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Day 7 of Our 31 Day Series of How Medicine Got It Wrong

The Shocking History of Electro Shock Therapy for Male Impotence

The use of shock therapy to treat impotence in men dates back to the Victorian era. At that time, physicians believed that impotence was caused by psychological factors, and they developed various techniques to treat it, including shock therapy.

The early devices used for this therapy were simple, low-voltage electrical generators that could be manually cranked to produce an electric shock. Later, more sophisticated devices were developed, including battery-powered machines that delivered high-voltage shocks to the penis.

The purpose of shock therapy was to induce an electric shock to the penis, which was supposed to stimulate the nerves and increase blood flow to the area, leading to an erection. The therapy was initially administered using low-voltage electrical currents, but later, high-voltage currents were also used.

The outcomes of shock therapy for impotence were mixed. While some patients reported improved erectile function, others experienced pain, burning, and other adverse effects. Moreover, the long-term effects of the therapy were largely unknown, and some patients reported ongoing erectile dysfunction after the treatment.

The use of shock therapy to treat impotence declined in the mid-20th century with the advent of pharmacological treatments like Viagra, which have proven to be more effective and less invasive. However, in recent years, some researchers have been exploring the use of low-intensity shock waves to treat erectile dysfunction, which has shown promising results in some studies. This technique, known as shock wave therapy, is believed to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels in the penis, improving blood flow and promoting the growth of new nerve tissue. However, further research is needed to determine the safety and effectiveness of this treatment.

Watch the Video On One of Our Channels


  1. "The History of Impotence Cures" by Dr. Ananya Mandal, MD on News Medical

  2. "The Shocking History of Erectile Dysfunction Treatments" by Dr. Brian Steixner, MD on Healthline

  3. "Electricity, Impotence, and Victorian Sexual Anxiety" by Thomas Laqueur on The Journal of Modern History

  4. "The history of erectile dysfunction management" by John Dean on The British Journal of Cardiology

  5. Image: The Electropathic Sex Belt: Electroshock Medical Treatments to Cure Impotence and Hernias, Weird History Facts

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