About one in 200 people died from this procedure, but most became mildly sick, recovering in a few days.
In the process, they gained immunity to the disease.
Because smallpox inoculation exposed people to such a tiny dose of the virus, it caused far fewer deaths than the natural spread of the disease.
Still, London physicians were skeptical of anything peasants or traditional healers did.
Not until fashionable Lady Mary Wortley Montagu returned from Turkey did it catch on with the upper classes.
Having observed Turkish healers, Lady Mary had her son inoculated in London and published a pamphlet explaining the procedure.
Soon, even physicians saw that inoculation gave people a better chance of contracting a mild case of smallpox, preventing many deaths.