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7 terrifying medical "treatments" that never caught on

Today's buzzy remedies can be dubious, from the Food Babe's diets to hot new studies that promise to make everything okay. But these medical miracles from the past century were a curse.

We've added a dollop of color to the inventions, but these are all real patents that prove the big new idea isn't always the best one (especially when it comes to health).

1) This device will violently shake you into fitness

Lying flat, waiting for your "treatment"

Lying flat, waiting for your "treatment."

USPTO

The ailment: Vaguely defined; you just aren't feeling like yourself.

The cure: This 1934 invention sought to pump the body with "body engaging pads" that could be placed around the body. A motor helped the pads vibrate while the person was strapped in (there's also an unseen pad that pounds on your back).

2) An age-fighting mesh mask

Train yourself to look great.

Train yourself to look great.

USPTO

The ailment: You feel the ravages of time and/or ate a few too many cookies.

The cure: This 1942 chinstrap may look like a bizarre fake beard, but it was intended to help with wrinkles and a double chin. The idea was that the chin would adjust over time if you wore the mesh long enough, despite the fact that bodies don't work that way.

3) This will fix your chin and gigantic ears

Doesn't he look happy?

Doesn't he look happy?

USPTO

The ailment: Lest you think only women were targeted by chin-shaping facial torture devices, this strap promised to help wearers with big ears.

The cure: The 1914 idea hoped to train ears to stick closer to the head (along with other cures, like stopping snoring and mouth breathing through more mysterious training).

3) An electric shock to liven you up

Welcome to treatment, young man.

Welcome to treatment, young man.

USPTO

The ailment: You have "weak and devitalized parts of body structure," and, of course, poor circulation. It's unclear exactly what that means, but it probably includes feeling bad.

The cure: This 1916 electrical apparatus strung copper wire around the body to send electricity ... everywhere. Patients complete the circuit using their moist mouths.

5) Sterilizing germs will drip drugs and electrify you

Just try to stay very, very still.

Just try to stay very, very still.

USPTO

The ailment: You have germs. So many germs.

The cure: This 1901 invention followed a trend in sterilization by passing an electrically charged tube over the body. The special twist was its use of drugs and chemicals, dripped from another tube (labeled F), to aid the process.

6) Roll away that gigantic beer belly

Work it, work out those abs.

Work it, work out those abs.

USPTO

The ailment: You have a bulging stomach.

The cure: This 1910 invention sought to increase blood circulation and, through that, help large stomachs disappear. That's not all — it was also supposed to help with digestion through that precious blood circulation.

7) Things are crawling on your disgusting body

He looks about as happy as he should.

He looks about as happy as he should.

USPTO

The ailment: You are covered in strange crawling creatures and are miserable.

The cure: This 1936 invention releases a highly poisonous gas into an airtight bag, with the hopes of killing the vermin that cover your body (lice, ticks ... and other crawly creatures). It's unclear how tough it is to create an airtight loop, and it's also unclear what you do with the vermin-and-gas-filled bag once you're done with it.

There's a reason the man in this patent looks so profoundly unhappy.