasional inspection and refilling will be required, 
and can be very easily performed. 

2, It gives a constant^ uniform^ ami steady current ; and is^ therefore^ 
^^iier adapted for the treatment of irritable and sensitive conditions than 
^A^ smalt I cits of the ordinary portable batteries. 

This advantage it shares with all modifications of Daniell's battery. 

*^t%^ explanation of the constancy and steadiness of the current from 

^^^se combinations of DanielTs cells is found in the fact that on ac- 

^^^^^«-^nt of the feebleness of the sohition, and the interposition of the 

^'^^^^ '■^ous-cell, the chemical action is slow and uniform, with no inter- 

fctions or even variations. In the single zinc-carbon cells the solution 

^ery strong, and the chemical action very vigorous ; the plates are 

*idly polarized ; the density of the solution, and with it the inter- 

. resistance of the battery, is continually changing as a result of the 

-orous chemical action, and consequently the strength of the current 

t only diminishes after a protracted use of the battery, but // varies 

t>m moment to moment. 

"^^ ibe potential quantity of electricity may be the same in a conibina- 

n of single zinc-carbon cells as in a combination of sawdust Daniell's 

"ils, and may even be far greater ; but there is great dilTerence in the 

^idity with which they evolve it. For short work, such as is required 

powerful electrolytic operations, the single zinc-carbon cell is far 

eferable to the Daniell, for the reason that the quantity of electricity 

at it generates in a short time, say half an hour, is very much greater 

^^an a similar number of Daniell' s cells would generate in the same 

^ %ne. This Cabinet battery is therefore not a good batter}^ for elec- 

^olysis, and we never attempt to use it in any important electrolytic 

^-^perations. In experimenting with it we find that it causes but a very 

^^eble decomposition of iodide of potassium, or chloride of sodium, 

-^ t could not indeed be otherwise ; in electrolysis, as everywhere, force 

^nswen to force ; the amount of chemical action Qutside of the cell — 




electTol3fsis — must be proportioned to the amount of chemical action 
inside of the cell. In the Daniell*s cell the chemical action is very $b« 
and feeble ; hence the electrolysis it causes is slow and feeble, bm tt 
is constant and steady ; it does not give out so much electricity b id 
hour as the single zinc-carbon cell, but it continues to give it out loog 
after the zinc-carbon cell is exhausted. 

Two men have each a thousand dollars — one spends recklessly, rap- 
idly, and extravagantly, and in a few days is penniless ; the other 
spends regularly and slowly, and uniformly, one dollar each day, and 
makes his thousand dollars last a thousand days. The single zinc-car* 
bon cell makes an extravagant battery ; but in electrolysis extravagifice 
is needed, and besides ihe solurion can be removed from the plates, so 
that no action can take place when the battery is not needed. The 
Danieirs cell makes an economical battery, since it spends slowly and 
regularly, even though it is kept constantly immersed. Hence its ad* 
vantage in the treatment of the neuralgic, the hysterical, and the ner- 
vously exhausted, who in some cases, at least, require to be treated with 
feeble, mild, steady, and painless currents. The current from these 
DanielPs cells is less painful than the current from small and active 
cells, for the reason mainly that it is more uniform. 

The notion entertained by some, that these large double-cell batter- 
ies send a larger quantity of electricity through the body than small 
cells, is at war with Ohm*s law, and has no foundation in experience* 
The resistance of the body is so great in comparison with the internal 
resistance of the batteries that it makes but little di0erence in regafd 
to the quantity of electricity that flows through the body whether the 
cells are large or small As a juatter of fact, the small single zinc-car- 
bon cells, or even the ordinary Smee's cell, give larger quantity of elec- 
tricity for a short time than the large Daniel I's cell. (Sec Electro* 
Physics, pp. 66-84,) 

The arrangement in Fig, 56 is very light, compact, and portable; 
The cells are quite small, and of course need refilling more frequently 
than larger cells. The cord spools (S S) arc convenient contrivances 
for winding up the cords when not in use. 

These batteries are made also of ten, twenty-four, and forty cells. 

The combination in Fig. 5 7 embraces both the faradic and the gil- 
vanic currents, sixty zinc-copper cells — and a rheostat. The same cjofl 
that furnishes the faradic current can also be enclosed in the dfccit 
of the galvanic current so as to form a rheostat. Connected with the 
apparatus, on a board in front of it, is a current-rcvcrser, a current* 
interrupter J and a galvauoscope* 



Tlie faradic current is supplied by a contimious coil with many wind- 
ings, and gives a very pleasant current. 

These batteries (Fig. 58, p. 317) are of twelve, or twenty-four, or 
thirty-six cells. The general construction of the Leclanche cell has 
already been described in Electro Physics. 

Curt W. Meyer also manufactures a combination of LeclanchC*'s cells 
Itbat is conveniently portable, and is said to be quite enduring. These 
i.D Leclanche cells are not as enduring as those of a larger size, and 
' when freqently used must be frequently cleaned^ like the zinc-carbon 
L batteries. 

Fig. 56. 

Portable galvanic battery, twenty zinc-carbon cells (Drcscher). 

J^ainef Battery. — Prof, George W. Raines, of Augusta, Georgia, has 
I described * a jjorlable galvanic battery, composed of strips of zinc and 
\ platinttm, united by copper strips in the shape of the letter V inverted. 
These rinc and platinum strips thus united are passed through holes 
made in a rubber plate, beneath which is a square trough of rubber, 
divided into forty-nine compartments or cells. These cells contain the 
acid solution, which can be raised to the metallic strips so as to immerse 
them* The whole battery is about the weight of a No. 4 faradic ma- 
chine of the Gal vano- Faradic Co.'s manufacture. 

Gdivano meters or Galvanoscopes^ — The general principles on which 
galvanometers are constructed have been already described (Electro* 
Physics, p. 4a). 

* SeuHitJic American^ September 28, 187a. 



A fonn of rheostat verj well known to electro-physiologlsts and 
plectro-therapcutists is that of Siemens, and introduced into electro* 
[lerapeiitics by Brenner in his researches on the ear. The unit of 
itemen^ is a column of mercury, one metre long, with a transverse sec* 
of one square millimetre at 52° F. The rheostat may contain 
^plio or 2, too units. The metallic blocks or pieces on the top are 
Itached to insulated coils of wire, which in their length correspond to 
Uic numbers i> 2» 3» 4» 5» ^» 7« «^c,, 10, 20^ 30, 40, 50, 60, etc, loo, 
200, 300, 400, eta, marked over them. At the central end of each divi* 
«on of the 5tar-sha|ied top-piece there is a hole for receiving the stop- 
When aU the stoppers are inserted in the division marked 0| 



Fi«^ 61. 
n^iij* Si<fp^^Rhe(fttat. — On the circle B, the metallic disks are numbered by 
tu&its^ from o to 10; on the circle C, Ity lens, from o to too; cm the circle D^ 
by iiundreds, from O to 1,000. To use the rheo«tat« connect the irire A with one 
ckf the poles of the battery, and the wire E with one of the electrodes ; in this 
way the redstaaccs of the rheostat are included in the circuit, coo&titutuig what is 
called a ** let&ndary chrure,^'* 

rc is no resistance in the rheostat^ and the current goes directly 
gh it, and not at all through the body of the patient^ for the rea- 
that metal conducts electricity very much better than the body, 
when it has a choice it will take the path through the best con* 
When, now, the stoppers are inserted so that some of the coils of wire 
collected with the divisions of the top-piece, say those marked 5, 50* 
*5oo, arc brought into the circuit, the current will have to overcome not 
jonly the resistance of the n^etallic connections, but also the resistance 
' 550 Siemens' units, represented by corresponding lengths of copper 
c, and by preference much more of the current will pass through the 
dj. If all the resistances^ 1,110 or 2,100 units, are interposedf most 



of the current passes ihraiigh the body* If all the stoppers are removed, 
a part of the current goes through the rheostat. 

Rheostat of Mayer &* Wo!ff\ — Afayer & WolflT, of Vienna, have 
constructed a simple form of rheostat — a wooden box containing coils 
of wire corresponding to I1605 Siemens* units. 

Hydro-rheostat [water rheostat^ or itquid rheostat), — For all the prac- 
tical puqjoses of electro-therapeutics, even for the most delicate appLi- 
calions to the most delicate organs, as the ear, eye^ etc, the common 
water rheostat — or, as it is sometimes called, hydro-rheostat, or liquid 
rheostat — ^is sufficiently precise, and in convenience is incomparably 
superior to the stopper rheostats. 

Fig. di. 
Hydro-Rheostat (Galvano-Faradic Manufacturing Co.), 

The water rheostat, represented in the cut, is simply a column of 
water, interposed in the circuit, and so arranged that the distances be- 
tween the extremities of the metals that close the circuit through the 
water can be increased or diminished at pleasure. 

The precision that physiologists and physicians obtain by the use of 
the stopper rheostat is more apparent than real, A study of Ohm's 
law will show that the quantity of electricity that flows through the 
body in any electrical application depends not alone on the nature of 
the conducting wire» and the number of cells employed, but also on the 
nature of the electrodes, the quality and degree of moisture in them, 
the stmoiinl of pressure used, their distance &om each other^ and the 



part of the body that is treated. Those who are paiticular to state the 
number of cells employed^ and the number of units interposed, are 
therefore much less precise than they suppose ; for, beskles all the quali- 
fications just given, the strength of even the most constant cells varies 
more or less from time to time (see chapter on Ohm's Law, pp. 66-84). 
Re|>orts, therefore, that contain in full detail the number of elements 
employed, and the number of units interposed in ihe circuits, are appar- 
ently, but not really, precise ; the careful physiological researches on 
deftnite and very limited portions of tissue, the statement of the kind of 
cell employed, and the number of them and the number of resistances 
of the rheostat interposed, may convey an approximate idea of the 
strength of current, and thus may be of service to other investigators, 
but in the very nature of things they cannot be accurate. In the ordi* 
nary applications of electro-therapeulics, unless it be limited electroly- 
^K sis, we oftentimes state the number and kind of cells employed, but 

I al 


Fig. 63. 

(JmTersal Bandleft for Electrodes, with Interrupter — insul&ted (Galvano-Faradlc 

Manufacturmg Co,). 

always with the implied proviso that we are suggesting approximate and 
not mathematical iruih. 

So far as producing delicate shades and grades of sensation is con- 
cerned, the water rheostat, when properly constructed and adjusted, is 
fully as trustworthy as the stopper rheostat, and far more convenient 
for the operator. A rheostat of some form, though not indispensable 
in electrical applications, is yet a great convenience, and, especially in 
central galvanization and in local galvanization of the nerve-centres, a 
%'ery great convenience. In ordinary peripheral applications, unless it 
be to very sensitive parts, the rheostat is not retitiired. 

Electrodes, — Of the many varieties of electrodes, we shall describe 
those only that arc practically useful. 

The peculiarity of these handles (Fig. 63) is/that there is no exposed 
metallic surface, the connection being made at the ci&sed ends. A dis- 
advantage of these electrodes is that they can be used only with one 
conducting wire, to which they are permanently attached. 





Fig. 64. 
Long Sponge Electrode. 

Fig. 65. 
Our electrodes of various sizes 
in graduated series, to be at- 
tached to universal handles 
(Kidder and Galvano-Faradic 
Manufacturing Co.). 

Fig. 66. 
Hard Rublw Handk 
and Electrode, with 
Interrupter (Kidder). 

r iG. 67. 
Plain Wooden Sponge-holder, 
with Sponge attached (Kidder). 

Fig. 68. 
Small Sponge Electrode (Kidder^ 


Fig. 69. 
Duchenne's Electrode. 

Fig, 70. 

Rockwell's Brass Ball Electrode foi 

General Faradization (Kidder). 

A large, sofl sponge, loosely folded about this ball, makes the mosl 
convenient possible electrode for general faradization. 


These adjustable electrodes, which are made of several diffcrcxH 
bbes, have long been to us indispensable. They can be fastened by 
means of a simple cloth band to any part of the body, and kept there 
as long as may be necessary. 

In diseases of the skin, in rheumatism, in sprains, and in tumors, and 
in all cases where it is desired to keep the electrode long in one spot, 
they are most convenient. A second advantage w^iich they have, is, 
that they can be passed easily under the clothing, thus saving much 
undressing on the part of the patient 

These adjustable electrodes can be covered with a sponge, which can 
be sewed through the hole at the edge, or what is^veiy much better, 
with electrode covers, to be hereafter described. 

We use these adjustable electrodes in central galvanization, galvaxj- 
tzation of the cervical sympathetic, and brain and spine, and in a large 
variety of peripheral applications. In some applications, as in central 
galvanization, one electrode is adjustable, while the other held by the 
patient is of the ordinary form with a handle. We do not much uie 
tlie bands that accompany them, preferring to hold the electrode in 
position by allowing the clothing of the patient to rest against it, or 
having the patient hold it, by a little pressure. 

hi galvanization of the sympathetic, for example, the adjustable elec- 
trode can be easily placed under tlie collar at the back of the neck, 
and kept there by the pressure of the clothing. 


Fig. 73, Fig. 74. 

Beard'i Adjustable Electrotlc — $maJl Flannel Cover for Adjustable Eke* 

size — wiib flannel cover, trode — snudl siie.. 

These flannel covers are provided with elastics in their edges so All 
they remain in position when put on the electrode, and are easily slipped 
off and on. They can be washed like towels, and the expense of mak* 
ing them is so slight, that a large number can be kept constantly oo 
hand* Another advantage of these flannel covers is that the current ii 
more painfully felt through them than through sponges, and hence there 
is, while using them, less liability to give too strong currents. We birre 
long been accustomed to use these covers in all central applications of 
the galvanic current 



pressure of the thumb, without the intervention of a slide, or any conk'' 
|jlex arrangement whatsoever. 

The letter D represents the button of the spring, by pressing whlch^ 
Uie current is Interrupted or reversed* Pressing it lightly ^ tnkmfti 
the current ; pressing it fimily, reverses it. 

Fig, 8o, 
Beard^s Current-Reverscr, with flexible dectrode^ 

In the vertical section of the hard rubber handle, A A is represented* 
15 springing up aja;ainst the metallic plate on the upper and inner s*^" 
face of the handle. Pressing this slightly down, metallic connection »-* 
broken and the current is interrupted ; pressing it finnly down, t^ 
connection is made and reversed 2X B B, the metallic plate on thelo*^ 
surface of the handle, 

C represents the wires that connect with the battery, enclose^io^^ 
rubber tubing E. 

F and G are flexible wire electrodes armed with sponges ; they r 
be separated several inches and kept there, or put close together ^ 
represented in the cut. The advantages of this are these : — t, Jb 
many of the applications of localized electrization this neat and siflsp^ 
arrangement saVes considerable expenditure of muscle on the part d 
the operator. One hand can be perfectly free while the other b(to 
and guides the electrode. In electrizing the muscles of the hand and 
ami, and of the face especially, it is far more convenient than to use 
separate electrodes, 

2. In cases of paralysis of motion and of sensation, where wJWf 
alternatives are sometimes indicated, tliis is the easiest conceivalile 
metiiod of reversing the current. 



UnpclarUahU EUttrodts. — It is wcU knovm to clectro-physiologist« 
that, in consequence of the cleclrolylic changes that lake place during 
the passage of a current from the electrodes to the body, a change 
takes place at the surface of the electrodes, by which a new electrical 
action is set up that to a certain extent interferes with the main current 
and also causes pain. Electrodes thus affected are called polarized^ 
(See Electro-Physics, p. 31.) 

t>r. Hitzig,^ of Berlin, has devised electrodes in which this secondary 

electrical action at the surface does not take place ; to these he has 

given the name unfalarizabU electrodes. These are made unpolariza- 

^ by a solution of sulphate of zinc. By the courtesy of Dr. Hitzig, 

'c were enabled to test them while in Berlin, and were favorably im- 

P^^ssed with their action. The pain produced by stable galvanization 

I* Sometimes very disagreeable, and by these electrodes it was certainly 

ditnirished. They can be used several hours without exhibiting any 

Polarization. The subject of unpolarizable electrodes had previously 

fcceivcd the attention of Regnauld, Matteucci, and Du Buis-Reyniond. 

'^uhhir Covers for Conducting Wires, — ^The conducting wires con- 

■ccdtig the electrodes with the apparatus are covered with silk ; they 

^^y be slill further insulated by flexible rubber. We have long been 

^^sionicd to use these rubber covers, and are much pleased with 

wem. If t[^c rubber is properly prepared it will not injure the silk 

^^'ering beneath it. Some electro-therapeutists have rubber coverings 

B^ ciigerent color for the two poles, thus affording a ready means of 

^**^'*gtushipg them, 

I Ck^^ ^j Ehctr^dis. — ElectrcKtherapeutics is a series of details ; and 
^^g the more important of these details is the care of the electrodes. 
chemical action, even of the secondary coil and faradic current, is 
cient to corrode any metal that is used, except platinum ; and plati- 
*w electrodes are rarely, if ever, used except in electrolytic operations. 
'^ copper plates used at the feet in general faradization become more 
o^ i«^ corroded, and require occasional cleaning in order to keep them 
^^SHt* All the general and special electrodes of all kinds require oc- 
^^onal polishing with sand-paper, emery-paper, or whiting. It is an 
•^tvnjiage to have the electrodes, as well as the batteries, nickclized, 
^ ai to reduce corrosion to a minimum. 

The sj)onges that are attached to the electrodes need to be frequently 
washed in warm water, and those that are much used should be occa- 
sionally disinfected with chlorinated solutions. It is better, however, 

* r«ber die Anwcndang uDpoIarii>lJ'bftreT ElectrodcD in dcr Elteclrotherapie. Bet^ 
ijiscr KJinisJue Wochcn&chrift, iS67) No* 89. 



to tnake delicate and particular patients, especially ladies, supply te 
own sponges. But a physician who has a large general or special 
practice will find it very diflicult, if not impossible^ to keep a \ii^ 
assortnieut of electrodes, sponges, and electrode covers always s«pi- 
rate ; and hence it becomes necessary to treat many of the palicnJi 
with the same electrode. To meet this difficulty we devised liie elec- 
trode covers, elsewhere described. These can be thrown off witli every 
application and washed weekly, like towels. The expense and labor of 
making them is so slight that some electro-therapeutists, after using 
Ihem a few limes, cast them aside entirely. 

European Batteries. — For the sake of our European readers, wc gi^c 
very brief descriptions of a few of the batteries that arc at the prc>eft 
dale most used by European electro-therapeutists. All who consittt 
this book — Americans as well as Europeans — may find it of intercsiro 
compare the workmanship of the different countries, A fact which fuch 
a comparison constantly suggests is, that all advanced and active elcctrol- 
ugists in all countries have realized the same dillicuUies and wants of 
the specialty, and have sought to overcome them by similar or nearly 
similar methods, and nearly all have in a greater or less measure suc- 
ceeded. On the whole, witli special advantages or disadvantages on 
both sides, the American batteries for the faradic current, the g^lvai^^ 
current, and for the galvano-cautery, are superior to the Europcm' 

Meyer and Meiizer*s Faradic Machine. — This is enclosed in a siuiH 
mahogany box, six inches high, three and a half inches deep, ant! 5^^ 
inches wide (Fig. 8i). It is run by a ztnc-carbon celL The priniif) 
and secondary currents are obtained without shifting the position of tiie 

Stohrcr's Faradic Machine. — ^This well-known separate-coil Diaciiin«» 
which is run by a zinc-carbon cell, is widely used in Europe, 

Duchenni s faradic apparatus is of the separate*coil variety; ^t** 
inferior in portability and convenience to many other European as*^" 
as to the American machines. It is run by a Bunsen's cell. 

Legendrt' s faradic apparatus is popular in France, on account erf i^ 
l>ortability and cheapness, 

Gaiffe's faradic apparatus is very portable, and gives a fair strcnj^ 
of current. He has made two forms of faradic machines, one run^ 
a chloride of silver element, and the other by a sulphate of mercufF 

* For the electrotypes of the cuts tlmt accompany these descripllons of the %^ 
a{>parati]i» we arc indebted to the kindness of Dr. AUhaus. The de»criptioiis ir^ cov 
dea^ frum the third ediiign of hi& treatise oa Elcctritiity. 



^ Baii-Rtymond s far a die apparatus^ or ** skdge,'* as it is called, 
I by an element of Grove or Hansen. It is provided with a "gal* 
Ickey" for opening and closing the circuit at pleasure. The ma- 
tes of Benedict and of Sienicns-Halske are modifications of that of 

truger & Hirschmann, of Berlin^ have constructed a good faradic 
tljbe, which is run by a Leclanche element. It is arranged for slow 

fiapid mtemiptions. 

Fig. Si. 
Meyer and Meltzer's Karodic MRcbinc 

far as we are able to learn, none of these machines have any 
"^1 advantages over those of American manufacture previously 
**^bed, and some of them are much inferior to the most recent 
^Hcan improvements. 

^^Anr's ZifU'4:ari}on Galvanic Battery. — ^Dr. Emil Btohrer, of Dres- 
» U the pioneer in the art of making convenient and trustworthy 
'^nic apparatus for electro-therapeutists. He makes combinations 
riuiccarbon cells, both portable and non-portable. He was, we be- 



lieve, the first to devise convenient and simple current-reverscrs and 
current-selectors. These batteries have the disadvantage of all zinc- 
carbon batteries, that the carbons are friable. Tney also polarize 
rapidly, though not so rapidly as Smee*s cell, and if the plates arc kept 
long in the solution the current becomes very weak* 

Becker- Afuir head or SiemensMeidinger Siaiionary Gahanic BaJ- 
ter}\ — This battery, which is highly praised by Alihaus, consists of 
fifty modified Daniell's cells. No acid is used in it, but only water for 
the 2inc surface and sulphate of copper for the copper surface. The 
cells, which are quite large, are kept down cellar, and contained in two 
boxes. The advantages of this battery are, that on account of no acid 

FtG. 8a. 

MmUmpercmeter {Wnitc & Bftrtletl), 

being used the chemical action is very feeble, and polarization is re* 
duced to a minimum ; and that, like the Cabinet battery, on account 
of Its steadiness of action it is better adapted for nervous and irritable 
patients than the small batteries. 

The MiUiamperemeier (Fig. 82) is the best instrument now in use 
for measuring the strength of the galvanic current. These instruments 
are registered up to forty mi lit amperes. The resistance of the coU 
used is 200 ohmSf and the readings accurate. 



TA^ object of localized tUdrhmtion is to confine the direct action of 
the current^ so far as possible^ to some particular part of the body* 

This is accomplished by placing electrodes so that the current^ in 
passing from one to the other, shall chiefly traverse only that particular 
Part thai is to be affected. 

Both currents may be localized in this way, hence the division of 
localized electrization into localized faradization and localized galvani- 

The scientific use either of localized galvanization or faradization 
^^guires as accurate as possible preliminary diagnosis of the disease. 

In cases of doubt it is necessary to electrize in succession all the 
Suspected localities until the results of treatment show conclusively 
t-liat we have hit upon the seat of the disease. AccordingU\ in obsti- 
■ifcAte or doubtful cases the head, the cervical sympathetic, and the 
^pine, and in some instances the uterus or organs of the abdomen, are 
^o be successively electrized. 

In the very numerous cases of doubt also, when the locality of the 
disease cannot be ascertained, as well as in conditions of irritation 
"^ivhere electrization of the seat of the disease will not be borne, peri- 
pheral applications alone are frec:|uently of decided service. For peri- 
pheral applications both the galvanic and faradic currents are used ; 
^or central applications, chiefly the galvanic. In some diseases, as, for 
^ixample, locomotor ataxia, in certain stages it is belter to treat the 
prominent symptoms, as, for example, the anaesthesia, than the seat of 
the disease m the spine. 

Instruments for Localized Electrization. — In lo call zed electrization 
the game galvanic and faradic apparatus are used as in general electri- 
sation. For localized electrization in all its modifications there are 
needed a variety of electrodes of different shapes and sizes, to reach 
the various localities and accomplish the dlHerent indications. 

3^ ^ 


Of the electrodes there are three general forras : the their it hand ; 
the metallic brush; solid futtals and metals covered with sponge 
flannel^ linen^ or chamoisy thoroughly moistened. 

Dry or Cutaneous Faradization. — To accomplish dry faradi/atton 
the portion of the skin over which the application is to be made should 
be wiped thoroughly dry, or, what is better still, sprinkled with some 
absorbing powder, as the counnon nursery powder ; and the applica 
tion may be made with the dry hand of the operator, or with metallic 

In dry faradization with the hand there is heard a peculiar crackling 
sound, which is caused by the sparks tliat take place as the current 
passes from dififerent points of tlie hand to the skin. 

When the dry hand is osed» the operator passes the current through 
his own person, one of the electrodes applied to some near point by 
an assistant, or held in tlie hand by the patient himself* Solid metallic 
electrodes of various shapes may be used for dry electrization. 

Dry electrization by the metallic brush with a strong current, faradic 
or galvanic, is a very painful method of application, and is to be re- 
sorted to only in those cases where there is profound cutaneous anaes- 
thesia or in neuralgia. In all cases where there is great sensitiveness 
the hand is to be preferred to any form of artiticial elettrodes. 

Electric Aloxa. — ^The so-called electric moxa is produced by using a 
metallic brush, plate or point, and one moistened electrode. The dry 
electrode is rapidly touched to the surface where the moxa is to be 
made, while the other is kept firmly applied to some near and in- 
different point. The surface of the skin may previously be rubbed 
very dry, or sprinkled with some absorbing powder. 

The operation requires a current of some strength, and is exceed- 
ingly painful. It is chiefly employed as a counter-irritant in neuralgia, 
in which affection it is frequently successfnl. The electric moxa may 
also be produced by means of two metallic brushes, one of which is 
pressed on the skim 

Electrization with Moistened Electrodes^ — When it is desired to alTect 
the tissues lying beneath the epidermis, it is better to use electrodes 
covered with sponge, chamois, or tiiannel, thoroughly moistened with 
salt water or ordinary water,* 

The size and shape of the electrode employed must be modified ac- 
cording to the situation and sensitiveness of the part where the current 

* In faradization we never or but rarely use salt b the water ; in gaWaniiatioii 
[| is sometimes a great advantage, because it makes the current more painfollj fdC 
And thus preveuts the use of tro ttrong currents. 



is to be localized^ and also by the sensitiveness of the patient. As a 
rule, small, finely-pointed electrodes are required for localized faradi 
ration of single muscles, larger electrodes for large muscles, or groups 
of muscles, and those with the largest surface for galvanization, of the 
sympathetic, brain and spine. 

When the current is localized by means of moistened electrodes, il 
diffuses itself through the body between the electrodes in various di- 
rections. The extent of this diffusion will be variously modified by the 
situation of the electrodes and the structure and relation of the parts 
that lie between them (see Electro- Physiology). It is manifest also that 
the density of the current, other conditions being tlie same, will be great- 
est near the electrode and least at the farthest point between them. T/te 
strength of the current being the same, small electrodes are more painful 
than those with a broad surface^ and metallic more than the wet spongi 
0rfliinncL The leaf^t painful form of artificial electrode is a soft sponge, 
with a broad surface, and well moistened. 

Direct and Indirect Electrization. — Two general methods of localized 
electrization are recognized — the direct and the indirect. In direct elec- 
trization the application is made over the muscle to be excited. In in- 
direct electrization the application is made to the nerve which supplies 
the muscles. In the former method, large electrodes are preferred ; in 
the latter, usually those which are small and pointed. The faradic cur- 
rent is best indicated for direct electrization, and the galvanic for indirect. 

The points where the motor nerves enter the muFcles are called 
"motor points.*' They have been carefully demonstrated and located 
by Ziemssen and ourselves. 

Definition of 7Vr/wx.— In stable applications both electrodes are kept 
in a fixed position. 

In labile applications one of the electrodes is moved or glided over 
the surface ; sonietimes both of the electrodes are moved simultaneously, 

A current is C2\\^^ continuous wiien it is allowed to flow in one direc- 
tion without interruption. Only the galvanic current can be continuous, 
since the faradic is always in a condition of interruption. 

A current is called interrupted when it is broken by removing one of 
the electrodes, or by some form of current-breaker in the electrode, or 
by any method of breaking the circuit. The faradic current is always 
interrupted by its rheotome, but it may be still further interrupted by 
removing one of the electrodes. 

A current is called uniform when it remains of the same strength 
during the applications of the electrodes, 

A current is called by us increasing^ when its strength is graduaU) 


augmented tlunng the applications. This method possesses a great 1 
vantage in treating conditions of irritation and inflammation. It maf ' 
be used with both galvanization and faradization. A much more pow- 
erful current can be borne when its strength is gradually increased than 
when it is suddenly let on in full force with the first closure of the cir- 
cuit, as is usually the custom with the majority of electro-therapeutists. 
A current which when suddenly closed may cause unbearable paiuj and^ i 
when applied near the nerve-centres, may induce dizziness and faintness^ ; 
may oftentimes be borne without discomfort and with positive advantage 
if it is gradually increased from a very mild current. With the faradic < 
current a mild anaesthesia is produced.* 

Increasing currents are indicated in applications to the brain, sympa- j 
thetic, spinal cord, the eye and ear, urethra, inflamed joints, and_ 
all conditions of great irritation in any part of the body* 

The faratlic current (of Kidder's apparatus) may be increased' 
slowly withdrawing the metallic tube. To gradually increase the gal*' 
vanic current, a rheostat of some kind is needed. The galvanic current 
can also be increased by an arrangement that gradually adds lo the num- 
ber of elements without intcrru]ning the current, or when a sponge 
electrode is used, by slowly increasing the pressure. fl 

The term voltaic alternatives is applied to those applications in " 
which the direction of the current is reversed continually, while the 
electrodes are kept firm. The current-re verse r is a very convenient 
instrument for producing voltaic alternatives (see p. 324). 

For electrization of muscles, labile or stable interrupted currents are 
preferred. For electrization of the head, spmal cord, sympathetic, and j 
nerve-tracts and plexuses, stable continuous currents are indicated, andj 
these again may be either uniform or increasing* Labile or stable 
ternipled currents are best adapted to produce muscular contractions, ' 
and cause most potent physical and mechanical effects, while stable 
continuous currents, whether uniform or increasing, produce the strong- 
est electrolytic or catalytic action. 

In cases where the electro-muscular contractility is not greatly di- 
minished, it is an advantage to use electrodes i^ith a broad surface, B 
since thereby several motor points may be influenced simultaneously, ■ 
together with a considerable extent of muscular tissue, and because 
they are less painful than small electrodes. In such cases the faradic 
current is preferable. 

When the electromuscular contractility is very greatly diminished, as 

♦ See an article on Faradic Aniestbem, by Dr. A T ripier, of Paris, in Archtves o' 

Electrohgy and Neurotomy, May, 1S74 


and a 



10 frequently happens in paralysis, contractions are best produced by 
sinail, hiiely poinicd electrodes, applied at the motor points of the in* 
dividual muscles ; yet even here electrodes of moderate size are usually 
preferable. Such cases often require the galvanic current. 

Details of AppHcaiwns of Localized Electrisation. 

Galvanhation of the Central Nervous System.— It is necessary to beai 
in mind at the outset, that to produce powerful electrolytic effects on 
the brain, spinal cord, and sympathetic, the galvanic current is prefer- 
able to the farad ic, ai though the faradic current certainly affects the 

Galvanization of the Head, — ^The head may be electrized in a variety 
trf ways, according to the supposed seat of the disease. One pole may 
be placed on the forehead and the other on the occiput ; or both poles 
may be placed over the ears, or on the mastoid processes. Another 
method which we frequently adopt is to place the positive pole on the 
summit, over the supposed organ of firmness, and the other at the oc- 
ciput, or under the chin. 

To affect the base of the brain, the electrodes may be placed on or 
behind the mastoid processes. To confine the action to one side of 
the brain, one electrode may be placed on ihe forehead, over the eye, 
and the other on the mastoid process of the same side. The patient 
may hold one of the poles in the hand* StiU another method less used 
is to place an electrmle on each temple. 

Less dizziness is caused if the current is opened and closed with the 
Xtositive than with the negative pole. It is well, therefore, to first apply 
the negative pole. 

Less dizziness is caused when the current flows through one side of 
the head, or from the forehead to the occi[)iit, than when it is sent from 
one side to tlie other, through the mastoid processes (see Electro- 
:i*hysiology, p. 113). 

The use of some kind of a rheostat^ so as to avoid interrupting the cur- 
rent or giving sudden ** shocks " on closing and openings is almost indis- 
^cnsatde in electrizing the brain and neck. With regard to the direction 
of the current, it is usually better to place the negative pole nearest the 
aeck, and the positive pole nearest the forehead. But this nile is liable 
to many exceptions, and each case must be studied by itself* 

Electrization of the head produces flashes of light through irritation 
of retina, and dizziness, which with many is disagreeable* If the ap- 

* See remarks on polar effects, p. I03« 



plication is too long continued, headache and mson^*rjia, and gcDoi 
malaise^ may result Patients whom a short application thiough "^ 
head benefits, are sometimes injured when the stance is protractd 
Galvanization of the head should be made with broad electrodest with 
a stable airrent, which may be either uniform or increasing, and slioiiM 
not exceed from one-half a minute or three-quarters of a rainatc, tt 
five or ten minutes, and with a mild current. 

To all these rules in regard to the strength of currents there aitti* 
ceptions. There are cases of even very delicate patients that mllbdl 
almost any amount of electricity through the head and neck. 

Galvanization of the Cer-ctcal Sympathetic. — The portion of the sviJi- 
pathetic to which galvanization is chiefly directed for therapeutical p 
poses is the cervncal, although the cephalic, thoracic, and atxiomW 
ganglia are unquestionably aflfected by it, though not with so specific 
demonstrable, and immediate results. ' 

There are a number of methods by which the superior, middle, ^ 
inferior cervical ganglia may be demonstrably affected by the galvja* 

Fig. 83, 
GaWanimtion of the Cervical Sympathetic 

I. One electrode with an oblong extremity is placed in toe aunc*^ 
maxillary fossa, while the other with a larger surface is applied 0^ 
or by the side of the sbcth and seventh cervical vertebne (see Fig-95'* 

The second electrode may also be applied at any point along wj* 
spine, from the occiput to the coccyx. It is by this method thaidipl«?^ 
contractions are usually produced with most success. 



2. The first electrode being placed as before, in the auriculo-m axillary 
fossa, the other, with a surface of moderate diameter, is applied just 
ftbove the manubrium sterni, by tlie side of the sterno-cleido -mastoid 
muscle (see Fig* 96). 


Fig. 84. 

Galiranization of the Cemcal Sympathetic, including the Pneumogastna 

The second electrode may also be applied higher up in the neck, op 
posite the middle cervical ganglion. 

The above are the two methods which have been most frequently em- 
ployed. Other methods are the following. 

3* The first electrode being placed as before, the other may be ap- 
plied on the shoulder, elbow, or in the hand of the opposite side» or in 
the axilla. 

4- Both sides may be galvanized simultaneously, by placing an elec- 
trode over the mastoid processes. 

5. One electrode is placed just above the manubrium sterni, and the 
other at any point down the spi'ie. 

6. One electrode is placed over the sixth and seventh cervical verte- 
bn-e, and the other over the brachial plexus, at the pit of the stomach, 
just above the manubrium sterni, in either hand, or at the feet. 

In all these methods either direction of the current may be used, ac- 
cording as calming or irritating effects are desired (see p. 281). 

Concerning the physiological effects of galvanization of the sympa- 
thetic see Electro-Physiology, p. 128. 

Applir'»tions to the sympathetic should be made from one to ten 





minutes, and with from five to twenty-five cells. Several methods ma) 
be tried at a single sitting in cases where the applications are well 

Bearing in mind that in all such attempts to galvanize the cervicJ 
sympathetic, the pneumogastric and spine must be more or less influ- 
enced, the general indications for the use of this method of treaonent 
to which experience would seem to point are these : — 

1. Cerebral anaemia and hyperaemia. These conditions are associated 
^ith and are a part of a large variety of diseases. Insomnia^ hemiplegia, 
tic douloureux, many diseases of the eye and ear, as neuro-retinitis, ner- 
vous deafness and tinnitus aurium, are all' more or less associated with 
cerebral anjemia, hyperaemia, and all have been treated by galvanization 
of the cervical sympathetic, with more or less success. 

2. Disorders of the vaso-motor nerves. Under this head may be in- 
cluded some cases of deficient circulation, cutaneous hyperaesthesia, and 
certain diseases of the skin. 

3. Functional diseases of the digestive and genital apparatus. Gal- 
vanization of the sympathetic in these conditions seems to work, partly 
at least, by reflex action, and partly, also, by the influence which tiic 
spinal cord and pneumogastric receive during the applications. 

It is. scarcely necessary to remark that the excluswe use of galvanl* 
zation of the cervical sympathetic is indicated only in exceptional cases. 
It is to be employed in connection or alternation Avith general faradiza- 
tion and galvanization of the brain, spinal cord, and periphery. A note- 
worthy advantage of this method of treatment in those cases for which 
it is of service is the comparatively short time required for its employ- 

The objection that galvanization of the cervical sympathetic is a 
dangerous procedure will be considered in the chapter on central gal- 

Galvanization of the Spine. — The spine maybe electrized by placing 
one electrode at the occiput, and the other at the coccyx. One of the 
electrodes may be kept in situ, while the other is slowly passed up and 
down the entire length of the cord. Either ])ole may be passed up and 
down in this way according to the effect desired. 

The current may also be localized in any part of the spine that niay 
be required, by giving the electrodes the proper position. The appli- 
cations may be made with ten cells and upwards, and should not usually 
exceed ^y^ or ten minutes. The applications should be sensitively 
felt, like a gentle mustard plaster, but should not be excessively pain 
ful, like a blister. 



Eie^trUatwn of Plexuses^ Nerves^ and Muscles. — Plexuses, nerves, 
and muscles are treated by both currents (see chapter on differentia. 
andications for the use of the galvanic and faradic currents). 

One electrode may be applied to a plexus and the other to one of its 
branches, or to a muscle or group of muscles. Both electrodes may be 
applied to the nerve, or one to the nerve and the other to a mascie ; or 
l)oth may be applied to a muscle or group of muscles. All these appli- 
cations may be made either with or witliout regard to the direction of 
the current, and different methods may be tried at the same stance. 

In all the positions described in the above cuts, contractions should 
be produced with mild faradic currents, when the electrodes arc in tlie 
position represented. If very strong currents are necessary or no con- 
tractions^ are possible^ the muscles are in a condition of disease. 

Peripheral applications are indicated where the disease is purely of a 
peripheral character; the partly central applications are indicated where 
the disease is of a central origin. 

Labile intemipted applications are indicated where it is desired to 
produce mechanical effects or muscular contractions, as in anaesthesia 
and paralysis. 

Stable continuous applications are indicated where it is desired to 
produce electrotonic, chemical, or catalytic effects^ as in neuralgia, 

Benedikt* makes the following somewhat over-rehned subdivisions 
of the methods o{ galvanization of the centre and periphery : 

Spinal-cord current : both poles are placed on the spine, either near 
together, or at some distance from each other. 

Spinal-c or d-root current : one pole is placed on the spine, and the 
other is passed «p and down by the sides of the vertebrae. 

Spinal'cord'plexus current : one pole is placed on the spine, and the 
other on a plexus of nerves. 

Spinal -cord-nerve current : one pole is placed on the spine, and the 
other on a nerve. 

Spinal-cord-muscle airrent : one pole is placed on the spine and the 
other on a muscle. 

Plexus-nenre current: one pole is placed on a plexus of nerves and 
the other on a nerve. 

Nerve-muscle current : one pole is placed on a nerve and the other 
on a muscle. 

These currents may be either stable or labile^ continuous or inter- 
rupted, uniform or increasing, 

• Op. cit., p. s6. 

Fig. B9« 
S|]iaal cord-bracliUi plexus currenC 

' Tick 90. 

Spinal -cord^mcdisui nerve ctirrcnt. 

The method of electrizing the eye^ ear, nose, larynx, oesophagui^ 

heart, lungs, stomach, liver, kidneys, spleen, intestines, rectuin, bladder, 
male and female organs of generation, will be described in the chapters 
devoted to diseases of these organs. 

The method of electrizing individual nerves and muscles has been de- 
•cribed and illustrated in the chapter on electro- therapeutical anatomy* 



Isffect tf Currmt tnodifiedby the Length af Application, — The sensa- 
tions and the etfects of electrical appl ications are considerably moditied 
by the length of liiiie that the electrodes are kept in position* When the 
faradic current is first applied to the skin» it causes a stinging, pricking 
seDsation* perceptibly strongest at the negative pole ; if the electrodes 
are kept in position the sensalion may gradually diminish, and the parts 
will become very slightly benumbed^ and if now the strength of the cur- 
rent be gradually increased, little or no additional pain is caused. If 
the current is at hrst very strong, it cannot be borne long enough to pro- 
duce this benumbing effect. 

When the galvanic current is first applied to the skin it causes no 
sensation or scarcely any, unless it be very strong or is directed over or 
neaj- a motor nerve ; if the electrodes are kept in position for a few 
seconds, a slight burning sensation is felt at both poles, but strongest at 
the negative. This burning sensation increases (iuite rapidly until the 
sensation it causes is like that of a strong mustard plaster, or hot iron, and 
becomes unendurable. The benumbing effect of the faradic current is 
not experienced. The fact that the galvanic current is but little felt at 
first, leads those physicians who have not been accustomed to it to use 
it altogether too strong. This increase of the pain under the galvanic 
current is due to two causes — the moistentng of the skin through the 
moisture of the electrode, so that it becomes a better conductor of elec- 
tricity, and the special chemical action of the poles (see Electro- Fhysi- 
olog}% p. i8i). This increased conductivity of the skin is the partial if 
not complete explanation of the fact that the muscles contract under a 
feebler current after the electrodes have been sonic time in one place. It 
is not impossible, however, that the nerves or niiiscles maybe so stimu- 
lated by the current as to contract more readily than before stimulation. 

The reverse proposition, that strong currents used for a long time 
enfeeble the nerves and muscles so that they respond less readily to the 
current, is certainly true, and is easy of demonstration, esiiecially in cases 
of facial paralysis. For this reason, prolonged applications frequently 
do more harm tlvan good. ' 

Effects of Z^ealised EtectrisiJii^H^—hocaliied electrization has to a 
litnited extent the same direct effect on the part to which the applica- 
tion is made that general electrization has on the whole body. It acts 
as a locally stimulating tonic* 

Impr<nement in Local Nutrition thi leading effect of Localised Elec- 
(ritati^m, — The leading and general effect of localized electriiation, and 
one which is a complex result of the various special effects, is improve 
ment tn local nutrition* 



LocaHzed electrization of an atrophied or poorly nourished muscle 
causes that muscle to improve in size and strength ; localized electriza- 
tion of an atrophied or poorly nourished organ, as the uterus, causes it 
to increase in size and improve in functional activity. 

Localized electrization of any part of the cerebro-spinal system im^ 
proves the nutrition of that part, and as a result the whole body, over 
which the cerebro-spinal system presides, may improve in nutrition. 
Thus localized may indirectly have some of the same effects as general 
electrization. Similarly, also, as we descend from the centre toward the 
periphery electrization of any nerve branch or plexus im])roves the nu- 
trition, not only of the nerve acted on> but also of its various branches, 
and of the muscles and organs that it supplies. 

When the nutrition of an atrophied part is improved it grows larger j 
when the nutrition of a hypertrophied part is improved it grows smaller. 
The same treatment tliat makes a flabby muscle increase in size causes 
a goitre to diminish in size. These opposite effects of the local use of 
electricity, though apparently inconsistent, are yet quite consistent (seei 
Electro -Physiology, p, tgi ; and Electro -Surgery, chapter on Tumors).. 

The j/^r/^/ effects of localized, unlike those of general electrLzatton^ 
cannot be broadly stated or classified, for the obvious reason that they 
must so largely depend on the locality to which the application is made. 

Although applications to the central nervous system are sometimes 
followed by mild and limited degrees of the primary, secondary, and 
permanent effects that result from general faradization or central gal- 
vanization ; yet the cases where the full order of these effects is so 
marked and decided as to be observed are con^paratively unfrequent 

Applications to the brain and sympathetic system may be followed 
primarily by relief of pain, slight exhilaration, a feeling of warmth or 
somnolence ; secondarily by fatigue, headache, or soreness of the 
muscles, or exacerbation of the morbid symptojus ; and permanently by 
improvement in sleep, strength, and capacity for labor. 

But this order of effects from lo^-ilized electrization is exceptional, even 
from appHcations made to the head. More frequently the pennanent 
effects are experienced without the primary, or perhaps both the per- 
manent and secondary, and sometimes only the latter. 

Yet none of these constitutional effects, in whatever order they may 
occur, are experienced to the extent that is derived from general fara. 

The agreeable symptoms which are most frequently observed after 
localized applications to the nerve-centres are disposition i& sleeps rdief 
of headache or other pain^ and occasionally sUghi exhilaration* 


SOinetimes the beneficial results of electrization of paralyzed muscles 
follow iraraediately after the application* The patient is consciousj of 
an abiUty to use the muscles treated with greater ease and freedoni. 
This improvement may be merely temporary, or, as is more frequently 
the case» partial relapses occur, leaving a certain amount of permanent 
benefit Immediate relief of neuralgic pain» and of the reverse con- 
dition, anaesthesia, may follow localised as well as general electrization. 
The temporary relief of the neuralgia may be complete, while that of 
anaesthesia is usually only partial and limited. In both conditions the 
evil symptoms may recur, or a certain amount of permanent beneh* 
may remain. 

Atnong the disagreeable symptoms are dizziness^ heaviness^ oppres- 
sion^ headache, soreness in the muscles^ exhaustion^ and indefinable ner- 

These disagreeable symptoms are most likely to result from applica- 
tions that have been either too severe or too protracted for the con- 
dition of the patient ; and yet they should by no means excite alarm, 
since they often accompany the most successful results. These un- 
pleasant symptoms are more likely to follow the use of the galvanic 
current than the faradic, especially when the applications are protracted. 
The o|)inion that has been expressed by certain writers, that the head is 
more likely to be unpleasantly affected by the faradic than the galvanic 
current, is not sustained by experience. The phenomena of dizziness, 
heaviness, etc., frequently experienced after even a very short applica- 
tion to the head, are but rarely observed when the faradic current of a 
continuous-coil apparatus is employed, with a large soft sponge, or the 
hand of the operator. 

Applications of localized electrization to individual muscles or groups 
of muscles rarely give rise to any constitutional symptoms whatever^ 
unless the electrodes are placed on or near the head. 

The special eflfects of localized electrization of special organs, as the 
eye, ear, larynx, stomach, liver, intestines, uterus, ovaries, bladder, etc., 
will be described in the chapters devoted to the treatment of the diseases 
of these organs. 

Absolute Localtzation of Electricity impossible. — It should be con- 
sidered that exclusive and absolute localization of the effects of electriza- 
tion is impossible. The effects of both currents extend, either directly 
or by reflex action, to parts beyond the circuit. This is demonstrated, not 
only by physiological experiments, but by the observed facts of clinical 
experience- Thus it is observed, in some irritable conditions, that 
galvanization of the spine, and even of the extremities, causes a metallic 



taste ; that galvanization even of the hands or feet sometimes basieni 
ur increases the menstrual discharge, relieves headache, and produces 
sleep. The same effects to a less degree are sometimes observed from 

Some of the illustrations of this fact are quite striking. Thus in the 
case of the wife of a physician whom we were treating by faradization of 
the shoulder for rheumatism, the menstrual flow was so much increas**d 
and prolonged that it was necessary to abandon the treatment, although 
only very mild currents and short applications were used. 

In the case of a lady whom we were treating for sciatica, by localized 
galvanizalion of the painful portion of the nerve, the pain was de- 
cidedly relieved, but the effect was to bring on a recurrence of the 
menses after they were suspended, so tliat the patient was nearly all 
the time menstruating. 

These illustrations are extreme and comparatively rare, but they 
serve to show clearly enough that the effects of electrization catinol 
wxll be localized to the points between the electrodes, and that other 
and distant parts nmst, of necessity, be more or less effected. 

The term Uca/i sfd cltctrizaiion, introduced by Duchenne, is therefore, 
strictly speaking, a misnomer, since we are taught by physics that the 
vibrations of the electrical force must diffuse themselves in various direc- 
tions, and at a considerable distance from the electrodes, and we are 
taught by clinical experience that the effects of electrization, however 
near together the electrodes may be placed, are not entirely condned 
to the points between or near the electrodes, but may be felt, and in 
some instances far more demonstrably, in distant parts and organs. 

To the use of the term localized electrization, there is no objection^ 
provided it be used understandingly, and with the idea that it is merely 
a term of convenience. The term local electrization is often used 
synonymously with localized electrization, and for the reasons here 
suggested is preferable to it. Localized electrization has the advantage 
of being first in the field, and has become, to a certain extent, con^ 
secrated by usage. 





'^t ahjeet prof^sed in general faradisation is to bring every portion 

y f^batfj under the infiuence of the farad ie eurrent, so far as is pos- 

^' ^y cxitrnai applicatiims. This is best accomplished by placing 

J Pnepie (^ustially the negative) at the feet or the coccyx^ while the other 

f ^ *%*//Vci o^.^r the surface of the body. 

"^ ^Kra^ic is the current which is almost exclusively employed in 
electrisation, and, for that reason, the directions and explana- 
^^S^v^^n in this section, with the exceptions that will be noted, apply 
^ ^^d specially to general faradization. Since tlie discovery of 
^Ivanization, to be hereafter described, we have discarded the 
I S^rieraJ electrization^ and substituted g'&n^v^ faradisation^ for the 
^ that the galvanic current is preferably used in the form of cen* 

. ^'^t; majority of cases it is more convenient and satisfactory to 

I ^ sheet of copper at the feet. This position is indeed the rule in 

i IVk '^^ faradization. The broad, callous soles of the feet are but 

I * ^*y sensitive, and will bear a stronger current than any other por- 

^^ the surface of the body. But the passage of electricity through 

... ^^kles causes vigorous contractions of the flexors and extensors, 

^H when the current is very strong, may be somewhat painful Ac- 

^*ngly, when the patient is peculiarly nervous and sensitive, or when 

^^ent of unusual strength is to be employed, and in all cases where 

^oager application is desired than can be borne through the ankles, 

^hen it is desired to save time or inconvenience, it is advisable to 

I n*Vc the patient sit on the plate, or a sponge electrode with a broad 

|*^^fece may be applied to the coccyx. 

la general faradization, as in localized, the currents may be stable 
l^tationary) or labile (moving), uniform or increasing. 

Increasing currents are adapted for certain important centies, as the 
head, spine, cervical sympathetic, and cUiospinal and epigastric regions^ 


The advantage of this method of application is that it allows the use <* 
a stronger current than will otherwise be borne ; the strength of th< 
current may be so very gradually increased that the increase withi*^ 
certain limits may be ahiiost imperceptible to the patient This an&c* 
partly from the fact that the current has a slight benumbing or anaesthetic 
effect (see Electro-Physiology, p. iii), and partly from the fact that 1>1 
a gradual increase of the strength of the current the patient is spared 
the shock that is experienced when a strong current is suddenly direci«r<- 
through sensitive portions of the bod}'. 

Labile and inUrruptcd cnmiYits are adapted for the muscles, especbll 
of the extremities. 

General faradisation is very far from being so easy a process as 
might appear from this brief description. Its successful employracnt 
requires, on the part of the operator, some mechanical dexterity* entire 
familiarity with the instruments required, a complefe knowledge of 
electro-therapeuttcal anatomy j a personal acquaintance with the sen- 
sations and behavior of all portions of the body under the different 
electric currents ; close and patient study of the diseases and morbi^i 
conditions in which it is indicated, and of their response to faradiaiioii 
There are those who by long practice are enabled, when necessary^ to 
readily manipulate any portion of the body mth either hand, while ih^''^ 
is passing dirough them a current so powerful as to keep many of t^« 
principal muscles of the arms in a state of contraction. This qual>^^ 
tion, however, though convenient, is not indispensable. 

On the side of the patient, success in the use of general farad ^^ 
tion requires something of the same patience and perseverance 
are conceded to be necessary for success in the use of any other fc^^ 
of electrical treatment. 

Nothing is more difficult than to fully and accurately describe ^ 
words an operation that in its vety nature demands actual sight m^ 
experience. The true method of learning the art of general fa 
tion is by repeated observations of its application to the //t^m^subjc 
by personal experience of its sensations and results at the hanfis 
practised adepts, and by long and various experimenting on dive 
temperament, and in opposite states of disease. We shall endeair 
nowever, to present the best possible substitute for a course of priv 
lessons or extended cliJiical observation in this department, by ans*C 
ing in detail the practical questions that naturally present themself»j 
to one who approaches the subject ab initio^ and w^ho has no 
tunity for personal interviews with those to whom the various stepi< 
the operation ha\ e become already faniilia*. 

Pont ion of the Paiieni. — The patient should be seated on an or- 
dinary stool, with his face toward the instrument, and his feet on the 
sheet of copper to which the negative pole is attached. Any chair that 
has a back or arms will somewhat interfere with the m an ip illations of 
the operator. 

Those patients who, through paralysis or debility, are unable to sit 
np at aU^ can receive the treatment while lying in bed or on a lounge. 



In such cases the sheet of copper may be placed upnght against 
pillow, and the feet of rhe patient pressed against it, or an cl< 
may be placed at the coccyx. Assistance will then be required to 
the patient when the application is made to the back and spine, but 
such cases partial appHcations are frequently all that are required 

Infants and very f^^ble or very timid children should be hcldb 
lap of tlie mother or nurse, while an assistant holds the sponge to 

While the application is being made to the lower limbs it is well 
the patient to stand, in order that the operator may have access to 
gluteal regions and the posterior and anterior surface of the thigh. 

Position of the Operator, — While making applications to tbe 
the operator may either stand or sit by the side of the patient coi 
niently near to the table, on which are placed the apparatus, eleci 
sponges, bowl of water, and other appliances that may be called 
during the application. 

While operating on patients taller than himself the operator will 
it easier to stand, especially while treating the head and upper 
of the tnink. While treating short patients the operator will foij 
less fatiguing to sit in a chair. Most operators will fmd it verycoi 
nient to change their position from a sitting to a standing posture, or 
from one side of the patient to the other, while making the appto 
to the various parts of the trunk, 

Alinor Apparatus, — Electrodes, sponges, and copper plate. 

The best electrode for the pole that is appbed over the patient 
brass ball of about one inch in diameter* 

Around this brass ball should be loosely folded a soft wet 
of about six inches in diameter. This is found, by experience, to 
by far the most convenient form of artificial electrode that cia 
devised Next to the moistened hand of the operator it is l^e 
agreeable to the patient of any shape or quality of electrode, 
sponge can be pressed or folded over the brass ball so as to malt*^ 
comparatively small electrode, or its entire surface may be appliei 

When the operator allows the current to pass tlirough his 
person, and uses his hand as an electrode, holding the sponge aodi 
in his other hand, he can modify the appUcation to any 
strength or mildness that he may desire, by simply increasing 
minishing the pressure of his hand or fingers on the sponge. U 
this way ihe sponge holding the water acts like a hydro rheostat 
p. 319). Wlien it is necessar> that the application should be partii 
gentle and cautious, it is well to rest I e ball and sponge on the tabU^ 



nicnt than any other arrangement that has yet been suggested. The 
bowls of wami water, large sponges, etc., that have been suggested, 
are not only much less cleanly and convenient than the copper plate, 
but are also much poorer conductors. Metallic slippers are more 
troublesome than the broad plate, though their appearance, perhaps^ 
is more ornamental* It needs more care to put on the slippers, and 
if the patient loses his self-control during any stage of the application, 
and throws up his feet, it is something of a task to find the slippers 
again and accurately adjust them. 

In the use of the copper plate these details must not be forgotten : 
Firsts to keep it well warmed, in cold weather, by a piece of heated 
soap-stone beneath it ; secondly^ to keep it slightly moistened with 
warm water, in order to improve the connection. 

If only one foot is applied to the copper plate, the pain in the ankle, 
during certain stages of strong applications, will be unendurable. In 
mild applications it is sufHcieni to have one foot on the plate. It is 
necessary ever to bear in mind the rule> that the pain of electrical 
applications, other conditions being equal, is in inverse proportion to 
the surface of the electrode* The larger the surface of the electrode — 
whether positive or negative — the less the pain. In this fact consists 
the advantage of using large sponges. 

In general faradization the pain at the negative pole is chiefly felt at 
the ankles, and somewhat at the toes, but not on the bottom of the 
feet. The feeling of constriction in the ankles is caused by the rapid 
and violent contractions of the muscles. If only one foot is applied to 
the plate the entire force of the current must, of course* be borne by 
that foot, and furthermore, the other limb will receive no direct benefit 
from the treatment. 

The trouble of removing the shoes and stockings may be obviated by 
placing a large sponge connected with the negative pole at the coccyx, 
or on the thighs. 

Faeiiity^ ski/l, and readiness in use of (he various methods of modi- 
fying the strength and quality of the current is one very important secrH 
of success in the use of general faradization. A skilful operator tviU 
cause less discomfort with a strong current than one ivho is awkward 
will cause with a very weak current 

Details of the Applications to the Different Parts of the Body,~A% 
the various parts and organs of the body differ very widely in their sus- 
ceptibility to faradization, and in the effects which they receive from it, 
it becomes necessary to explain the modus operandi of the applications 
m\X\ considerable fulness of detaiL 




AppHcati^ns to the Hmd, — ^The head, especially" the forehead, is. by 
far, more sensitive to the electric currents than any other portion of the 
surface of the body. The htw reasons for this arc sufficiently obvious. 
The surfaces of bones are always sensitive to the far ad i€ current, as to 
any other mechanical influence ; and the cranium is no exception to 
this law. Then, again, the fifth pair is an exceedingly sensitive nerve 
in all its ramifications, and especially over the forehead* 

There are many cases that do not bear even mild applications to the 
front and top of the head, and who seem to be injured rather than 
benefited by it With others, the effects are highly agreeable* 

in treating the forehead the operator should first press his moistened 
hand firmly over the head, and then making the connection with his 
other hand on the sponge and brass ball of the positive pole, should 
allow the current to pass steadily, without interruption, for one or two 
minutes. In Kidder's farad ic apparatus, A 11 is the best current for 
the forehead. The use of the hand as an electrode is particularly de- 
sirable in making applications to the forehead. 

Moistening the Hair, —The dry hair is a non conductor, and there- 
fore it is always necessary to tvit it freely before eieetrtzin^ any portion 
of the head that is covered by it. It is not usually desirable to com- 
pel lady patients to pull down their hair, or to thoroughly moisten it 
A ver)' important centre for affecting the brain is the crown of the head, 
between the ears, over the so-called organ of firmness,— the cranial cen- 
tre. If the hair at this point be sufficiently moistened to admit the pas- 
sage of a mild current with any convenient form of electrode^ a peculiar 
and slightly painful sensation is experienced. 

In some exceptional cases of disease the head will bear currents of 
considerable strength. The back of the head over the cerebellum will 
usually bear quite strong applications. The cuirent is felt through the 
ramifications of the occipital nerves^ giving rise oftentimes to sensa- 
tions not only painless, but absohitely agreeable. 

Applications to the Neck and Throat, — ^The back part of the head 
and upper portion of the spine will usually bear powerful applications. 
It is an interesting and important fact that very marked effects may be 
produced by general faradization^ even when the applications are made 
only to the back and sides of the neck. 

The reason for this will be clear when we come to study the electro- 
therapeutical anatomy of the parts. From the upper portion of the 
spine and base of the brain proceed the most important and most sen- 
sitive nerves of the body — tht pneomogastric, and the brachial plexuk, 
and the phrenic nerves. 


Fig. 9J, 

General Galvano-Faradization. — Application to ihe spine by n sponge ^f^^jk 
A double electrode is used, one part of which b connected witb the gilfinif^. 
the other with the faradic apparatus. The copper plate is nl so connccled •''^ 
both currents. Galvano^famdLzation we do not now employ, but thectfi^ 
trates perfectly one of the steps ui general faradization. 

If the sponge be pressed firmly on the cilio spinal centre, over On 
iimth and the seventh cervical vertebrae, and moved slightly on cjtte 


of the spine, while a powerful current is passing, the electric infliv 
BCe may be percepltbly communicated, not only to the spine but 
to the larynx through the laryngeal nerves \ to the stomach 
>ugh the poeumogastric ; to the lungs through the phrenic; to both 
IS and hands through the brachial plexuses and their branches — in 
pff^ ic the most important nerves and organs of the body. The syni- 
ithetic is also directly affected at this point. 

Tb ere is no other single place on the surface of the body where the 

:trical influence can be communicated to so many important nerves 

a.t the cilio-spinal centre. In order, however, to affect all these 

trvcsand organs above mentioned by faradization it is necessary to 

a. powerful current, and to press the sponge very firjiily against the 

In very fieshy patients it is sometimes quite difficult to affect the 

kiraehial plexuses and their branches in the arms and hands without 

ttsing a stronger current than can well be borne through the feet and 

Qkles at the negative pole. This application, so far from being pain- 

al* is to many positively agreeable. The thriii which it communicates 

ho the nerves and vital organs is often so delightful that the patient re- 

I quests to have the application prolonged. In patients who can bear it, 

1 this application at the cilio-spinal centre may be varied by suddenly 

intemipting the current, 

T^hisaiiplication is a very important factor in general faradization, and 
^n achieve decided tonic effects on the system, even when no other 
portion of the body is touched by the current. The immediate sensa- 
tions which it produces, however, are by no means uniform. Some pa- 
tJents, through the irritation of the laryngeal nerves, cough spasmodi- 
^"yi and even violently, under the excitation even of a comparatively 
itHld Current ; with others, even the most powerful currents, and the 
fintiest possible pressure of the Sjionge, fail to produce any such effect 
l^ ncr\'ou^ and sensitive patients thts application often causes a pecul- 
*W and decided sensation in the stomach, through the pneumogastric 
^^^^ ; the strong and vigorous rarely experience any such sensation, 
even wr^^^f currents of great power. 

■^Doiher im])ortant locality in the electro^lherapeutical anatomy of 
the neck is in the posterior triangle, just by the posterior border of the 
stcmo cleido-mastoid muscle* If the fingers of the operator, with a 
CtJ^cnt of considerable strength, or the sponge with a current compara- 
li^dy mild, be pressed firmly on this space until the posterior border 
l>f ihe scalenus anticus is reached, the patient will at once experience a 
tingling or pricking sensation in the arm and hand on that side, caused 



by the excitation of the brachial plexus, and in some cases a thrill if 
communicated by means of the pneumogastric to the stomach, and by 
the phrenic nerve to the diaphragm* 

Appiications ia the Upper Extremities, — It is not always necessary 
to go to the trouble of faradizing the extremities, but in many cases it 
is a decided advantage to do so. In faradization over the extremities, 
the sponge, or the hand of the operator, should be passed thoroughly 
over the surface of the hands and amis, and with sufficient force to pro- 
duce agreeable contractions of all the superficial muscles* Except in 
infants and corpulent females, contractions of the superficial musclci 
of the arm are obtained with a mild current. 

Applications ta the Sf*ine, — Stronger currents of electricity may be 
borne over the middle of the spine than perhaps over any other portion 
of the body. There are no very sensitive peripheral nerves in the back, 
and the spinal cord is so thoroughly protected by its bony covering thai 
the currents are never felt in it painfully, except when it is greatly ex- 
hausted or organically diseased* The nerves that issue from the spinal 
cord are more or less affected by powerful applications to the back, and 
through them the various parts and organs which they supply are con* 
fiiderably influenced. 

The best method of electrizing the back is to pass the sponge down 
its entire length beneath the under-clothing, in case it is not removed, 
from the first cervical vertebra to the cauda equina^ carefully avoiding 
the prominences of the scapula and the ossa innominata. Below the 
^inferior angle of the scapula the sponge may be moved from side to side 
over the region of the kidneys, liver, and spleen. 

If a strong current be applied over the lower portion of the spine, 
between the upper borders of the ossa innominata, a slight sensation is 
sometimes, though by no means uniformly, communicated to the rectum 
and the male genital apparatus, the penis and the testicles, througb 
their spinal nerve supply. 

In view of these considerations it is manifest that in the emphymeni 
<ff general faradization particular attention should be given to the spine, 
even at the expense of Nf'ji^'ectin^^ other portions of the body. 

That the hmgs and heart are less influenced by electrization than other 
important organs, is chiefly accounted for by the anatomical stnicturc of 
the chest. The ribs, with the intercostal muscles and ligaments, form 
an unyielding wall Furthemiore, the pleura and pericardium are not 
closely adherent to the inner wall of the chest, but lie loosely over the 
lungs and heart. These organs, therefore, are best aflFected electrically 
by applicaticns above the sternumj around the neck, and over the uppet 




i!i" of the spine, whence the nerve-supply of the viscera proceeds, autl 
ky direct clectrualion of the vagus in the neck. 

A. 1 ^plications over the chest are, however^ of positive and permanent 
fcrvice, by developing the thoracic and intercostal muscles, and for this 
»on, if for no other, ihey should not be neglected- But it should not 
Fcjrgottcn that the surfaces of the ribs, hke the surfaces of all other 
■5>iire sensitive to electrization, and that therefore the chest will 
not l^ear as severe applications as the spine, neck, or abdominal re- 
[ions. This sensiiiveness is, of course, more in the thin and nervous 
iTi in the corpulent and phlegmatic. It is usually most marked on 
He inferior ribs on the riglU and left side of the body^ over the liver 
fit^ spleen. The peculiar sensiiiveness of the ribs at these points is 
onietimes erroneously supposed to indicate disease of the organs be- 
|nea.ih them. 

^^ have stated above that the anatomical stnicture of the chest ren- 
jdered it dilBcult to send the electric current through its anterior walls 
I to the lungs and heart. In the abdouiinal regions the anatomical 
[structure is directly reversed, and instead of an unyielding wall, partly 
composed of bones and ligaments, we have a flaccid skin lying loosely 
j agajnst the pcritona»uni that covers the moist viscera beneath. No 
joiner organs of the body contain so large a percentage of water as those 
""^ntch aje situated in the cavity of the abdomen. It is obvious, there- 
More, that when the resistance of the epidermis is overcome by the mois- 
ture ar the sponge or hand, and the peritoriafum and viscera are brought 
I into Coaptation, the current must directly traverse all the parts desired 
[to be a^ffected. 

To reach the stomach and solar plexus, place the sponge or palm of 
Mneoa.n<] below and under the sternum, and as far back as possible. 
'|"'*Pi"essure brings the peritonaeum and stomach into coaptation, and 
^y^^ the current to pass through them, Jf JJie under-clothing be 
iiuii))ly slipped up without being entirely removed, the stomach and ab- 
|Oomen (.^^ be readily treated, 

"^ bowels may be treated either with the labile or the stable cnr* 
Ipcitli a^nd^ in cases of obstinate constipation, by sudden interruptions or 

^^^''pulent and pursy patients usually bear much stronger currents 

O^*^ the abdomen than the thin and emaciated. Adipose tissue is 

com\>aratively a poor conductor of electricity, and it is difficult to affect 

tbc boweb of the very corpulent through the abdominal walls by elec 

tJ^*^on, unless we employ firm pressure and currents of considerable 

fCrengtb. But in the vast majority of cases currents of moderatf 



strength, applied lightly over the surface of the abdoiren, m\\ readu> 
produce coutractioas of the abdominal onjscks, and, if pressure be em 
ployedt the intestines and all the organs of the abdominal cavity are di 
rectly traversed by the current 






Fig. 94> 
GcncraJ FftradUaUon^ — Application to tbe stomach. 

Applications to the Female Genitals. — Direct applications to the 
vagina or uterus are rarely called for in general faradization. 

Applications to the Lower Extremities* — Unless there is weakness 
or paralysis of the lower limbs we do not always apply the current 
directly to them» because, when tlie copper plate is at the feet, the 
muscles below the knee are more or less exercised during the whole 

Before proceeding to make the applications to the lower extremities^ 
*he patient should be required to stand up^ still keeping the feet on the 
copper plate. Male patients who, during the earlier stages of the 
operation, have entirely removed their clothing from the trunk, shoiilj 



iftONv'ed to again put it on» both m order to avoid unnecessary ex- 
P^^ a\id to protect them from ttie cold. 

mk female patients the applications to the lower limbs, except in 
^^^'^^f paralysis, can be made under the clothing, if the drawers ht 
^i>Fd down, without exposure. 

Fig, <>5. 
Gcocni Faradization. — Application to the Lower Extremities. 

"The operator, sitting by the side of the patient, on a low stool or 
t^Oman, should then pass the sponge or the hand lightly down the 
^tire surface of both limbs, from the thighs to the feet, avoiding, so 
^ as possible, the prominences of the bones at the hip, knee, and 

The outer portion of the thigh, like the back, is very little sensitive 
lo the electric current, because its suiface is not supplied by very sen- 



Bitivc nerves. The inner side of the thigh^ on the contraiy, is sv^^M 
by branches from Ihe sensitive anterior crural nerve, and in d^ 
persons especially is very susceptible to electrization. In passing t^^ 
sponge or the hand down the lower liinbs great pains should be ti 
to carefully graduate the current according to the sensitiveness of cac^A 
locality. This precaution is more necessary in treating the lower liml 
than the upper, because the contrasts in the normal sensitiveness of tt^^ 
diflferent parts of the lower limbs are much greater than in the arn»^^ 
and because any severe shocks suddenly felt in the legs sometimes thn 
patients off their feet* 

In cas€s not complicatid with paralysis^ contractions of the suferjin 
muscles of the lower Umbs^ as of the upper limbs^ can be produced 
comparatively feeble and painless currents. 

Special Rules to be Observed in the Employment of General Fop^* 
dizatiim. — In the employment of general faradization there are cert«iH 
special suggestions, on the observance of which the results of the appli- 
cations will very materially depend 

1. The Strength of the Current and Length of ihe Appluatiffn. 

is better that the first tentative applications should always be madcurV 
a gentle current, and, if the patient be particularly sensitive, it is an 
vantage to use the hand of the operator instead of an artificial electrcxS- 
After the patient has become somewhat accustomed to the treatnictit, 
the general rule should be to make the applications pleasantly painful'.. 

Patients who have long been accustomed to the treatment — whohav 
become, in a certain sense, insensible to the strength of current ordi- 
narily used — may frequently be benefited by very powerful currents* 

Usually, but not invariably^ we may be guided by the sensadoas oi 
the patient ; but exceptions to this rule are sometimes very stnTti^i^ 
and should put us on our guard. Some who feel no pain during tli^ 
applications may on the day following experience the most disagreeaW^ 
reactive effects. (See p. 248.) 

2. Thoroughness of the Applications. — General faradisation dociMt 
require that all portions of the surface of the body should be too" 
by the electrode at every sitting. In nervous and susceptible patii 
we can approach the full measure •)f the treatment only by slow di 
It is oftentimes sufficient to make the first application only around 
neck, shoulders, and on the upper portion of the spine. 

// is not always necessary to make the applications to ail portufftt of 
the surface of the body^ even in a prolonged course of treatment. The ge^ 
era I tonic effects of this system of treatment can undoubtedly be ackirtti 
without touching either th: upper or lower extremities, Bmt, on fk 


lif^^k^jidj ft is Just as undoubiidly tnu that the muscular devehprntni 
|lAi/r^^j#//j from long-€ontinu£d electrization 0/ th^ arms and legs reacts 
f(mra^iy on the whole system and materially aids the treatment 
The neck and spine should be treated in all cases, except during the 
jt and tentative applications, or in patients of very unusual suscepti* 
^^fr JJuring menstruation it is usually better to avoid the abdomen 
' h-me^dr part 0/ the spine^ or to suspend the treatment altogether^ 
tipt m^M those cases where it is desired to increase the menstrual fiow, 
\ Itttg^rJt of (he Applications. — The duration of the sittings may range 
'te^M Jve and twenty-five minutes^ being modified by the nature of 
: constitution! the strength of the current enjployed, the stage of the 
atm^rrit, and the results of the previous applications. 
1 'The SRiitlest fraction of this time should be devoted to the head, ihe 
Igest ^o tijc spine ; next to the spine the abdomen should receive the 
c»t: &hare of attention . 

1. .\.i:i average application of say 15 minutes may be thus appor- 
onwl t 

To the tiesj! i mlntite. 

♦* neck, sympathetic and cervical spine 4 minutes. 

" back , ..3 •• 

•• abdomen , , . , , 3 *• 

** upper and lower octreinlties 4 ** 

A* Compared with the time required in localized faradization and ctu 
tm galvanization^ general faradization has not the great disadvantage 
y^&t has hen supposed* Nearly all the ordinary peripheral applications 
I of ^electricity for paralysis require as much time as general faradization. 
^^^quency of the Applications, — ^I'he applications of general faracli- 
utiQii may be repeated daily, every other day, once or twice a week, or 
[ hy %\\\\ longer intervals. Every other day is about as often as is ncces** 
to Becure the full tonic results of the treatment ; but patients who 
^ so situated that they can take the treatment but a short time may 
•'^^vvc an application daily, provided they are not in a condition of un* 
is*^4l debility, or are not more than ordinarily susceptible to the current 
for the very nervous and susceptible, and especially for those who cona» 
|JatQ of the secondary or reactive eflfects, it is often necessary to give 
iutmals of several days, at least until the permanent tonic effects begio 
to be developed (see p. 220). 

Pmistence in the Treatmeni. — For the majority of cases, the treat- 
^pent by general faradization, in order to secure its full results, must be 
fifstsfent. The reasons why this perseverance is demanded arc quite 



obvious. In the^ri/ place, most of the diseases and morlid cotiditioni 

for which general faradization is indicated are exceedingly chronic IQ 
their character. It is necessary ever to keep in mind the emphatic 
words of the great Trousseau, ** Chronic diseases demand chronic treat- 
ment/' whatever may be the method employed. 

Secondly t Tonic remedies of all kinds external and internal, are al- 
ways more Lfi less slow in their action. 

While great and beneiicial effects are often derived &om two or three 
applications, a complete or approximate cure of longstanding morbid 
conditions, such as dysi^epsia^ hypochondriasis, nervous exhau$tiOD| 
hysteria, paralysis, can only be achieved by persistent treatment, vary- 
ing the strength of the current and frequency of the apphcations ao 
cording to the progress which is made. 

The length of lime over which the treatment should be extended may j 
range from one week to several months, with longer or si)orter interval^ 
according to circumstances. 

Comparing the history of all our cases, we find that the average num* 
ber of applications administered to each successful case is about 15-25, 
and the length of tinie over which the treatment was extended 4-S 

The Use of the moistened Hand as an Electrode to the Mead and Sen^ \ 
sitive Parts. — The advantages which the moistened hand sometimes 
possesses over the sponge in general faradisation are the following : 

I. In certain cases it is tnote agreeable to the patient. It is but a 
truism to assert that no form of electrode that human skill shall ever 
devise can ever compare with the hand in flexibility and power of adap* 
taiion. Its shape, its flexibility, tlie number and arrangement of the 
fingers, and the vast and delicate combinations of movement of which 
they are so readily capable — all these familiar and wonderful character- 
4siics of the hand, united to the peculiar softness of die skin, and the 
lightness with which it can touch, or press, or handle, render it superior 
for the nicer processes of general faradization to any artificial arrange- 
ments of which ilie genius of man could conceive. 

For applications to the head and sides of the neck, the brachial plex- 
us, and pit of the stomach, the use of the hand electrode is a very 
great convenience j and we sometimes meet with patients who are so 
sensitive and so fearful that they will not endure even the softest sponge 
on any portion of the body, or at any stage of the treatment To ap- 
ply a mild faradtc current to the forehead and crown of the head, widi 
the softest sponge and largest ^jossible surtace, is at best an unpleasant 
jiroress foi a strong man in perfect health, and for the delicate invalid 



b often unendurable ; but when the hand of the operator is made an 
eicctrode, the operation of faradiring the most sensitive portions of the 
head may be made not only tolerable, but positively agreeable. Except 
in cases of severe local disease or unusual debility, the sponge can be 
home down the spine, over the abdomen and extremities, and down the 
lower extremities without great difficulty. 

2. // keeps ih€ operator eontinually informed of the strength of th§ 
current^ and thus enahles him to carefully graduate it^ according to the 
tensttiitnm of each locality. 

As the current passes through his own person, the operator can judge 
by his ovn sensations whether it is too strong or too weak, and by in- 
creasing or diminishing the grasp of his other hand on the sponge, can 
modify the strength of the application without disturbing his apparatus. 
The wet sponge on which he presses with the other hand, acts, as we 
have seen, like a hydro-rheostat. 

Tlie use of the hand as an electrode enables the operator to instantly 
modify the appiicaiions in any of the various degrees of weakness and 
strength, and also to suspend the passage of the current instantaneously 
without shocit or violence. When the sponge is used we must continually 
queiUon thtr patient, or watch his expression and movements, in order to 
jodge whether the current is of proper strength. 

"^^ 'nost, if not all, of the tonic effects of general faradization can 
oDtained in perhaps the majority of patients by the use of the 
•i'ongc, there can, we think, be no question ; but the use of the hand 
01 tiie op^f^jQ^^ according to the principles above indicated, enables ua 
to ichieve these results, and with less discomfort to the patient, in those 
|)ecuharly sensitive cases where the artiticial electrode could not be 
"^•'"^ at all. Very many of our patients we treat only with artificial 

^^ ^um uf, in a word^ it is a convenience and oftentimes a positive 
^iintiitici Jqj, i}i^ operator to be able and willing to use his hand in ap- 
P*^<ittontt0 sensiitve parts and nervous patients^ but for the majority of 
i^is it is sufficient to use a large soft sponge, 

Effects of the Current on the Operator. — The question now arises, 
Wat effect must the operator experience from the repeated passage of 
tlie electric currents through his own person ? 

It should be understood, at the outset, that tlie current does not 

riffctly affect the whole person of the operator, nor indeed any of the 

eminent organs, and that only the faradic current is used in this way, 

he current passes from hand to hand, through the arras and shoulders^ 

lid does not reach or directly influence the brain or any of tlie orgaiu 



of the chest or of the abclooien. The effects of thus using the currenl 
on the nutrition of the muscles of the arm have akeady been consider- 
ed {see Electro- Physiology, p. 194). 

Those physicians whose temperaments do not tolerate electricity, 
would do well to avoid passing the current through their own per- 
sons in this way. Those, however, and they constitute tlie ma- 
jority, who are more or less benefited by the use of electricity, in thti 
way, need never fear any evil effects* If tliey treat a very large num- 
ber of patients a d^ky by general faradization, using the hand as an elec- 
trode a considerable portion of the time, and with strong currents, they 
will be much more wearied at night than if they used the sponge chiefly 
or exclusively, l^his method of general faradization has been and is 
now used by hundreds of physicians, and we have never heard of any 
serious effects in any instance. The few whose temperaments contra* 
indicate electricity soon abandon the use of the hand as an electrode, 
since they find thai it is a luxury and not a necessity. The majority ex- 
perience either negative or beneficial effects, and arrive at that state 
where it is a matter of indifference whether tJiey use the hand or 

Sp€ciai Effects of General Faradization, — The general effects of 
electricity on the system have already been considered (p» 263). We have 
here to speak only of those that are peculiar to or most marked under 
general faradization. 

The effects of general faradization may be subdivided into threi 
classes ; 

1, Those which are experienced dtiring or immediately after treat- 
ment, — Primary or stimuiating effects. 

2, Those which are experienced one or two days subsequent to the 
treatment* — Secondary or reactive effects, 

3, Those which remain in the system as a permanent result of treat- 
ment. — Per ma nent or ton k effects. 

Many patients, perhaps the majority, experience after each seanct i 
feeling of enltvenment and exhilaration that often lasts for several 
hours. With some this feeling of exhilaration is very positive and de* 
cided; with others it is but just perceptible. Others^ again, experi- 
ence a disposition to sleep after treatment, quite similar to that which is 
felt after a bath in the surf. 

Relief of pain and local or general weariness is a very frequenl ai 
well as very agreeable temporary effect of general faradization, and 
one which, more perhaps than any other, tends to inspire the doubt- 
ing patient with rontidence in the efficacy of l\m method of treai^ 




mcnt. Patients who suffer from indefinable nervous pains ii. the head, 
Dack, side, and stomach, or from weakness in the lijiibs, freqjently ap- 
preciate relief ttven in the midst of the application. This relief usually 
lasts for several hours, and in some cases may become permanenL 

All the disagreeable symptoms that sometimes arise from an ap- 
plication, as headache^ fnaiatse, chilliness^ vertigo^ faintness^ and cold 
perspiration (see pp. 247-150), like similar effects from injudicioos use 
of other tonics, physical exercise, the shower-bath, etc, are not usually 
of any permanency whatever. Indeed, they are entirely consistent with 
permanently good results ; but they are apt to annoy and alarm the 
patient, and for that reason^ if for 00 other, they should be avoided. 

Effect on Temperature. — The temperature may be immediately 
influenced by general faradixatiou. 

Its effect on the circulation seems to be that of an equalizer. Pa 
tients afflicted with nervous diseases are apt to suffer from cold feet and 
hands, and from creeping chills over the body. The equalizing, warm- 
ing effect of general faradization on such patients is most decided and 
agreeable, and is so positively realized, even in the midst of the seance^ 
that neither the bare feet nor the exposed trunk suffer from the cold, 
provided the air of the operating-room is of even a moderate tempera- 

Effect on Pulse, — ^The effects of general faradization on the pulse are 
quite interesting and suggestive. 

In a large number of cases we have carefully counted the pulse, and 
also observed its quality just before and just after the treatment. The 
results of some of these observations are preseuted below : — 

Before the 


Before the 



































































On account of the recognized susceptibility of the pulse, especially 
of nervous invalids, to the influence of mental impression, we have 
found it necessary, in order to avoid error, to make repeated examina 
tions before and after the sitting. 



The conclusion, from our very large rwmber of observations id regard 
to the tnfiiience of general faradization on ihe pulse in chronic diseases, 
is that of a corrective. 

When the pulse is high it depresses it more or less^ and usually in 
proportion to the degree of the exaltation above the nornial standard. 
\Mien it is low h raises it more or less, and usually in proportion to the 
degree of the depression below the normal standard In nervous and 
excitable patients, the effect of general faradization on the pulse is much 
more marked than in the cold and phlegmatic An application that is 
nuich too strong may greatly excite the pulse. 

Special and Exceptional Effects, — The immediate effect on the ap- 
petite is, in rare iuslances, so marked that the patient at once feels 
desire for food, and at the next meal eats a much larger quantity and 
with far keener relish than usuaL 

Sensitive patients are now and then compelled to evacuate their 
bladder or rectum immediately after or even in the midst of the appli- 
cation, and the urinary secretion is occasionally increased. But all 
these effects of general faradization on the functions of special organs 
are incidental and occasional, and are not to be expected with any 
uniformity or constancy. 

Secondary or Reactive Effects. — ^The secondary or reactive effects of 
general faradization are those which are experienced for a day cr ttm 
following an application. These effects are probably not observed in 
more than half of the cases, and usually only at the outset of the treat- 
ment. Most of these secondary or reactive effects have already been 
considered (see p, 249). 

Soreness in the muscles of the neck, tnmk, and upper extremities is 
unquestionably the most frequent of the secondary symptoms of gen- 
eral faradization, and the one which patients are soonest to observe and 
describe. It is the result of the muscular contractions that are pro- 
duced by the electric current. They usually pass off in two or three 
days, and are scarcely observed at all after the patient has once be- 
come accustomed to the treatment. By making the first tentative ap- 
plications gentle and short, it is possible to avoid entirely this subse- 
quent muscular soreness, and in very feeble or very timid patients we 
should always endeavor to do so. 

Indefinable nervousness is another occasional secondary effect^ and one 
that often gives rise to idle and unnecessary alarm. Like the soreness 
of the muscles, it usually passes off in a day or two, and is not commonly 
experienced after the patient has become accustomed to the treatment 

Weariness and exhaustion may be experienced by this clasi of pa 




tients foi several days after an injudicious application. It is a very 
interesting and important fact, that these annoying secandary syn»ptonis 
of weariness and exhaustion are oftentimes experienced to their fullest 
extent by patients on whom the immediate effects for a few hours suc- 
ceeding the application are only agreeable. On account of this fact, 
the inexperienced electro-therapeutist may be unpleasantly deceived^ 
and from the temporary enlivenment of his patient may sti|>pose that 
his application has been thoroLighly successful, until the distressing 
secondary effects, continuing perhaps for several days, show most 
clearly that it has been either too strong or too protracted. 

Permanent or Tonic Effects. — To designate any precise time or stage 
of the treatment when these tonic effects are to be looked for, is 
manifestly impossible. Like the tonic effects of other analogous in- 
ternal or external remedies, the time of their appearance must be 
variously modilied by the nature of the disease, the constitution of the 
patient, and the skill and perseverance of the treatments They may 
appear early in the treatment, developing theuiselves with great 
rapidity ; or they may remain latent until after the applications are 
abandoned, and then advance with sure and steady progress. They 
may be so rapidly manifested at the commencement of the treatment 
as to cause us to suspect them to be more the result of mental im- 
pression than of the applications ; and, on the other hand, they may 
develop themselves so long after the treatment as to suggest the doubt 
whether they are not as much due to nature and time as to the direct 
electric influence. 

Among these tonic effects of general faradization, those which chiefly 
attract the attention and are of the princitjal importance are the following : 

Improvement in the 5/^^/.— This symptom comes ^rj/ in our analysis 
of the permanent effects of general faradisation, because it is one of 
the first to be appreciated and observed by the patient. As insomnia 
is the most constant and universal symptom of those various nervous 
conditions for which general faradization is indicated, just so is Its relief 
or cure the first and leading evidence that the treatment is having its 
desired effect. As already mentmned, inclination to sleep is one of the 
immediate symptoms of thtf application? and may come on even in the 
midst of the stance ; but the improvenient in the sleep of which we 
here speak, as ^ permanent Q^tct, is appreciated during the intervals of 
treatment, and long after it has been suspended. 

Increase of Appetite and Improvement in Digestion, — ^Increase of 
appetite and improvement in the digestion is not so early nor as con- 
stant a symptom as imj^rovement in the sleep. 



It is by no ntcans a constant or uniforni effect* even in those caies' 
where it would seem to be needed, and where^ too, in all orher respects, 
great and lasting benefit is derived from the treatment. Some patients 
who are permanently relieved of neuralgia, of insomnia, and of muscular 
and nervous debility, yet observe no decided improvement IQ ihcif 
digestion. Such cases, however, are quite exceptional. 

Regulaiion of ike Botueh. — Constii)ation sometimes yields very early 
in the treatment. The temporary effect is probably due, in many 
instances certainly* to the direct mechanical action of the current on 
the intestines J but permanent relief, either of constipation or of 
diarrhoea of the nervous variety, is not to be expected until the indigestioo 
and general debility on which they depend have first been corrected. 

Improvement in the Cireuiation. — Permanent equalization of the 
circulation is most observed in cases of dyspepsia, nervous ex- 
haustion, hysteria, and similar conditions with which defective circular 
Hon is so frequently associated. It is then the result of the improve- 
ment in the assimilative power and nutrition of the system. 

Relief of Nervousness and Mental Dfpresswn.^-'\\\^ indefinitei 
though very well recognized condition which we term nervousness, 
and the indefinable mental agony that forms so prominent and so 
distressing a symptom in hysteria, dyspepsia, exhaustion, and other 
nervous conditions, sometimes yield to general faradization quite early 
in the treatment. 

Increase in the Size and Hardness of the Muscles^ and in the Weight 
of the Body. — This is a natural result and accompaniment of the im- 
provement in nutrition, and that it follows the use of the faradic as well 
as of the galvanic current, sufficiently demonstrates that power over 
nutrition is not confined to the latter. 

Under the influence of protracted treatment by general faradization, 
the muscles are sometimes developed in size as well as in firmness to 
a degree which very nato rally astonishes those who, for the first time, 
have their attention directed to it. This increase in size and quality of 
the muscles is, of course, chiefly observed in those portions of the 
surface of the body where, under the influence of faradization, con* 
tractions are most easily produced* Therefore we first look for this 
effect in the arms, the legs, and afterwards in the chest. This cflfect is 
soonest observed in patients who are comparatively thin, or at least, 
whose muscular tissue predominates over the adipose. On the otbet 
hand, and for obvious reasons, it is not so perceptible in females, ot 
in the very corpulent of either sex. 

Under general faradization actual increase in the site and weigH €f 






thi hody sometimes takes place so rapidly and perceptibly to the eye 
that it need not be conlirmed by reference to the scales. In othei 
cases, where patients, cither through curiosity or accident, have care- 
fully weighed themselves just belorc taking a course of treatment^ a 
roost remarkable increase of weight has often been observed in the 
course even of a few weeks. 

The increase of weight is simply a result of the effect of the 
electric currents on nutritioni and a natural sequence of the improve- 
ment in the sleep, the increase of appetite, and the relief of pain and 
mental depression of which we have already spoken. 

Increased Disposition and Capacity for Labor of the Muscles and of 
the Brain, — Whatever tends, directly or indirectly, to improve nutrition 
must of necessity increase the capacity for intellectual and muscular 
toil. Accordingly we find that patients who were so feeble that even a 
fthort walk or ride was fatiguing, and who were signally deficient both 
in the will and the capacity for exertion, soon begin to develop, under 
treatment, an activity and vigor that is sometimes surprising. They 
can walk farther and more vigorously, and with greater enja}Tnent, 
They realize a consciousness of strength to which before they were 
strangers, and feel emboldened lo exertion from which they would for- 
merly have shrunk with apprehension. 

Concerning these pennanent tonic effects it is to be observed : — 

1. They are not uniform. They vary not only with different individ- 
uals and diseases, but also with the same individual at different periods 
of life. 

2. They are more rapidly appreciated by the active and the nervous 
than l^y the cold and phlegmatic. Other conditions being the same, a 
sensitive, impressible organization will recover more rapidly under gen- 
eral faradization than one of an opposite temperament. 

3. They are frequently not experienced until long after the treat- 
ment is abandoned. These after ejects of general faradization are 
worthy of the highest attention. The possibility that they may occur 
is a constant encouragement in the treatment of all slow and obstinate 

4. Tlkey arc usually as lasting and permanent as similar effects from 
Hher remedies and systems of treatment. It is true that patients who 
have been apparently cured by general faradization are subject to re- 
lapses, yet to no greater and apparently to a less extent than those who 
have derived similar relief from internal medication. In considering 
this statement, regard should be had to the fact that the diseases for 
which general faradization is chiefly indicaledi at least those in which if 





has thus far been most successful, are just the diseases which are 
likely to relapse under any or all forms of treatmenL 

Rationale of the Effects of General Faradisation . — It has been said 
of general faradization that it is not physiological ; but they who raise 
this objection do not well consider what they say. Of the various methodi 
of electrization none can be better explained on a physiological basit 
than can this. General faradization is to the whole body what localized 
faradization is to an individual part or organ* Al! the physical, me* 
chanical, chemical and physiological effects, with die consequent in- 
crease of the processes of waste and repair and iniproveuient in nutri- 
tion that electrization is capable of producing in the hving tissues (sc€ 
Electro Physiology, p, 177) and which, in exclusively localized applica- 
tions, are mainly confined to the part which is traversed by the current, 
arc in general applications appreciated by every part of the system. ■ 
Then, again* the improvement which each part or organ receives from 
the treatment reacts upon every other part and organ. Every effect 
becomes in its turn a cause ; the strengthened brain sends more ner\'0iii ■ 
force to the stomach, by which the latter is enabled to send better blood 
to the brain. 

Comparing what is knoi^fi of the conductibility of the tissues (sec 
p. 180), and the action of the electric currents upon tliem» with the ob* 
served effects of general faradization, these effects may be regarded ai 
due mainly — 

1. To the fact that the nutrition of the entire central nert^ons system 
is directly influemed by the current. In an ordinary application the 
brain, spinal cord, and sympathetic ganglia are all subjected to the ac- 
tion of the current. In most of the applications of central localized 
electrization only a part of the central nervous system is affected at 
each sitting. We are warranted in believing that in nearly all nervous 
diseases the central nervous system is more or less disturbed, even when 
it is not organically diseased. 

2. The passive exercise that results from the vigorous and repeated 
tnuscjilar contractions produced by the applications* VV^hen the applica- 
tions are thoroughly and skilfully made, vigorous yet agreeable con- 
tractions are excited, not only in all the superficial muscles, but ui the 
deeper layers, and also of the contractile fibre-cells of the stomach« 
the intestines, and other vital organs. The augmentation of the mani- 
fold processes of waste and repair which a single sitting causes in the 
muscles and abdominal organs would alone powerfully influence nutri- 
tion, even though the electric current exerted no direct effect on tht 
Dervous system- 



Tliat the tonic effects of general faradization are verj^ largely due to 
^\t passive exercise which it produces, is proved clinically by the fact 
that when a current too feeble to cause muscular contractions is used, 
01 when the muscles are neglected, the tonic as well as the primary 
effects of the treatment are much less marked. 

3. Jiefiix action from the sensory nerves^ The reflex effect of the 
(aradic current even is very powerful, and in general faradization nearly 
»U the superficial sensory nerves are acted upon, and consequently the 
whole nerv^ous system is constantly under reflex as well as direct in- 
fluence of the current,* 

* Brown-S^uflrd tnd Lombard (Archives dc Physiol, November and December, 
1869) luve shown that when one arm is pinched the temperalure of that arm slightly 
<i«s» tod tijtl of the opposite arm falls. Dr. James J. Potnam (Boston Medical and 
Surgical Journal, June 23, 1870) has shown by a series of experiments on frogs that 
cl^cfriutionof one foot caused reRcx contractions of the blood-vessels in the web of 
tlie foot of the opposite side. These experiments, taken in connection with the fact 
tl»«t nutrition ts closely related to circulation, would render it clearly probable that 
I fc^ ftclion b an important factor of the results of application of electricity^ and 
^qjeciaJJj of general faradization^ ^h«rc the extremities are directly aifectcd by the 




In order to determine the differential indications for the use o^ 
localized and general faradization we need to consider these fon^ 
facts : 

Fir sty That general faradization directly affects the whole body,wiiil^ 
in localized faradization the direct action of the current is mainly con- 
fined to the part to which the application is made. 

Secondly^ That general faradization may, by sympathetic or reic« 
action, indirectly have a special therapeutic influence on some sfttimS 
part or organ, while localized faradization of any part, but especially 
of the sympathetic or cerebro-spinal axis, by sympathetic or rcflc* 
action, may indirectly have a general therapeutic influence on tlics 
•whole body. 

Thirdly^ Faradization, when properly performed, very rarely injoir«» 
and usually more or less benefits, even those parts which are in con*- 
parative or absolute health. This consideration has an important pra^^ 
tical bearing, especially in the use of general faradization, in cases O^ 
doubt as to the seat of the disease. (See p. 234.) 

Fourthly^ In nearly all cases it is important, and in many itisindi^^ 
pensable, that the applications should be made to the seat of the 6s^'^ 
ease as well as to the locality of the symptom. Scientific electro-thei*''^ 
peutics, therefore, requires the most accurate preliminary diagnoa$r 
above all, it is important to rigidly discriminate between diseases whidi 
are of a constitutional and those which are of a local origin. 

From these fundamental considerations we logically derive the gen- 
eral law that constitutional diseases are better treated by general^ 9»k 
local diseases by localized^ faradization. 

More specifically, experience demonstrates that of the large variety Ot 
diseases for which applications of electricity are found usefiilf localiicd 
faradization and galvanization are specially indicated in those cases 
where both the seat and the effects of the disease are restricted to cer- 


tain portious of the organism, with but slight or imperceptible intiuenr^. 
on the system at large. Under this head are included nearly all peri- 
pheral and retlex paralyses and neuralgias, etfusions, sprains, and local 
injunes, and also many of the diseases of the eye, ear, larynx, and 
genital and digestive organs. ^^ 

On ihe otiier hand, general faradization is indicated — ^B 

t* In those diseases that are dependent on or associated with inj^ 
paimient of nutrition and general debility of the vital functions, such asi 
nervous dyspepsia, neurasthenia, ana&niia, hysteria, hypochondriasis, 
paralysis, and neuralgia of a constitutional origin, rheumatism and 
other toxic diseases, some forms of chorea, and oftentimes in func- 
tional disorders of the genital, digestive, and other special organs. i 

2. In morbid symptoms dependent on some local cause which can- 
not be satisfactorily diagnosricated. It must be confessed that a large 
number of cases of chronic diseases are frequently dependent on of 
connected with some important lesions, of which, during the lifetime of 
Ihe patient, even the most approved methods of diagnosis and the most 
practised skill utterly fail to ascertain either the nature or the locality. 
This is oftentimes the case with epilepsy, hysteria, and hypochon 
driasts ; sometimes, also, with affections of special organs, as the eye, 
ear, larynx, and uterus. 

Benedikt emphatically aflirms that electricity should be applied almost 
exclusively im hco morbi^ in the place of the disease, and in cases of 
doubt recotu mends tentative applications successively in all the sus- 
pected localities until the diagnosis is made out by the success of the 
treatment.^ It scarcely need be said that this purely experimental 
system, though sometimes successful, nmst be and is annoying, uncer- 
tain, and very frequently unsatisfactory. 

The advantage of general faradization in such cases of doubtful patho- 
logy are twofold ; Firsts at each application it affects all parts of the 
body, and thus is sure to reach the seat of the disease, wherever that 
may be ; and, secondly^ it at the same tiuie unproves the general nutri- 
tion of the system, which, in such cases, is frequently more or less im- 
paired. This improvement in nutrition, as has been stated, oftentimes 
r-acts favorably on the local disease. 

Still further, it must be confessed that very many of the diseases in 
which general faradization is proved to be of most efficient service, 
are those in which no special iocus morbi can be found even on po$i 
mmUm examination. 

• 0k Electrolherapic Wien, 1868, p. 7^ 


Future invcsrigations will undoubtedly do much tn dispel our igw>^ 
ranee on these points, and will probably assign a definite local cause 
lo some of the diseases which are now vaguely classed as comutu- 
tianaU But even those diseases in which the local cause is dc6niieij 
ascertained may denmnd constitutional treatment as njuch as or mm 
than tliose in which no local cause is demonstrated. When a house ii 
set on hre by a burning fuse, it is not enough to snatch away the fuse; 
we must extinguish the flames. When the nervous system has 
thrown into tetanus by a wound in the foot, excision or healing ( 
wound is of little avail ; remedies must be directed to the central ner- 
vous system. Precisely so when chronic local disease has eofecbUd 
the vital functions and impaired nutrition, our applications are to be 
directed to the general system as well as to the seat of the lesion. 

J. In certain diseases which, though themselves incurable, aic 
companied by impairment of nutrition that is susceptible of more or 
relief* Palsy agilanst nmny cases of cerebral and spinal paralysis, ad- 
vanced stages of locomotor ataxia, rheumatic gout, epilepsy, and cer* 
tain spastic affections, may be absolutely incurable, and yet the ema- 
ciation, nervousness, insomnia, and general feebleness with which these 
diseases are associated as cause or effect or concomitant, may be stt>* 
ceptible of most grateful relief from general faradization. In notAlcW' 
cases of disease of these varieties, after we have failed to do any goo^^ 
by galvanization of the brain, sympathetic and spinal cord, after even 
central galvanization has failed, general faradization alone, given iritb- 
out special reference lo the seat of the pathological lesion, has greitiy 
relieved the symptoms and been of invaluable service by virtue of ic* 
tonic effects, although, of course, it could have no permanently cui*tir« 

Illustrative cases of every grade will hereafter be presented in detaiU 

Cause of Failures in Eieciro-Therapeuiics, — The comparison i* 
have here made reveals the cause of some of the failures vA 
discouragements that have been and are now being encountered 
by many experimenters in the department of electro-thcrapeutici 
Constitutianal diseases have beefi treated locally. Morbid conitittt' 
tional conditions, such as hysteria, anxmia, rheuniatism, and tibt 
like, which, as all physicians agree, demand remedies that affect the 
system, are treated electrically only through their local symptoms, suck 
1^ peripheral paralysis, or neuralgia, or inflammation of the joints 
Temporary relief, or metastasis of these local symptoms may indcci 
result from exclusively localized applications in such cases, but pcf^ 
manent coirection of the morbid condition on which these symptou4 



depend can only be obtained by general treatment In subacute rheti- 
matism, for example, galvanization or faradization of an intiamed joint 
frequently removes the pain and eflfnsion in that joint, and therefore 
may advantageously be used with general faradization, just as the ex- 
ternal application of alkaline solutions may advantageously be com- 
bined with the internal administration of the same remedies ; but to 
depend on merely localized electrization in such cases is manifestly as 
un philosophical as it would be to depend on merely local applications 
of alkalies. In general practice it will unfortunately be found that 
physicians will frequently use localized in cases for which general treat- 
ment is indispensable for complete results, for the reason that tliey 
have neither the time nor the practice to enable them to use the lattei 
method with success ; just as the majority of general practitioners, for 
want of a galvanic apparatus, are obliged to use faradization in cases 
(or which galvanization is imperatively demanded. 

Combinatwn of the Meth&ds.^^diWf cases are most successfully treated 
by a combination or alternation of the two methods. Thus rheumatism, 
for example, may be treated one week or one day by general faradiza- 
tion, and the following day or week by local faradization or galvaniza^ 
tion of the affected joints. 

This comparison furthermore reveals and explains the suggestive 
fact that the sphere of electrotherapeutics has, in a measure, corre- 
sponded to and progressed with the advance in the method of a|>plica- 
tion. Thus, when peripheral applications were chiefly used, the scope 
of electro -therapeutics, though important, was narrow, neuralgia and 
paralysis being the diseases for which it was mainly employed. On 
the introduction of localized galvanization of the nerve-centres, electri- 
city ivas found to be most useful for many conditions in which pre- 
viously it bad been supposed to be either valueless or contraindicated. 
The sphere of electro- therapeutics is by general faradization and cen- 
tral galvanization still further extended to embrace a large variety of 
conditions and indications which localized applications ful&lv^ther not 
at all, or but very imperfectly. 



A fetoale patient is taken in order to show that this method in iu 
*otirety requires little or no exposure. 






Central Galvanization* second stag^. One pole same positton ks before, or lo»«i 
down, and the other passed tip and down by the inner border of I lie stei**o- 
deidcKmasLoid muscle from the aariculo-maxillary fossa to the sternum. 

Details of the Applications, — We do not always make the appuca- 
lions all over the head, but tnereLy on the forehead^ gently passing the 
electrode from one side to the other \ then baptize the patient on the 
cranial centre^ at the top of the head, and rest the pole there for about 
Dne minute, and sometimes longer. To the head we apply from tv¥o 
to six or eight cells — for patients vary in their susceptibility— beginning 
with a weak current, and gradually increasing until a sour or metallic 
taste is perceived in the mouth. The cranial centre — the summit 
belween the ears — we regard as the most important region of the heatl 
in all electrical applications, and especially in central galvanization* A 
current passing from that point to the epigastrium, traverses the centre 
of life^if life has any centre^and affects the sympathetic, and the roots 
of the facial nerves. The sensation produced by this application is 
different from that of any other application to the head, and is some> 
times indefinable. 



An application to this point for one or two minutes is usi ally about 
as much galvanization as the brain needs* In exceptional cases, 

wliere the hair is thin, or the head is bald, we make the applications all 
over the surface, back and front. In applications to the head, care 
should be taken to avoid sudden interruptions, or shocks that cause 
dizziness ; the flashes of light before the eyes are of little account, but 
nothing is gained by producing them, and they are annoying to the 

Fta 98' 
Central Galvanization^, third stage. One pole same posiibn ms before, or on the 

breastbone, and the cither at the back of the neck between the first and seveath 
cervical vertebrae. 

The electrode is then passed down the inner border of the stemo- 
cleido-masloid muscle, from the auriculo-maxillary fossa to the clavicle, 
for the purpose of affecting the pneumogastnc and sympathetic. 
We usually make the application on both sides, and from one to jve 

In galvanizing the spine, especial attention is given to the <iH&^pinal 
centre, below the first and seventh cervical vertebnip, which is to the 
spine what the cervical centre is to the brain. Tlrie cervical sympathetic 

Fig, 99. 
uEifTRAL Galvanization, founb sta^ One pole s&ioe posit ba t& before, or ovet 
the abdomen^ and the other passed beneath the loosened clothings up and dowo 
the cord, from the seven th cervical vertebra to the coccyx. 

The back may be treated from three to six minutes, and the whole 
length of tlie seance of central galvanization ranges from five to fifteen 

Preparatioti &f the FatUnt-^AW the preparation a mai£ patient re* 
quires for central galvanization is to unbutton and loosen the collar, 
remove the coat and vest, and slip up the whole clothing, so that free 
access can be had to the spine. 

A Jtmaie patient Jiiay remove her corsets and sh'p up bcr under 



clothing, or merely loosen the clothing at the neck and waist, so as re 
make room for an electrode to be passed down to the epigastrium, and 
for a spinal electrode to be passed up and down the back. 

Electrodes, — For the negative electrode at the pit of the stamadi, 
any spot^ge or flannel electrode with a broad surface, so as not to be 
too painful, and an insulated handle that the patient can hold, will 

For the positive pole, we prefer adjustable electrodes (see p. 323)t of 
different sizes. These can be passed under the clothing with great ease, 
and can also be provided with flannel covers, that may be washed as 
often as necessary. 

Battery,— hhxiQ^l any form of galvanic battery will answer for central 
galvanization, but for reasons before given (p. 311), a battery that gives 
a steady uniform current, and that is provided with a rheostat, is pre* 
ferable. The Cabinet battery is exceedingly convenient for central 

The method of central galvanization is based on these four as- 
sumptions, all of which seem to us justifiable. 

1. That in a very large number of diseases, and especially of the so- 
called functional diseases, the pathology is not exclusively confined tc 
any region of the brain, or sympathetic, or spinal cord, but the whole 
central nervous system is invaded by a condition of exhaustion and ir- 
ritability. We believe this to be true not only of hysteria, chorea^ and 
of many affections allied to them, but of certain states of neuralgia, and 
a number of diseases of the skin. It is possible, furthermore, that some 
diseases that are not now regarded as in any respect of a nervous char- 
acter may in the future be shown to depend so closely on the nervous 
system that they can be most successfully treated, not through their 
varying and local manifestations, but through the brain, spinal cord, and 
sympathetic. That certain diseases, not primarily nervous, do so affect 
the nervous system that they need to be treated, in part at least, by 
remedies that act on the nerves, will be conceded, I suppose, without 

2. That a large proportion of the most frequent and distressing chronic 
diseases, as hysteria, hyi>ochondria, neurasthenia, chorea, epilepsyi 
nervous dyspepsia, neuralgia, and many forms of insanity, are so obscure 
and subtle in their pathology that it is impossible to determme the pre- 
cise seat of the disease in any given case, even where some local patho- 
logical condition may exist, and consequently we can never know just 
where the current should be localized. Even when the seat of die dis- 
ease is, Of is supposed to be, accurately known^ if a special revelation 




'sitould kindly inform us whether epilepsy, for example, takes its origin 
in the brain or in the sympathetic, and should pomt out to us just where 
the Jesion occurred, we should still be in the dark in regard to the best 
method of localizing the current, for without another and still more 
compleac revelation we could not determine the extent to which aU 
other parts of the nervous system had been affected by the local dis- 

The force of this objection to the use of the accepted method of 
galvanizing the brain and cervical sympathetic is seen when we attempt 
10 give the complete pathology of any of the diseases we have just men* 
Honed, and, indeed, of almost any nervous disease that can be men- 
tioned. Where is the precise seat of the disease in nervous dyspepsia ? 
We know that the stomach is weak, and we prescribe galvanization of 
the pneumogastric ; but what have the solar plexus and the spinal cord 
to say in the matter? Who can tell just how not only they, biu the 
brain itself, may be the origin of nervous dyspepsia, or how much they 
share in the pathological disturbance* and consequently how much they 
need treatment ? After eleven centuries of medical study, who can 
tell the precise and exclusive seat of the disease in epilepsy^ hysteria, and 
neurasthenia? Is not the probability continually growing stronger 
with the advance, of science, that in these and many other diseases the 
whole or a large part of the central nervous system shares as a cause, 
or result, or concomitant ? Even in those diseases where the lesion is 
understood, is there not much more of the unknown than of the known ? 
In locomotor ataxia, progressive nuiscular atrophy, spinal congestion 
and irritation, is the spine only at fault ? Do the sympathetic andlir;iin 
wholly escape the infection? **Evil communications corrupt good 
manners *' in pathology as well as in morals, and the communications 
between the sympathetic, and cord, and brain, and the nerves that branch 
from all these, are so varied, and intimate, and complex, that when the 
cord is known to be diseased we very naturally incline to consider the 
other parts of the nervous system, like ** poor dog Tray," in bad com- 
pany, and we become very justly suspicious of their character. In this 
suspicion we are justified by the accepted views of the functions of the 
sympathetic, and by the clinical signs and symptoms of these diseases. 

In cerebral hemorrhage we usually know the general locality of the 
disease, if not its precise nature ; but the spinal cord, through disuse, 
becomes affected with secondary degenerations, and the organs of di- 
gestion also more or less s)rmpathize. 

3. That the nutrition of the central nervous system will be improved 
by paissing through it a mild galvanic current. 



That in the great raajority of cases of so-called functional nerv%' 
disease, and in many of the cases of special structural lesions, nerv«- 
tonics are indicated, ^ill be questioned by no one. It is also conting 
to be pretty generally admitted that electricity is something more than 
a stimulant — that it is a i^nic with a powerful sedative influence. Still 
furtheri it is admitted that the sedative and tonic effects of electricit) 
can be obtained by passing the current, with little oi no interruption, 
through any part, the nutrition of which needs to be improved, 

4. It is impossible to exclusively localize the current in the cervical 
sympathetic, hence it is certain that the good results that in some instances 
follow the galvanisation through the neck are due to the effect of the 
current on the spinal cord or pneumogastric, as well as to the cervical 
ganglia of the sympathetic. That the beneficial effects of galvaniicing the 
neck in cases of nausea, dyspepsia, and gastralgia, are due in part if not 
entirely to the effect of the current on the pnenmogastric, is more than 
probable. Conversely, wc find it impossible to tell how far our attempts 
to localize the current in the pncumogastric, by placing one pole at the 
pit of the stomach and the other by the inner border of the sterno-cleido- 
mastoid muscle, was successful ; and whether the benefit derived took 
place through the pneumogastric, the sympathetic alone, or through both 
combined, seems beyond the power of mortal skill to determine. 

Similar difficulties are experienced in the attempt to differentiate the 
effects of the galvanizing the brain ; how much the results of applica* 
Sons to the head arc due to the direct or reflex action of the current on 
the brain itself, how much to its action on the cephalic ganglia of the 
sympathetic, and how much to its action on the roots of the pneumo- 
gastric and the upper part of the spinal cord, seems in the present state 
of the sciences of anatomy and physiology absolutely impossible to de- 
termine* In galvanizing the spine we are puzzled by the same com* 
plications. The cervical, thoracic, and abdominal ganglia of the sym- 
pathetic, with their enormous plexuses, are all liable to be affected by 
the current whenever it is applied up and down the spine ; and how far 
the beneficial results of galvanization are due to the effect of the cur- 
rent on the cord itself^ and how far to its effect on these ganglia and 
plexuses, only a special revelation can determine. 

Still further, the subject is complicated by the consideration that 
electricity works powerfully by rellex action, and in galvanizing the 
brain, the cervical sympathetic, or the spine, reflex action must continu* 
ally take place through the nerve-centres, and the therapeutical resultf 
produced hy such treatment must be in part attributable to such re1*y 





The f>cisitive pok (anode) is applied over the head, neck^ and spine, 

because it is less irritating than the negative, and tends to diminish irri- 

lability. The majority of the cases for which central galvanization is 

tas^d are in a condition of abnormal irritability, and need the calming 

effects of analectrotonos rather than the irritating effects of catalectro* 

lonos, •Jo this rule there are individual exceptions : there are cases 

thai app^^ iQ be benefited more by the negative than the positive 

l»^<^- (See pp. 226-228,) 

''^^ negalive pole (cathode) is placed at the epigastriom, because 
the epigastrium is a good, i nd itTerent point, that will bear well the irri- 
tating effect of catalectrotonos. In order to avoid over-irritiAting the 
^toma^ch and the pneumogastric nerve, it is well, in very sensitive 
"•"^^^ts, and when long applications are used, to change the posidon 
"^^ ne^tive electrode by moving it up and down between the ster* 
■urn ^uti abdomen. 


positive and negative modifications (see Electro-Physiology, p. 103) 

*t t^^fce place at the breaking of the galvanic current, in the region of 

^^ ^node and the cathode, probably complicate somewhat the effects of 

^^'■i^rient — are, indeed, factors of some importance in producing the 

wccf-^^ and not unlikely explain, in part, the disagreeable results that 

from too frequently interrupting the current when treating nerve* 

^^^s. The positive and negative modifications can, however, be 

t*5tl^ avoided by using a rheostat of some kind, and gradually reducing 

^^^■"cngth of the current to a minimum before the electrodes are re- 


^^^^&a/ Galvanisation Compared ivifh Localized Galvanisation of the 

^^^^^ -centres. — We claim for central galvanization a distinct and sepa^ 

X^osition among ihc different methods of using electricity in medicine* 

^^ "Applications of the galvanic current to the head, the neck, and the 

^in^^ which have been variously used by electro-therapeutists since the 

■p^ ^af Remak, are simply forms of localized electrization, since the 

^Ije^c::^ aimed at in all of them is to localize the current, so far as possible, 

tn til ^ brain or some portion of it, in the cervical ganglia of the sympa- 

fhclt^:::^ or in the spinal cord Then, again, in all these fornis of localized 

pi v^.T\i nation of the nerve-centres, the poles are placed near each other 

QStX the part to be affected, and the peculiar action of both poles is felt, 

^ y^t^ as is possible by external application, in the organ that is treated. 

\^ galvanizing the head, for example, the poles are applied behind 

|Y|C Cars, or in front of them, or one is placed on the forehead, and 

^[^e ^ther on the occiput, or at the nape of the neck. In galvanizing 

-we Cervical ganglia ol the sympathetic, one pole is placed on the 



tiuriciilo-maxillary fossa, or along the inner border of the stemo-clcido 
mxstoid muscle, while the other is apphed at the back of the neck. Id 
'galvanizing the spine, one pole is placed at the upper or lower part, 
while the other is passed up and down the entire length, or kept in one 
place, or both may be moved up and down the entire length of the 
cord, or confined to any portion, as is desired* 

But in central galvanization the electrodes are so placed that the 
whole central nervous system is brought under the influence of one pole 
(usually the positive) of the galvanic current at one sitting, and without 
any important change of position of the negative pole. Besides the cen- 
tral nervous system, the pneumogastric and the stomach itself are also 
aftected ; in a word, the great centres of life, of healthy and of disease. 

Comparing central galvanisation with localized galvanisation of the 
nerve centres, by the tfftcts^ we find differences of a most mttrked aod 
interesting character exist. The ordinary methods of galvanizing the 
cervical sympathetic, the brain, or the spine, do not, either singly or in 
combination, produce the powerful tonic results that are frequently ob- 
tained by central galvanisation. Sedative and tonic effects are unques- 
tionably produced by these local methods, but they are frequently in- 
ferior in quality and degree to those derived from central galvanization 
when properly administered. This conclusion is derived from actual trial 
and observation of cases. Neither the temporary nor the permanent : 
effects of localized galvanization of the brain, of the cervical sym- 
pathetic and pneumogastric, or of the spine, are as satisfactory in many 
cases, even when they are successively used at the same sitting and 
with the same time and strength of current, as central galvanization. 

Still further, experience teaches that the method of central galvanisa- 
tion, in its completeness, is more serviceable than partial or incomplete 
applications of it. Placing the negative pole on the epigastrium, and 
the other on the spine, will not accouiphsh the full effects of central 
galvanization, although so far as it goes it is a good method, and pro- 
duces sedative and tonic effects. To confine the attention to the head 
and neck alone, also, is not sufficient. 

Compared with General Faradization, — Comparing central galvaniza- 
tion with general faradisation, we find most important differences. In 
the one only the galvanic, in the other onl) the faradic, current Is 

In general faradization the application is made not only over the 
central nerv^ous system, but over the entire trunk, andeipecial attention 
is given to the muscles of the abdomen and extremities. In centra] 
gal van i '.ation the chief aim is to affect the central nervous system ; in 



general faradization the chief aim is to affect the muscular system^ 
although the nervous system^ central and peripheral^ is affected both 
directly and reflexly. 

Comparing the effects of central galvanization with those of general 
faradization^ we find that both are powerful tonics, and are adapted for 
conditions of debiHty, by whatever names they may be known. Foi 
some cases, and particularly for cases associated witJi great muscular 
debility, general faradization is more effective than central galvaniza- 
tion. On the other hand, in cases where simply exhuustion of the 
nerve-centres is the leading condition — as hysteria, chorea, and sc 
forth — central galvanization is oftentimes lar superior to general faradi- 

Central GalvahiteUian alternated with Genercti Faradization. — Some 
of the best results thai we have yet seen have been secured by combin- 
ing or by alternating the two methods. 

Sometimes, after general faradization has done all that it is capable of; 
central galvanization, rightly used, helps to lift the padent stil! higher. 
In cases where we are not experimenting, and seek only the best good 
of the patient in the shortest time possible, we use in succession, or 
alternation, and with changes and modifications, all the principal 
methods — local galvanization of the brain, of the cervical sympathetic 
and spine, general faradization and central galvanization. This course 
is found to be oftentimes justified by the results. The improvement is 
more positive and more permanent than when a single method is used 

Some cases we treat one week by general faradization, the next 
week by central galvanization ; sometimes we alternate the methods 
from day to day. 

There are, however, cases not a few, where all forms of faradization, 
and w^here local galvanization of the nerve-centres irritates rather than 
benefits, but in which, under the method of central galvanization, there 
is sure and constant improvement 

Dr. Althaus, of London, in the third edition of his most excellent 
work on Medical Electricity, after describing this method of central 
galvanization in detail, remarks that he had never carried out the 
method in its entirety, but that he had used, experimentally, applica- 
tions to the head and neck with the anode, and to the epigastrium with 
the cathode. He states that unpleasant results have followed these 
experiments, that disagreeable cerebral symptoms were produced by it 
during the application, and which sometimes continued for twenty-foui 
hours or more afterwards. 


**Tbe patients bad a general sensation of malaise and ncrvoom^^ 
headache, and a feeling of giddiness and confusion," 

Dr. Althaus further states that he has used the *' application of tf*^ 
anode to the cervical and lumbar spine, and of the cathode to the f^ 
qf the stomach with advantage." 

Nothing is easier than to produce these unpleasant results in st^^' 
cepttble patients by any method of galvanizing the brain and oecJ^ 
provided strong currents are used, or interruptions arc allowed, or :t^^ 
applications are prolonged. The same effects may follow general fs 
dization and localized galvanization. 

Id beginning to treat a patient by central galvanization, we 
use very mild, scarcely perceptible currents, particularly around 
head and neck, and even on the cervical spine, and great pains shooL 
be taken to avoid breaking the current* and the application should 
of only a few moments' duration. Taking these precautions has do 
become with us a mere matter of routine, and we are every day iCOi-^^" 
tomcd to treat the most sensitive and delicate patients — cases ofhji -S- 
teria^ nervous exhaustion, hypochondriasis, and allied affections — ca$^^^ 
which are sufficiently familiar to all American physicians, and wi X^ 
sedative and tonic effects that are not obtainable by other methods. 

Whenever any of the disagreeable effects spoken of by Dr. Altb^m^^ 
occur, we always give the patient a longer interval, and moderate Cto^ 
applications until only good^ unmixed with evil, effects appear. 

The American constitution is more susceptible to electricity ih^tfi 
the English or the German, and if our nervously exhausted, hystcn^^^ 
women can bear and be profited by central galvanization, surely 1 1^^ 
women of England and Germany might be treated by the same 
even when used with less caution. 

We have frequently treated by this method delicate women who 
too feeble to walk or standi or even to sit up, and who, therefore, mf*^ 
be treated in bed, and even in such cases, the disagreeable effects ckm^T 
occur now and then, and no oftencr than they occur when olb^^ 
methods of electrization are employed in the same kind of cases; V9'^ 
deed, not so frequently as they follow general faradisation or loo/ 
galvanization of the brain. 

Reply t0 Objections against GalvanisaitGn of the Nerve-eeiilrei*^ 
It is proper here to consider briefly some of the objections thai ba^lf 
been brought against galvanizing the nerve-centres by the method rf 
central galvanization, or by any form of local galvanization. Thc« 
objections, which in some instances have come from persons who or 
>ther subjects are well informed, are of a threefold character* 




1. That rile ciuretit goes around the nerve-centres, and not through 
ihem. This objection is fully met by the experiments recorded in 
Electro Physiology, pp. 173-176. 

2. That we do not completely understand what the current does 
when it penetrates the nerve-centres— in other words, the rationale of 
the eflTect of electricity on nutrition is not yet an exact science. This 
objection is just enough, considered as a fact, but considered as an ar- 
gument, it attempts to prove too much» By referring to Electro- Physi- 
ology we shall see that there are few, if any remedies, the action of 
which is as well understood as electricity, We do not exactly and ex- 
haustively know its action on the nerve-centres, neither do we exactly 
and exhaustively know its action on the jjeripheral muscles and nerves, 
and if this objection is to hold good against galvanization of the nerve- 
centres, it must also hold good against all peripheral galvanization and 

3. That it is dangerous to apply the galvanic current through the 
head and neck. 

Dr. Anstie, who is a very strong friend of electro- therapeutics in 
general, in his excellent work on neuralgia, speaks of galvanization of 
the cervical sympathetic as a method to be either avoided or used with 
very great caution, and, in support of this view, adduces a case in his 
own practice. In a review of Tibbetts's little " Hand-book of Medical 
Electricity,'* Dr. Anstie repeats this caution, and exfjresses apprehen- 
sion lest great injury may follow the use of this method of treatment. 
The error of Dr, Anstie consists, not in enjoining caution, since this is 
needed in all electrical applications, but in suggesting the idea that gal- 
vanization of the cervical sympathetic is a dangerous procedure, likely 
to produce serious results. Quite recently Dr. Brown-S<^tjuard, in a 
foot-note to one of his series of very able papers, speaks as follows ; 

** Recently, some bold physicians have tried to galvanize the cervical 
sympathetic nerve. This I did once in 1855 on my eminent friend 
Prof. Ch. Rouget, to try to relieve him from a most violent headache. 

•* The effect was all we could desire against the headache ; but the 
galvanic current, acting at the same time on the sympathetic and the 
vagus (the simultaneous excitation of these two nerves cannot be 
avoided), produced such a dangerous syncope, that I promised myself 
that I would never try again to apply galvanism to the cervical sympa- 
thetic of man."* 

The best reply to objections of this nature, coming from men who 

♦ Archiifes 0/ Sdtntifie and Practical Medic int^ p. 92, No. i» 1873, 



are justly distmguished in the departmeTils to which th«r lives are dft 
voted, is found m the argumentum ad fwminem. 

Dr. Anstie highly recommends hypodennic injections of morphine m ' 

If, now, we should say to him that we knew of a case where an injec* 
tion of morphine had almost instantly caused most alarming symptoms, 
and of another case where it had appaiently caused death, consequently 
we had resolved never again lo use that method of treatment, he would 
reply that hypodennic injections had been tested for years at the handi 
of many of the best physicians of our time ; that those who are most 
familiar with them are usually the most attached to them ; and that, 
when properly administered with the caution that all potent remedial 
measures demand, and the skill that only experience can give, they 
need seldom or never do serious harm ; and that the infinitely small 
chance of their doing harm, when thus properly used, is so far over- 
shadowed, by the infinite relief which they unquestionably do afford, as 
to be hardly worthy of consideration in the practice of those who have 
made themselves familiar with their administration. 

Dr. Brown-S^quard has» among very many other researches, deserved 
well of the profession for having given an explanation of the action of 
ergot on unstriped muscular fibre, and for having, on the basis of this 
explanation, suggested the value of that remedy in congestion of the 
spinal cord. 

If, now, we should say to him that there are cases where, with 
well-defined symptoms of hypeneniia of the cord, ergot at once aggrai- 
vates the symptom?, we should but state the truth of our experience- 
He could reply, however, with perfect justice, that just as there are those 
in whom a single strawberry will cause most disagreeable symptoms, or 
those to whom a mouthful of mutton is a mouthful of poison, just so 
there are those who, whatever their disease may be, cannot bear ergot ; 
but that, when wisely used by those who know what they are about, it 
is a remedy of vast and various efficacy. 

For hypodermic injections of ergot, substitute gaU^nixation of the 
cervncal sympathetic, and our reply is complete. There are those to 
whom electricity, however administered, is a perfect poison, and who 
were not bom to be treated by this most potent of remedial agents. 
There are those who can bear it in well-nigh limitless doses. 

There are those who can bear it and who are benefited by it, but only 
when given with delicacy and great caution. Now, it is possible tc 
galvanize the cervical sympathetic in all three classes, except the first, 
without doing any serious injury, permanent or temporary. Even (has^ 



»M^ are the most msciptible to eiectriciiy^ far whom this force can nevef 
he beneficial^ can yet be treated by the method of central galvanization^ 
with very mild currettts and short sittings^ and a rheostat of some kina 
to avoid interrupting the current^ without any permanent or temporary 

All our most potent remedies are dangerous when used dangerously 
4, That the cases which have been treated by galvanization of the 
brain have been so carelessly and unscientifically studied, and so reck* 
lessly reported, that they have no scientific value» Dr, Cyan, in par- 
ticular, declares that the observations that are given as proofs of the 
curative effects of galvanizing the brain are valueless. This statement 
is unfair. What is true of certain electro-therapeutists is not true of 
alL The therapeutics of galvanization of the brain have been studied 
by men who have been tramed to the habit of close and discriminating 
observation ; who recognize and bear constantly in mind the enormous 
complications that beset all therapeutics ; who have worked under the 
gaze of watchful skeptics, and with the everlasting motto, post hoc ergo 
propter hoc^ incessantly ringing in their ears ; men, too, who have car- 
ried conscience into science, and have reported the results to the world 
just as they were revealed to them. 

It is of very little practical consequence whether these effects are due 
to the direct passage of the current through the brain or to the reflex 
action of the current on the brain through the sensory nerves. Reflex 
action comes in to explain the therapeutic effects of electricity, however 
and wherever applied. Granting for one moment, what is not true, 
that mild currents cannot penetrate the brain, this would be no reason 
whatever for abandoning the electrical treatment of the brain so long 
as experience shows that benefit is derived thereby « 



The two great obstacles to the use and popularisation of Franklins 
electricity have been : i, That the necessary apparatus were Wt 
and expensive ; 2, That they were more or less dependent iH'ijtj 
alniospherlc conditions, and therefore uncertain in their action. Ti^ 
first of these objections still holds, but the other no longer exists. 

With the apparatus to be described we are able, at all seasons ar^ 
in all kinds of weather, to obtain this form of electricity in sufficient 
quantity for therapeutic purposes. Notwithstanding this, howevei. 
there is one disadvantage under which we occasionally labor in the 
use of Franklin ic electricity, and this is, that although the machine 
itself works well, the condition of the external atmosphere is such, at i 
certain seasons, that the stored electricity in the insulated body is 
abstracted too quickly. It is mainly in the months of July and August 
that this difficulty occurs. 

Apparatus for Franklinization , — The best apparatus for the gcs- 
eration of Franklinic electricity for medical purposes is the Holti 
machine. This contrivance, although a great advance over the old- 
fashioned cylinder machine, still proved inoperative during most of the 
summer months at least, and frequently ceased to act for awhile, even 
in winter. 

Vigoroux has recently been experimenting in this direction in \ 
Paris, where it has been found that if the apparatus is covered with a] 
tightly Hitting glass case, in whidi is placed a quantity of chloride at] 
calcium, which absorbs all the moisture of the air, electricity caa be] 
generated with more or less readiness in all kinds of weather* 

The attention of the profession in this country was first called 10 1 
this useful contrivance by Dr, W, J. Morton** The machine consistt] 
of two stationary and two revolving glass plates, giving a Large qu 
tity, and a spark of eight or ten inches. 

Formerly but a single revolving plate was used, w*hich yielded 

• New York Medical Record, vol. xix.. No. 14, 



lower tension and less quantity ; now, however, machines of three, and 
even four, revolving plates are constructed, and any amount of force 
can be readily obtained. 

For almost all practical purposes the four-plate apparatus with its 
stationary wheels twenty-four, and its revolving wheels twenty-two 
inches in diameter is sufiicienL This apparatus is represented in Fig. 



rr_ f^ 

Fjg. 100, 

loo. The machine may be operated by steam or water motor, or by 

Franklinization, as this method of treatment is now termed, may be 
given in several ways, each differing in the effect produced. 

Insu/afwn. — In the administration of Franklinic electricity, insula- 
tion is the first step taken, and to this end the [latient is seated upon 
a platform supported by glass legs, and connected by a brass rod with 
either side of the machine, according as we wish to give a positive or 
a negative charge. As in the administration of dynamic electricity, so 


in the treatment by Franklinic electricity, the efi^t produced is doe 
to what is termed a difference of potentiaL Xn hydrostatics the standi 
ard level of our measurement is the sea, and in electro-statics the 
earth, and in the same way that we have levels above ^md belcm the 
sea, and temperatures above and below zero, so we have potentate 
above and below the earth's potential, termed respectively posidvc ifid 
negative potentials. In treating a patient, then> by iosukiioot »* 
simply change his potential to a higher or to a lower one than that of 
the earth, according as he is placed in communicadon with ibc pofl- 
tive or negative condenser. To use a homely phrase, the electndtr 
is, as it were, pumped into the body, and its silent reception, aml^ 
silent and more gradual discharge to the surrounding atmosphefe. 
produces in most persons effects that are very agreeable. The hia 
of the head stands out in all directions, accompanied also by a pleas- 
ant vibratory sensation, if at the same time the discharging koobsarc 
brought in sufficiently close communication. 

The pulse may be slightly accelerated and the face Pushed, while 
frequently it is observed that a slight but gentle perspiration appeals 

This condition may be kept up for about twenty minutes, or tmti 
an agreeable feeling of drowsiness is exv>ericnced. 

If, while in this condition of insulation, the brass rod oonoecttng the 
insulating stool with the machine, be held lightly in either hand of ii» 
patient* and the discharging rods brought near together so that a coo» 
stant discharge takes place between them, the sensation experienced 
by the patient is similar to that resulting from the administration of i 
feeble faradic current. 

In those patients who are especially susceptible, this mild lad 
simple method of treatment is frequently of much value. It is sligbth 
tonic and refreshing in its action, and may be used as a tentati« 
method before proceeding to the more positive and effective treatment 
of the spray, sparks, and shocks, or the general surface stimulation liui 
is so admirably obtained by the use of the roller. Usually the efeis 
experienced are very slight indeed, but in several instances I have oi^ 
served some curious phenomena, and notably in one of my cases 
where the patient was suffering from the peculiar sequehc of cerebro- 
spinal meningitis described elsewhere. Treatment by insulatiao wu 
invariably followed by an over|>owering tendency to drowsiness, which 
would continue for half an hour or more. 

J^ranklimsaiion by sparks ar spray, — ^The patient being in the coo* 
dition of insulation just described, sparks can be drawn from any jXH* 
tion of the body by the near approach of a conducting subsdoce. 



Fig. looa rq>resents the operator in the act of drawing sparks from the 
paneot seated upon the insulating stool. 

Brass balls of various sizes (mounted on glass handles, held by the 
operator), connected by a brass cliain with the ground, or, better still, 
with the nearest gas or water-pipe, are usually employed. Fig* loo^ 
jepcesents the ball electrode ordinarily used^ 

The size of the sparks drawn from the body may be gratkated in size 
and length ; and in strength, from a slight tingle to the sharp impres* 
hion that accompanies a large spark passing through several inches of 
intervening air. The body varies much in its susceiJlibiUty to electrical 

ifiBtiences, and as in the use of dynamic electricity, and especially the in- 
duced fonn of it, so in the use of Franklinic electricity by means of sparks, 
the operator should subject his own person to its tnHuences until he is 
thoroughly aware in what regions these strong sparks are not disagree- 
r^fale, and in what regions they are painful A large variety of electrodes 
I tiesides those represented in the accompanying cuts may be used ; but 
\ aside from special forms for the car» inooth, nose, etc., the ball electrodes 
^ of metal and of hard wood, and the pointed rod for the spray or electric 
windt arCj as a rule, sufficient. It is unnecessary for the patient to remove 
jUiy of his clothing, as the sparks pass readily through the thickest fabrics. 


At the point where the sparks spring from the skin to the electrode 
a whitish spot will be at first noticed, and in some cases they very 
closely resemble the ordinary urticarial wheals followed by cr)lhcaiatotfS 
blushes which soon disappear. When in place of a round ball* a pointed 
rod (Fig. loor) is brought within a few inches of an insulated body 
already charged, we obtain the effect called the electric winti orsprir. 
This is due to the silent discharge of the electricity that hasaccuuiii' 
lated in the insulated body. 

The air is agitated between the electrode and the body of tlu 
and the sensation is not only very pleasant, but the result - 
low its use are often vcTy efficacious. 

Genera/ FrankHnitaihn. — On the same principle that we ^i [ 

FIG. loo^ 

Fig. iooc. 


faradic current to the whole surface of the body, calling it geo^*' 
faradization, so we can make similar use of the frankiinic electrics^* 
and very properly apply the term General Franklinization. 

This is accomplished by means of the metallic roller (Fig. ioo<*f* 
although u is by no means so generally effective, and it is certainljf f** 
less agreeable. It directly excites the cutaneous nerves, and has also* 
powerful reflex action. When the roller is used upon the bare skin,t^ 
conduction is so perfect that no sensation is appreciated* It is oniif 
when the clothing intervenes, acting possibly as a sort of Leyden ju* 
that the peculiar pricking sensation b observed. It is needless to all 
that to obtain the best therapeutic efiect of the roller, it should be 
applied over the clothing. 



Shocks from the Ley den jar, — These arc produced by bringing the 
body, or that portion of it upon which we wish to operate, in the cir- 
cuit between the outer and inner coating. A shock may be sent 
through the aims and chest by placing one hand on the knob connect- 
ing with the inner coating (containing the positive electricity) and the 
other hand oa the outer coating of the jar containing the negative elec- 
tricity, A shock may be sent through the pelvis by applying one end 
of a branched conductor, connected with the inner coating, to the back, 
and applying the outer coating of the jar against the hypogastric region. 
in the same way the electricity from the Leyden jar may be localized 
in any part of the body. The shock is a violent method of treatment 
a,nd is not usually called for. 

In addition, a static induction current (simultaneously suggested by 
X)rs. Morton* and Bartholow f ) can be obtained from a Holtz aj)- 
\:)aratus, and this has been suggested as a substitute for faradic elec- 
tricity. It is claimed for this current that it jjroduces maximum muscular 
contractions with a minimum amount of pain, and that the response is 
^quicker than that from the faradic current. As for the first claim, it is 
difficult to see how it can be determined, since the ordinary faradic cur- 
:»ent, from the single coil apparatus especially, need seldom call forth 
^jain in the production of muscular contractions. As to the alleged 
greater quickness of response, I have not as yet been able to satis- 
factorily form an opinion. The change in the apparatus for the pro- 
duction of this current is quickly and easily efifected, and for the pur- 
poses of localized electrization it is useful. For general faradization* 
however, I can quite confidently assert that it Is far inferior to the cur- 
rent produced by the best faradic apparatus. 

From franklinic electricity tonic and sedative effects of a very in- 
teresting and positive nature can be obtained either by insulation, by 
sparks, or the use of the roller. Speaking from a considerable experi- 
ence with this form of electricity, I should say that, while its constitu- 
tional tonic effects are unequal to those that follow general faradization, 
when this method is carried out properly, with due attention to detail, 
yet, as an adjunct or supplement, it is invaluable. It is one of the 
familiar things in medicine that a remedy which at first acts well may, 
after a time, prove inefficacious, rendering it necessary to resort to sonie 
other remedy of the same class. This is true in regard to the dynamic 
and static forms of electricity. Occasionally cases of nervous exhaus. 
lion, as well as other forms of disease, after improving to a certain 

• New York Medical Record, April 2, iSSl. 
t Manual oa Medkal Electricity, i88i. 


point, tinder the influence of galvanism or faradism, hang fire, as it t 
but by submitting the patient to the action of franklinization a new im- 
pulse seems to be given. In this way, one treatment supplementing 
and re-enforcing the others, results are obtained far more satisfactory 
than coyld possibly follow the exclusive use of general or localised 
faradization, central galvanization, or franklinization. Pain is sometimes 
relieved by franklinization after both galvanism and faradism have 
failed, but this is not the rule. The pain of muscular rheumatism, 
however, is relieved by this method sooner and more effectually than 
by the others. For this purpose, the treatment by the roller, which 
exercises a generally stimulating effect over a broad surface» is supe- 
rior to ihe treatment by sparks. 

In the various forms of true neuralgia, franklinism Is not comparable 
in power to galvanism, The pain that the fonner is frequently so suc- 
cessful in subduing is generally of a chronic character, confined to no 
special nerve-trunks, dull and aching in diaracter, and with no tender- 
ness on pressure. In these cases I have long known that faradism 
was superior to galvanism, but more recent experience has convinced 
me that franklinization is more efficacious than either. In the enlarged 
joints of subacute and chronic rheumatism, and to excite the process 
of absori>tion in chronic synovitis, the treatment by sparks is frequently 
more efficacious than either faradization or galvanization. In old con- 
tractions, and in cutaneous auLesthesia, franklinization frequently pos- 
sesses advantages over the others. 

In locomotor ataxia, and in systemic diseases of the spinal cord in 
general, it is rendered probable by a number of suggestive cases that 
much more can be accomplished by the use of frank linic than by dy- 
namic electricity. 

In electro-diagnosis franklinic electricity is of but limited value, 
those qualitative and quantitative changes which are so important as 
indicating structural degeneration, being satisfactorily produced only 
through the action of the two forms of dynamic electricity. 

Valuable as is franklinic electricity, it has a more limited range of 
usefulness than dynamic, and the more strongly this fact is imj^rcssed 
on the professional mind the better. He who begins with franklinism 
the study and practice of medical electricity, begins at the wrong end. 
Let him first master dynamic electricity^ and then supplement his 
knowledge and experience in this direction by frankhnism. The differen- 
tial indications for the use of galvanistn, faradism, and franklinism, may 
well demand the closest scrutiny, for on the accuracy with which we esti- 
mate these indications will largely depend the success of our efforts. 



A METHOD of employing electricity that has long been populai iniong 
Ac laity, though it is not yet fully introduced into science, is the eiectrk 
t^^* The methods of giving electric baths are varimis* The requisites 
y^ * bathing tub of some form, partly filled with water, contrivances 

scj^ding the current — ^either faradic or galvanic — through the water In 
the patient is innmersed. An electric bath can be extemporized 
y ordinary bath-tub. The patient may rest his feet on one pole in 
*^tcf and hold the other pole in his hand* In that position the 
o^y of the patient becomes part of one or the other pole, and the cur- 
tent flows through him from one pole to the other, just as it would if 
there were no water in the bath ; or at most the only effect of the water 
IS to thoroughly saturate the part of the body in contact with the pole 
in the bath. This method is, of course, exceedingly crude, and can 
scarcely have any conceivable advantage over a similar position of the 
poles outside of the bath, and yet it has been not a little used. 

^l^ Russell uses the following form of electric bath. The tub ia 
« the ordinary shape, but the metallic connections are so made that 
*"*tiirTent cannot avoid passing through the body of the patient. One 
P^l*^-^ broad copper plate^ — is at one end of the tub, constituting a 
P*^ ^f its lining surface, and the other pole — also a broad metallic plate 
~~^ placed at the other end. Both plates are under the water. At 
"^"t*ad of the tub a board is placed, at a little distance from the pole. 
^ ri^s board has in it a slit of moderate size. Against this slit rests the 
"*^ of the patient, while his feet may or may not press against the 
^r«r plate at the other end of the tub. By this arrangement the cur- 
^^^ can be directed through the back of the patient, and from the back 
"""^ugh the body and lower limbs. Indeed, the back of the patient fits 
«o closely and snugly into the slit of the wooden rest, that the current, 
if it pass at all, must go through the body. 

In regard to the electro- conductibility of the body as compared with 
iWter, we have already spoken. The human body is composed mostl} 
al water^ holding in solurion various salts ; it, therefore, conducts bet 



ter than water of the same temperature ; and on accoimt of this superioi 
conductivity of the living human tissue a considerable portion of c1ec» 
trtcity must go through the body whenever it lies in a bath, even though 
it does not touch cither pole. That the body conducts better than the 
water is proved by this ex]>enment which we have often made. Place 
both hands, at some distance apart, in a bath through which a current 
of considerable strength is running, and a sensation ivill be distinctly 
felt in them. Bring the hands, still immersed, very close to each other, 
and the sensation will be much diminished. When the hands are far 
apart a considerable portion of the current passes through the body from 
one hand to the other. It prefers this mvtch longer and roundabout 
road to the direct path through the water. 

Tig, iot. 
Ekctuc Bath» 


In the arrangcmeat that Russell uses (Fig. loi), if the patient presaet 
his feet against the copper plate at the lower end of the tub, his body 
becomes a part of the pole that is attached to that plate, be it positive 
or negative. 

Dr. Justin Hayes, of Chicago, has a somewhat diflfercnt form of elec- 
tric bath. In the sides of the tub and near the bottom are a number of 
electrodes connected with the battery. These electrodes are so arranged 
that the current can be sent through any one or all of them, and thus be 
localized on the part that specially needs treatment* 

This method of using electricity, which is called the electro- thermal 
treatment, is carried out by Dr. A. P. Peck, of Chicago, who has ob- 
tained excellent results from its emplo>Tnent. 

The study of the comparative practical advantages of these difiTereiK 
forms of baths is of course beset by many complicadons. 



Effects 0f thi Eltdric Batk.^ln regard to the therapeutic effects 
of the electric bath, we have these remarks to offer; 

I* The stimulating, sedativci and tonic effects of electricity are ob- 
tained more or less by all forms of electric baths ; not only those 
where the current is localized in some part of the body, but those where 
it is generally diffused without regard to localisation and without re- 
gard to current direction, exert, there is no question, more or less the 
special and distinctive physiological and therapeutical effects of elec- 
tricity. Those forms of baths that admit of locali2atiQn of the current 
seeni to us to be far more scientific and rational than those that do 
nkOt admit of such localization, but all forms are capable of affecting the 
system, for electricity cannot pass through the body without doing 
more or less good or evil. 

2, The question whether electricity, administered in any of the forms 
of baths yet devised, has any therapeutical advantage over the ordinary 
methods of using electricity — as localized faradization and galvanization, 
general faradization and central galvanization— has not yet been estab- 
lished. Even if it should be proved that in certain diseases or certain 
conditions the electric baths are slightly superior to ordinary electriza- 
tion, the further question would still arise whether this advantage is 
sufficient to compensate for the longer time and greater labor and in- 
convenience of the baths. The c^uestion is one of exceeding complexity 
— ^for the therapeutical effect of the water is combined with the thera- 
peutic effect of the electricity, and to eUminate the one or the other 
is no easy task. Enthusiastic advocates of the baths sometimes make 
the same mistakes as the advocates of Franklinization, or the use of stati- 
cal electricity, of assuming that the results which they undeniably obtain, 
and which are sometimes most saHsfactory, could not just as well have 
been obtained by a proper use of electricity in some of the ordinary 

It is claimed that the baths will be borne by temperaments that will 
not bear ordinary electricity. This claim may possibly be just, and 
yet the difficulty of demonstrating it is very great ; for those who take 
the baths and are benefited by them may most likely have been im- 
properly treated by the other methods, and thus fall into the delusion that 
the baths are/^r se more bearable than ordinary electrization. 

The true and only way to determine this question is for those who are 
masters in electrology to try the baths, side by side with their othei 
methods of using electricity ; just as they try the two currents and the 
different methods of using ihcm on the same ]jatients and on different 
patients, and in a wide variety of diseases. Observations of this kind, 




to be of real value, must be not only numerous, but extended over a long 


The question whether substances can be introduced into the body of 
removed from it by electricity, will be discussed in the section on 

General Rules for giving Electric Balhs^^ln the nse of electric baths 
we should be guided by some of the same general principles that guide 
us in the use of electricity by other methods. The temperament of the 
patient should be studied, and in the length and strength of the baths 
and in the frequency with which they are given we should be directed 
by the peculiarities of each case. 

It is not well to take an electric bath just after a full meal, nor is it 
usually well to take exhausting exercise immediately after a bath, espe- 
cially for the delicate and ner\'ous. The temperature of the water 
should be about that of the body, and may range between 95 and 105® 
Fahrenheit. I'he patient may remain in the water from 5 to 25 min- 
utes. There appears to be no danger of catching cold after taking an 
electric bath, even when the water is quite warm. One effect of the 
electricity would appear to be to give tone to tlie cutaneous vessels, so 
that there is less liability to take cold than after a simple "tr^nw tmtk 



Ukder this head we indtide hysteria, in the ordinary sense of that 
lerm ; neurasthenfa, or nervous exhaustion ; hypochondriasis and mel- 
ancholia ; spinal irriution^ with the manifold symptoms with which it 
b associated ; insomnia ; and astraphobia, or fear of lightning. 

We give hysteria and allied affections a prominent position in the 
clinical portion of this work, because it is a class of diseases for which 
electrical treatment is especially adapted^ and in which its success is 
most remarkable. This fact is not generally appreciated, for the reason 
that the profession have looked upon electricity as a stimulant merely, 
and have not fully recognized its sedative and tonic properties, and 
hence have confined their attention largely to paralysis, as the one dis- 
ease above all others to be treated by this agent. 

Electro diagnosu^ — Usually, though not necessarily, there is exces 
sive sensitiveness to the electric current in all parts of the body. Pa- 
tients sometimes can bear only the mildest currents. In some cases 
even a mild current will not be borne on the middle of the back, which, 
in health, is usually so little sensitive- Reflex sensations may be ol> 
served during electrization of hysterical patients. Irritation of the dis- 
eased side of the body may be sensitively felt in the healthy side. 
Sometimes there is capacity for bearing very strong currents without 
injury^ even when there is great hypermsthesia. The electrodiagnosis 
of hysterica! paralysis will be presented under that disease. 

Treatment, — Hysteria is a constitutional disease, and demands con- 
stitutional treatment To attempt to chase after and direct the appli- 
cation of electricity to each special symptom as it appears, is ynt>hilo* 
sophical and usually unsuccessful. General faradization and central 
galvanization are methods of electrization that are indicated for hysteria. 
Under whatever symptoms it may be developed, our chief and best 
results have been obtained by these methods* This general treatment 
docs not, of course, dispense with localized electrization of paralyzed 
muscles, or special attention to any localities where the disease ii 



for the lime directed Diseases of the sexual organs, hysterical hi^ 
cough or cough, aphonia, or incoiuicence of urine, may sometitnci 
need localized electrization ; but these symptoms frequently yield undei 
general faradization or central galvanization, even when no special 
attention is given to the diseased parts. In nearly all cases, except, 
perhaps, longstanding paralysis, it is much better to dispense with the 
local than the general treat:nenL There are cases, however, in which 
the symptoms of rigid contractions of certain muscles are most persistent 
and painful in character. In such conditions of the afifected niuscles 
galvanization should never be omitted* In cases of extreme hyper- 
i&slhesia it may be necessary, as Benedikt advises^ to place the patient 
under the influence of an anaesthetic while the application is made* 
Strong currents do not appear to be injurious in such cases. 

Prognosis* — The behavior of hysteria under electrization is as capri- 
cious and inconsistent as are its symptoms. Some cases yield to gen- 
eral electrization with wonderful rapidity ; others, apparently no worse, 
are singularly obstinate* On the average, the prognosis is so favorable 
that no case should be abandoned without a fair trial of this method of 
treatment. Under peripheral electrizarion the results are usually un- 
satisfactory, since the relief of the local symptom is by no means a core 
of the morbid constitutional condition. 

^ioUnt hysterieai sym^oms dependent on suppreised menstruati&n atleviated hy #w# 
tktncu cf general far aditati&H and i4>caliud galvanimthn* 

Case L — A most violent and persistent case of hysteria, in the person of a majrieil 
l«<ly, aged 40, came unrfer our observation through the kindness of Dr. Oliver WHItCw 
Til© patient was in bed, suffering from violent paroxysms of aUemate weeping uid 
icreuning. The hands and feet were cald, the pulse feeble, and the pain in the hetd 
was constant, and of the most severe character. 

lliese syniptoms had continued for nearly forty-eight hours, and in order to aveit 
iertous consequences it seemed as if in some way relief must soon be alTorded. The 
menstrual period was delayed nearly two weeks, and to this circumstance It was 
po^ible, in part^ to attribute the attack. The patient was submitted to thorougl) 
gieneral faradization, and immediately after a galvanic current from eight cells was 
as nearly as po!«ib]e localized in the uterus. These efforts were followed by decided 
alleviation of the symptoms, and a tolerably quiet nighl was the result. The meosci^ 
however, did not appear^ and on the following night we gave again the same treat* 
ment, slightly increasing the tension of the galvanic current. Before morning men* 
ttriiation Ijccame manifest, and there was no further evidence of nervous disturb- 

Nearly a year subsequently this patient experienced another attack of like charac- 
ter, and substantially the same treatment again relieved ber compktely within forty 
tight hotir% 



Hysteria 9/ ont yeaw* : standing in a married lady, fQllmving parturition ; ttrangi 
and indefimte senstUioHs i$t the legs ; ttckUttg^ crawling ^ prieking^ watfing^ beat- 
$Hgf poundings heaving^ rolling sensatianj oz'er head and body ; imaginary swtH 
img of the body ; fits 0/ weeping and great despondtney^^Rapid and decidiid 
impronfememt under central gatvantaatian Wiik strong eur rents, after failure of 
general faradi^athm^Cod-livtr-oil emulsion and counter-irritation used at tk* 
same tim€» 

Cass IL— Mrs. B., a married ladj% with two children, was referred to us Novem- 
ber 5, 1872, by Dr. Conklingf of Brooklyn. 

The pAticnt, though a lady of unusual intelligence and great strength of will, liad 
for nearly a year been a victtm to many of the worst kyniptoms of byi»!eria. The 
irfitiptomB appeared ten days after the birth of ber second child ; up to that lime her 
beoiih luid been almost perfect* She came from a family in whom there was some 
tendency to consumptiont and she had lost two sisters by that disease. A short time 
before the birth of her sccomi child, she had fallen down stairs and had struck on the 
back of her head. The query arose whether that roi^jht not have had something to 
do with her disease. The symptoms came on in the niglit, and quite suddenly* She 
became eaces^vely nervoui, almost wild, and the physician was sent for and succeeded 
ID calming ber ; then followed a long catalogue of woe&. On the top of the head 
wai a constant sensation of shaking or agitation^ or thrilling, as she descrihetl il» and 
heaving, rolling, beating, waving, pounding sensations were felt in the head and over 
the body. There had been many attacks of weeping ; at all times, thouyh naturally 
hopeful, she was cast down, and imagined she did not love as she should one of her 
children. The general nutrition, as usual in such cases, was well maintnined. 

The patient had tried, with great thoroughness, general faradization but without 
stibftantial service. 

We used on her mainly central galvanisation , combined with the use of cod* liver- 
oil emulsion, and mild counter-irritation over the tender vertebrje. 

The patient, with all her nervousness, bore the galvanic current in enormous 
doses : it seemed to be impossible to injure her by over -electrization. We soon found 
that the stronger tlie currents, and the longer the apj^licattons, the greater the benefit. 
Even through the brain strong currents, now and then interrupted, did no harm. 
She soon began to improve, and continued to improve not only during the three 
moiDths of treatment., but subsequently, and there was in tliis improvement a cotisid* 
erable degree of permanency. 

lu the above case there were facts of great interest Firsts the ex- 
traordinary tolerance in a highly nervous patient of the galvanic cur- 
rent ; and secondly^ the supreme advantage of central galvanization 
aver general faradization in severe functional diseases of the central 
nervous systetn. 

Hysterical and analogous sympton>s are both associated with ant! 
dependent upon recognizabie uterine disorders, but in many cases, while 
these symptoms may be associateti with and aggravated by such disor- 
ders^ they are not by any means always dependent upon them* 



During bis service at the New York State Woman's Hospital Dr. Rock^ 
well has found that symptoms of excessive nervousness, etc, which were 
supposed to be merely a retiex of local derangenienti have frequently 
yielded to some form of electrization, before any manifest change bas 
been observed in the condition of the sexual apparatus^ 

Hypochondriasis {Paihophobid) and MelanchoHa, — ^The distinction 
between hypochondriasis and melancholia is vital. The iiypochondrtac 
readily appreciates the character of any special disease from which he 
may suffer, but he has a most exaggerated conception of its importajice 
and of its probable results. He talks much of his symptoms, and un* 
ccasingly seeks relief* The melancholic, on the contrary, possibly suffers 
from no appreciable disease ; or if any evident structural or funcHonal 
trouble exists aside from the recognized mental perversion, it is un- 
heeded. As Maudsley expresses it> **the former committing a murder 
would certainly be hanged, the latter probably not,*' The tendency 
of the melancholic is frequently to suicide — tlie hypochondriac clings to 
life. Intellectual exertion is an impossibiUty for the melancholic ; the 
hypochondriac, on the contrary, may lead the highest intellectual life. 

The one suflers from such perverted habits of thought and feeling 
that the strongest and most natural affections may cease to exist ; the 
other retains all the normal warmth of feeling towards friends and reLa^ 

Melancholia is a more advanced phase of mental perversion, and to 
this advanced and more serious condition hypochondriasis not unfre- 
quently progresses. 

There are reasons for believing that the sympathetic nervous system 
is largely at fault in cases of hypochondriasis ; and that if not demon* 
strably diseased it is yet the medium through which disease of the other 
parts reacts on the brain, and produces molecular or other disturbance. 

The tw^o leading ideas thai we here desire to impress are, firsts that 
hypochondriasis is just as truly a disease, or, more strictly si^eaking, a 
symptom of disease, as dyspepsia, insomnia, chorea, neuralgia, paraly- 
sis, or insanity, and should be treated accordingly. The popular method 
of neglecting hypochondriacs altogether, or of administering //or^^e^j', is 
not scientific, and, except in rare cases, is not successful, S^cimdfy^ 
hypochondriasis, when not dependent on serious lesions of the central 
nervous system, is susceptible of relief and of positive cure under the 
skilful and faithful use of electricity. Still further, we believe — and 
the results of our own cases justify the belief — that cerebral disease of a 
more pronounced character itself may be relieved by electricity ; and 
that that terrible form of hypochondriasis which is the precursor of 



organic cerebral disease — the vestibule that leads to the dark a.nd 
gloomy caverns of insanity — may be controlled or kept at bay by a per- 
severing electrical treatment. (See chapter on Insanity.) 

TreaimenL—ln hypochondriasis, general faradization, cento^al gal- 
vanization, and galvranization of the cervical sympathetic, are indicated. 
We have obtained good results from all methods, though most of our 
cases were treated by the Brst and second. 

BypochondriojU-t wiiA impairment of tht functi^m of sfuciat stmt — Weakinea 
mtmQry — Sensory symptoms in the exfrefnities^ with some loss of motor power ^ thi 
result of excessive mental activity ^ and dependent in part on slight ceretral conges* 
ticn — Improvement under general faraditntion and central galvamtation^^Ke* 

Case III. — Mr M«, an actor of twenty years' standing, was placed under our cart 
by Dr. K. L. Harris, The patient was a temperate man, and 50 far as his profession 
permitted* regular in all his habits ; but the character of his engagements had rendered 
it necc&sory for him to exercise his memory through a series of years to an unusual, 
mid AS the sequel proved to a most injurious, extent. Two months prior he began to 
observe that his inlcileclual powers were failing him. His memory became so im- 
paired and his thoughts so confused, that he found it utterly impossible to ** commit " 
anything new, or to recall readily certain "parts" that had been long perfectly 
familiar* He was hypochondriacal to the last degree, and at the same time his limbs 
became weak, and he complained of sensory symptoms in the tips of the fingers, much 
the same as those present after frostbite. The integrity of most of the senses was 
markedly impaired. Under seances of general faradization and central galvanisation 
the annoying sensory symptoms disappeared \ he gained entire mastery over his limb?, 
and was more hopeful and happy ; his strength of vision became nearly normal, and 
when we last saw him there had been sufficient improvement in his intellectual facul- 
ties to enable him successfully to attempt a performance on the stage. We learned 
that during an attempt to perform on a subsequent occasion he became quite unable 
to pursue his part, and was led off the stage. This was sufficient to show that re- 
covery was not complete ; as to his condition after this we are unin formed. 

Paihophobia — Improrvement under general faradization and central galvanixation* 
Case IV. — ^A very favorable result was obtained in the person of a young man 
aged 25. At all hours of the day he was annoyed by tinnitus aurium, and what to 
him seemed an autlible voice telling him of evil to come We submitted him to gen- 
eral applications of a powerful farad ic cur rent « and also to occasional galvamjcation of 
the brain, cord, and sympathetic. Some improvement followed. The most decidefl 
benefit was, however, derived from the method of gii t van o- faradization. The faradic 
carrent, full strength^ from a Kidder apparatus, and at the same time the galvanic 
current from fifteen ceils of Bunsen's battery were passed through and around the 
body by the method of general electrization. Improvement was now remarkably 
rapid. In the course of half a doicn applications every unpleasant symptom disap- 
peared^ and the patient has since remamed perfectly free from any evidence of theii 



MtUmhoHa of two yiar^ standing in a ymmg marrui lady ^Complete rn mm^ - 
under etntral gahfanisaiicn after failure of penutent internal midkmtitmA 
and general faradiKOtiom. 

Case \, — Mrs. Y., a tHRrried woman, aged twenty -five, came first nfider our ob»^ 
•crvation October S, 1871, in the seventK month of her pregnancy. Her 
eondition wa* lamentable in the extreme. There was cliiefly a perversion of the who 
habit or niAiiiier of feeling, such as so frequently follows actiml intellectual derange* ] 
tnent. She confessed and bewailed her want of interest in or love for those whc 
were nearest to her, antl evUlenily sulTcred most intensely fn^m a profound feeling of 
depre^ion and misery — a vast and formless idea of utter desolation. The pfttit 
appreciated her condition, would reason concerning it, and acknowledge that th 
was nothing real to which she could point as a cause of her misery. 

These wretched feelings were not altogether new, but for over two years bad in ft 
modifietl form annoyed her considerably » Bitten slightly by a favorite dog, 
merged immediately into a condition that may be called hypochondriacal mclancho«" 
lia, with an exaggerated notion of the danger she had incurred. She had been treated 
persistently but without avail, and as a dernier resiQrt general faradization was at* 
tempted. It utterly failed in its effects, and in good faith the patient was encouraged 
to hope that with her delivery her mental balance would return. The diiJd wmi 
born, and three months subset|uently I %vas again called to sec the mother, only to 
itnd her condition more aggravated than at any previous time* We now resolved to 
make use of central galvanization, and employeii a current from six ordinary ^siicd 
sine carbon*cells^ with a sitting of four minutes. The patient was not at all in 
proved by the slanee^ but seemed, if anything, slightly more sensitive to exte 

In a cijujjc of days the same application was again tried, with the evident result of 
decidedly exciting her mind. A third effort was made with but three cells, from which 
the current was just sufHcIeut in tension to call into action the sense of taste. From 
this trial the patient expericncerj undoubted relief, and at intervals of a day the ap- 
plication, without being varied excepting in the length of the stance^ was repeated fa 
some two months. Although during the treatment I wo or three slight relapses < 
citrred, yet on the whole the improvement was steady and satisfactory, and at the ' 
close ol the ** central " treatment, when she was placed entirety in the care of Dr, 
WUliam J. Donor for uterine dif!iculty, her recovery was complete. 

Nturasthenia^ * or AW70US Exhaustion. — The denvation of the term 
nettrasihcnia is sufficiently obvious. It coincs from the Greek word 
Ffvpov, a nerve ; <i, privative ; and a^cvos, strength ; and therefore, being 
literally interpreted, signifies want of strength in the nerve. Under tlie 
name of general debility, it is a condition sufficiently familiar to e%'eTy 
practising physician, and too frequently resists most obstinately all forms 
of internal medication. It is not to be confounded with anii*mi^ 
though it may be associated with it. 

The one princijile on which neurasthenia is to be treated is by the 
concentration of all possible tonic influence on the nervous system — 
air, sunlight, water^ food, rest* diversion, muscular exercise, and the ia 
* See monograph on Lhiji subject, by Dr. Beard. 



iYa\ administration of those remedies, such as strychnine, phosphonis, 
[iTScmc, etc, which directly affect the central nervous system. 

£Uctricai Treatmetit, — General faradization and central galvanization 
isat^ atijuvant to lelieve more directly the symptonis of insomnia, head- 
ache, etc., which are so frequently associated with neurasthenia or after 
jgcncT^V faradization has 'ailed, 

I'he provosts is usually more or less favorable. In nearly all cases 
of uDCompUcated neurasthenia general faradization alone proves deci- 
dedly and sometimes rapidly efhcacious. Beneficial results from eithei 
this method or central galvanization are so uniform in this condition 
that we have reason to suspect some unrecognizable organic disease 
in those cases that give no evidence of improvement after protracted treat- 
mcni. Even the complicated fonns, that are the result of incurable dis- 
C35e, may be nuich relieved. The cases that fail to be benefited by 
ciectncal treatment are those of lifelong standing, or in which the tern* 
pciamcnt contraindicates electrical treatment 

^t^^kenk'-D^iiUy and tUia^Jh a/ sick ktadacht—Immtdiati and rapid im- 
pr^vtment under general Jaradi%aihn — Rapid increase in weight, 

Casi V*[ — The power of general faradixation to relieve neurasthenia and to cause 

'^'^^ of weight, was illustrated in a very pleasing and salisfaetory manner ia the 

*" * joong physician whom we have treate<1 during the autumn of 1869* He 

*^>'«ar* of *gc, and for a long time he had Iweii subject to severe and repeated 

liir* ^ nervoQS and sick headache. To use hta own expression, he had been 

. ^/^ *^ * lower plane than was normaL** Over-work and long confinement had 

Jv™^ Jwm to a condition of serious exhanstion, and when he called lapon us in 

J//j7''"tr he could not walk two mites without fatigue* Although 5 feet gi inchci 

Ifll ■ *• he weighed but ttl pounds, and for many months there had been no sign 

J ^ •^^^Tcase. We had clo^ly studied his own case, had been thoroughly ezamined, 

I *^ ' tied nearly every form of internal medication, 

' "^^pin treatment by a mild and general application with the faradic current, 

'^^ *^<?mporarily enlivened and exhilarated, but when he rctumcdi two days swb- 

^ *y » he stated that he felt no special benefit, although he had gained one-half 

J/«'M^ «« weight. This change, slight as it was, encouraged him, for it had been 

*"'» mnd years even, since he had been abtc to detect any increase in weight. We 

' ^y licfc that he vratched and studied his symptoms, and carefuitly ascertained 

^^c^Shi, from day to day, not as a hypochondriac at all, but as a scientific man, 

liot by any spedal faith in the remedy, but by an earnest desire to test for 

^ the tonic efleds of general farad tiation» He continued to increase in weigh! 

I ^iVb lertiarkaHe regularity and unirormity, and at the end of three weeks he ;ound 

ltli0H« lyid jicreased nine pounds. When we last saw him his weight was 124 

1 pW"^. The improvement in his general condition had gone on hand in hand with 

IJH increase in weight. His appetite was keener and his digest ion much ea-sier. Hii 

pfticlf* of licadaclte still annoyed him, but his capacity for endurance had been greatl) 



enlarged. Within the last tvro yevn we learned from the patient himself ihtt beU 
'uffercd na relapse, 

Iq this case the applications were made very thoroughly all over the persoti^ froa 
the top of the head to the fcctt and with a powerful ctirrenC. Bath Che faratlic $Jii 
galvanrc currents were used, chiefly the faradic It is worthy of remark, tbu, tk 
this patient always experienced a feeling of temporary enlivenmcnt and exhtUndi 
after each application, and sometimes the headache from which he suffered was drna 
away in the midst of the treat menL 

We may say, also, that when he first came we prescribed oxide of woe, by ofib 
tiottt because he had used nearly every other internal tonic He took« howew, M 
two or three doses of one grain each for the fint day, dropping it eatirdy »««« 
3e found that be had increased half a pound in weight. 

The above case we regarded as pre-eminently a typical one — a t 
iOiistration of neurasthenia, and of the benefit that may be received i 
general faradi;tation. 

Jlfntrasikfttia in a ^etlwrU patient^ enused by excanve apptuaHon it 

Sl&w improvement under gaivcni*aiion of the eervicai jympaikeik 4ttd ^liiif* 


C>isE VI L — Mr. A. was a short, stout, and remarkably plethoric man» agtd Si^-- 
Through his active business life he had confined himself most closely to hi> li^tties-*- 
seldom taking a day for recreation, even during the heat of summer, Xiw^e^* 
years since he retired from business with greatly impaired health and strength* I ^ 
was thought that perfect freedom from all care would be sufficient to retcife hu "i*^ 
live vigor of constitution. On the contrary, he gained but little, if any, Hisgoitf** 
appearance was typical of perfect health, but ordinary exertion, either mentil of p^fT* 
sacal| was sure to produce exhaustion, ffts pulse was normal^ and iktp^ient^*^ 
piethoric rather than amtmic. It was impossible for him to read more ihanta «^ 
fifteen minutes without becoming restless and excessively nervous, and 
walking, to the extent of a do^en blocks or so, would frequently fA-oduce 
prostration. His sleep at night was broken, and sometimes entirety dertrpf<^ 
There was not the slightest evidence of organic disease, but the whole neri-flni?^ 
tern seemed to be unstrung. He had submitted to almost every method of te» 
treatment, both medicinal and hygienic, but had seldom experienced even tcinp**^ 
relief. We felt justified in encournging him to hope for favorable results from W*^* 
ment by electrization. With admirable perseverance and promptness he conliwi*^** 
visit us for two months, never, in a single in>^tance, failing to keep an appoiatsicali 

At first, general applications with the faradic current were given every other ^' 
At each sitting he seemed much invigorateti, and for several ho>irs be cxpcfieocDA * 
degree of strength and lightness of spkit such as he had been a stranger to for jts*^ 

These effects, however, seemed but temporary, tor the old lassitude inratiatJyTfr 
turned ; consequently, after three weeks of treatment with the fiuadic, we raomfc 
to a weak galvanic ctirrent. 

The negative pole was applied to the epigastric region, and the positivt IQ tbi 
back of the neck, near the seventh cervical vertebra and also along the anterior bofto 
of the scalenus anticus muscle, in order to affect more thoroughly the grcjl ff» 
pathetic aji<l pneumocasiric 



%>c>iigc dectrodet were used, and tht applications were prolonged sufBclcnlly te 
^^^fx an intense redness and an acute burning sensation under them. By thii 
l^^^liod the immediate effects were not so marked as when the raradic current wai 
^^\ bwt the relief aflforded was more permane