Ötzi the Iceman's Tattoos May Have Been a Primitive Form of Acupuncture

Otzi the Iceman mummy was found in the Italian Alps in 1991.

Credit: Andrea Solero/AFP/Getty Images

Ötzi the iceman, an amazingly maintained mummy of a male who was killed about 5,300 years back, might have taken in medical herbs and had a treatment just like acupuncture prior to his death, a brand-new research study exposes.

” The ancient society of the iceman more than likely currently had a significant understanding about medical treatment. It appears that they utilized various types of treatment, consisting of physical treatment and utilizing medical plants This absolutely needs a specific understanding of the human anatomy in addition to how illness emerge and establish,” research study author Albert Zink, head of the Eurac Research Study Institute for Mummy Research Studies in Bolzano, Italy, informed Live Science in an e-mail.

The iceman, the earliest glacier-bound mummy ever found, was discovered by hikers in Italy’s Ötztal Alps in 1991, and ever since, researcher have actually inspected nearly every element of the guy’s life. Hereditary analysis exposed that the iceman had a host of conditions at the time of his murder (by a blow to the head). For example, Ötzi was a cardiac arrest waiting to take place, with narrowed arteries, and he had arthritic knees and rotten teeth, a most likely case of Lyme illness, and indications of stomach ulcers, Live Science formerly reported. [Mummy Melodrama: Top 9 Facts About Ötzi the Iceman]

In addition, the iceman was tattooed; Ötzi was covered in 61 tattoos. The tattoos were all basic stripes with 2 crosses, so they didn’t appear to be ornamental. Offered the appearance and area of these tattoos, the scientists believe the markings were a kind of medical treatment.

The tattoos are all situated at body areas where the iceman had some health concerns and most likely experienced durations of discomfort. For instance, he had degenerative illness of his hip, knee, ankle joints and lower back. The majority of the tattoos lie [on] the legs and the lower back,” Zink stated.

Ötzi the iceman had 61 tattoos that covered his body, most of which were simple lines. Researchers think these tattoos may have been a primitive form of medical treatment, because they were mostly placed on areas of his body that likely caused him pain or discomfort.

Ötzi the iceman had 61 tattoos that covered his body, the majority of which were basic lines. Scientists believe these tattoos might have been a primitive kind of medical treatment, due to the fact that they were mainly put on locations of his body that most likely triggered him discomfort or pain.

Credit: © Marco Samadelli

chest tattoos might have been utilized to relieve tummy pain; he had digestive parasites and a Helicobacter pylori infection. And a few of the tattooed areas represented standard acupuncture “pressure points,” recommending to some scientists that the iceman went through a kind of acupuncture, Zink stated. (Many researchers think acupuncture initially developed in China, and the very first composed description of it originates from 2,200 years back, however it might have emerged previously in some other area, like Europe, Zink stated.)

At the time of his death, the iceman had a “ medical mushroom” called birch polypore in his digestion system. Birch polypore is believed to have anti-inflammatory and fever-reducing residential or commercial properties, Zink stated. Ötzi had likewise taken in ferns, which might have been either a primitive food wrapper that Ötzi erroneously consumed or a treatment to exterminate the parasitic worms that afflicted the iceman, Zink stated.

The current findings were released Aug. 8 in the International Journal of Paleopathology

Initially released on Live Science