Harper's New Monthly Magazine,  10 (1885), 391–94.




Essay, Travelogue


Medical Treatment, Hydropathy, Health, Physical Geography, Disease, Mental Illness, Neurology, Medical Practitioners

    Describes the 'thermal establishments' at Aix-les-Bains 'which are without an equal in the world', and on which the 'French government has unhesitatingly incurred vast expenditures'. The famous healing waters at Aix are of 'two kinds—sulphur-soda and alum', and their 'chief mineral constituents are sulphur in the form of the hyposulphite, the carbonate and the sulphate of lime, and the sulphate of magnesia, with some organic matter called barrégine' (392). They are 'of extraordinary value in combating chronic rheumatic affections [...] and in removing the thickness and stiffness which so often remain after attacks of acute rheumatism'. As well as this, for 'gout and sciatica Aix presents a wonderful story of cure' and 'Many a cripple throws away his crutches after four weeks' treatment with the waters. In addition, the waters also give relief for some 'Diseases of the nervous system', and 'Aix is to be most highly commended to nervous, overworked Americans'. (393). Overseeing the baths at Aix is Léon Brachet, an 'indefatigable [and] distinguished local physician, who dictates the use of millions of litres of water daily' (392), although 'His love of truth, his rugged manner, and his absence of pretense give him a sort of Abernethy air which at first a nervous woman may fear' (394). Suggests nevertheless that Brachet's 'useful little book on Aix-les-Bains [...] should be in the hands of every medical man in the United States' (393), and admits that while the book is 'too strictly a medical treatise to be more freely quoted here [...] it has given what is most valuable technically and statistically to this paper' (394).

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