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10 Bizarre Medical Practices From History
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History5 years ago

10 Bizarre Medical Practices From History

What would you do if you couldn’t trust your doctor? The medical profession wasn’t always trusted as it is today, and with good reason.

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Well, I wouldn’t have trusted them either judging from these crazy treatments and cures.

1. Cigar Smoke Enema

Have you ever had a scalding hot fart that went in, instead of out? We haven’t either, but it used to be a real treatment. We’re not just blowing smoke out our asses, either.

2. Sitting in a Dead Whale to Cure Rheumatoid Arthritis

Feeling sore joints as you age? Who knew that sitting in a whale carcass could help with that. Well, it can’t, as it turns out. But the photos are hilarious.

3. Bloodletting

Back when Ancient Greece was still a thing, humoral medicine was the prevailing theory in the medical field. To be fair, entering the medical field was never considered a crowning achievement until the 20th century, either.

4. Vibrators Curing “Hysteria”

“Hysteria” itself is a sexist label slapped onto… well, it’s vague, which is why medical professionals don’t take it seriously anymore. It didn’t matter what it was to the patriarchy of two centuries past.

5. Children’s Cocaine Drops

Ever wondered how “Coca-Cola” got its name? Anyone can make a cola, but its addictive nature wasn’t just from the sugar. Don’t worry—they stopped lacing it with illicit substances in 1929. You’re safe.

6. The Curative Powers of Mercury

Its antiseptic properties made it great for cleaning out wounds. Dentists even used mercury for tooth fillings not so long ago. But then people started noticing the side effects of mercury poisoning.

7. Electrical Impotence Cures

Some men thought they could solve their bedroom performance issues by doing that to themselves… but not on their heads. This goes beyond “Viagra on steroids”—this was incredibly painful, and probably caused lasting damage to men who took the treatment.

8. Lobotomies

They say you only use 10% of your brain, so what could possibly go wrong in removing part of it? In all seriousness, the lobotomy was used as a treatment for misunderstood mental conditions, including “melancholy,” another holdover from the ancient medicine.

9. Urine Therapy

This one is a bit of an umbrella term, since certain cultures or beliefs call for using urine in different ways. Some survivalist aficionados might think it’s okay to drink it (it’s not, really), while an ancient Sanskrit text called the Damar Tantra suggested massaging urine into the skin.

10. Smoking for Good Health

Cigarettes weren’t prescribed so much as they were distributed on a massive scale—during the Second World War, in particular.


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