Chapter

Self-Observation and Doing Dr. Gully's Treatment at Down and Then Self-Observation and Treating Himself

Ralph Colp Jr. M.D.

in Darwin's Illness

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780813032313
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039237 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813032313.003.0007
Self-Observation and Doing Dr. Gully's Treatment at Down and Then Self-Observation and Treating Himself

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Charles Darwin followed Dr. James Gully's directions and adapted the Malvern treatments to life at Down. He also recorded that over a period of twenty-one months, he treated himself with several combinations of hydropathy, usually consisting of lamp baths, douches, shallow baths, foot baths, and being rubbed with dripping sheets, and that he varied these combinations every three to six weeks. Although he never found a combination of hydropathy that freed him from flatulence, he came to accept the limitations and benefits of hydropathy. Darwin kept up his health diary through to January 1855, a period of almost four years, during which he stopped corresponding with Dr. Gully and became his own physician. In most of the diary entries, he adapted a method of summarizing his health by writing “well” or “well very”, and further delineating the degree of wellness by underlining the “very” with one or two dashes. His health diary reveals that almost any physical, mental, or medical event that disturbed Darwin's daily routine could cause an increase in his flatulence. The diary does not show the effects of barnacle work on Darwin's flatulence.

Keywords: Charles Darwin; Down; Dr. James Gully; Malvern treatments; hydropathy; health diary; flatulence

Chapter.  5580 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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