Tag Archives: Humoral medicine

Ambroise Pare: standard bearer for barber-surgery reform

Mildred Wilson Detroit, MI   Ambroise Pare, Posthumous, Fantasy Portrait by William Holl. Public Domain “There are five duties of surgery: to remove what is superfluous, to restore what has been dislocated, to separate what has grown together, to reunite what has been divided, and to redress the defects of nature.” -Ambroise Pare1 For centuries, […]

Experimental evidence for the humoral circulatory system

Mark A. Gray  Kansas City, Kansas   Four Humors from the Book of Alchemy by Thurn-Heisser, Leipzig, Germany (1574). Source Humoralism, otherwise known as Hellenistic or Galenic medicine, posited the existence of four humors that were required to be kept in balance to maintain health. Blood was special among these humors, believed to deliver both […]

How not to make the consultation sexy

Claire Elliott London, Ukrain   A lecherous doctor taking the pulse of an old woman while fondling a young one. Coloured etching by T. Rowlandson, 1810. Wellcome Collection Why do patients allow physicians to carry out an intimate examination barely ten minutes after they have met? As John Berger wrote in 1967, “We give the […]

An unusual pregnancy: the gestation and delivery of the Nun of Watton

Barbara Hargreaves Durham, UK   Yates Thompson 13 f.156v Learn more Sometime around the year 1150, a four-year old girl was given to the Gilbertine community of nuns at Watton, England. There she grew up, took vows, and became a nun herself. It appears that she was ill-suited for the life of a religious sister, and […]