Beaumont was able to directly observe the release of stomach secretions in response to Alexis' eating different foods. He was also able to collect stomach contents, place them in glass tubes, and observe how much food was digested and the length of time it took for the food to break down. For centuries, many people believed that the stomach was hot and somehow "cooked" the food, acting as a fermenting vat or grinding mill. Beaumont, with the help of Alexis, proved that those superstitions were false.
Medicine in the early nineteenth century was primitive.
Doctors did not realize the importance of cleanliness. For the pain of
rheumatism, Beaumont and fellow doctors prescribed opium, wood resin,
and turpentine. Despite such uninformed and primitive medicine, Beaumont
proudly claimed that none of his 200+ patients died.