Science can do some pretty amazing things these days when it comes to keeping us healthy. From at-home STD tests to on-the-spot HIV tests, every day we’re being given new ways to take care of our bods. But now, doctors are looking to the past for inspiration, and we can’t say we’re terribly thrilled about it. That’s because a terrifying 19th-century medical treatment is making a comeback, and we’re pretty sure you’ll be as freaked out about it as we are.


We hope you’re not the squeamish type, because leeches are once again being used as a viable option for affordable medical treatment. Yep, leeches. *squirms uncontrollably* According to the New York Times, around 10 million leeches are prescribed every year in Russia, often as a low-cost alternative to blood-thinning drugs.

And while it may be more common in Russia, the United States Food and Drug Administration cleared the sale of medical leeches back in 2004. And at just $15.50 a pop via medical leech purveyors Leeches USA, they’re a treatment that’s totally affordable… that is, if you’re willing to let a little slimy creature suck your blood.

If you’re curious about what a leech-based treatment would consist of, an average session will use three to seven of the slug-like critters to latch onto your skin and feed off of your blood. It generally takes about 30 to 40 minutes for the little suckers to do their work, though the open wounds will continue to bleed for six hours until the anticoagulant in the leech venom eventually wears off. Science!

*just… keeps… squirming*

Would you be willing to use leeches as a medical treatment? Let us know @BritandCo!

(h/t Mashable; photo via Joe Raedle/Getty)