The bloodletting is counted among the oldest medical procedures. This is a significant removal of blood.

What is the bloodletting?

Particularly in natural ecology as well as alternative medicine the bloodletting is appreciated, where it belongs to the draining treatments. The purpose of the bloodletting is to strengthen the self-healing powers of the organism.

In ancient times, phlebotomy was one of the most common therapeutic measures used in many treatments. He was widely used as a remedy until the 19th century.

At the present time bleeding, in which the patient receives a large amount of blood, is only beneficial in a few cases. For this reason, it is rarely used today. Bloodletting for the purpose of taking blood or donating blood is also considered in colloquial language as bloodletting.

In earlier times bloodletting was considered a general purpose remedy. Thus, the blood collection was used for a variety of diseases, but not infrequently caused damage to the patients. At the same time, some patients bleeded outright. Among the most prominent patients of the bloodletting was George Washington (1732-1799). Thus, he was treated with a strong laryngitis by bloodletting, which was carried out several times. The enormous blood loss of the first American president was considered as a possible reason for his demise.

The cause of the phlebotomy is the early Indian medicine. Even today, the bloodletting is performed in Ayurveda. In Europe, the treatments were performed by the Greek physician Hippocrates (460-370 BC). At that time, the doctors assumed that the diseases were mostly caused by an excess of blood. The same was true for an imbalance in the body fluids. It was thought that the blood in the limbs became dammed up and spoiled. Therefore, the removal of the bad blood was considered meaningful.

In 1628, the Englishman William Harvey (1578-1657) discovered the blood circulation and thus refuted the Aderlassgrundlagen. Nevertheless, bleeding as a treatment method remained in use. So the therapy method was recommended until the 19th century.

Function, effect & goals

Although the bleeding is rare nowadays, nevertheless there are quite different illnesses, which can be treated effectively with it. Particularly in natural ecology as well as alternative medicine the bloodletting is appreciated, where it belongs to the draining treatments.

The purpose of the bloodletting is to strengthen the self-healing powers of the organism. The body forms new blood cells that replace missing cells. The new cells work better than the previous blood cells. The positive effects of bloodletting include increased oxygen uptake, improved blood flow, more efficient functioning of the immune system, and stimulation of detoxification.

As a supportive therapy, bleeding is recommended by alternative medicine for the treatment or prevention of diabetes mellitus, inflammation, circulatory disorders, hypertension, gout and obesity. However, there are hardly any scientific studies that confirm the health-promoting effects of bloodletting. So the few studies turned out differently. One of the positive factors was the decrease in blood pressure, which dropped by 16 mmHg.

But also in conventional medicine the bloodletting is quite used, if only rarely. These include, for example, rare diseases such as polyglobulia, which increases the number of erythrocytes (red blood cells), polycythemia vera (PV), which is associated with high levels of hemocrit, and the iron-storing disease hemochromatosis, in which the intestine absorbs excessive amounts of iron. This in turn leads to an overload of the heart and liver. Bloodletting by the arm vein within the elbow is usually carried out to carry out the bloodletting.

Depending on the condition of the patient, the doctor either takes a small amount of blood between 50 and 150 milliliters or a large amount, which can be up to 500 milliliters. Via tube, the patient's blood enters a collecting vessel, which is usually a vacuum glass bottle. Except for a small sting, the patient feels no pain. Overall, the procedure lasts no more than five minutes. In addition, the doctor regularly checks the blood pressure of the patient.

A special variant is the Japanese Aderlass, which is also known as Shirako or Mikroaderlass. In this procedure, the therapist pricks varicose veins on the lower leg with a lancet or a knife. In this way, blood congestion associated with dilation of blood vessels is treated.

Another form is the bloodletting according to Hildegard von Bingen, which is offered by various naturopaths. The body should be freed from "bad blood" or poisons.

Risks, side effects & dangers

Basically, the bloodletting is not considered risky, provided it is performed professionally. So in advance thorough examinations and the determination of laboratory values ​​such as the blood count are important. In some cases, it can still lead to health problems.

If the blood pressure is too high or too much blood is taken, there is a risk of dizziness, circulatory problems and fainting. By piercing the skin, it is again possible for harmful bacteria to invade the body and cause inflammation. However, this side effect can usually be avoided by careful hygiene. If there is too much withdrawal of blood, there is a risk of iron deficiency.

There are also a number of contraindications in which no bleeding may be done. These are acute diarrhea, anemia (low blood pressure), abnormally low blood pressure and dehydration. Children and the elderly should be aware of a general physical weakness.

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