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old electro medicine book and story

Amazing Electro-Medicine Stories

I think you’ll find this interesting.  Maybe very interesting.  This site is about spiritual effects of tech, but in researching those, I came across this body of knowledge.  Of course, with disclaimer, its for history information purposes only.  You know the drill.

Below is a 4-page chapter from a book first published back in 1883 on Electro-Medicine.  I think you’ll enjoy reading the case studies of  two women saved from having to go into a mental institution.

There are a ton of old books about this back in the day, and the results they got were amazing.

Magically, the whole topic just happened to vanish in the 1930s, when it was discovered that drugs could be made from petroleum.  It must be a coincidence!  Funny how those things happen.

Its a big part of history that few people have any idea about.

I wonder what the book authors would think, that about a century and a half later, the knowledge would be long lost, and people would be pouring through their books on this internet thing, trying to solve modern problems.

electro-medicine device

Old-School Static Generator for Electro-Medicine

Back then, I don’t think they always knew exactly what was wrong with someone, or exactly how they were being cured or improved (do they now?), they just knew it worked much of the time.  Its also interesting to read the ways people explained things back then.

The methods were similar to how people used electricity to clear spirit attachments, such as in the books mentioned on this site.  Likely, the clearing is part of what helped people.

Also, you’ll come across the term “Franklinization“.  If you wonder who that’s named after its Ben Franklin.  He invented a whole science of using electricity to heal people and it was very successful.  Funny how such an accomplishment of one of the most famous people in history, isn’t taught in schools.  Or, almost anywhere.

Additionally, Ben’s books contradict what we are taught about the reasons for the American Revolution, and a bunch of other things that still affect us today.  But that’s a rabbit hole for another time.

If you want to read more of this electro-medicine book, here’s the link.

If you find this page useful, feel free to share the link, leave a comment, or make a donation if you like.



We have seen that very much has been accomplished in the treatment of hypochondriasis and melancholia by the combined methods of central galvanization and general faradization, and, reasoning from analogy, it is probable that an important future is in store for the scientific faithful use of these methods of electrization in our public and private asylums.

This not as well recognized as it should be that in diseases of the brain and spinal cord, where the mind is seriously affected, the electrical treatment is also indicated, Just as in diseases of the same organs when the mind is not affected. In some of the asylums of England, United States, and Germany, electricity is now and for some time has been used as an adjunct to other remedies for the treatment of different forms of insanity; but with a few exceptions, the treatment is not systematically carried out, and, partly through ignorance of the methods of application, partly through want of sufficient medical assistance to supervise the necessary details, the results have not been entirely satisfactory, and the cases have not been fully recorded.

We should except from these remarks the Alabama Asylum for the Insane, where, under the superintendence of Dr. Bryce, both currents of electricity have been used in the treatment of the patients for the past two or three years.

We have corresponded with Dr. Bryce on the subject from the first, and have at different times given suggestions in regard to the methods of application, which suggestions have been carried out so far as possible for the already overworked officers of that institution.

Under date of February 17th, 1873, he gives the general results of his observations in the following language : “We like it : find it beneficial in most cases, valuable in a majority’-, and indispensable in certain forms of hysterical insanity, in primary dementia, and neurasthenia.”

The failures in this as in other branches of electro-therapeutics are, in fact, the logical result of want of familiarity with the management of batteries, of incorrect ideas on the differential action of the currents, and the general action of electricity on the body, and deficient technical skill in the details of the applications.

For those who are beginning to use electricity, or are contemplating its use in the asylums for the insane, these general suggestions may be of service.

1. Let it be remembered always that electricity, in any form — Franklinic, Galvanic, or Faradic — when applied to the body, acts as a stimulating tonic with powerful sedative influence. It is an agent for improving nutrition in any condition, local or general, where improvement in nutrition is required. It is to be used for the insane just as bromide of potassium, quinine, strychnine, and iron are used.

The order and degree of its effects depend largely on the method and manner of application, and on the constitution and disease of the patient to which the application is made.

2. That in insanity the brain is not the only part of the body affected. Excluding those cases of insanity produced by reflex action from the digestive and pelvic organs, there are very many cases where the spinal cord and other parts of the central and peripheral nervous system suffer as an effect of the disease of the brain.

While these remarks may seem but commonplace to experienced psychologists, and while the fact of the relation of diseases of the brain to diseases of other parts of the body is continually recognized, when other remedies are employed, still, in the application of electricity, some experimenters have acted on the theory i;hat the brain alone should be treated. Those who act exclusively on this theory will not gain great victories over insanity by electricity. Some of the applications should be made in such a way as to bring the whole central nervous system under the influence of the current, and local diseases associated with insanity as a cause or effect should receive local treatment.

The central nervous system is best brought under the direct influence of the galvanic current by the method of central galvanization. The method may be varied by galvanization of the brain, cervical sympathetic, pneumogastric and spine ; but the method of central galvanization is easier, safer, and more effective. In cases associated with debility, and especially in those forms of insanity dependent on neurasthenia or nervous exhaustion, general faradization answers a good purpose, and may with great advantage be used alternately with central galvanization or localized galvanization of the nerve centres.

3. The first tentative applications should be very mild, and the strength of the current and the time of sitting should be gradually increased as the patient proves himself able to bear the treatment.

In the following case, although no permanent relief was afforded b\ the method employed, the temporary effects were so sudden and startling as to render the history of exceeding interest :

Acute mania of the most intense character existing four months — Remarkable effects of general faradization.

Case XIX. — Miss R., aged 20, living in Harlem, and a patient of Dr. Joseph Wooster, of New York, was suffering from acute mania dating from suppression of the menses, occurring four months before she fell under our care. She had always enjoyed most excellent health — indeed was remarkable for her vigorous, robust constitution, and it may be added, the ruddiness of her complexion. While watering the plants in the conservatory of her sister, her clothes became quite wet ; she neglected to change them immediately, and the consequence was a suppression of the menstrual flow. She complained on the following day of severe headache, and on occasions, during the next two weeks, was markedly unreasonable in her action and demands.

Finally active delirium set in, but with no decrease of bodily strength. At times she was intensely violent in her demonstrations — screaming at the top of her voice and breaking every article of furniture within her reach ; as a consequence she was confined in a room stripped of its furniture, and in her wildest moods the straitjacket was applied. For more than two months no sleep visited her eyelids, without the nightly administration of from 100 to 120 grs. of chloral. During the morning she was often measurably quiet, but as evening approached she became absolutely ungovernable, and when chloral was not given she had been known to pace around the room with great rapidity and strength, muttering to herself, with absolutely no cessation, from sunset to sunrise. She had decreased in weight from 160 to no lbs. On the evening of the 15th of April, she was held firmly in position by several powerful assistants, and, after thoroughly moistening the hair of the head, we submitted her to the most thorough form of general faradization with the very smoothest current obtainable. The current was of great strength, but evidently in itself caused no discomfort to the patient. That night, and without the use of any drug, the patient enjoyed five hours of the quietest sleep, and for 48 hours thereafter was perfectly obedient and tractable. Another paroxysm of violence again showed itself, and the same form of application was re-administered. She again slept quietly, and in the morning awoke perfectly rational, but extremely weak in body. The day being bright and sunny, a chair was placed in the yard, where she sat for several hours, and in all her conversation evinced entire freedom from anything like mental derangement. Suddenly, however, she arose from her chair and ran around the yard with great rapidity. She was immediately captured, and, when taken to her room, gave evidence of all her former derangement. She was unusually violent during the rest of the day, but after the administration of 100 grains of chloral (and this was effected with great difficulty, owing to her fierce struggles) she passed the latter part of the night in comparatively quiet sleep. On the following morning she awoke, somewhat excited, and remained so during the day, while towards evening she as usual became more violent.

General faradization was again tried, and was attended by its previous good effects. Four or five hours of quiet sleep followed, and on awakening, and for a part of the succeeding day, the patient was quite calm and in some respects entirely rational.

Not to prolong this description, it maybe said that neither general faradization nor central galvanization seemed to be sufficient to accomplish more than is related in the above description, and finally it failed to give marked relief. The patient was taken by her friends to an asylum and passed from under our observation.

Menopause insanity in a married lady — Great melancholy; constant weeping ; at tempts to commit self harm (edited) ; attempts at starvation ; loss of flesh; attacks of numbness ; heaving, tea7-ing, grasping, biting sensation in stomach and abdomen ; lateral sweating ; hysterical attacks of crying, laughing, and unusual susceptibility to electricity — Gradual and steady recovery under central galvanization of the cervical sympathetic, combined with cod-liver oil emulsion.

Case XX. — -Mrs. S., a married lady of middle life, was referred to us, October 19, 1871.

The patient was pretty evidently suffering from menopause mania, of several months’ standing, and evinced no disposition to recover. She attributed all her symptoms to the use of the vaginal syringe, but there was no evidence of this, and the case was pretty clearly one of mania dependent on the beginning of the change of life.

The patient would never sit down : all day long she walked and walked the floor of the house, sometimes standing still a moment to look out of the window or converse or to look vacantly into space; but never would sit for a moment or even lie down on a lounge ; at night only would she go to bed.

She would weep for hours together, and when not weeping was heavily depressed. Her ruling desire was to commit self-harm (edited), and most resolutely she tried to starve herself to death, but failed in the attempt for the reason that she could not resist the temptation to take a bite now and then, although she did not partake of a regular meal for several weeks. She was naturally very fleshy, and had lost fifty pounds in weight. She tried to get hold of the batteries that were left at her house in order to drink the acid solution, and her husband was obliged to take away the bottles after each application. The patient had besides many vague, nervous symptoms, such as numbness and tearing, rolling, heaving, burning, binding sensations in the stomach and abdomen. Attacks of unilateral swelling on the left side came on at times, and the left side in all respects was weaker than the right.

We suspected that all the symptoms might be more or less reflex from the uterus, but the patient would not yield to our suggestion that some gynaecologist be called in to make an examination.

There was tenderness over the ovarian region, especially on the left side, and also tenderness on the dorsal and lumbar vertebrae, and at times along the entire length of the spine.

It seemed probable that the patient would have to be sent to an asylum, but as her husband was so situated that he could give her close attention, we decided to first exhaust treatment by electricity and internal medication.

We used central galvanization varied by galvanization of the cervical sympathetic and spine, and prescribed for internal use the cod-liver oil emulsion. She was found to be very susceptible to electricity : only gentle currents and short applications were borne, and when thus used the sedative effect was excellent ; but when carried beyond a certain point irritation rather than sedation followed. The applications were made on the average about three times a week, for four months, with at first slow and almost imperceptible, and afterwards with rapid improvement, and with ultimate and permanent recovery. A year and more after the treatment was abandoned, the patient had fully regained and still retains all her flesh, health and spirits.

The above case seems to us to illustrate the following points :

1. The well known fact of the curability of menopause insanity, even when the symptoms are of the worst character. In the case of Mrs. S. all the symptoms were bad symptoms. At times her maniacal attacks were so violent as to be absolutely alarming, and twice at least we had reason to be considerably terrified.

2. The advantage of combining medical treatment with various methods of electrization. Although the patient herself and her husband attributed the result to the electrical treatment alone, yet in our own judgment the credit should be divided between the medical and the electrical treatment, and the element of time should also be considered. The patience and perseverance of the husband and his constant attention should be considered.

3. The fact that electricity, cautiously used, may be of great service even when it is not well borne. Mrs. S. never could endure a long or strong application, even when she had been long under treatment, and by some the case might have been given up as not adapted for electrical treatment.

4. The principle that, in the treatment of insanity by electricity, the applications should not be confined to the brain, but should be made so as to affect the whole central nervous system, which, primarily or secondarily, must be more or less involved in nearly all phases of insanity.