The Art of Massage
J. H. Kellogg, M.D.
RECENT ADVANCES IN MECHANICAL MASSAGE.
Within the last ten years great progress has been
made in all branches of physical, or physiologic, therapeutics. Mechanical
massage, a branch of mechanotherapy, has made rapid advance along with
phototherapy and radiotherapy, and other branches of this department of
rational medicine. Zander has made a few improvements in his machines.
Herz, of Vienna, has devised a number of interesting machines which cover
much the same ground as those of Zander, and several inventors have produced
excellent devices for producing strong vibratory effects. The writer
has likewise developed a considerable number of improvements in his efforts
to still further perfect the apparatus which he has used for many years,
some of which in their newer forms and shown in the accompanying cuts.
(Plates E and F.)
In the vibratory chair, the vibratory bar, and the
apparatus for vibration of the feet, a new principle has been utilized
for producing the vibratory effect which renders possible a much higher
rate of vibration, as high as sixty movements a second, and even more,
being attainable. This high rate of vibration is produced by a special
mode of construction which entirely obviates the use of eccentrics or cranks,
and hence obviates the noise which was such a disturbing feature with the
old types of apparatus. The vibrating mechanism is attached to the
floor in such a way as to prevent entirely the transmission of strong vibratory
impulses, so that there is no shaking of the floor, and the element of
noise is reduced to a minimum. These improved forms of apparatus
are in daily use at the Battle Creek Sanitarium and allied institutions,
and have proved themselves immensely superior in every way to the cruder
forms of apparatus previously employed.
ANTHROPOMETRY AND MASSAGE.
In order to appreciate the value of massage as a therapeutic
agent, it is important that those who employ it systematically should make,
before beginning the treatment, and from time to time during the course of treatment,
records based upon careful determinations of the patient's conditions, particularly
those conditions which are especially influenced by massage. A blood count
should be made every two to four weeks, and at least once a month a careful
measurement of the strength of the individual groups of muscles should be made.
The total strength of the whole body may then be obtained by simple addition
of the figures obtained for the individual groups. The total strength
of the muscular system is ordinarily the best measure of vital stamina.
A chronic invalid nearly always has weak and flabby muscles. An increase
of muscular strength is an indication of improved nutrition, resulting in improved
nerve and muscle tissue and tone. The dynamometer is capable of showing
a gain of this sort when no improvement could possibly be detected by means
of the tape line.
After ten years of constant efforts, the writer finally succeeded
in perfecting an apparatus for testing the strength of individual muscular groups,
which has been termed the "Universal Dynamometer." This apparatus is now in
use in the leading gymnasiums of the United States, and is employed by the United
States Government for the examination of the students in training at West Point
The dynamometer may be used to great advantage in the treatment
of patients by massage, not only in cases in which there is a general lack of
muscular strength or tone, but also in cases in which individual muscular groups
are weakened by disease. It is possible by this device to determine with
exactness the degree of loss of muscular power, and to note from week to week
any change for better or worse.
Scientific physical culture is not possible without a dynamometer,
by means of which all the principal groups of muscles of the body may be tested.
The various dynamometers long in general use for testing leading groups of muscles,
serve a very useful purpose in the testing of the strength of persons who are
in ordinary health, and who have a fairly symmetrical development; but these
instruments are of very little use in the examination of invalids, whose muscular
development is often found to be exceedingly irregular because of sedentary
habits or other artificial conditions or special pathological changes.
The dynamometer is used in connection with diagrams, which
show the average strength of each group of muscles for persons of various heights.
Separate diagrams are used for men and women. With patients under treatment
by massage, with carefully graduated exercise and manual Swedish movements,
which must always be included with massage in a complete system of physical
training, it is not uncommon to observe a gain of a thousand pounds in
strength within three or four weeks. Patients usually double their total
strength within three or four months. In the case of bedridden invalids, the
proportionate gain in strength is very much greater.
The interest of the patient is much more easily enlisted
when he is conscious of the fact that an exact determination has been made of
his condition at the beginning of treatment, so that he himself may be able
to observe from time to time the progress of his case, and to note any change
for better or worse, knowing that there is a basis for positive and exact information.