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Springs

water, baths, iron, salines, warm and waters

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SPRINGS, MINERAL.—Mineral springs or baths may be divided into the following groups : (r) Bitter waters, the active ingredients of which are sulphate of soda and sulphate of magnesia. These have a laxative effect, and are useful only in constipation, liver troubles, etc. The best-known springs supplying these waters are : In Europe : Friedrichshall and Mergentheim, Germany ; in the United States: Saratoga, N.Y., Frenchlick, Ind., and Hot Springs, Va. The bottled waters most commonly used are Apenta and Hunyadi Janos.

(2) Iron springs, containing iron oxide in combination with carbonic acid. These waters are usually taken internally, but have been employed also as baths. In the latter use, however, the water acts just like an ordinary bath, for the iron is not absorbed by the skin. Drinking the water is indicated in anemia, chlorosis, and other weakened conditions of the system. The iron in this water does not harm the teeth, and it is therefore unnecessary to drink it through a tube. The poor teeth occurring in such cases are not due to the iron, but to the anemia. Among springs of this type may be mentioned Harrogate, Cheltenham, and Bath. Some springs contain alkaline sulphates of iron, and, for this reason, are also laxative. Their use is indicated in anwmia combined with obstinate constipation. Others contain, in addition, arsenic, and have a particularly favourable action on tissue metabolism.

(3) Alkaline springs, which are suitable for internal use only, and have no value over ordinary water when taken as baths. They contain lime, in addition to carbonic and sulphuric acids. The warm springs are divided into three groups : (a) warm alkaline springs, for gout, kidney- and bladder stones, and diabetes ; (b) warm salines, for catarrhs of the respiratory organs ; and (c) warm alkaline-salines, for diseases of the stomach, liver, and intestines.

(4) Salt springs, containing ordinary salt either alone or combined with carbonic acid. They exert a favourable effect upon the stools and urine, and help to dissolve catarrhal mucus. Their activity is increased

by the presence of the carbonic acid, but they are apt to cause disturbances of appetite. They are mainly employed in chronic gastric catarrhs. in obstinate constipation, and in obesity. In scrofula the water is also used for bathing.

There are several varieties of these springs : (a) ordinary cold salines ; (b) cold, carbonated salines ; (c) ordinary warm salines ; and (d) warm carbonated salines, which have also been largely recommended for diseases of the heart and spinal cord. Many of these salines contain also iodine, and are, therefore, indicated in glandular affections, joint-diseases, syphilis, and skin-diseases.

(5) Lithia water, containing, in addition to the sodium bicarbonate, a lithia salt which possesses the property of dissolving uric acid, wherefore it is taken for gout, calculi, etc.

(6) Mud baths, used as a diaphoretic measure in chronic rheumatism, gout, female complaints, etc. The mud is diluted with sufficient water for bathing purposes. Some of the best known resorts are in Germany and Austria.

(7) Sulphur springs, used for bathing purposes only. The water has the odour and taste of decayed eggs, and may readily cause gastric and intestinal disturbances. The water is used in gout, rheumatism, scrofula, syphilis, etc.

(8) Sea baths, to be recommended only for healthy children and adults. The proper time is from July to September. These baths are intended as a tonic after convalescence has been established.

(9) Hot springs, without any distinguishing mineral constituents. These are used almost entirely for bathing purposes, although there arc usually other waters present which may be taken internally. Salts from other springs may be added to the water of thermal springs when taken in connection with a " cure." These baths are indicated in rheumatism, gout, spinal diseases, and female complaints, but are not suited to nervous patients. See also the article on MINERAL WATERS.

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