“The principle of the bed was simple.
When my head was up, my feet down, my internal organs were pulled by
gravity, pulling my diaphragm with them and sucking air into my lungs.
When my position was reversed … air was forced out of my lungs.”
—Larry Alexander, 1954
Left: Time-elapsed image showing the motion of a rocking
Right: Dick Eckhardt modified this rocking bed to fit in his RV so he and his
wife Barbara could travel around the country Courtesy of Barbara Eckhardt
Left: Strips of steaming wool, heated in tubs, were
essential to the Sister Kenny method of treating the muscle spasms and intense
pain of polio.
Right: Instructions for administering hot packs, Toomey Pavilion, Cleveland,
“After only a couple of days of hot packs, my
muscles started to relax. Up until then, my muscles were as tight as
the strings in a tennis racket. When your muscles are that tight, you
can’t move anything.”
—Edmund Sass , 1996
Injections of intocostrin, derived from the poison
curare, were used as an alternative to the hot, moist Kenny packs as a way
to stop painful muscle spasms. Box of medication, 1951