Definition of "Health"
The meaning of the terms “health”, “healing”, and “wellness” have similar connotations in different cultures all over the world. From the historical point of view, such terms as “health” and “wellness” have almost the same meaning. Being healthy means that a person does not suffer from any illnesses or injuries, and, as a result, his/her organism functions well. Healing is the process of making a person recover from an illness. Every culture had people who were responsible for healing others; they were called shamans, druids, or priests, but perform the same functions though their methods were unique in every culture. The term “wellness” predetermines the precaution measures that are taken in order to avoid the illnesses. From the ancient times, people tried to find out the reasons of illnesses in the human organism; the analysis of the theories mentioned below can explain the evolution of medicine till the present days.
The Theories of Illnesses
The humoral theory differentiates four humors; they are black bile, yellow bile, blood, and phlegm (McInnis, 2007). According to humoral theory, if one of these humors is out of balance, a person becomes ill. Hence, the illnesses are the result of imbalance, but not the external influence of viruses on a human organism.
The anatomical theory is opposite to the humoral theory. In fact, it was the first attempt to diagnose the symptoms of pathologies that lead to illnesses (Kosits, 2011). The followers of this theory found out that blood could transfer disease to all parts of human body; this discover was the beginning of the further investigation of blood-transferred diseases.
The germ theory established that some diseases were caused by the specific microscopic organisms (Buchen, 2010). This discovery was made when the researchers identified that many women who had just born a child died of the childbirth fewer. They made a connection between these two phenomena and discovered antiseptics that could prevent terrible outcomes.
Each theory perceives diseases from a different angle; thus, the followers of the theories have their own vision of the diseases’ origins. The proponents of the humoral theory stated that the diseases are the result of imbalance in the human organism. This theory does not analyze the symptoms that could lead to the disease but pays too much attention to the consequences such as the damage of one of the four humors. The anatomical theory made a step forward denying the humoral theory (Holtz, 2008). The followers of this theory came to the conclusion that the infection can be transmitted by blood; hence, the imbalance in human organism is the result of the infection. The germ theory identified that all diseases are caused by microscopic organisms. Hence, if one can find a way to destroy these organisms, he/she could cure the patient. Each theory made a step forward in understanding the real origin of the diseases; first, diseases were viewed as a complex phenomenon, but later, the theories started perceiving them as factors that lead to the imbalance in the organism.
From the historical point of view, the discussed theories made a significant contribution to the study and curing of diseases. The theories appeared in the certain ages; the level of science and technologies helped to develop the specific complex of views that could be used in order to treat patients (Brown, 2014). Despite the fact that humoral theory analyzes the diseases as a general phenomenon, it gave the beginning to the anatomical theory which could discover new ways of curing illnesses.
To sum up, it can be said that the current methods of curing people were achieved due to the centuries-long analysis of the diseases, identifying connection between the imbalance in human organism and external factors that lead to the disease. Despite the fact that the first theories were primitive, they made a significant contribution to the study of diseases.
- Brown, J. K. (2014). Connecting health and natural history: A failed initiative at the American museum of natural history, 1909–1922. American Journal of Public Health, 104(10), 1877-1888.
- Buchen, L. (2010). Microbiology: The new germ theory. Nature, 468 (7323), 492.
- Holtz, C. (2008). Global health care: Issues and policies. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
- Kosits, R. D. (2011). Michael Frampton. Embodiments of will: Anatomical and physiological theories of voluntary animal motion from Greek antiquity to the Latin middle ages, 400 B.C.-A.D. 1300. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 47(1), 106-109.
- McInnis, D. (2007). Humoral theory as an organizing principle in Shelley's "Ode to the West Wind"? Anq, 20(2), 32-34.