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  • Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

Quick, Smelling Salts For The Lady!

For a very long time smelling salts were administered to revive fainting women. "Smelling salts consist of spirits of ammonia. The use of smelling salts dates back to the Roman Empire, but they became popular during the Victorian era. They were used to help revive women who were fainting..."*

Which begs the question, did men not faint and require smelling salts to be wafted under their nostrils in order to bring them to their senses? Well, I looked it up and bodybuilders, who are predominately male, now "...use smelling salts. Sniffing ammonia, through a single-use ammonia ampule, is done right before a heavy lift to trigger the release of adrenaline, which for many lifters is reported to improve their alertness, focus, performance and potentially reduce lightheadedness and feelings of pain." Reportedly the use of salts ampules is very common in football, hockey, boxing, and other sports.

So, while the use of smelling salts to revive women is part of past plots in older novels, they are not on lists of must-have household medications today. Do women no longer faint? Is it due to women being shock-toughened by having seen the worst in the media, so that they are no longer prone to faint? Or did better social skills and the right to use those skills; better diet and awareness of the need for hydration; and looser fitting clothes produce fitter, faint-proof women? What does all this say about modern athletes who use a little Nose Tork?




by Annmarie Throckmorton 2022



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