Edited by Jennifer Reiling, Editorial Assistant.
Schweninger's Cure for Obesity.— Prof.
H. Cohn, the Breslau ophthalmologist, recently visited the Schweninger establishment
and witnessed such remarkable cures that he describes his experiences at length.
One woman has lost fifty pounds in eight weeks; another twenty in five weeks,
and another who weighed 240 pounds when she arrived had reduced her weight
to 145 when she left. From exhaustion at the slightest effort, the patients
could take long walks and climb hills without fatigue, with the heart working
normally. The treatment is threefold: massage, hot baths and diet. The massage
is done by the physician, for fifteen minutes, before meals. The patient is
instructed to breathe deep, which is considered one of the most important
factors of the results attained with the massage. The abdomen is kneaded and
finally large pieces of the derma are taken up and squeezed energetically
between the hands to crush the subcutaneous adipose lobules. In conclusion
the masseur gets on the patient on his knees and digs them into
the epigastrium while the patient takes several deep breaths. Cohn describes
his consternation at this sight, but the patients did not seem to mind it
much, although they frequently drop to sleep afterward from exhaustion, and
the abdomen is covered with ecchymoses. The twenty-minute hot baths are given
to the arms, feet or a sitz bath, on separate days, never the entire body
at once. The water flows in and out of the tub at a temperature increasing
from 30 to 40 degrees R. The food is served in tiny doll dishes and only a
pint of liquid is allowed during the entire day (Gerolstein sprudel water).
Bread, cake, butter, fat, sugar, coffee, tea, milk, wine, beer and brandy
are rigorously excluded from the diet, but eggs, ham, roast meats, fruits,
vegetables, etc., all in small amounts, afford a varied menu for the four
meals. The patients gradually become accustomed to the dry diet. Constipation
is controlled by aloes pills at night or an injection of five grams of glycerin
in the morning. The Sunday is a day of rest for all, and the rules are suspended.
Six to eight weeks are required for the cure, and the patient, to retain the
benefits, must not return at once to his former habits of
life.—Presse Méd., October 28.
PRACTICAL NOTES.. JAMA. 1998;280(20):1788. doi:10.1001/jama.280.20.1788