The foundational text of Chinese medicine is the Huangdi neijing, (or Yellow Emperor's Inner Canon), written 5th century to 3rd century BCE. Near the end of the 2nd century CE, during the Han dynasty, Zhang Zhongjing, wrote a Treatise on Cold Damage, which contains the earliest known reference to the Neijing Suwen. The Jin Dynasty practitioner and advocate of acupuncture and moxibustion, Huangfu Mi (215–282), also quotes the Yellow Emperor in his Jiayi jing, c. 265. During the Tang Dynasty, the Suwen was expanded and revised, and is now the best extant representation of the foundational roots of traditional Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine that is based on the use of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage and other forms of therapy has been practiced in China for thousands of years.
Western conceptions of the body differ significantly from indigenous knowledge and explanatory frameworks in Asia. As colonial governments assumed responsibility for health care, conceptions of the human body were translated into local languages and related to vernacular views of health, disease, and healing. The contributors to this volume chart and analyze the organization of western medical education in Southeast Asia, public health education in the region, and the response of practitioners of “traditional medicine”.
But that is not the whole story. Humans did not at first regard death and disease as natural phenomena. Common maladies, such as colds or constipation, were accepted as part of existence and dealt with by means of such herbal remedies as were available. Serious and disabling diseases, however, were placed in a very different category. These were of supernatural origin. They might be the result of a spell cast upon the victim by some enemy, visitation by a malevolent demon, or the work of an offended god who had either projected some object—a dart, a stone, a worm—into the body of the victim or had abstracted something, usually the soul of the patient. The treatment then applied was to lure the errant soul back to its proper habitat within the body or to extract the evil intruder, be it dart or demon, by counterspells, incantations, potions, suction, or other means.
In the Middle Ages learning flourished in Europe. Greek and Roman books, which had been translated into Arabic were now translated into Latin. In the late 11th century a school of medicine was founded in Salerno in Italy. (Women were allowed to study there as well as men). In the 12th century another was founded at Montpellier. In the 13th century more were founded at Bologna, Padua and Paris. Furthermore many students studied medicine in European universities. Medicine became a profession again. However ordinary people could not afford doctors fees. Instead they saw 'wise men' or 'wise women',
Retinal neurons and their axon output have evolved to be inside the layer of retinal pigment cells. This creates a constraint on the evolution of the visual system such that the optic nerve is forced to exit the retina through a point called the optic disc. This, in turn, creates a blind spot. More importantly, it makes vision vulnerable to increased pressure within the eye (glaucoma) since this cups and damages the optic nerve at this point, resulting in impaired vision.
Byzantine physicians often compiled and standardized medical knowledge into textbooks. Their records tended to include both diagnostic explanations and technical drawings. The Medical Compendium in Seven Books, written by the leading physician Paul of Aegina, survived as a particularly thorough source of medical knowledge. This compendium, written in the late seventh century, remained in use as a standard textbook for the following 800 years.
Medieval doctors also prescribed laxatives for purging. Enemas were given with a greased tube attached to a pigs bladder. Doctors also prescribed baths in scented water. They also used salves and ointments and not just for skin complaints. Doctors believed it was important when treating many illnesses to prevent heat or moisture escaping from the affected part of the body and they believed that ointments would do that.
Chris Kresser: Mm-hmm. So let’s talk a little, since we’re on the topic, let’s talk a little bit more about scalability. We’re actually, you mentioned combining higher-cost services with lower-cost services or personnel for implementation. I’m expanding my own clinic now and we’re getting ready. I’ve hired an intern here that I’m training, and we’re going to be hiring, probably in the future, some nurse practitioners and physician assistants that can help to implement some of the treatment protocols that I’m designing and researching. We’re using technology now a lot more efficiently with electronic health records, and handouts and documents that can be delivered through that on specific health conditions that patients have. So rather than spending time clinically to talk them through these things, we can give them a handout or even direct them to a video or webinar to watch, which is a lot more time-efficient for me, and cost-efficient for them, because they’re not paying me to just tell them something that they could learn by watching a video or a webinar. So what’s your take on how functional medicine will scale and become available? And what role does technology play in that?
Seishu Hanaoka (1760–1835) studied medicine in Kyoto and set up a practice in his hometown of Hirayama. He became interested in the idea of anaesthesia owing to stories that a third-century Chinese surgeon Houa T’o had developed a compound drug enabling patients to sleep through the pain. Hanaoka experimented with similar formulae and produced Tsusensan, a potent hot drink. Among other botanical ingredients it contained the plants Datura metel (aka Datura alba or ‘devil’s trumpet’), monkshood and Angelica decursiva, all of which contain some potent physiologically active substances.
Anatomy: A brief introduction Anatomy identifies and describes the structure of living things, and is essential to the practice of health and medicine. It can involve the study of larger biological structures, called gross anatomy, or of cells and tissues, known as microscopic anatomy or histology. Learn more about the importance of anatomy here. Read now
Although there is no record to establish when plants were first used for medicinal purposes (herbalism), the use of plants as healing agents, as well as clays and soils is ancient. Over time through emulation of the behavior of fauna a medicinal knowledge base developed and passed between generations. As tribal culture specialized specific castes, shamans and apothecaries fulfilled the role of healer. The first known dentistry dates to c. 7000 BC in Baluchistan where Neolithic dentists used flint-tipped drills and bowstrings. The first known trepanning operation was carried out c. 5000 BC in Ensisheim, France. A possible amputation was carried out c. 4,900 BC in Buthiers-Bulancourt, France.
Mid-1960s: Many seriously mentally ill people are removed from institutions. In the United States they are directed toward local mental health homes and facilities. The number of institutionalized mentally ill people in the United States will drop from a peak of 560,000 to just over 130,000 in 1980. Many people suffering from mental illness become homeless because of inadequate housing and follow-up care.