Diathermy set, British, c. 1930, in oak case
This diathermy set was used in electro-medical treatment and consists of electrodes which were attached to the body via wires. Electro-medical treatment was popular from the mid-1800s. It involved passing an electric current through the body to treat medical conditions such as tumours, rheumatism and certain skin disorders. The current warmed tissues and increased blood flow in the body. This could also bring some pain relief and reduced muscle spasms.
This diathermy set has a dial to select the correct electric frequency for the specific treatment. Lower frequencies often caused the patient uncomfortable muscular contractions, so the use of a high frequency avoided this. Diathermy is also used during surgery to cut through tissue or seal blood vessels.