English 12P: Period 6
November 8, 2011
Bloodletting is the withdrawal of often little quantities of blood from a patient to cure or prevent illness and disease. Bloodletting was based on an ancient system of medicine in which blood and other bodily fluid were considered to be "humors", the proper balance of which maintained health. It was the most common medical practice performed by doctors from antiquity up to the late 19th century, a time span of almost 2,000 years (Cole 156). The practice has now been abandoned for all except a few very specific conditions. Bloodletting is one of the oldest medical practices, having been practiced among ancient peoples including the Mesopotamians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Mayans, and the Aztecs (“Bloodletting”), it was also used during the Elizabethan Age to cure diseases In Greece, bloodletting was in use around the time of Hippocrates, who mentions bloodletting but in general relied on dietary techniques (Columbia University). ““Bleeding" a patient to health was modeled on the process of menstruation”, (Columbia University). Hippocrates believed that menstruation functioned to "purge women of bad humors".
Prior to the time of Hippocrates all illness was attributed to one disease with variable symptoms. Careful clinical observations by Hippocrates led to the recognition of specific disease states with identifying symptoms. It was during this time that the concept of body humors developed. The four fluid substances of the body were blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile ("Bloodletting"). Health depended on the proper balance of these humors. Bloodletting was, therefore, a method used for adjusting on of the four body humors to proper balance. This clinical concept led to the decline in the doctrine of evil spirits in disease ("Bloodletting").
"Bloodletting." Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition (2011): 1. Literary Reference Center. Web. 1 Nov. 2011....