Bloodletting: The Belief That Draining Blood Could Cure Any Illness
Bloodletting is a well-known historic medical practice. It involves the removal of blood from a patient’s body to treat a variety of illnesses. The practice can be traced back to ancient civilizations, including the Egyptians and Greeks, who believed that health was maintained by balancing the four humors: blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile. Bloodletting was believed to restore balance by removing excess blood, which was thought to cause illnesses such as fever, headaches, and inflammation.
In the Middle Ages, bloodletting became a popular treatment for many different ailments, and the practice continued well into the 19th century. Physicians used various methods to perform bloodletting, including leeches, lancets, and cupping. Leeches were particularly popular in the 19th century because they were believed to remove blood without causing pain or injury to the patient. Despite its widespread use, bloodletting was eventually discredited as an effective medical practice, and its use declined in the early 20th century as new medical discoveries and treatments emerged.