Record of Mortality
Boston Medical and Surgical Journal
The home, or origin, of massage is to be found in the Garden of Eden. Adam found that scratching relieved itching, and from his time until to-day, steady progress has been made. As is well known, many savage and semisavage people use the treatment; even the dog takes a hand in massage when licking his swollen, painful feet. If I am not encroaching too much upon the valuable space of the Journal, and if deemed proper, I would like to add a word about Mr. Ostrom's book. On the whole, the book
... rves favorable comment, and fulfils the purpose for which the author intended it fairly well. The conciseness of the book becomes, however, in some instances, too pronounced, and more descriptive and accurate terms could be used in naming certain movements and manipulations ; a few slight inaccuracies also occur. For instance, no mention of centrifugal light striking over the peripheral nerves is made; deep straight frictions are also omitted. Too little is said of nerve-pressure ; vibration is spoken of as a shaking, which it is not, and should not be. The various forms of kneading are not sufficiently dealt with. In Fig. 7 on page 22, the hands are in correct position for circular or combined kneading of the thigh, a manipulation produced by a combination of an alternate squeezing and rolling of the hands, the grasped tissues being carried along with the motion of the hands, but it is represented as an illustration of kneading with the thumbs, a procedure which would, ordinarily, hardly be appropriate in this region, or would be but rarely needed here. Transverse muscle-kneading is not spoken of. The most conspicuous deficiency in the terminology is offered by the constant use of the word "rotation" wherever the author intends to speak of eircumduction. On page 55, in the chapter on vibrations, the author says: "Pressing and shaking [meaning vibration] ] have a stimulating and strengthening effect upon the nerves"; this is evidently an error. The effect of nerve-pressure and of vibration is sedative, allaying irritation and relieving pain. This effect is produced probably by diminishing the conductivity of impulses through the neuron ; such a result would imply diminished physiological activity of the nerve tissue, or a condition approaching rest, rather than increased physiological activity, which would be anticipated from stimulation. Some criticism may be made of the remarks about the treatment of tabes; co-ordinative exercises are not even alluded to, the description of nerve stretching is not complete, and a more detailed account of spinal massage would not be amiss. In spite of these and other minor defects, the book is a step in the right direction, and it is certainly very practical.