Rest Cure

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Definition - What does Rest Cure mean?

The rest cure is a treatment that originated in the late 19th century. It consisted of forced sleep combined with a specific diet and was thought to be beneficial for women with mental illness.

This practice has been debunked in the 20th century. The term now pertains to time spent in a rest home, hospice, sanitarium, or nursing home for custodial care.

Insuranceopedia explains Rest Cure

The American neurologist Silas Weir Mitchell designed the rest cure for women with mental health issues like anorexia. The patients were placed in an institution away from their family and forced to eat certain food and sleep for extended periods of time.

This is no longer considered an effective treatment but the term is still in use. Nowadays, it refers to the time a person spends in a place where they receive non-medical care, self-administration of medication, preparation of special diets, and help for activities of the daily living.


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