“Drug companies do not look for ‘cause.’ The drug company business model is based on ‘sustainability.’ Rather than find a cause and cure, patients are simply sustained.” Shane Ellison, Author

modern medicine

Hippocrates was born around 460 BC on the island of Kos, Greece. He became known as the founder of medicine and was regarded as the greatest physician of his time. He based his medical practice on observations and on the study of the human body. He held the belief that illness had a physical and a rational explanation. He rejected the views of his time that considered illness to be caused by superstitions and by possession of evil spirits and disfavour of the gods.

Hippocrates Teaching

Hippocrates held the belief that the body must be treated as a whole and not just a series of parts. He accurately identified disease symptoms. He was also the first physician to accurately describe the symptoms of pneumonia, as well as epilepsy in children. He believed in the natural healing process of rest, a good diet, fresh air, and cleanliness.

modern medicine

He noted that there were individual differences in the severity of disease symptoms. Also that, some people were better able to cope with their disease and illness than others. He was also the first physician that held the belief that thoughts, ideas, and feelings come from the brain and not the heart as others of his time believed. Hippocrates traveled throughout Greece practicing his medicine. He founded a medical school on the island of Kos, Greece and began teaching his ideas. He soon developed an Oath of Medical Ethics for physicians to follow. This Oath is taken by physicians today as they begin their medical practice. He died in 377 BC. Today Hippocrates is known as the “Father of Medicine.”

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The origin of the “modern” Hippocratic Oath is not 100% certain, despite the credit to Dean Lasagna. The Encyclopedia of Bioethics (2003) says:

“A document patterned after the Oath of Hippocrates appeared in 1948, when the newly organized World Medical Association (WMA) adopted the Declaration of Geneva. In 1991, 47 U.S. medical schools used it (Dickstein et al.). (Of the remainder, 14 schools used the Prayer of Maimonides or more recently written oaths.)”


I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant: I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism. I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.

I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery. I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death.

If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems if I am to care adequately for the sick. I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure. modern medicine

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm. If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.

The oath was written in 1964 by Louis Lasagna, Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University. It is used in many medical schools today.

Economic activity grew rapidly during the 18th Century in Western Europe and the Americas. It was the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. During the 19th century, economic and industrial growth gathered pace. It was also a period of scientific discovery and invention. Old ideas of infectious disease epidemiology (incidence, distribution, and control of diseases) paved the way to virology and bacteriology.

Microbiology made advances, a science that started with Antonie Philips van Leeuwenhoek (1632 – 1723), who first observed microorganisms with a microscope. Enormous developments were made in identifying and preventing illnesses. However, one problem still persisted, and that was treating and curing infectious diseases. Modern medicine has shifted away from preventative measures. Instead, it focuses more on responsive measures with a heavy emphasis on the use of prescription drugs. As a result, more people are starting to discover natural, holistic approaches to healthcare.


modern medicine

Is This Modern Approach Working?

The USA is commonly seen as a nation with advanced modern medicine, right? So let’s use them as an example. What we will do is use money and where the consumers (people seeking help) are spending it as a rough idea as to what the population and practitioner behaviours are.

    1. Americans filled 4.3 billion prescriptions and doled out nearly $425 billion on medicine in 2015, according to Bloomberg.
    2. Americans spent $33.9 billion out-of-pocket on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) over the previous 12 months, according to a 2007 government survey.

So nearly 1/120th of consumer spending (health solution seekers) is on complementary and alternative means. Ayurvedic medicine is an even smaller portion of that. That would suggest that less than 1 in 120 people in the USA look to natural healing methods before they take synthetic prescription-based medicine. Isn’t that interesting? Next, let’s look at ALL the money spent on healthcare, using this same example.

    1. In 2014, U.S. health care spending increased 5.3 percent following growth of 2.9 percent in 2013 to reach $3.0 trillion, or $9,523 per person.
    2. As of 2012, about half of all adults—117 million people—had one or more chronic health conditions. One of four adults had two or more chronic health conditions.
    3. Eighty-six percent of all health care (~2.5 Trillion!!!!) spending in 2010 was for people with one or more chronic medical conditions.
    4. Chronic diseases are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths each year. Treating people with chronic diseases accounts for 86% of our nation’s health care costs.

So wait? This country is spending the most per capita, but having the worst outcomes, globally? The question to ask is whether or not this approach is working? As a nation, they spent $3 trillion on healthcare. Eighty-six percent of health care costs go towards chronic preventable disease.

Over half the adults in this country report having a chronic preventable disease. Seventy percent of deaths are associated with these same chronic preventable diseases. The treatment behaviour would seem that 119 people in every 120 are utilising prescription medicine as a first line approach.

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The question again, is this approach working? Hmm… interesting. Modern medicine appears to be overwhelmed with treating the symptoms. However, holistic-integrated healthcare — in the form of nutrition and lifestyle changes — focuses on the underlying root causes of pain, disease. It utilises the body’s natural healing mechanisms as a foundation for healing. The argument could be that modern medicine is now the alternative.

Do you think that modern medicine has had a positive or negative impact on your life? Tell us what you think over on our Facebook page.


Hippocrates Of Kos, The Father Of Modern Medicine

Encyclopaedia Of Bioethics

Louis Lasagna

Have We Become Too Dependent On Modern Medicine?

Prescription Drug Spending Hits Record $425 In US

Chronic Disease Overview

modern medicine