A History of Medicine:
The Humoral Concept, Anatomical Theory, and Germ Theory, and How They Lead to Modern Medicine
From ancient times to modern day, medicine has changed in leaps and bounds. Many discoveries have been made through trial and error. Vaccines, organ transplants, blood transfusions, and pacemakers are just a few of the things medical advancement has brought us. However, at the root of all of this, there are the theories that we base our medical knowledge on. These theories, the humoral concept of disease, the anatomical theory of disease, and germ theory are what has lead us to modern medicine, and changed not only how we see and treat disease, but also the human body.
The humoral concept can be traced back to Hippocrates (490 to 377 B.C.) of ancient Greece. It is based on the idea illness is caused by one or more of the four “humors” are out of balance in a person’s body. It was believed that this imbalance caused the patient to display outward physical symptoms (sneezing, coughing, fever, etc.). These four humors were also associated with the elements, seasons, and certain qualities. The four humors were: yellow bile- fire, summer, hot and dry; black bile- earth, autumn, cold and dry; blood- air, spring, hot and moist; and phlegm- water, winter, cold and moist (Gill, 2012). Hippocrates proved that disease was a part of nature. He said, "The body of man has in itself blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile; these make up the nature of the body, and through these he feels pain or enjoys health. Now, he enjoys the most perfect health when these elements are duly...
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