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Bloodletters who use razors to cure all ills: INDIA

Bloodletters who use razors to cure all ills: INDIA
These photographs show that the ancient tradition of bloodletting is not only still in existence but positively thriving in the streets of Delhi in India.
Hakim Ghyas' open air clinic outside the city's largest mosque offers treatments for hundreds of patients each day. 
Despite rapid improvements in healthcare in India, bloodletting has remained popular with many people who have chosen to shun modern medicine in favour of the archaic therapy.

Mr Ghyas, 79, claims the technique can cure most forms of arthritis, heart disease and even the early stages of blood cancer.
In a previous interview with CNN he also said that he did not charge patients for the treatment because most are ill and poor.

Instead, to make money, Mr Ghyas depends on one son who is a shopkeeper while another son is following in the footsteps of his father and helps with the bloodletting.
Bloodletting is an ancient custom that was first mentioned in ancient Greek and Sanskrit medical texts thousands of years ago.
It involves instigating controlled bleeding in an attempt to rid the body of what practitioners refer to as 'polluted blood'. The technique was modeled on the process of menstruation.

The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates believed that menstruation functioned to 'purge women of bad humors'.
The basic premise of the therapy is that impure blood is the root cause of all ailments: If you rid your body of bad blood, you produce new blood and in turn restore your health.
Often several sessions may be needed to achieve that goal.
In Europe, bloodletting was discredited at the end of the 19th century as doctors felt it left patients weak and prone to infection, but it has had a recent resurgence, with a wave of people trying a version of it with blood-sucking leeches.
At the Delhi clinic, patients must first stand in the sun for half an hour to make the blood flow more easily.
Then the patient, still standing upright, is tied from the waist down with a rope, and the actual incisions are made with a razor blade.
Research has been carried out to see if there are in fact any benefits to the treatment.
Last year a study of 60 overweight people found that the bloodletting reduced blood pressure, as well as levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and increased ‘good’ HDL cholesterol.

The results of the study, published in the journal BMC Medicine, amazed even the researchers.
According to another study from the Journal of the American Medical Association, those who donated blood every six months - and in effect bloodlet - had fewer heart attacks and strokes.
It is thought that this is because iron levels in the blood are reduced.
High iron levels have been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Therapies using blood-sucking leeches have also become popular in Britain in recent years and a number of studies have backed up practitioners' claims.
One found that a single session of leeching – the medical application of bloodsucking leeches – can significantly reduce knee pain caused by arthritis for at least two months.
Researchers from the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany claimed improvement levels were comparable to those achieved with daily moderate doses of painkillers such as ibuprofen.
Another clinical trial at the university is investigating whether nerve pain caused by shingles could also be remedied by leeching.


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