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Graham Durham <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 26 May 2010 18:17:53 +0000
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This learned research seems to link Clemens belief in newish alternative medicines 

to our very own Prince Charles ,heir to the throne ,and noted herbal remedyist.Any evidence that 

Twain ever talked to plants ?
> Date: Wed, 26 May 2010 09:38:38 -0400
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Mark Twain and sex toys
> To: [log in to unmask]
> I can't add much to the wisdom of Bob Hirst and Ben Griffin and Shelley
> Fisher Fishkin.=20
> But let me chip in on this anyway.=20
> Medical history can be confusing enough already, even without efforts to
> sensationalize it and ignore context.
> In the late 19th century, the idea of depleted nerve force was widely
> accepted as a cause of disease, supported by new discoveries in the
> young field of neurology. In summer of 1899, the Clemens family
> discovered Henrik Kellgren and his Swedish Movement Cure, a type of
> osteopathic manipulation aimed at restoring vital energy. Clemens
> pursued Kellgren in London and in Sweden. Kellgren's treatments seemed
> useful in improving the family's health, and Clemens liked it because it
> was vigorous exercise, "and other people do it for you." Sam and Livy
> Clemens both noted improvement of various symptoms. It seemed to get
> Jean's seizures under control. The enthusiasm continued into the new
> century, and in 1901 Clara was under treatment of an American osteopath,
> "getting the bronchitis pulled and hauled out of her." Clemens was
> convinced that Kellgren could cure about anything, and would have been
> able to cure Susy's meningitis had he been given a chance. Clemens
> openly supported the legalization of osteopathy in New York, and was a
> strong believer in the methods of osteopathic medicine.=20
> Electrotherapy (also pursued by Clemens) was an offshoot of this
> thinking, based on direct stimulation of nerves to restore the nerve
> force.
> Osteopathic therapy was just another route to the same end - stimulation
> of nerve by motion.
> Kellgren considered vibration to be an important type of motion to
> energize nerves and muscles.
> And none of that has sexual connotations.=20
> Considerable insight into the medical thinking of the times can be found
> in the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal [predecessor of the New
> England Journal of Medicine] of Oct 10, 1907, (vol. 157, pp. 490-494),
> where Dr. Edgar Cyriax published an article on "Henrik Kellgren and His
> Methods of Medical Manipulation." I will include some long quotes below,
> to provide a bit of perspective on the thinking of the era. ("Medical
> gymnastics" can be translated as the osteopathic manipulations of
> muscles and nerves.)
> According to Cyriax, Kellgren's contribution was that he "perceived how
> much good could be effected through direct stimulation of the nerves;
> consequently, he gradually developed a nerve treatment, consisting
> chiefly of frictions and vibrations, which he used in combination with
> improved active and passive (inclusive of duplicate) movements; and by
> these means he has treated with unexampled success a number of chronic
> cases of which some had been previously regarded as incurable..."
> "Thousands of people owe their health to Kellgren, and some still live,
> who, at one time of their life, were regarded as utterly incurable. To
> how great an extent his successes have contributed to make medical
> gymnastics known and valued throughout the world is incalculable..."
> "The great merit of Kellgren has been his correct development of the
> processes referred to; in particular, he discovered that the main point
> of importance was not the pressure, but the mechanical movement set up
> in shaking the nerves through friction and vibration. And it was he who
> introduced manipulations following the course of the nerves, which
> manipulations are called "running nerve frictions and vibrations."
> "When we consider how everything in the human body is under the
> influence of the nerves and how many illnesses have their origin, not in
> the muscles, but in the nerves, it will easily be understood that
> nothing can be of so great service in these cases as movements of
> stimulative or sedative effect..."
> "It was Kellgren who succeeded in working out - one might almost say who
> discovered--this new and splendid method of combating pain and disease.
> He also discovered the method of executing the vibrations in a manner
> involving the minimum of fatigue to the operator, so that they could be
> maintained for much longer periods and, at the same time with greater
> efficiency."
> Cyriax mentioned the use of mechanical vibrators as well, even though
> he personally preferred the hands-on approach of a therapist: "During
> the last twelve or fifteen years, mechanical vibrators have come largely
> into favor. The advocates of these "vibrators," "concussors," etc.,
> maintain that the movements are rendered easier of administration, as
> they obviate exertion on the part of the gymnast [therapist], that they
> may be administered with perfect regularity as long as necessary, and
> finally that they may also be administered more rapidly. Some
> "vibrators" execute up to 200 vibrations per second."
> "That a greater rate than twelve per second should be of any advantage
> seems to me very doubtful. It must, of course, be conceded that a
> "vibrator" makes less demand on the manipulator, and its use is
> comprehensible when we consider that in general the vibrations as
> administered at present involve strong contraction of the arm and
> shoulder muscles, demanding great physical exertion, and are
> consequently only to be maintained for short periods at a sacrifice of
> sureness and delicacy of touch."
> So, osteopathic medicine used a hands-on approach.=20
> Some therapists had devices to assist them.=20
> And, of course, there were all sorts of devices available for home use.=20
> Considering Clemens's positive experiences with Kellgren and osteopathy,
> we shouldn't be surprised that he tried the home remedy version. Clemens
> observed in 1908 that the Arnold electric vibrating machine helped
> Lyon's headaches and "cures and limbers lame and stiff backs for me." It
> was a home version of osteopathy that did not require a trained
> therapist. As quoted previously by Bob Hirst, Clemens's interpretation
> was that it "stirs up the circulation" and "tones up the nerves," which
> he believed to be "the essential function of osteopathy."=20
> Clemens is pretty much talking like Kellgren there.
> Oh, by the way, in 2010, we use ultrasound to treat musculoskeletal
> injury. It's supposed to help sprains and fractures heal faster.
> Ultrasound uses sound waves, made by a machine, and applied through a
> skin probe. The sound waves are of a frequency that that humans cannot
> hear. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me. But I don't think it is
> erotic either, and I hope no one suggests next century that it was.
> =20
> Conclusion:
> Let's not confuse things by taking things out of the context of the
> medical beliefs of the time.=20
> Let's respect the history.=20
> And let's respect the people and their motivations.
> There are no sex toys here.
> There are only human beings with human fears and human pains and human
> illnesses, employing the best technology they have, to the extent they
> understand it, in the hope of trying to get a little bit healthier.=20
> Not too different from you and me, probably.
> Pat Ober