©Wellcome Library, London

Until the 20th century, drug therapy, apart from opium and other soporifics, was never a popular (or even successful) method of dealing with mental disturbance. One treatment which enjoyed a vogue during the early 19th century was the rotatory motion machine or revolving swing-chair which was capable of rotating a patient up to 100 times a minute. This ultimately resulted in unconsciousness and bleeding from the ears and nose. Traumatised by the disruption of his or her senses, the patient would, it was hoped, be shocked into sanity. Alternatively, the threat of future use could be an instrument of salutary fear such that even the most depraved lunatic would succumb before the terror of the swing chair.

Source: A Morison. Cases of mental disease. Longman & Highley, London 1828.