From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Use in medicine
In the Western medical tradition genital massage of a woman until she experienced "hysterical paroxysm" (orgasm), administered by a physician or midwife, was a standard treatment for female hysteria, an ailment considered common and chronic in women. In 1653, Pieter van Foreest (In a medical compendium titled Observationem et Curationem Medicinalium ac Chirurgicarum Opera Omnia) advised the technique of genital massage for a disease called "womb disease" to bring the woman into "hysterical paroxysm".
Such cases were quite profitable for physicians, since the patients were at no risk of death, but needed constant treatment. However, the vaginal massage procedure (generally referred to as 'pelvic massage') was tedious and time consuming for physicians. The technique was difficult for a physician to master and could take hours to achieve "hysterical paroxysm." Referral to midwives, which had been common practice, meant a loss of business for the physician, and at times husbands were asked to assist.
Pelvic douche machine
In the 19th century, the era of mechanization, machines such as douches and vibrators were invented to help cure the diagnosed. Here is a French illustration of such a device (massage of the lower pelvis with a jet of pumped water)  of about 1860 (first published in Fleury, reproduced in Sigfried Giedion).