As you follow our approach to these cases, many questions will naturally arise, and among them will be some as to why the various methods that we have described are used.
The Usefulness of the Cleansing Enema
You will notice that in almost every case the warm, cleansing enema was used. The enema is practically a routine measure since it helps to eliminate the pressure and strain caused by gas and constipation.
Even a cursory examination will disclose that most sufferers from heart disease are constipated and suffer from gas pressure, and this condition exists even among those who have daily evacuations.
Dr. Harvey J. Kellogg of the Battle Creek Sanitarium pointed out that people who eat three meals a day and have only one evacuation daily suffer from intestinal stasis or sluggishness. Dr. C. Ward Crampton, Chairman of Geriatrics, Medical Society of New York County, stated that colonic delay of a week is possible ^or one with daily evacuation.1
When this condition exists, the patient is not only bothered with gas that presses up against the heart and aggravates the palpitation as well as the various heart symptoms, but often suffers from other physical disorders such as protruding abdomen, prolapsed organs, or mechanical pressure that affects the adjacent organs and hampers the circulation of the blood. It should be obvious that this throws an added burden upon the heart.
Careful use of the enema helps to remove the accumulations in the colon and relieves the heart of the extra load caused by this condition.
Young at Any Age, Yearbook of N.Y. State Joint Legislative Committee on Problems of the Aging.
The full hot bath or the partial foot bath is used to promote elimination through the skin and kidneys, to improve circulation, and to promote relaxation.
Incidentally, different hot and cold applications can be used to great advantage to relieve many of the discomforts of heart disease. A cold compress applied over the heart goes a long way to check palpitation, while heat applied to the upper part of the back or between the shoulder blades counteracts pain in the chest and is of great help in heart and blood vessel spasms.
At this point we wish to stress the importance of keeping the feet warm. A hot water bottle, electric pad, or the wearing of socks will be helpful for this purpose.
You will notice that we mention the hot full bath or hot foot bath frequently in our case histories. Baths and compresses can be of great help when properly used. However, when used improperly or at the wrong time, they can overstimulate and increase debility. Make sure that the type of bath or application used in the case be carefully determined by the doctor or practitioner in charge.