About Bloodletting

About Bloodletting

Two hundred years ago people thought that blood was sometimes harmful and that too much bad blood was dangerous. The common motto for doctors was “let out the blood, let out the disease.”

Instead of treating illnesses with medicine, people believed that removing blood from the body would help solve their diseases. Two hundred years ago, when a doctor diagnosed a patient with a disease, he would send the patient to the barber where his blood was taken out of his body in two ways: leeches or knives.

Sometimes barbers would put leeches on the patient's body so that they could suck his blood out and other times they would cut his veins or arteries. Putting leeches on people earned barbers and doctors the nickname: leech.

Barber Pole

Back in the day more people survived treatment at home than the one doctors prescribed. When a barber was open to do bloodletting he would put up a pole with white, red, and blue stripes on it.