Startling 1922 image of medical bloodletting

Before the second half of the 19th century, bloodletting was a common medical practice. It was believed to help patients heal from illness and disease through balancing the "humours" of the body. 

Most of the time, bloodletting was harmful to people and is now considered an outdated practice except in rare cases of a few specific conditions. Here's a 1922 image of a woman undergoing a bloodletting procedure (and be warned, it's a gruesome one). I'm amazed by the woman's ability to watch the bloodletting procedure with such a stoic expression. I can't even watch when I get a flu shot. 

From Instagram:

"Bloodletting was long considered to be a panacea. According to the humoral theory, it was sometimes necessary to remove some blood in order to bring balance among the four fluids of the body.

Bloodletting fell out of favor during the second half of the 19th century and is now only used in certain very specific conditions such as polycythaemia vera and hemochromatosis. It remained popular within folk and alternative medicine – some people still undergo cupping or apply leeches, which is of course a type of bloodletting.

This photo was taken by ethnologist Nils Keyland in Mangskog parish, Värmland, Sweden in 1922. The man is holding a type of bloodletting instrument known as a fleam."