We experience wounds from birth until the end of our life. Kaspar falls from his bike and skins his knee. His sister Jasmine burns her hand because she touched the hot stove. Their grandmother has an insufficient blood supply and therefore needs a compression bandage on her leg in order for her wound to heal. And Jasmine’s dog was bit by another dog last week.
Wound healing from antiquity to the present
In antiquity, it was observed that plants and trees have a physiological way how they react to being wounded. Certain liquids or tree resin protect the injury of plants and trees and support the physiologic wound healing process. Many of these substances have been used to heal human wounds in the past and still play an important role in traditional medicine.
Most of this knowledge was lost in the middle ages due to religious motives. It was believed that disease was a consequence of sin and therefore touching a sick body was not popular.
In the Enlightenment Age, active wound care became popular again. The discovery of the blood circulation system (1628) was the beginning of an in-depth understanding of the body’s abilities to heal wounds.
Until the 20th century, the fear of an infection that, back then, could easily have lead to death, was the main driver of active wound care. Wounds were actively dried in order to prevent an infection. This obviously was a painful procedure.
In 1962 the biologist Dr. Georg Winter was able to show that a wound healed faster if it was kept moist, compared to keeping the wound dry, because a moist wound environment enables the immune system to function properly and the regeneration of skin is not hindered. This was the birth of „moist wound care“, a paradigm that is still valid.