Blood will be the theme of this year’s annual conference of the Physicians of Myddfai Society.

The conference, under the chairmanship of Dr R. Brinley Jones, will be held in Myddfai Community Hall on Saturday, June 29.

The opening speaker, Professor Aoibheann Nic Dhonnchadha of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, will give an overview of medieval Irish medical manuscripts.

Health was as important an issue in medieval Ireland as it is today.

The manuscripts refer to blood-letting and the impact that various foods might have on a person's well-being.

They also stress the importance of regular exercise for all age groups.

Dr Tim Smith of Chippenham will talk about bleeding by cupping, leeching and the lancet. References to all three can be found in Egyptian hieroglyphs dating from about 1500 BC. Hundreds of thousands of leeches were collected from ponds for use by the medical profession, and the word ‘leech’ became a slang term for a doctor.

Cupping is nowadays fashionable among celebrities.

During treatment, special cups are placed on the skin to create suction. It is claimed that this helps to ease pain and increase blood flow.

Another speaker is Andrew Jenkins of Biopharm, an international company based in Hendy, which produces most of the leeches used in modern medicine worldwide.

Leeches are used in plastic and reconstructive surgery, as well as in research into osteoarthritis.

The final speaker of the day, Dr Saad Al-Ishmael, retired last year after being a consultant haematologist at Singleton Hospital, Swansea, for 35 years.

The theme of his talk is ‘Haematology: a modern discipline’.

The conference will also feature a poetry reading by Mary MacGregor and a short presentation by Phil Cope, author of The Living Wells of Wales.

The Society’s secretary, Dr Donald Williams, said: “This will be the fifth conference since the society’s launch in 2014. It is always popular, for several reasons: the wonderful setting, interesting topics, excellent presenters and good food. It’s a delightful social occasion.

“The cost of the conference, which is aimed at the average lay person, is £26, and includes a two-course buffet lunch, tea and coffee. Admission is by ticket only, and early booking is recommended.”

More information can be obtained from Bethan Jones on 01550 720450; the Community Hall and Visitor Centre on 01550 720449 or Margaret Shapland on 01550 740330.