Monday, November 10, 2008

Fomentations

As I mentioned the day I voted, the flu has really gotten me this year. I was coughing so hard I though I was going to cough up a lung. The doctor prescribed Z-Pack and I did feel MUCH better by the time I finished the 5 days of antibiotics. But now it seems to be settling back down into my other lung. So far it is just a tight, hacking cough, but if it gets any worse, I'm will have to see the doctor again.

This got me thinking about other treatments I could do to help speed my recovery and I remembered when I had Pneumonia when I was nine. It was one of the two times I actually hallucinated due to fever and I know my parents were worried when I was still struggling after seeing the doctor. I don't remember if I had already finished my antibiotics or not, but my parents decided to help me heal by using a method my father had learned in Seminary. The treatment was very relaxing and I remember experiencing a lot of relief afterwards.

Since I heard a lot of other people coughing in the waiting room at the walk-in clinic I don't think I'm the only one fighting this nasty bug. So, instead of keeping this treatment to myself, here are the instructions as my dad told me today.

Hot and Cold Fomentations

Preparation

1) Find a comfortable place for the "patient." It could be a bed, comfortable chair, or even a cushion of blankets on the floor.

2) Gather enough blankets to keep very warm. If a wool blanket is available it is the best.

3) You need very hot water in two basins (one could be the sink if it is close enough - also keep water heating on the stove to replenish) and one bowl of ice water.


4) Two towels or thick cloths and two washcloths.

5) Dry blankets for afterwards.

Directions

1) The patient should lay down with as bare a chest as modesty permits and cover with the blankets.

2) Place feet in a basin of very hot water. Be sure not to scald, but add more hot water to warm it up when the water cools. This keeps the circulation flowing through the whole body.

3) Soak the washcloths in the ice water and place one damp cool cloth on the patient's forehead to keep from overheating. This should be refreshed in the ice water as needed.

4) Soak towels in the second hot water basin, wring out till just damp (not dripping) and apply the steaming towels to both the chest and the back of the patient. Recover with blankets. (If the patient feels too hot, or has sensitive skin a thin cloth can be placed in between for comfort.)

5) Every 10 minutes the hot towels need to be quickly removed and the patient's chest and back should be vigorously rubbed with the second damp ice water cloth. And then the re-heated and wrung out towels should be quickly replaced on chest and back.

6) This should be repeated a minimum of 3 times. You will know the proper effect is happening when you see beads of sweat on the patient's nose and face.

7) When complete, the patient should be rubbed down a final time with the ice water cloth. They should then be allowed to sleep at least an hour, warmly covered.

The effect this treatment has is to open all the blood vessels and get the blood circulating, then the cold water causes the body to close the vessels. This squeezes out the blood - speeding circulation. Then the warm water opens all the vessels again bringing in a fresh flow of blood. This helps the body clean out the infection in the chest. It sounds simple, but the effects can be dramatic.

I googled Fomentations to see if I could find an official description and this story is the closest I could come.
Be well!

---------Update--------
I had my Dad look this over, to make sure I had gotten it all correct and he did have a couple comments:

I know all the extra circulation will help the body. The immune system loves it.
That's the other result - drawing all the blood to the infected area brings all the white blood cells to help fight. The increased temperature also draws the white blood cells, just like inflammation does. So, in one way, it's somewhat like an artificial inflammation that helps the immune system target the area.
Prayer is also a wonderful atmosphere to surround the treatment with :-)
Thanks Dad!

3 comments:

Dade said...

I'm gonna remember this....it'll undoubtedly be useful one day.

Kansas Bob said...

Never heard of this.. but I'm not sure about that cold cloth.. brrr :(

Heather Ann said...

I actually feels really good after the hot towels. I'm actually adding this comment though with my Grandma's suggestion of heating the wet towels in the microwave - she didn't know how long it might take, but said to put a dry towel underneath to protect the skin.