Film ID:
YFA 3189



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The medicinal properties of waters from spa towns have been widely publicised since the mid-1600s, and by the beginning of the 20th century, Harrogate had become a popular spa town among the English elite.  Made in 1931, these films provide a unique insight into the different state-of-the-art health and spa treatments available in Harrogate at that time including electric lamp exposure and muscle stimulation as well specialist cafes set up to drink the waters. 

Title - Electrical Treatments

Title - Vertical Light and Heat Cabinet Bath

The film opens with a shot of the dials used to regulate the temperature in the wooden heat cabinet, where a man sits on a chair surrounded by light bulbs. The lid is closed and a towel placed underneath his chin, before the attendant checks the heat levels with a thermometer.

Title - Horizontal Light and Heat Cabinet, Combined with Faradic Stimulation of Muscles (Bergonie Treatment)

The next treatment shown involves a man lying down on a bed with towel-wrapped metal plates placed upon his knees and abdomen. The plates are connected to an electricity source and, when turned on, cause rhythmic stimulation of the relevant muscles to occur.

Title - Hot Air Bath, Non-Luminous Heat

Next, the patient lies down on a bed that has an electric heat blanket underneath the sheet, before being covered over with a contraption that radiates non-luminous heat.

Title - Local Radiant Heat (Leucodescent Lamp)

A nurse shines the therapeutic lamp onto the patient’s shoulder.

Title - Schnie 4-Cell Treatment

This treatment consists of the patient sitting in a chair with his hands and feet placed in buckets of water that have pulsed currents running through them.

Title - Electrical Stimulation of Muscles, Bristowe Coil with Mechanical Rhythmic Interruption

A patient is seen lying on the bed with bandages on his arm and leg. The Bristow Coil sends electromagnetically charged voltages into the limbs in order to contract the damaged muscles at the desired degree and frequency.

Title - High Frequency Treatment

One of the nurses massages a patient’s legs with an electrode applied directly to the skin.

Title - Diathermy. 1. Local Application to a Joint. 2. Diathermy Couch. Application of Current to Whole Body.

A nurse demonstrates the diathermy couch using a light bulb to show that the boards are electrified. A patient in his pyjamas is then shown using the couch for the purpose of muscular relaxation.

Title - This Film of the Treatments at the Royal Baths and Royal Bath Hospital Harrogate…
Taken and Supplied by A.R. Baines, 39, James Street, Harrogate