In New Delhi, India, dozens of patients a day seek treatment at Rahat Open Surgery, where a practitioner uses a razor blade to draw blood. The practice is widely discredited in Western medicine—aside from its modern-day application for a few conditions—but those who still perform bloodletting, or phlebotomy, believe that “bad blood” is the source of most infirmities. Some patients look with hope to the New Delhi center when more traditional treatments fail to help them or when doctors tell them their ailments are incurable. Bloodletting originated thousands of years ago, and its popularity peaked in the 19th century.
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WATCH: The Practice of Bloodletting in New Delhi | National Geographic