Ancient medical practices still used today

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Medicine has evolved a lot over centuries. The 21st century has seen the greatest innovations in medicine because of the use of modern science and technology. Medicine has evolved from blending leaves to using robots and 5G technology for surgeries. Yet, some ancient medical practices/procedures still exist today and it is just as effective.

1. Castration

As far back as 4000BC, castration was performed on men for religious and social reasons. Castrated men, usually called eunuchs were usually servants used to protect the king’s harem. They also served special functions in the house of God.

Castration was done differently sometimes. In young men, they cut off the penis but left the testicles, and in older men, all. Usually they would bind the lower abdomen and upper thighs to stop the bleeding and flush the genital area with boiled water. Because of the agony, sometimes the patient dies.

Castration today is called orchiectomy – a surgical procedure in which one or both testicles are removed. Medical reasons have caused thousands of men to undergo this procedure, prostate cancer being the leading factor. Trans women also undergo this as part of a general sex reassignment surgery. Castration has also been used in the US for sex offenders.

2. C-Section

C-section dates as far back as 715BC. This surgery was done after a mother had died and the baby needed to be saved. So usually, only babies survived during a C-section then.

Later on, it was performed on living women, but the surgery was crude and did not involve stitching up the open womb. With the introduction of antiseptics and anesthetics in the 1900s, the survival of mother and child became common.

In 2012, about 23 million C-sections were done globally.  C-section is very common now and some women opt for it, preferring not to go through the pains of vaginal birth.

3. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a procedure where hundreds of tiny needles are stuck into the body in strategic pressure points. It started in China and dates as far back as the Stone Age when sharp edged tools and stones were used to drain abscesses.

Acupuncture was used to restore the body’s balance and as anesthesia during medieval surgeries because the needles are placed at pressure points to relieve pain

Today, there are thousands of licensed acupuncturists all over the world. Acupuncture today is used to relax. It reduces stress and improves the overall well-being of the body. Cosmetic acupuncture is also done on the face as an alternative to Botox injections.

Is it painful sticking needles into your body? Well, the needles are usually tiny – smaller than human hair, so they make little impact on the body. Complications and side effects are also minimal.

4. Hemiglossectomy

When someone stuttered in the 18th and 19th century, to cure them, doctors had to cut off a part of their tongue in a crude procedure called hemiglossectomy. Ironically, this treatment doesn’t work and the patient bleeds to death.

Hemiglossectomy involves removal of one side of the tongue. Risks involved include bleeding, infection, speech difficulty and salivary fistula.

Today, glossectomy is performed for patients diagnosed with oral cancer. To cut off the spread of the cancer, part or all of their tongue could be cut off.

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