Tattoo Designs Symbols Title
The Vanishing Tattoo
Rod Asclepius

The traditional symbol of medicine is the Staff of Asclepius -- a rough hewn rod with a single snake twined around it. The snake symbolizes, through the shedding of its skin, the renewal of life. Asclepius was a Greek physician who according to legend was the son of Apollo and a mortal. He appears in ancient scripts dated around 1500 BC. He was later deified as the God of Healing, and is usually depicted holding a staff with that accompanying single snake.

One explanation of the Asclepius symbol would have us believe that the snake was a parasitic worm, a common human affliction in ancient societies, and visible beneath the skin of the abdomen. A physician would locate the position of the worm, make an incision in the patient’s skin, then place his stick at the point where the parasite would emerge. He would then carefully wind the worm around it until it was fully out. The staff with the ‘worm’ coiled around it was said to be the physician’s ‘advertisement’ for his services.

Like the Caduceus, or Physician's Staff, the Staff of Asclepius has long been a popular tattoo design with individuals who work in the medical professions, especially with those who provide Emergency Medical Services, such as Paramedics and Emergency Room personnel.

See also: Snakes, Crosses, Knife Tattoos, Sword Tattoo, Wings, Caduceus Tattoos,