Fluid Bodies: Physiology and Chemistry in the Eighteenth-Century Boerhaave School

Verwaal, R., 2018, [Groningen]: University of Groningen. 247 p.

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)Academic

Copy link to clipboard


Blood, urine, mother's milk, sweat and semen – why would you want to research these? Fluid Bodies argues that at the turn of the eighteenth century new research methods and instruments crucially changed the perception of bodily fluids, and that this contributed to a new system of medicine. While Paracelsian and Cartesian theories had completely dismissed humoral theory, professor Herman Boerhaave and other Dutch physicians developed a new appreciation for the fluids. After all, to better understand physiology – reproduction, digestion, circulation, perspiration, secretion, etc. – one needs the fluids. Thanks to thermometers and hydrometers, chemical laboratoria to mix and separate materials, and to perform chemical processes such as distillation and fermentation, physicians gained new insights into the nature and changeability of the fluids. Indeed, at the turn of the eighteenth century, the application of new instruments and methods to bodily fluids led to an extraordinary set of changes which reinvented ancient humoral theory and established a new and irenic physiology of the fluids.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
Award date14-Jun-2018
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Download statistics

No data available

ID: 61202384