One of the oldest medical practices in history, the earliest record of Bloodletting or Phlebotomy comes from 3,000-year-old Egyptian texts as well as ancient Indian texts where doctors bled sick individuals in the hopes of healing them.
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Ancient Syrians were known to use leeches for bloodletting as well. The practice to use leeches to enable bloodletting was common and popular across the globe, right up until the late 19th century.
But despite originating in the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Greece, persisting through the Medieval, Renaissance, and Enlightenment periods, flourishing in Arabic and Indian medicine, and lasted through the second Industrial Revolution, there is no popular medical procedure like bloodletting that has been the butt of so many jokes.
These days, it is commonly considered one of the world’s most assuredly outdated medical practices, a go-to reference for jokes about barbaric quackery that harms instead of heals.
But in Delhi, the Indian capital, the practice still continues.
Rahat Open Surgery in Delhi's Tuglaqabaad area claims to cure patients by using the 3000–year-old practice of bloodletting. The practitioner, popularly known as a Hakeem (local doctor), ties the hand or leg with a cloth and makes a cut with a razor blade to let the blood rush out from the body.