the Plombieres treatment

I’m raiding the archives of the Royal College of Nursing again. In 1932, Miss Hogg wrote about the mineral waters at Bath…

“… in addition to all this there is the department of electrical massage, diathermy, artificial sunlight, ultra violet ray and the Bergonic Chair for Reducing Obesity. There is also a large department for the administration of the Plombieres Treatment (high colonic wash out) , the work here having increased so much it was found necessary to devote an entire building to this highly specialised job.


The Plombieres Treatment and Zotofoam baths were also carried out at the Royal Pump Rooms

“A patient lay on a bed with a hole in the middle. After ‘washing out’ a nurse inspected the contents of the bucket below.

The Zotofoam bath was one of the more modern treatments. A special gas distributor is laid in the bottom of the bath – Hot water 103-108°F is added, just sufficient to cover the apparatus, and an ounce of foam extract is added to the water. Gas is then passed through the distributor, and fine bubbles of hot foam are produced. The patient is therefore covered with hot foam, which insulates the body, preventing the usual loss of heat by radiation.

zotofoam bath

Slipper baths were used by the public who did not have bathrooms in their homes or as a treat.

Slipper baths were more of a public service than a treatment at the Pump Rooms. In the 1950s Leamington inhabitants without bathrooms used to use the baths once a week for a luxury. One woman did this for two to three years before she met her husband and then her in-laws allowed her to use their bath.

slipper bath

Schnee Four Cell Bath

A seated patient could put their arms and legs into separate baths without the need for undressing and avoiding the danger of mixing water and electricity in a complete immersion bath.


Published in: on July 9, 2009 at 8:29 am  Comments (24)  

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24 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I don’t get baths. Swimming…now, that I can understand. Spa-tubs, by all means, espacially as an aid to hanky-panky. But sitting in a dumb old tub of water strikes me as a waste of time.

    That said, I do very much love the City of Bath. An extraordinary place.

  2. Ok, Bath is now on my “to see” list….

  3. Not much of a bath person, more of a shower man. I do however enjoy a bath when I get to share it with my wife. Hehe!! 🙂

    • Same for me.

      By the way, can you please ask her to cut her toe nails?

      • cheeky!!!!

  4. I have always found it best not to mix water and electricity.

  5. I love baths.. soaking in scented water, a dimly let room- candles and a glass of wine.. it’s relaxing. But, now I’m thinking of baths in a wholly new way and it’s not pretty.

  6. Can I order up one Zotofoam bath please? If that’s all it takes to rid one of obesity, I’m game. Some of the other baths you can keep, though.

  7. i’m not a rocket scientist, but i’m pretty sure the four cell bath approach isn’t any safer than an immersion bath… silly old people from the era of black and white stuff… sheesh…

  8. “Plombieries Treatment” souns fine.

    “High colonic wash out” … I dunno.

    Anything back there requirin a trip to th ol Royal Pump Rooms … N – O spells NOski!

  9. Leave it to somebody to figure out a way to soak without taking your clothes off…

  10. I always thought Royal Pump Rooms were something else. Something entirely different.

  11. Gee, and I was under the impression that royals pumped pretty much like the rest of us–just on nicer sheets.

  12. Colonic irrigation? You can stick that idea right up your arse!

  13. I love a good bath. In the area of the yard that I call the “Oklahoma Living Room,” I have an old clawfoot tub which I fill with water and cover with a sheet of clear plastic. As hot as it is here this time of year, by late afternoon the water is the perfect temperature and the tub is in the shade of the grapevine. Very theraputic in times of economic depression and celebrity demise.

    Tubby Smith

    • I would love to hop into your tub Mark. Sounds wonderful.

      • That would be encouraged and as a bonus, you would be provided complimentary shampoo and a fluffy towel just like at a classy hotel. I will shoo flies if necessary.

        Willie Shoemaker

  14. I have a special gas distributor.

  15. I club I used to frequent would hang up plastic sheeting around the dance floor and fill the area with a sweet-smelling foam up to about chest level.

    Don’t know who came up with the idea but it was a good one. Eventually the city told them they had to stop because there was an “epidemic” of people having sex in the foam.

    Wasn’t that the whole point?

  16. Never look in the bucket.

  17. Miss Hogg ain’t the boss of me!

  18. Is that what the ‘hole’ in my bed is for???

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