Hartvig Nissen.

Practical massage and corrective exercises online

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A gentleman of middle age had been ailing two
years. He had grown very lean, the skin was yellow,
and his feet and ankles were swollen. The liver was
considerably enlarged, especially the left lobe. There
was no organic heart disease, but there was a mild ca-
tarrh of the lungs. Operations of the bowel w^re slow
and difficult. He was treated twice every day by
means of movements, and no other remedies were used.
After one month' the patient was considerably better,
the liver was smaller, swelling had disappeared, and
his appetite and flesh had increased. After the second
month, having been treated once a day, the patient
was cured.

The following prescription was used : —

1. Shoulder rotation and chest lifting — sitting.

2. Foot rotation, double — reclining.

3. Trunk rotation — astride sitting.


4. Vertical ami flexion aiul extension — resistive
and vertical arm rotation — passive.

5. T.diii vibration — sitting.

6. Thigh rotation — reclining,

7. Chest lifting and vibration — reclining.

8. Leg flexion and extension — reclining — resistive.

9. Stomach kneading and friction — reclining.
10. Back percussion and friction — standing.


should not be treated by massage. But I have good
reasons to believe that persons who take judicious ex-
ercise will not be attacked by this malady; and, further,
I earnestly advise that circular kiicadiiig and friction
of the abdomen should be used at the first "threaten-
ing" of appendicitis. Often we hear of persons who
have been ''threatened" one or more timies, and even
been told that it was nothing more than indigestion,
and some time later they have suddenly been taken
violently ill, and a surgical operation had to be resorted
to. If these cases had been treated by massage from
the first day of the symptoms, I do not hesitate to say
that the appendicitis would have been avoided.


can often be quickly cured by

1. Breathing exercises.

2. Standing and bend the trunk forward and back-
ward, and from side to side.


3. Vertical arm rotation — sitting'— passive.

4. Loin vibration — sitting.

5. Trunk rotation — astride sitting — passive.

6. Circular kneading of the abdomen — reclining.

7. Back percussion — standing.


is frequently treated with success by massage, but it
must be pretty hard treatment and kept up regularly
for some time, and some strong active movements
should i:!e used also, all according to the patient's

1. Forward trunk flexion and extension — sitting —

2. Backward leg traction — standing — -resistive.

3. Vertical arm flexion and extension — sitting —

4. Trunk torsion — kneeling — resistive.

5. Upward knee traction — reclining — resistive.

6. Chopping nTovement — standing — active.

7. Harvesting movement — standing — active.

8. Forward ami traction — lying — resistive.

9. Leg elevation — lying — resistive.

10. ]\'Iuscle and knuckle kneading of the abdomen.

11. Forward arm rotation — sitting — passive.

12. Back percussion — standing.


Diseases of Urinary and Sexual Organs.


Tlic movements slmuld ])e (len'\ati\e f n >m the pel-
\is and ntlierwise l)e directed according to the [jatient's
condition — for instance : —

1. Thigh rotation — reclining.

2. Breech beating — standing.

3. Bent-knee separation and closing — resistive.

4. Forward trnnk flexion and extension — sitting —

5. Leg torsion, doul)]e — reclining — resistive.

6. Breech beating — standing.

7. Lateral arm elevation and depression — standing
— resistive.

8. Foot rotation, double — reclining.


1. Back percussion and friction — standing.

2. Breech beating- — standing.

3. Leg separation and closing — reclining — resistive.

4. Forward arm rotation — sitting.

5. Tnmk rotation — astride sitting.

6. Knee flexion and extension — reclining — resis-

7. Forward trunk flexion and extension — sitting —

8. Breech beating — standing.

9. Trunk torsion — kneeling — resistive.

10. Back percussion and friction — standing.


Displacement of the ivouih and irregular and
painful menstruation are often not only relieved
but even cured by movement treatment, but these cases
require a special study and experience, and ought to
be treated by a physician. Still, in connection with his
treatment, it would be of great value toi the patient to

Thigh rotations — reclining — passive.

Trunk torsion — kneeling — resistive.

Bent-knee separation and cloising — resistive.

Hand and toe lying — active.

Breech beating — standing.

Vibration at the small of the back.


Diseases of the Organs of Movement,

Ix "lateral ciiri'aliirc of (he spi)ic." where the mus-
cles on the convex side are weakened and pathologi-
callv changed, and the muscles on the concave side
normal, it is clear that the weakened muscles on the
convex side must be strengthened and developed. Ac-
cording to Dr. T. J. Hartelius, "The restoration of a
pathologically changed muscle canno't l>e produced by
mechanical extensions, but only by muscular exercise
and electricity.

"But," he says, "for the restoration of a curved
spine, extension is necessary. The question is, there-
fore, whether this can be effected by the organism's
own remedies. This is easy enough to prove. In mild
cases of lateral curvature, where there is not yet any
deformitv in the vertebra?, the spine is straightened at
each extension of the back. By flexion to the convex
side the spine is not only straightened, but it can be
bent so far as to display a curve toi the other side. In
cases where the deformity of the vertebrae makes a full
extension of the spine impossible, it is still possible by
its own strength to produce an extension in its highest

"For instance, in a 'forward trunk fllexion and ex-



tension' the patient stands supported on the thighs and
bends forward ; when he raises himself up, the operator
resists him on the neck. Or, in 'backward trunk
fletxion' the patient is lying* on the front of his legs and
i^aises the back up backward.

"These and a few other active and resistive move-
ments can, better than any other mechanical remedy,
straighten out the curved parts."

In a one-sided scoliosis, for instance, witli the con-
vexity to the left, "lateral trunk flexion tO' the left"
may be given. The operator puts his hands on the
highest point of the curve and resists the patient when
he bends do^Mi. This can be performed either with
the patient sitting, standing, or lying on his right side,
the last one being the most powerful and effective.
Several other movements are alsO' given with the view
and intention of strengthening the muscles on the con-
vex side and straightening out the spine, and should
be used according to the strength of the patient and
the particular shape of the defonnity.

Dr. Schreiber says : "The treatment of scoliosis by
the Ling system, which has scored some of its greatest
successes in this very department, requires, however,
quite a special study, and can hardly be carried out
without both apparatus and trained assistants."

Dr. M. Eulenberg, in "Die Schwedische Heilgyrrr-
nastick," Berlin, 1853, says: —

"Ling's method is the only truly rational therapeu-
tic means for the cure of chronic disturbances of rno-
tivity, such as result from spinal cun'ature, and from


pseudooiieliylosis, the phthisical tendency, pigeon-
breast, peripheral paralysis, etc.

**Even in cases of paralysis from lesions of the cord,
it may still effect a cure where all other measures,
undertaken after the original diseases have nm their
course, will be found useless. Ling's gymnastics have
an even greater and more certain effect upon enerva-
tion and nutrition than the common fonn. of gymnastic
exercises. Spinal (lateral) curvatures, resulting from
faulty carriage (in consequence of a preponderance of
muscular force on one side oi the body) , are nowadays
never treated liy any good orthopedist by any other
means than the Swedish system."

Any one who will undertake the treatment of scolicv-
sis should make it a special study, as it requires great
experience, skill, and knowledge to lead it on success-

However, we can do so much good to the growing
child with a few corrective exercises, that it seems a
pity not to try it. And my experience has told me that
a person with good common sense, and carefully watch-
ing the effect of every exercise on the bare back of the
child, is able to correct and cure most cases of lateral
curvatures when taken in time.

In Brookline (Mass.) public schools I organized a
clinic, where the children suffering with scoliosis, lor-
dosis, kyphosis, pigeon-breast, roimd-shoulders, etc.,
are examined and given a: prescription of exercises to
practise at home, every day, and once a week they are
treated at the clinic. Among the scores of children


who have been successfully treated this way, I believe
the following six illustrations will be sufficient to sho'W
how to apply the movements in the different cases.
But every exercise should be watched with great care,
as it often happens that the same exercise may be bene-
ficial to one and harmful to another case cxi seemingly
the same kind of a curve.

In all cases of "double-curvature" a firm pressure
should be made on the highest convexity at either side
during Jiauguig and trunk raising.

Of course, it will be understood that the heavy line
on the illustrations represents the lateral curve of the
spine when first examined, and the dotted line the spine
at the last examination ; the short lines at the sides are
the lower ends of the scapulse.

For lordosis I use especially three exercises, viz : — ■

1. Standing with arms over head and bending the
trunk forward and downw^ard, touching the floor with-
out bending the knees.

2. Hanging and raising the legs forward.

3. Lying and pulling both knees way up to the

For "pigeon-breast" : —

1. L}nng on hands and toes and bend and stretch
the arms.

2. Hanging with arms well apart and pull up.

3. Florizontal arm flexion and extension — resistive.

4. Horizontal arm separation and closing — resis-





Fig. 64.— Girl, 12 Years Old. First examined October, 1902;
last examined March, 1903. Five home exercises and at the

1. Hanging — neck flexion and extension — resistive.

2. Lying on right side — bend trunk to the left — active.

3. Hanging — leg separation and closing — resistive.

4. Hanging— raise both legs forward— active.






Fig. 65.^ — Girl, 13 Years Old. First examined October, 1902;
last examined February, 1903. Five home exercises and at the

1. Hanging — neck flexion and extension — resistive.

2. Lying — leg elevation— active.

3. Right arm upward stretch — sitting — resistive.

4. Hanging — raise both legs to the left— active.


Fig. 66. — Girl, 14 Years Old. First examined October, 1902;
last examined February, 1903. Four home exercises and at the


1. Hanging — neck flexion and extension — resistive.

2. Lying on right side — raise left leg— active.

3. Standing — stretch right arm upward — active.

4. Hanging— raise both legs to the left— active.







Fig. 67. — Girl, 15 Years Old. First examined February, 1901 ;
last examined June, 1901. Prominent lordosis and severe back-
ache. Home exercises onlj^

1. Arm elevation forward and upward — standing.

2. Leg elevation — lying.

3. Right arm — upward stretch.

4. Standing with right hand on neck — raise right leg sideways.

5. Standing with trunk bent forward — horizontal arm flexion and


6. Lie on stomach — raise right leg backward.

7. The same as No. 2.





Fig. 68.— Boy, 12^' Years Old. First examined October, 1902;
last examined March, 1903. Five home exercises and at the

1. Forward trunk flexion and extension — sitting with left hand on

neclv and right hand on hip — resistive.

2. Hanging — neck flexion and extension.

3. Lying— back curving — active.

4. Lying — leg elevation — active.

5. Hanging— raise legs backward and forward— active.





Fig. 69.— Girl, 13 Years Old. First examined October, 1903;
last examined March, 1904. Five home exercises and at the

1. Hanging— neck flexion and extension — resistive.

2. Back curving — lying— active.

3. Log elevation — lying — active.

4. Forward trunk flexion and extension — standing with thighs sup-

ported at a bar — resistive.

5. Legs separated and closing — hanging — resistive.

at a bar — resistive.

For more information about "Scolio'sis" see Robt.
W. Lovelt's "Curvatures of the Spine."



"]\Iyitis" — in/lamiiiafioii of a iiiusclc, is one of the
niO'St frequent ailments treated by massiige. It occurs
oftenest in the muscles of the neck and in the glutei —
the buttocks — the back and thorax, and in the muscles
of the arms and legs. But no muscle can be considered
immune from these insidious inflamimations of un-
known origin, as they are found in the most protected

"The pains, whether localized within a muscle or
in an extensive nerve area, are of an extremely change-
ful character, being now very sharp, as in lumbago
('back-shot'), which usually is due to myitis in the
Iuml>ar muscles, oftenest of all in the sacrolumbalis ;
or dull and diffused, so that they rather resemble the
sensation of fatigue and correspond usually with the
pains of anemia and chlorosis." (Dr. Kleen.)

It can arise f rim different causes ; generally the
rheumatism occurs in weakened muscles, from being
exposed to draughts or dampness, but even external
injuries and too much work with one set of muscles
are often the cause of these ills. But the S}nnptoms are
the same — pain and ache, when using the diseased mus-
cles; diminution or cessation of function; tenderness
on pressure, and often swelling of the muscle.



Dr. J. Schreiber says : "We find that mechano'-
therapy nowhere meets with more success than in the
treatment of muscular rheumatism.

"Any physician who has busied himself at all with
mechanical therapeutics must have seen dozens of cases,
abundantly proving- the assertion made by Matin in the
Socicte de Mcdccine of Lyons as far back as 1837 (and
since confirmed by Bonnet), that recent myalgias, no
matter how severe or extensive, whether called lum-
bago, 'stiff-neck,' or what not, are capable of being
cured by a single application of massage.

"A case of Stromeyer's is worth repeating here. A
country doctor, who was accustomed to- visit his pa-
tients on horseback, was attacked, after having been
for some time in a draughty bam, with the most in-
tense muscular pain in all parts of his body. An old
peasant advised him to mount his horse again, as move-
ment and exercise often dispelled these pains. He did
so, though it required the help of several men to lift
him into the saddle. The first paces of the horse
caused most intense suffering, but gradually the pain
diminished. A thunderstormi now coming up, the doc-
tor put his horse to the top of his speed, which caused
him to arrive home in a great perspiration, but en-
tirely free from pain.

"The words, 'arise and walk!' may be confidently
said to any one suffering from a recent neuralgia who
will but submit to treatment ; the power of motion re-
turning almost invariably after the first application.''

My experience, however, has told me that whenever


myitis is caused l)y (ner\v(M-k, tlie muscles should be
stretched out passi\ely and gentle centripetal massage
applied, but no muscular exercise. This I have had
aDundant occasion to experiment with in my own case,
as my work has fre(iuently prixluced the most excru-
ciating;- pain in my arms, sometimes in my leg's, which
always was agg-ravated by movements or hard mas-
sage, but immediately relieved and cured by stretching
and gentle massage.

In all O'ther cases I agree that good hard kneadings,
percussion, and Ijeating, together with passive and re-
sisti\e exercise, should be used; and the following
prescriptions will probably be sufficient tO' show how
the treatment ought to be : —


A. Of the Right Arm.

1. Centripetal stroking, kneadings, and circulatoi'y
friction of right arm.

2. Thigh rotation — reclining.

3. Right arm muscle beating.

4. Trunk rotation — astride sitting.

5. Right arm flexion and extension — resistive.

6. Leg flexion and extension — resistive.

7. Right arm torsion — resistive.
* 8. Tlie same as No'. i.

9. Back percussion.


B. Of the Neck.

1. Forward arm rotation — sitting.

2. Head rotation — sitting,

3. Foot rotation — reclining.

4. Neck percussion — sitting.

5. Horizontal arm separation and closing — resis-

6. Trunk torsion — kneeling — resistive.

7. Neck flexion and extension — resistive.

8. Knee flexion and extension — sitting — resistive.

9. Centripetal stroking, kneadings, and circulatory
friction of the neck.

10. Back percussion and friction.

C. Liimhago.

1. Forward trunk flexion and extension — sitting —

2. Thigh rotation — reclining — passive.

3. Stomach massage.

4. Trunk rotation — astride sitting — passive.

5. Breech beating — standing — passive.

6. Vertical arm flexion and extension — sitting — ■

7. Bent-knee separation and closing — reclining — ■

8. Muscle kneading, percussion, vibration, and
friction all over the small of the back and the buttocks.

These three examples show how to^ arrange the


treatmeiiL in the different cases of muscular rheuma-
tism. Of course, if the patient is tooi sick to take tlie
full prescription, we only a|>]ily the local treatment
until he is able to take the whole, which has in \iew
the increasing' of the circulation antl i;M\ing" nutrition
to the \\hole system, as well as to relieve the local

^\ few interesting cases it may be \vell to give
here : —

One September a lady, 55 years old, came to me.
She was 5 feet 6 inches tall, and weig-hed 230 pounds.
She complained of rheumatism in her legs and anns,
and, could only walk up one flight of stairs, and that
with the greatest difficulty. On her arrival she was
gasping for breath and sat down tO' rest for nearh- an

Eight weeks later, having taken treatment every
day, the lady asked if she might walk up tO' the top of
the Washington ]\Ionument (about nine hundred
steps). Although knowing that she had improved
marvelously and had lost nearly thirty pounds, I told
her that it would be better not to try it then, because
there was no one to carry her down again if she be-
came too tired.

She laughed and said that she had walked up the
monument the pervious day, looked aroimd for half an
hour, and walked down and to her home, about a
quarter of a mile distant. She felt veiy well after it,
and had no lameness or pain.

After ten weeks' treatment the lady was entirely


well, having had no rheumatism foir the last five weeks,
and her weight was then 196 pounds. The next sum-
mer she called to say that she still felt like a young
girl, and was going West to live for the rest of her life.

Other cases are as follow : —

A gentleman, 31 years old, had suffered with mus-
cular rheumatism in his right shoulder and arm for
two weeks. He had not had any relief or sleep for
several days when he came to me. Fi^'e days later he
was cured.

Dr. N. N., 46 years old, had been in bed about three
weeks ^^•itll a very painful lumbago, and was unable to
mo've himself when he sent for the author.

Massage treatments were applied six times, after
which he was out attending to his own business.

A gentleman, 42 years old, had suffered from lum-
bago and indigestion for nearly eight months, and had
given up all kinds of treatment. On the advice of one
O'f his friends I was called in. The patient, who' had
once been a very strong and healthy laborer, was run
down to a thin, very feeble-looking man. He did not
believe in the treatment, but he submitted tO' a trial of
it. The first treatment being satisfactory, it was con-
tinued every day. The impro'vement was remarkable.
The pain became less and less, and the appetite and
strength were increased every day.

After three weeks' treatment the patient had gained
twelve pounds, and he was well enough to attend to
his business. The treatment was then discontinued.

Half a year later, when he felt some symptoms of


tlie lunil>ag-(:), he came to the Institute and took one
month's treatment. He has been well ever since,

A gentleman, 33 years old, big" and strong, had re-
turned from a hunting trip and was attacked with a
severe "lumbago." When I arrixed he had Ik'cu in bed
four hours and groaned with pain. I first applied
"thigh rotation" and "abdominal" massage ; then he
was gently turned over and a vigorous massage of the
back and buttocks was contiiuied for nearly an hour,
when he got out of bed, dressed, and with a light step
walked downstairs to enjoy his dinner.

In the winter of 19 13 I v/as in Portland, Oregon,
and while giving a lecture to the medical profession
there, I claimed that I would cure any "lumbago" sent
me, iu from two to six treatments. One of the well-
known physicians immediately stood up and said that
he would vouch for me, as he himself had come to me
one morning in a verv bad condition and had one treat-
ment at my office ; later in the afternoon I had come to
him and given him another, after which he dressed
and went to a banquet and had been well since.

In less than a week after this I had six lumbago
cases sent to me, each of which were cured in two

Rheumatism of the Joints,

This disease is a very difficult problem tO' handle
with massage, and must be done with great care and


gently, otherwise the inflammation wih be increased.
Often it happens, if massage is applied tO' one joint
and it seems to improve, that the inflammation will
settle in some other joint. Still, even that may be
better than to allow the inflammation tO' stay in one
place. At least, I have seen a few cases where the
elbow was first attacked, then the shoulder, and after
the third treatment the hip; again the shoulder, but
Anally disappeared, and were ciu'ed in six to eight
treatments. But I do not care for these cases, and
would rather not treat them, as they arei very unsatis-

Whenever I do give treatment for arthritis I al-
ways begin with a good thorough massage of the
stomach, and prefer to give massage tO' the whole body
— always centripetal stroking and circular kneading of
both arms and legs — and when soreness has disap-
peared passive) flexion and extension, and rotation of
every joint.

If the joints are stiff and cannot be moved, local
manipulation, as follows, are useful : —

Centripetal stroking, pressing, kneading, heating,
and friction of the diseased part and surrounding mus-
cles, from ten to twenty minutes, will include the full
treatment for some time, and even for months ; but
when the joint finally responds tO' the treatment and
allows of some motion, it will be most effecti\-e to treat
it after the following method, given for rheumatism
of the right knee: —


1. Centripetal stroking, kneading-, beating, and
friction — live minutes.

2. Right leg flexion and extension — resistive.

3. Trunk rotation — astride sitting.

4. Right knee muscle rolling — reclining.

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Online LibraryHartvig NissenPractical massage and corrective exercises → online text (page 10 of 11)