Sunday, July 27, 2014

Electro-Therapeutics For The Body

Advances in Medicine


A pictorial essay in The Public Domain review looks at some of the late 19th-century and early 20th-century uses of electrical-induced therapies or electro-therapeutics (i.e., high-frequency electrical currents) to cure a host of body ailments, including acne, lesions, insomnia, abnormal blood pressure, depression and hysteria. The treatment for the latter "disease" for women was often achieved through the use of an early form of a vibrator, where the patient was brought to "hysterical paroxysms." Or, in other words, to organisms. Pretty shocking stuff, when compared to today.

Samuel Howard Monell, an American physician from New York City, is the man credited with advancing this medical technique. One important work is Elements of correct technique: Clinics from the New York School of Special Electro-therapeutics (1900). In the Preface (September 20, 1900) he writes:
After four years of teaching physicians how to acquire skill in Electro-Therapeutic technique my general missionary work in this field ends. Henceforward the teaching that I do will be confined to my personal methods of employing static electricity which take this great agent from out the rut of routine abuse and make it an instrument of scientific precision and of extraordinary utility.
As a substitute for my clinical instruction this book is designed to furnish physicians a series of practical Home-Clinics and personal tests of current action which will transform the novice into an expert with reasonable study. Much original information is also added.

This Manual is supplementary to my other books and covers other ground. It teaches the physician to explore electric currents at home. Much of the matter in these chapters is not in print elsewhere, and is not included in either clinical or correspondence instruction at present. Accurate selection, precise dose regulation, approved methods, the art of artistic technique, progressive efficiency and superior therapeutic results, are placed at the command of the careful student of this book.
Here is a photo of a nursing mother using high-frequency current to stimulate lactation, or to increase the supply and flow of milk.


And here is a photo of a young healthy and robust-looking boy holding the electrical apparatus; perhaps he was the child of the young woman above:




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 For more, go to [PubDomRev].
A selection of images from High Frequency Electric Currents in Medicine and Dentistry (1910) by champion of electro-therapeutics Samuel Howard Monell, a physician who the American X-Ray Journal cite, rather wonderfully, as having “done more for static electricity than any other living man”. Although the use of electricity to treat physical ailments could be seen to stretch back to the when the ancient Greeks first used live electric fish to numb the body in pain, it wasn’t until the 18th and 19th centuries – through the work of Luigi Galvani and Guillaume Duchenne – that the idea really took hold. Monell claims that his high frequency currents of electricity could treat a variety of ailments, including acne, lesions, insomnia, abnormal blood pressure, depression, and hysteria. Although not explicitly delved into in this volume, the treatment of this latter condition in women was frequently achieved at this time through the use of an early form of the vibrator (to save the physician from the manual effort), through bringing the patient to “hysterical paroxysm” (in other words, an orgasm). These days electrotherapy has been widely accepted in the field of physical rehabilitation, and also made the news recently in its use to keep soldiers awake (the treatment of fatigue also being one of Monell’s applications). - See more at: http://publicdomainreview.org/collections/high-frequency-electric-currents-in-medicine-and-dentistry-1910/#sthash.k092KgEB.dpuf


A selection of images from High Frequency Electric Currents in Medicine and Dentistry (1910) by champion of electro-therapeutics Samuel Howard Monell, a physician who the American X-Ray Journal cite, rather wonderfully, as having “done more for static electricity than any other living man”. Although the use of electricity to treat physical ailments could be seen to stretch back to the when the ancient Greeks first used live electric fish to numb the body in pain, it wasn’t until the 18th and 19th centuries – through the work of Luigi Galvani and Guillaume Duchenne – that the idea really took hold. Monell claims that his high frequency currents of electricity could treat a variety of ailments, including acne, lesions, insomnia, abnormal blood pressure, depression, and hysteria. Although not explicitly delved into in this volume, the treatment of this latter condition in women was frequently achieved at this time through the use of an early form of the vibrator (to save the physician from the manual effort), through bringing the patient to “hysterical paroxysm” (in other words, an orgasm). These days electrotherapy has been widely accepted in the field of physical rehabilitation, and also made the news recently in its use to keep soldiers awake (the treatment of fatigue also being one of Monell’s applications). - See more at: http://publicdomainreview.org/collections/high-frequency-electric-currents-in-medicine-and-dentistry-1910/#sthash.k092KgEB.dpuf

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