Popular treatment for several diseases in the 19th century. The theory was that the disease lived in the blood, so removing, or filtering the blood from the person should cure the diseese. Leeches were often used to bleed invalids. This treatment has fallen out of favour in modern hospitals, but leeches are making a comeback in other medical roles.

Bleeding was a popular treatment for anyone who believed in the four humours, which means anyone from Greek times right up to the 18th/19th century. Because Galen taught that blood was being constantly created in the liver and pumped around the body, it was thought an excess could sometimes build up. Bleeding involved cutting the patient to let some of this excess blood out.

As well as been used reactively to treat diseases, many people were bled regulary proactively to stave off disease.

Even when William Harvey, around 1615, proved that blood was not constantly been created, but was instead passed around the body again and again, the practice of bleeding continued.

Bleed"ing, a.

Emitting, or appearing to emit, blood or sap, etc.; also, expressing anguish or compassion.

 

© Webster 1913.


Bleed"ing, n.

A running or issuing of blood, as from the nose or a wound; a hemorrhage; the operation of letting blood, as in surgery; a drawing or running of sap from a tree or plant.

 

© Webster 1913.

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