Minggu, 26 Februari 2012

Medicus Curat — Natura Sanat 6 - Hippocrates (c. 460 BC - 377 BC) Vis medicatrix naturae

Vis medicatrix naturae
Vis medicatrix naturae (also known as natura medica) is the Latin translation of the Greek, νονσων φνσεις ιητροι, a phrase attributed to Hippocrates but which he did not actually use. The phrase sums up one of the guiding principles of Hippocratic medicine which is that organisms contain “healing powers of nature”.


Hippocrates believed that an organism is not passive to injuries or disease, but rebalances itself to counteract them. The state of illness, therefore, is not a malady but an effort of the body to overcome a disturbed equilibrium. It is this capacity of organisms to correct imbalances that distinguishes them from non-living matter.
From this follows the medical approach that “nature is the best physician” or “nature is the healer of disease”. To do this Hippocrates considered a doctor’s chief aim was to help this natural tendency of the body by observing its action, removing obstacles to its action, and thus allow an organism to recover its own health. This underlies such Hippocratic practices as blood letting in which a perceived excess of a humor is removed, and thus was taken to help the rebalancing of the body's humors.

Renaissance and modern history
After Hippocrates, the idea of vis medicatrix naturae continued to play a key role in medicine. In the early Renaissance, the physician and early scientist Paracelsus had the idea of “inherent balsam”. Thomas Sydenham, in the 18th century considered fever as a healing force of nature.
In the nineteenth-century, vis medicatrix naturae came to be interpreted as vitalism, and in this form it came to underlie the philosophical framework of homeopathy, chiropractic, hydropathy, osteopathy and naturopathy. As Bynum notes, "Search the Internet for vis medicatrix naturae and you will find yourself in the land of what we now politely call 'alternative' or 'complementary' medicine".

Relation to homeostasis
Walter Cannon's notion of homeostasis also has its origins in vis medicatrix naturae. "All that I have done thus far in reviewing the various protective and stabilizing devices of the body is to present a modern interpretation of the natural vis medicatrix.". In this, Cannon stands in contrast to Claude Bernard (the father of modern physiology), and his earlier idea of milieu interieur that he proposed to replace vitalistic ideas about the body. However, both the notions of homeostasis and milieu interieur are ones concerned with how the body's physiology regulates itself through multiple mechanical equilibrium adjustment feedbacks rather than nonmechanistic life forces.

Relation to Evolutionary medicine
More recently, evolutionary medicine has identified many medical symptoms such as fever, inflammation, sickness behavior, and morning sickness as evolved adaptations that function as darwinian medicatrix naturae due to their selection as means to protect, heal, or restore the injured, infected or physiologically disrupted body.

The four humors of Hippocratic medicine are black bile (Gk. melan chole), yellow bile (Gk. chole), phlegm (Gk. phlegma), and blood (L. sanguis), and each corresponds to one of the traditional four temperaments. A humor is also referred to as a cambium (pl. cambia or cambiums).
The 4 humors

The four humors, their corresponding elements, seasons, sites of formation, and resulting temperaments alongside their modern equivalents are:

Humour Season Element Organ Qualities Ancient name Modern MBTI Ancient characteristics
Blood spring air liver warm & moist sanguine artisan SP courageous, hopeful, amorous
Yellow bile summer fire spleen warm & dry choleric idealist NF easily angered, bad tempered
Black bile autumn earth gall bladder cold & dry melancholic guardian SJ despondent, sleepless, irritable
Phlegm winter water brain/lungs cold & moist phlegmatic rational NT calm, unemotional

MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator)
Extraversion (E) (I) Introversion
Sensing (S) (N) Intuition
Thinking (T) (F) Feeling
Judgment (J) (P) Perception
Hippocrates is the one usually credited with applying this idea to medicine. Humoralism, or the doctrine of the four temperaments, as a medical theory retained its popularity for centuries largely through the influence of the writings of Galen (131–201 AD) and was decisively displaced only in 1858 by Rudolf Virchow's newly published theories of cellular pathology. 
The four temperaments (Clockwise from top right: choleric; melancholic; sanguine; phlegmatic).
The four temperaments (Clockwise from top right: choleric; melancholic; sanguine; phlegmatic).
The four temperaments (Clockwise from top right: choleric; melancholic; sanguine; phlegmatic).

"A human being is part of a whole, called by us the 'universe', a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affectation for a few people near us.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."
Albert Einstein

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