Hot-Air Bath.—The hot-air bath consists in the application of air to the surface of the body, heated to the temperature of from 98°—the temperature of the body—to 120° or 130°. It is a powerful excitant.
Hot-Vapor Bath.—This consists in the use of the vaper of hot water, or the medicated vapor, various medicinal substances being added to the water, or in the application of the vapor of burning alcohol or some kind of ardent spirit-heated to 120° or 140°. The vapor bath is excitant, revellant, and sudorific. It softens and relaxes the skin, increases the fullness of the capillaries of the surface, accelerates the pulse, and causes sweating. It is more soothing and relaxing, and consequently better calculated to induce diaphoresis than the hot-air bath. It is also employed in congestive forms of disease, as in the cold stage of agues, and in cholera, also when sweating is desirable, as in rheumatism, gout, local swellings and inflammations, chronic cutaneous affections, chlorosis, amenorrhoea, dropsy occurring in old and debilitated subjects, old liver affections, scrofula, etc.; in many of which it is an agent of immense utility. The vapor of burning spirit is a much more powerful means in accomplishing the results which follow from the vapor of hot water. It is powerfully excitant, sudorific, revulsive, and relaxing; valuable in the early stages of many febrile and inflammatory affections.
Hot-Water Bath.—This bath has a temperature of from 98° to 102°. It is strongly excitant to the nervous and vascular systems. It renders the pulse fuller and stronger, and causes redness of the skin, with distension of the cerebral vessels and violent throbbing, and, if long continued, may cause apoplexy. It is employed in rheumatism, paralysis, and neuralgia. Hot bricks, bottles of hot water, hot flannels, hot sand, hot salt, etc., all exert an excitant influence upon the system. (See Baths, etc., in another part of this work.)
Dry and hot vapor is more stimulating and exciting to the capillaries of the surface and to the general system, than the vapor of heated water or the medicated vapor and less debilitating to the system, and is therefore better adapted to patients greatly prostrated by disease.
Hot air is an excellent excitant and revulsive application in the congestive forms of disease, as in congestive intermittents and remittents, Asiatic cholera, asphyxia from drowning, chronic rheumatism, neuralgic affections,etc. It is sometimes impregnated with sulphurous acid gas or chlorine, and used in chronic cutaneous diseases.