Long ago, when a woman in labor was making little progress, sometimes a sternutant to cause sneezing would produce powerful contractions of the abdominal musculature, sometime being followed by more powerful regular contractions.
When pregnant women at term on British fighting ships at anchor had delayed onset of labor, sometimes cannons were fired, and apparently helped initiate labor. Children so born were called "sons of guns".
Many of the health spas long ago had minerals that acted as an aperient for those who suffered from constipation.
For patients who had ingested poison in a suicidal attempt, prompt administration of an emetic such as ipecac to make them vomit could be life saving.
Much can be learned about diseases of the heart and lungs by listening,called auscultation, originally by putting the ear against the chest wall. But this was inconvenient for the doctor, and unpleasant for the patient. Then it was discovered that a rod could be used to conduct sound to the doctor's ear. Later it was learned that a hollow tube worked even better.When rubber tubing became available the modern stethoscope was developed.
A doctor whose father could tell if wine casks were full, or only half full by tapping them, used this to detect when parts of the chest were filled with fluid, or solid with disease. This is called percussion.