If you were to look over the early history of medical treatments, you can safely state that people back then were engaging in some inhumane and downright cruel practices. However, given the numerous medical advancements of today, who is to say that our successors won’t think the same about us?
1. Conversion therapy
Also known as “the gay cure”, conversion therapy refers to a set of methods to treat homosexuality, which is perceived as a disability or acquired personality trait. Even though some people state this is nothing more than conspiracy theory, the truth is that they only need to check the news to convince themselves these practices are real.
Just this year, the inhumane methods of conversion therapy resulted in 3 adolescent boys dying in a “treatment camp” in South Africa. Without denying that homosexuality is a controversial topic in psychology, this treatment is nothing more than another form of xenophobia manifesting.
2. Insulin shock therapy
As the name suggests, the shock therapy refers to administering a high dose of a certain substance to a patient’s system in order to determine the person to make a desirable change. The practice is especially common within schizophrenics or severe mental illness patients who receive gradually increased doses of insulin until their organism seize to function and they fall into coma. The idea behind the procedure is that rational thinking is somewhere “on the other side of the coma” and that the mentally ill patient will be cured this way. However, in the age of neuroscience, it is clear that insulin shock therapy has nothing to do with medical science.
3. Barber surgeons
The Medieval Ages were undeniably strange times, particularly if you think that while physicians used to come up with a diagnosis by analyzing urine or studding the stars, barbers were the only “professionals” who were doing the “field work” and experimented on their customers up and personal. Perhaps the most widespread task performed by the barber surgeons was bloodletting, the action of releasing the bad, morbid blood from the body to make way for fresh, healthy blood. And, because this was their main responsibility, the barbers advertised their services by placing a red and white stripped pole or a small basin filled with blood in their window shops.
Even though bloodletting is permanently linked to the barber surgeons of the medieval ages, the origins of this old practice can be traced back to ancient Greece. The technique became very popular during the lifetime of Hippocrates who promoted the “humorism” or the theory of the four humors and their direct influence of a person’s health. To summarize, whenever a person experienced an excess or deficit of either blood, phlegm, yellow bile or black bile, his personality and overall health was severely affected. Obviously, the only treatment that could bring back the body’s balance was to drain the blood out of the patient.
5. Radiated water
Humankind’s constant search for the legendary fountain of youth reached a peak with the discovery of radium and other radioactive substances. While we all aware of the dangerous effects of radioactivity on the body nowadays, back then radiated water was perceived as a real miracle that could cure anything, including cancer. In fact, due to its numerous advantages it was even used in toothpaste and other common household goods.