I know some of you (Kelloggsville?) have been wondering what has happened to the expert advice gleaned from The Household Physician 1874 (updated 1907). You may recall I shared the good doctor’s wisdom in the following posts: Have you got the Painters in?, Hysterical Women and Guide to Exercise.
For those of you considering your summer vacation, rather than make decisions based on whether there is a decent Kids’ Club or how far the hotel is from the beach, let Dr McGregor-Robertson guide you to a more healthy holiday. I normally have a little fun with Dr McG’s old-fashioned advice but actually the section about health resorts was quite enlightening and there were many pages devoted to it. Maybe the tourist industry is missing a trick here? Let’s bring back the traditional spa resorts and return to the days of ‘taking the waters’. Who needs a hot stone massage when you can try out The Grape Cure in the Tyrol and the Bitter Waters of Bohemia?
The health benefits of the spas including Bath, Matlock, Buxton (“not for the very enfeebled or delicate owing to the risk of catching cold”) Harrogate (“a favourite for overworked businessmen”), Leamington and Woodhall are highlighted in the chapter on mineral baths: excellent for symptoms including chronic gout, skin diseases and rheumatism.
However other spas caught my eye and I had to share these little gems:
Leukerbad: “The baths are employed chiefly in chronic skin disease, the duration of the bath extending from half an hour to eight hours. The bathers are attired in woollen mantles and capes, and pass the time in the bath playing dominoes and chess, taking luncheon on boards floated to them. Both sexes bathe together, chiefly Swiss and French.”
Schlangenbad: “The baths are beautifully arranged and have a great reputation for quieting and strengthening the nervous system, and are resorted to very much by hysterical ladies”
Teplitz: “have a special reputation for old gunshot wounds”
Homburg: “The Elizabeth spring has an opening effect on the bowels after three glasses and the waters are employed in congestions of abdominal organs, and are especially useful in gout, rheumatism and to those indisposed after a winter’s round of gaieties”
Carlsbad: “The chief spring is the Sprudel, situated in the centre of the town, over which has been erected a glass-domed building. It rises with a throbbing movement 4 or 5 feet in the air, falling back into an ornamental basin, round which stand girls who fix the glasses of the visitors on to the end of long rods and dip them into the cauldron”
Ems: “The waters here are specially employed for chronic catarrh of the air passages, specially in gouty persons. A spring – Bubenquelle – used for bathing purposes, and particularly in the form of an ascending douche, used to be famous for disorders of the womb”
Eaux Bonnes: “It is said to produce excellent results in clergyman’s sore throat”
Porgues: “At one time enjoyed great popularity for dyspepsia and bladder irritability and catarrh.”
Bad-Nauheim: One spring is named Friedrich-Wilhelm’s, the other, Great Sprudel, and a third, No.14.”