An animal bath or balneum animale is a medical treatment in which the skin or carcass of a freshly slaughtered animal is wrapped around the patient.[1] The treatment's goal is transference of the animal's vitality to the patient, with the warmth of the treatment perhaps having a therapeutic effect. The treatment has been used since antiquity and was thought to be effective for lameness.[1] The young Kaiser Wilhelm II had a left arm palsied from birth and was given this treatment.

HistoryEdit

Animal baths were used since antiquity as medical treatments. The skin or carcass of a freshly slaughtered animal is wrapped around the patient or a limb was inserted into blood or stomach of a living animal.[1] The treatment was intended to transfer the animal's vitality to the patient, with the warmth of the treatment perhaps having a therapeutic effect.

Indication and effectivenessEdit

Animal baths were thought to be effective for lameness.[1]

RecipientsEdit

The young Kaiser Wilhelm II—whose left arm was palsied from birth—was given this treatment; his arm was placed in the body of a freshly slaughtered hare for 30 minutes twice a week to encourage it to grow normally.[2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Chambers's Encyclopædia, Vol. 1, W. & R. Chambers, 1868, p. 746
  2. ^ John C. G. Röhl (1998), Young Wilhelm: The Kaiser's Early Life, 1859–1888, Cambridge University Press, p. 45, ISBN 978-0-521-49752-7