Susruta, the founding father of Indian medicine, establishes a tradition later enshrined in a classic text, the Susrutasamhita. He identifies 1120 diseases, lists 760 medicinal drugs, and says that the surgeon's equipment amounts to 20 sharp instruments (including knives, scissors, saws and needles) and 101 blunt ones (such as forceps, tubes, levers, hooks and probes).
Sushruta advises his students that however well read they are, they are not competent to treat disease until they have practical experience. Surgical incisions were to be tried out on the skin of fruits, while carefully extracting fruit seeds enabled the student to develop the skill of removing foreign bodies from flesh. They also practised on dead animals and on leather bags filled with water, before being let loose on real patients.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowships, awarded since 1981 and popularly known as the "Genius Award," provide unrestricted grants (currently $500,000) to individuals in the arts, sciences, humanities, education, business and other fi elds who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative endeavors and a clear capacity for future achievements.
Paracelsus (1493–1541), was an erratic and abusive innovator who rejected Galen and bookish knowledge, calling for experimental research, with heavy doses of mysticism, alchemy and magic mixed in. He rejected sacred magic (miracles) under Church auspisces and looked for cures in nature. He preached but he also pioneered the use of chemicals and minerals in medicine. His hermetical views were that sickness and health in the body relied on the harmony of man (microcosm) and Nature (macrocosm). He took an approach different from those before him, using this analogy not in the manner of soul-purification but in the manner that humans must have certain balances of minerals in their bodies, and that certain illnesses of the body had chemical remedies that could cure them. Most of his influence came after his death. Paracelsus is a highly controversial figure in the history of medicine, with most experts hailing him as a Father of Modern Medicine for shaking off religious orthodoxy and inspiring many researchers; others say he was a mystic more than a scientist and downplay his importance.
According to the compendium of Charaka, the Charakasamhitā, health and disease are not predetermined and life may be prolonged by human effort. The compendium of Suśruta, the Suśrutasamhitā defines the purpose of medicine to cure the diseases of the sick, protect the healthy, and to prolong life. Both these ancient compendia include details of the examination, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of numerous ailments. The Suśrutasamhitā is notable for describing procedures on various forms of surgery, including rhinoplasty, the repair of torn ear lobes, perineal lithotomy, cataract surgery, and several other excisions and other surgical procedures. Most remarkable is Sushruta's penchant for scientific classification: His medical treatise consists of 184 chapters, 1,120 conditions are listed, including injuries and illnesses relating to aging and mental illness.
Because of the social custom that men and women should not be near to one another, the women of China were reluctant to be treated by male doctors. The missionaries sent women doctors such as Dr. Mary Hannah Fulton (1854–1927). Supported by the Foreign Missions Board of the Presbyterian Church (US) she in 1902 founded the first medical college for women in China, the Hackett Medical College for Women, in Guangzhou.
Chris Kresser: Yeah, that’s great. The summit, it seems there’s so many great speakers, so many good topics. I love that there’s a doctor practitioner track. And I really encourage anyone who’s listening to this to check it out, because there’s a wealth of information there. It’s really representative of what the future of medicine is going to be. And there’s a lot of really practical, actionable information that you can use right now to improve your health. So if you want to check it out, go to ChrisKresser.com/evomed. That’s E-V-O-M-E-D, ChrisKresser.com/evomed. And you can register for free for this summit. You can watch all the talks for free, which is about as good as it gets. And, yeah, go over there and sign up, and they’ll send you the schedule.
James Maskell: Absolutely. Well, the concept with the Evolution of Medicine Summit was that I saw so many ways in which medicine was evolving. You know, medicine is evolving to treat the kind of diseases that we have, the current epidemics. So it’s having to sort of evolve and adapt to deal with that. There are also really cool evolutionary concepts within medicine and health that I know you’re really big on. And that’s why I had to have you come in and speak. You know, obviously, I know you’re big on the microbiome, and our evolution with microbes has certainly been something that people are interested in, obviously evolutionary nutrition and then Paleo concepts. We are really excited to have your talk as the keynote for the Paleo day on the summit. And then there’s also this evolution with regards to technology as well, health technology and the interaction. You’re right there in San Francisco, the Silicon Valley Revolution, which I really feel is a synergistic force to the work that we are all doing in integrative and functional medicine. I just saw all of these things coming together. They’re literally coming together in the first week of September. There’s the iPhone, the new iWatch is going to launch then. We have the Cleveland Clinic announcement with Functional Forum. We have the Brain and Gut Journal coming up. So all of these things are happening in the first week of September. It’s just been really congruent to put together a summit of the finest minds and try and share some of these messages as quickly and as effectively as possible.
The Evolution of Medicine provides step-by-step instruction for building a successful "community micropractice," one that engages both the patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership focused on the body as a whole rather than isolated symptoms. This invaluable handbook will awaken health professionals to exciting new career possibilities. At the same time, it will alleviate the fear of abandoning a conventional medical system that is bad for doctors, patients, and payers, as well as being ineffectual in the treatment of chronic ailments.
I ended up selling the practice to my partner and taking a 20-month sabbatical due to a motor vehicle accident. I had considered retiring after selling the practice, but in the area where I live there are very few people practicing this style of medicine and the need far exceeds the number of people who have the skills or knowledge. During the time I was not working, I had many former patients contacting me and wanting to know when I was going to open a new practice.