Food was not the only way to treat physical illnesses (see last few posts), though healthy eating may have been the least harmful way to ward off sickness.
The turn of the 20th century saw many innovations and experimental treatments by physicians who were working on new ways to help patients. The August, 1907 issue of The New Albany Medical Herald monthly journal ($1/year for a subscription) reported that:
“[Dr.?} Stuver has used galvanic electricity with splendid results in chronic rheumatism.
He uses a current of from 6 (?) to 20 mp. for a person, 20 minutes to a half-hour and says that the results are better if a thin layer of cotton, wet with a solution of cocaine, is placed under the positive pole.”
Another article in the same issue concerned the treatment of tuberculosis. The writer, a Dr. Thos. P. Cheesborough, from Asheville, NC, noted that he usually received patients who were far along in the condition, due to their home physicians either missing the diagnosis entirely or being reluctant to tell their patients the bad news about their health.
Dr. Cheesborough then says, “One of the greatest disadvantages that I have found in treating this disease is that the poor unfortunate, when at last his disease has been diagnosed, and he has been sent from home and its comforts, has been advised by the home physician not to consult anyone here, but to exercise and drink whisky and to come home in a few months cured.”
Obviously, medical care could sometimes be hit or miss.