This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast, we welcome Gladys McGarey. At 97 years old, Galdys is a true pioneer in holistic and living medicine and we're absolutely thrilled to welcome her to the podcast. Dr. Gladys is internationally recognized as the Mother of Holistic Medicine. Dr. Gladys, as she is affectionately known, is board certified in Holistic and Integrated Medicine and has held a family practice for more than sixty years.
In 1865 Joseph Lister (1827-1912) discovered antiseptic surgery, which enabled surgeons to perform many more complicated operations. Lister prevented infection by spraying carbolic acid over the patient during surgery. German surgeons developed a better method. The surgeons hands and clothes were sterilized before the operation and surgical instruments were sterilized with superheated steam. Rubber gloves were first used in surgery in 1890. Anesthetics and antiseptics made surgery much safer. They allowed far more complicated operations.
In Britain, there were but three small hospitals after 1550. Pelling and Webster estimate that in London in the 1580 to 1600 period, out of a population of nearly 200,000 people, there were about 500 medical practitioners. Nurses and midwives are not included. There were about 50 physicians, 100 licensed surgeons, 100 apothecaries, and 250 additional unlicensed practitioners. In the last category about 25% were women. All across Britain—and indeed all of the world—the vast majority of the people in city, town or countryside depended for medical care on local amateurs with no professional training but with a reputation as wise healers who could diagnose problems and advise sick people what to do—and perhaps set broken bones, pull a tooth, give some traditional herbs or brews or perform a little magic to cure what ailed them.
By the thirteenth century, the medical school at Montpellier began to eclipse the Salernitan school. In the 12th century, universities were founded in Italy, France, and England, which soon developed schools of medicine. The University of Montpellier in France and Italy's University of Padua and University of Bologna were leading schools. Nearly all the learning was from lectures and readings in Hippocrates, Galen, Avicenna, and Aristotle.
We've brought her back because her practice is now a huge success. She's implemented many of the things that we speak about in the 60 Day Practice Accelerator program and the Functional Forum. James, as a member of her practice, has witnessed it firsthand. Dr. Berzin is now opening more practices and looking for more physicians to bring on board.
Women had always served in ancillary roles, and as midwives and healers. The professionalization of medicine forced them increasingly to the sidelines. As hospitals multiplied they relied in Europe on orders of Roman Catholic nun-nurses, and German Protestant and Anglican deaconesses in the early 19th century. They were trained in traditional methods of physical care that involved little knowledge of medicine. The breakthrough to professionalization based on knowledge of advanced medicine was led by Florence Nightingale in England. She resolved to provide more advanced training than she saw on the Continent. At Kaiserswerth, where the first German nursing schools were founded in 1836 by Theodor Fliedner, she said, "The nursing was nil and the hygiene horrible.") Britain's male doctors preferred the old system, but Nightingale won out and her Nightingale Training School opened in 1860 and became a model. The Nightingale solution depended on the patronage of upper class women, and they proved eager to serve. Royalty became involved. In 1902 the wife of the British king took control of the nursing unit of the British army, became its president, and renamed it after herself as the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps; when she died the next queen became president. Today its Colonel In Chief is Sophie, Countess of Wessex, the daughter-in-law of Queen Elizabeth II. In the United States, upper middle class women who already supported hospitals promoted nursing. The new profession proved highly attractive to women of all backgrounds, and schools of nursing opened in the late 19th century. They soon a function of large hospitals, where they provided a steady stream of low-paid idealistic workers. The International Red Cross began operations in numerous countries in the late 19th century, promoting nursing as an ideal profession for middle class women.
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',
Chris Kresser: I think that’s like the biggest change we’re going to see, is the nature of this device will change people’s awareness of health, and that’s incredible to think about. There are so many people who are interested in tech that aren’t necessarily that interested in health. But due to their interest in tech, they’re going to become interested in health, just because that’s going to be one of the main implementations of the iWatch. And as you said, there’s going to be such a big community of people developing software. And what we notice and pay attention to is what we can change. If we’re not aware of something, we can’t change it. And that, to me, is the most exciting factor of this new technology. It’s really going to dramatically increase people’s awareness of things—like how many steps they’re taking, and what kind of food they’re eating, and if they’re tracking that, and their heart rate, and how their heart rate variability might correlate to what type of exercise they should be doing that day. And it’s not just about those kind of specific things that they’re becoming aware of. It’s that focusing even on a few specific things like that is inevitably going to expand their awareness around all aspects of their health. So I think it can really be a revolutionary impact. And I know, as a clinician too, I’m really looking forward to having additional ways that I can both support my patients, by referring them to apps and things that can make implementing some of the recommendations that I give them easier and more practical. But if I need to collect data for something, some of these devices are going to make that a lot easier and they’re going to be able to send it back to me in a way that’s very actionable for me as a clinician. It’s a pretty exciting time to be involved in medicine and particularly the evolution of medicine.
James pieces together the last twenty five to forty years from the elders of which functional medicine was created. The basis of Functional Medicine is in history of Naturopathic, Chiropractic and Acupuncture along with the nutritional and medical research worlds. The new terminology fits within the paradigm of medicine and allows those in the medical field to grasp the root concepts that have been spoken for the last several hundred to four thousand years. Only now is the science finally catching up to what has been spoken by the elders in those professions.