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Victorian Health & Medicine

Please note that these articles are provided for information and entertainment only - we do not advocate the use of any treatments or remedies described here. These sections are arranged chronologically.


TIPS FOR HEALTHY LIVING

"If I Were You" - A Further Chat with Girls Who Have Just Left School (GOP 1884)
"The young people of today are not possessed of their grandparents' constitutions. They pay quickly for these thousand and one transgressions of the laws of health..."
Healthy Lives for Working Girls (GOP 1887)
The Poetry of Motion, by Dora de Blaquière (GOP 1895)
Illustrated piece on Delsarte's program of physical exercise and training for girls.
The Benefits of a "Summer Holiday", by "The New Doctor" (GOP 1898)
Is it healthier to spend one's holiday at the seaside, or on the moors or mountains, or on the sea itself? There are, this doctor says, "bad places for an ordinary mortal to spend her vacation."
Exercise: In Moderation, by "The New Doctor" (GOP 1899)
"How much exercise is needed every day, how much will give the greatest benefit, and how much is positively injurious?"
Two of the Greatest Afflictions of Girlhood: Blushing and Nervousness, by "The New Doctor" (GOP 1899)
Nervousness seems to have many causes and manifestations, but is "frequently the result of a one-sided education and lack of experience."
"A Little Strengthening Medicine," by "The New Doctor" (GOP 1900)
"It is the little strengthening medicine that has given the kindly doctor a well-paying, life-long patient." Our author goes on to say, "Yes, madam, we will give you a little moral strengthening medicine. Don't eat so much; sell your carriage and use your legs; stop your little snacks and glasses of curacoa; live a sensible life, and think of something else than your alimentary canal!"
The Physical Training of Girls (GOP 1900)
Ten exercises, with how-to illustrations.

GENERAL HEALTH ISSUES

The Care of the Voice, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1880)
The Eyes and the Eyesight, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1881)
Some Useful Hints on Surgery, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1881)
How to handle a variety of minor accidents and emergencies.
About Fingernails, by Arthur Stradling (GOP 1882)
The Chemistry of Food and Cookery, by John Gray, FCS (GOP 1882)
A Few Facts About Food and Digestion, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1882)
On the Benefits of Pure Water, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1882)
This article explains how to make one's own water filter.
Tic-Douloureux and Toothache: Prevention and Cure, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1882)
"Painless dentistry at one time used to be a meaningless term, but it is not so nowadays.... The Americans are exceedingly careful of their teeth. The English ought to take example by them; if they did we would see fewer old men and women with receding jaws or artificial teeth."
The Human Eye and Some of Its Defects, by Albert Westland (GOP 1884)
A Bundle of Nerves, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1890)
This one is well worth reading for the account of the "black cat cure" (not recommended by the author).
The Olfactory Nerve by Isabel Robson (GOP 1891)
Intriguing for its tale of uncovering a mass murder...
Hints on the Care of the Feet, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1892)
How to Take Care of Teeth, by Jane Walker, M.D. (GOP 1896)
Use tincture of myrrh if your gums have a tendency to bleed...
Hydros and Health, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1897)
Some of the pros and cons of "hydropathic" spas.
Digestion and Nourishment, by "The New Doctor" (GOP 1898)
How to Take Care of Our Sight, by "The New Doctor" (GOP 1898)
Our Climate, by "The New Doctor" (GOP 1898)
"Foreigners, especially Americans, are always maligning our weather." Too true! This article addresses how to combat Britain's weather's "pernicious effects."
Diet in Reason and in Moderation, by "The New Doctor" (GOP 1899)
Amongst other useful tips, this article explains why it is so important to make tea with boiling water, and not to let it steep (the boiling water removes the tannin but allows the caffeine to diffuse). And no milk should be set up on the table which has not first been boiled!
Some Practical Hints on Cosmetic Medicine, by "The New Doctor" (GOP 1899)
According to "The New Doctor," when a girl has an ugly or deformed nose, it is nearly always due to a history of nasal obstruction!
Massage, by "The New Doctor" (GOP 1900)
"As massage is a powerful agent for good in many cases, so it is also a most powerful agent of harm in unsuitable cases, or if badly performed, or if used too early in the case."
The Medical Side of Electricity, by "The New Doctor" (GOP 1900)
"The action of electricity upon the body is a peculiar and an ill-defined one, and as a lifegiver or energizer or such-like it is as useless as is anything else." After a stirring denouncement of medical quackery, the article goes on to discuss the new, amazing discovery of X-rays.
Microbes, by "The New Doctor" (GOP 1900)
"Yesterday an Italian scientist discovered the microbe of old age, and today an enterprising Yankee has suggested an infallible cure for the same complaint." The author goes on to provide a discussion of what is known about the new science of bacteriology.
What We Pay for Our Boots, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1900)
"Of all parts of our body the feet are the most frequently deformed... The faults of modern boots are many, and each produces its special deformity." Covering bunions, corns, flat feet and more.
Why We Lose Our Teeth, by "The New Doctor" (GOP 1901)
"So rare is it to see a perfect set of teeth, that anyone who has lost less than four of them before her twenty-first year is completed should consider herself particularly lucky..." A fascinating look at the dangers of poor tooth care and contemporary methods for tending the teeth.

SPECIFIC CONDITIONS

Chilblains, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1881)
"In simple language a chilblain, whether on the hands or feet, is nothing save a mitigated form of frostbite."
A Few Words About Colds and Coughs, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1882)
Poverty of Blood: Its Cause and Cure, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1888)
"A Fellow-Feeling Makes Us Wondrous Kind", by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1891)
Primarily on lumbago and rheumatic fever.
About Rheumatism, and Its Kindred Ailments, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1892)
All Kinds and Conditions of Coughs, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1893)
All About Myalgia, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1894)
Caught a Little Cold, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1894)
Neglected Colds and Winter Coughs, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1895)
Be Warned in Time! Or, Walking the Hospital with "The New Doctor" by "The New Doctor" (GOP 1898)
The warning is about the serious consequences that can arise from neglecting a seemingly trifling "ear affection" -- a problem that will surely resonate with parents today!
Chiefly About Rheumatism, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1898)
Influenza: Diet and Treatment, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1898)
Nugget for the day: "The word influenza is of course Italian, the symptoms of the horrible complaint having been supposed to be caused by the influence of the stars."
The Worst of All Plagues, by "The New Doctor" (GOP 1900)
At the time of this article, tuberculosis "kills one-seventh of the human race before the 40th year of life." It infects at least three times that many, however, as shown by post-mortems of examinations of person who died of other causes.
The Rheumatism Microbe, by "The New Doctor" (GOP 1901)
On the discovery of the microbe causing rheumatic fever.

MENTAL HEALTH

The Influence of Religion on Insanity, by "The New Doctor" (GOP 1897)
"...Religion which causes peace of the soul, likewise pacifies the mind, and renders it less liable to run into extremes, whereof the offspring is mental perversion."
Religion and Medicine, by "The New Doctor" (GOP 1898)
An attempt to reconcile the roles of pastor and physician, particular at the patient's deathbed.

CHILDREN'S HEALTH

Rheumatism in the Young, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1885)
The Little Misses Miserable, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1893)
Tips on rearing delicate children.
Indigestion, by "The New Doctor" (GOP 1898)
Another grim statistic: "The majority of deaths under a year old is due to wrong feeding." The author goes on to note, "Some people have the most extraordinary notions of the value of infants' lives; some do not consider the death of a baby as anything serious!"
Will She Grow Out of It?, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1899)
On some childhood ailments.

HEALTH & SAFETY

Domestic Poisons, Their Detection and Antidotes, by C. Proctor (GOP 1883)
Amongst the poisons of concern in the Victorian household were arsenic, phosphorus, lead salts, copper salts (sometimes used to add green color to tinned vegetables), Bengal opium, and the mystery-writer's favorite, prussic acid.
What to Do if You Catch Fire (GOP 1886)
"If any of our readers should at any time make the startling discovery that they are on fire, what should they do?" (Hint: Ring the bell violently for your maid is not the answer.)

MEDICATIONS, OLD, NEW & "NATURAL"

What May Be Done with Simple Herbs, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1881)
On the Virtues of Simple Herbs and Flowers, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1882)
Medicines: When to Take and When to Avoid, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1883)
A blind faith in the efficacy of medicine for the cure of diseases and the restoration of shattered systems to a state of health has been the ruin of many thousands."
Some Simple Facts About Medicines, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1885)
"It may well be said that a family medicine-chest...is a source of safety, but at the same time a source of danger."
Tonics: How to Use Them Beneficially, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1886)
Replies to Often-Asked Questions (GOP 1896)
The key question here is "What should be the contents of a medicine cupboard for an isolated country cottage?"
Medicinal Herbs, by The Lady Georgina Vernon (GOP 1898)
Our Medicine Chest, by "The New Doctor" (GOP 1899)
"You do not want a medicine chest to contain everything you MAY require. You want it to contain everything that is absolutely necessary for emergencies" -- which include injuries, acute poisoning, and acute disease.
Copyright © 2017 by
Moira Allen.
All rights reserved.

Magazine Abbreviations:
CFM = Cassell's Family Magazine GOP = Girl's Own Paper ILA = Illustrated London Almanack S = The Strand
AM = Atlantic Monthly C = Century Magazine D = Demorest's Monthly Magazine G = Godey's Lady's Book H = Harper's Monthly
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