We have all had headaches and those weird aches and pains that we cannot quite explain. It is also a well-known fact that most people do not like trips to the doctor. That’s because the trip often involves prodding instruments and prescribed medicine. If you are like most people, then medicine is not something that you enjoy taking. There is also the small problem of having to pay to see a doctor. Most people feel that they are more than capable of healing themselves, so they opt for over the counter drugs.
There have been many medical breakthroughs in history. Some of them are medical genius and some leave us wondering how they work. Every region in the world has practices it believes provide medical relief. Some of these practices include use of herbal concoctions, rituals and homemade items such as bandages from old cloths.
However, many of these practices have become outdated. Some of them worked so well that they were improved upon, while others just had to be gotten rid of. Surgical equipment which used to get old and rusty has evolved into disposable instruments. Below are some of history’s strangest medical practices that have become severely outdated. Some are functional and others… are not.
10. Peg Leg
During the civil war era the replacement limb of choice for pirates who lost a leg in battle was a chunk of wood that they fastened to the remaining part of the limb. With practice, amputees using peg legs were able to regain mobility and the ability to walk short distances
Today, the use of the wooden prostheses has become outdated. These days, doctors use prosthetic limbs made of metals and plastics that more closely mimic the lost appendage. These limbs have helped so much that we now see people with prosthetic limbs participating in the Olympics.
We all know these tiny black creatures who reside in swamps and other water bodies. They like blood and will cling onto anyone who happens to get into the water with them. Did you know that they have medicinal value?
Doctors used them in past times to drain blood from injuries with blood clots. The leech’s saliva has an anti-clotting agent that is useful because it allows them to suck blood without any clots forming. In the past, doctors used the leeches to suck blood because they believed they sucked out all impurities.
They may not be the go-to treatments nowadays, but they are still in use.
8. Barber Surgeons
These days, whenever a man (or woman) wants to get a nice trendy haircut, all he has to do is go to the barber and tell them the kind of design they want. Well, in the past, barbers used to double up as surgeons. Imagine that nice barber of yours holding a surgical blade instead of scissors.
Ever wonder about the origin of the traditional red and white striped barber pole? Well, barber surgeons used to wrap the bars outside their offices with bloody bandages. So now, you know the origin of this design.
7. Use of Cocaine
Cocaine has been banned or considered an illegal drug in many parts of the world. However, there were times when cocaine was used for medical purposes as both a painkiller and a local anesthetic. So for everyone out there who may think that cocaine is all bad, there are some benefits to it.
Barber surgeons used it to heal minor ailments (before it was misused and banned), but after much evaluation, scientists found it to be addictive. It lost popularity in the medical field, but it managed to maintain its popularity among nightclub goers
6. Blood Letting
Have you ever felt under the weather? Maybe you feel like you might be coming down with the flu. Well, here is a solution for you; how about blood letting? No? Well it was highly practiced in the past as a go-to procedure for removing impurities from the body.
The Greeks first used this method and it gained popularity. People used it to treat everything. The barber surgeons would drain the blood in order to create a bodily balance and bring relief to the ailing individual.
5. Insulin Shock Therapy
The whole concept behind shock therapy is to shock the body into giving the desired response. There are various forms of shock therapy, one of them being insulin shock therapy which was commonly used for schizophrenics.
The medical personnel injected the patients with shots of insulin until they fell into a coma that lasted several days. They did this because they believed that once the patients woke up, they would have stabilized. In other words, they would have found relief on the other side of the coma.
Most of the time the only thing found on the other side of the coma was death.
4. Rest Cure
Many people in this day and age would be thrilled to be prescribed rest by their doctor. Think about it, the doctor says that you should take time and not be active. The cure was for the women who were “hysterical.” The medics instructed them to cease all forms of activity and rest.
That meant that they were not supposed to read, talk, walk or even imagine anything. So there was a point in time when being lazy was prescribed by a doctor. A man by the name of Silas Weir Mitchell first introduced the rest cure method in the nineteenth century.
There have been many awareness initiatives on products that contain mercury, aiming to show women that mercury is bad for the body. Mercury is an ingredient in many products and it causes harm once it has accumulated in the body.
However, a while back people considered mercury a cure for many ailments. It is a shiny element and we all know people like shiny things. People used to rub it on their injuries and it was also an ingredient used in women’s make up. However, it resulted in plenty of deaths, well before scientists found out that it is a toxic element.
These days, whenever someone does not look right in the head, their families take them to a mental hospital where they are looked after and given good treatment.
This never used to be the case though. Trepanning is a fancy term that means drilling of one’s head. If the medical personnel found patients to be mentally unstable, then they drilled into their head in an effort to cure mental illnesses and ward off evil spirits that might have been causing them problems.
1. Conversion Therapy
This therapy also goes by the name “reparative therapy” and from that explanation, you can probably guess its purpose. Conversion therapy was supposed to counter the onset of homosexuality. There have been many studies into what triggers homosexuality and nothing has been conclusive. The conservatives who did not agree with homosexuality brought the theory forth, and it has long been criticized and a topic of intense controversy.