The Rev Nathaniel Henshaw is widely considered as the founding father of hyperbarics. Henshaw was a British physician who was born in
London on 1628. He studied medicine at the University of Padua in Italy from 1649 to 1653, and at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands in 1653. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society on May 20, 1663 and practiced medicine in Dublin, Ireland, from 1664 until his death on September 13, 1673.
Henshaw is best known for his work on the domicilium, a pressurized room that he used to treat patients with acute conditions. He first used the domicilium in 1664. The domicilium was powered by organ bellows and had valves to control the flow of air. It could be used to create both
hyperbaric (above normal) and hypobaric (below normal) conditions.
Henshaw believed that patients with acute conditions would benefit from increased air pressure, while those with chronic conditions would benefit from a more rarefied environment. However, at the time, air had not yet been broken down into its constituent gases, so Henshaw’s patients were only exposed to increased pressure without the other vital ingredient, oxygen.
In addition to his work on the domicilium, Henshaw also wrote a treatise on the medical benefits of fresh air. This treatise, entitled Aero-Chalinos, was published in 1664.
Henshaw’s work on the domicilium was groundbreaking for its time. It was one of the first attempts to use hyperbaric oxygen therapy to treat medical conditions. Although Henshaw’s work was not without its flaws, it laid the foundation for future research in this area.
Today, Henshaw’s name is still associated with hyperbarics and hyperbaric chambers. These chambers are used for a variety of medical purposes, including the treatment of decompression sickness, wound healing, and brain injuries.
Henshaw was a pioneering figure in the field of medicine. His work on the domicilium and his treatise on fresh air helped to pave the way for future research in hyperbaric oxygen therapy. His legacy continues to this day, and his work has helped to improve the lives of countless patients.
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