Monday, March 7, 2011

Water Cure Days - Miss Lucy T. Brook's Cure

The Wesselhoeft Water Cure in Brattleboro, Vermont was the third water cure in the country. According to the Annals of Brattleboro by Mary Rogers Cabot, the Water Cure opened in 1843-1844 by Dr. Robert Wesselhoeft. A water cure is a form of hydrotherapy, involving the use of water for pain-relief and treating illness. Water cure's were so popular in the mid-1800's, there was even a Water Cure Journal that was published. Many of the journal volumes can be found on Google Books site, such as this one Volume 1. The Brattleboro Water Cure became extremely popular and was visited by many. Several of the more famous guests to the Brattleboro Water Cure, included: ex-President Martin Van Buren; two sons of John C. Calhoun; and Mr. & Mrs. John Stoddard (Cabot, Mary Rogers. Annals of Brattleboro, vol II, page 573-574)

Source: Cabot, Mary Rogers. 1922. Annals of Brattleboro, vol. II

Source: Cabot, Mary Rogers. 1922. Annals of Brattleboro, vol. II

In my grandmother's records, I found a typewritten page for Miss Lucy T. Brooks' water cure, which is transcribed below:

Miss Brooks will
  1. Sweat every morning early in a wet sheet, and after it bathe or wash in water of 72 degrees to 60 degrees.
  2. Drink cold water after it and walk until she becomes warm, --before breakfast.
  3. Breakfast on cold bread with milk or butter.
  4. Walk and drink again after breakfast.
  5. At 11 o'clock take a hip-bath from 10 increasing gradually to 30 minutes in water 72 degrees gradually growing colder daily to 30 degrees.
  6. Drink again and walk until you get well warmed.
  7. Dinner without condiments, pies or rich food. Drink several tumblers of water with dinner and none for 2 hours after dinner.
  8. After 2 hours drink and walk.
  9. At 5 P.M. take a hip bath of same temperature and duration as at 11.
  10. Walk again and after every bath and drinking.
  11. Take supper as early as 6 same as breakfast but quite little.
  12. Take a foot-bath before retiring 10 to 30 minutes, --temperature 73 degrees to 60 degrees as in other baths, and rub the feet and walk until they become warmed.
  13. Take an ear-bath forenoon and afternoon at the Douch house.
R. Wesslehoeft,
(by Secretary)

Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

© 2011, copyright William C. Haskell

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