Starting on page 353 of The Funny Side of Physic (1874), we learn of a fellow called “Youran the Spanker”:
He was a tall, lean, lank-looking Yankee, with red hair and whiskers, a light gray eye, and claimed to cure all diseases by “spatting” the patient, or the diseased part thereof, with cold water on his bare palm, the use of a battery, and a pill.
“The Spanker” was not read in medicine. His treatment was the most ridiculous and repulsive of the absurdities of the nineteenth century. The patient was stripped of his clothes, and often so severely spanked as to compel him, or her, to cry out with pain.
There follows a tragic account of one “beautiful young wife” whose last days were made a misery by this charlatan; but that’s too heartbreaking to repeat here.