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December 25, 1948


Author Affiliations

Washington, D. C.

JAMA. 1948;138(17):1221-1222. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02900170015004

Psychiatrists have probably been interested in physical medicine longer than the practitioners of any other specialty. Even in the time of Hippocrates prolonged warm baths were recognized as of value in certain mental conditions, and as long as there have been institutions for the care of the mentally ill, which made any pretense whatever of treatment, various physical methods have been employed. Hydrotherapy is, of course, the oldest, but there was a time when the static spark and the faradic current were used as well in treatment, the modus operandi being largely psychologic. Within the last ten years the almost undue attention paid to the electroconvulsive type of psychiatric therapy has diverted a good deal of attention from the better established methods of treatment, but it certainly has emphasized the usefulness of physical medicine in the field of psychiatry.

Psychiatry and physiatry have certain things in common: both are new