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Volume 27, Issue 4, December 2016

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Mediterr J Rheumatol 2016; 27(4): 74-79
Electric current to cure arthritis and cephalaea in ancient Greek medicine
Authors Information

1: History of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Thessaly, Larissa, Greece

2: Anatomy Department, Faculty of Medicine, University of Thessaly, Larissa, Greece
Abstract
Physicians in ancient Greece applied electricity as a therapeutic mean, through a living, vibrant electrical device: a fish called "Narce", or Torpedo fish, or Electric Ray. With the intent to register all knowledge about the appliance of electricity by the ancient Greek physiatrists, an indexing of all ancient philosophical and medical sources took place. Aristotle, Thales and Theophrastus understood magnetism partially, and electricity remained unnamed. Hippocrates, Skivronios Largos, Pliny and Dioscorides used the electric fish in various medical applications including arthritis, and cephalalgia, with local placement of a living Narce. Galen testified for the method's efficiency. Surprisingly, electric current had been widely used in physical medicine by the ancient Greeks.