Sunday, 10 June 2012

Cochrane's patented Indian Vapour Bath

The Hon. Basil Cochrane claimed to have developed a form of vapour cure while in India and he determined to improve the health of London's lower classes by establishing a vapour bath at his home in Portman Square. Above is his patented example, where a person sits within a muslin tent while water vapour is fed in. In 1809 he published An Improvement on the Mode of Administering the Vapour Bathyet despite Cochrane's assertions, vapour bathing in London was not original to him, and Hamams, or Turkish steam baths, had been established in London since the 1630s.
Shampooing (champi) and the related art, malish, were widely practiced in India, and one would chuppy the limbs to induce sleep. This was method of handling, from the feet upwards, all the limbs successively, opening the palm of the hand as if going to grip hard a handful of flesh, and yet grasping it so gently, as hardly to make any impression. Within a household a wife or servant might regularly shampoo the elders of the family or a child to induce relaxation and sleep.
After Sake Dean Mahomet began to shampoo in Cochrane's vapour bath, the idea of shampooing for health quickly seemed tobecome part of the medical jargon of London, and commercial bathhouses would include shampooing among their advertised therapies. Mahomet, however, gained little credit from Cochrane or the London public for his shampooing at the time.

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