According to Mental Floss, the Roman court physician for the emperor Claudius began studying the torpedo fish, otherwise called the electric ray, which was native to the Mediterranean Sea. He noticed that the terrifying fish sent shock waves through anyone who touched it. The adult torpedo fish’s shock can reach up to 170-220 volts, powerful enough to kill small fish and stun or possibly even disable humans, according to the Florida Museum. But rather than advising everyone to stay far away from these jolts of electricity, Claudius’ court physician began theorizing that those shocks might be just the thing the emperor needed to help cure his migraines.
Although the logic behind the healing properties of electric shock was not fully understood, both the ancient Romans and the ancient Greeks used the torpedo fish’s powerful electric shock to help treat migraines, as well as other ailments like gout. The practice continued in Europe throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, with even Dutch doctors in the mid-1700s valuing the discovery of the electric eel, which is native to South America, because they delivered even more powerful electronic shocks, which were thought to even more effectively relieve head pain and migraines.