This reminds me so strongly of something, that I can't restrain myself from talking about it.
There was a doctor back in the 1800s named August Bier, who had a bunch of apparently wacky theories. One was that since inflammation appears to be part of the body's healing process, then to accelerate healing, one needs only to increase inflammation. He did this by 3 techniques: one was heat, the second by venoconstriction and the third by vacuum. I own a copy of a book written by one of his students detailing his techniques.
He designed various heating chambers for different parts of the body, usually a sort of box that would enclose the body part selectively, with a little inverted funnel on the bottom, under which was place a Bunsen burner.
For venoconstriction, he used tourniquets, applied tightly enough to restrict venous return, but not so tight as to restrict arterial flow. This tended to cause swelling and mild inflammation in the body part distal to the restriction. The pictures in the book are a bit alarming, especially the one for treating infections of the scrotum!
For vacuum, he designed a series of glass chambers for various parts of the body. This is what the glove story reminded me of. The chamber would enclose the part with a rubber diaphragm at the opening to seal tightly around the limb. There would be a nipple on the chamber for attachment of tubing from a vacuum pump. The vacuum would cause vasodilation which would make the skin a little red, thus suggesting or imitating inflammation. The one for treating mastitis (infections of the breast) was certainly odd-looking. The one for treating the foot included a little rocker board in the sole, so that as the leg was drawn deeper into the chamber, the foot was forced into dorsiflection, stretching the Achilles tendon and associated muscles. I'm sure that had some therapeutic effect in some cases.
Incidentally, Bier was the first doctor to perform a spinal anesthetic, and also invented a technique called the Bier block, which is still used today for hand surgery.
Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.--Francis Chan