Medicine of ancient Greece

Mineral springs of Greece: a healing gift of nature

In ancient Greek medicine, illness was originally seen as divine punishment and healing, literally as a gift from the gods. However, by the 5th century BC. e. Attempts were made to determine the material causes of illness, not the spiritual, and this led to a shift from superstition to scientific research, although in reality the two approaches were never completely separate. Thus, Greek physicians began to take an increasing interest in the body itself and to study the relationship between cause and effect, the relationship of symptoms to the disease itself, and the success or failure of various treatments.

Greek views on health

Greek medicine is not a single body of knowledge and practice, but rather a diverse body of methods and beliefs that have been influenced by general factors such as geography and time period, as well as more specific factors such as local traditions and the gender and social class of the patient. However, common themes running through Greek medical thought included concerns about the positive and negative effects of diet and the belief that the patient could actually do something about his illness, as opposed to the fatalistic and spiritual thinking of earlier times.

However, the distinction between the spiritual and physical worlds is often blurred in Greek medicine, for example, the god Asclepius was considered a giver of healing, but also a highly qualified medical practitioner. Patients in his various sanctuaries (especially at Epidaurus) called on God to give advice on healing in his sleep. Grateful patients often left monuments on the spot revealing some of the problems that needed to be treated, such as blindness, worms, lameness, snake bites and aphasia.

Asclepius is the god of medicine in ancient Greece.

Lifestyle and factors such as heat, cold and injury have been found to be important factors in human health and can alleviate or worsen symptoms of illness. It has also been recognized that a person's physical condition can also influence the severity or susceptibility of illness. There was also a persistent belief that a better understanding of the causes of disease symptoms could help combat the disease itself. With a great knowledge of anatomy, the belief also came that the balance of various fluids in the human body can be the cause of this or that disease.

Greek Medical Works

The first documented evidence of Greek medical practice can be considered a scene from Homer's Iliad, which describes the treatment of wounded soldiers in the Trojan War. For example, Homer colorfully describes how Patroclus cleans the wound of Eurypilus with warm water. Medical issues and doctors are also frequently mentioned in other types of Greek literature, sometimes even in comedy plays. But the most detailed medical works we find in 60 treatises, which are often attributed to Hippocrates (V-IV centuries BC), he is considered the "father of medicine" in its classical sense.

The works of Hippocrates deal with all sorts of medical topics, but can be grouped into main categories: diagnostics, biology and anatomy, treatment and general recommendations for doctors.

Another important source of our knowledge about ancient Greek medicine is fragmentary texts from the Greek corpus of natural philosophy, dating from the 6th-5th centuries. BC e. Philosophers in general, seeing the benefits of good health for the mind and soul, have often been directly or indirectly associated with the human body and medicine. Among the famous Greek philosophers related to medicine, Plato (the same famous student of Socrates and teacher of Aristotle), Empedocles of Akrag, Philistine Locri and Anaxagoras can be distinguished.

Doctors and Practitioners

Since practicing physicians lacked professional qualifications, any Greek could theoretically become a physician and travel in search of patients to practice on. The Spartans, however, had certain personnel responsible for medical care in their professional army. In addition, medical practitioners appeared to be held in high esteem in general, despite the absence of a recognized professional body to oversee and train future doctors and the strange mad doctor that appears in Greek comedy. As Homer states in the Iliad (11:14), "the doctor is worth many other people." However, in ancient Greece, not only doctors could give medical advice and provide treatment, but sometimes people from other professions that have a connection with medicine, such as midwives (they delivered women to women) and gymnastics coaches.

Herodotus, Hippocrates, Plutarch, Aristotle, Strabo wrote about the unique features of the local mineral waters, and even after two millennia their observations and valuable advice have not lost their relevance. For example, Herodotus argued that in order for the treatment with the mineral waters of Greece to be effective, the procedures should be carried out for at least 21 days, and Hippocrates noted that mineral springs are useful due to the compounds of copper, iron, silver, sulfur, etc.

Now there are about 700 mineral springs in the country, which are used in the territories of luxurious spa resorts, health centers, or they sprout from rocks and fountains absolutely free of charge for everyone. The most famous of them are:

Loutraki (Peloponnese)

Even in antiquity, the Greeks noticed that the hot waters, which were located in the Gulf of Corinth on the Isthmus of Peloponnesus, are capable of curing some diseases. Therefore, it is not surprising that the city, around which several mineral springs were discovered, received the name first Terme (baths), and then Loutraki (from the word loutra - medicinal baths). Today, more than 60 hotels are located here, and the most famous Loutra Loutrakiu hospital, equipped with the latest technology, is considered one of the best in the world.

Amazing healing properties are manifested due to the rich mineral composition of water, which includes sodium, radium, iodine, calcium, magnesium, iron, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, sulfur and several other components. Procedures in outdoor baths and pools improve the effect, as they are also combined with the effect of a healing climate saturated with pine aromas and the freshness of sea water. The springs are located along the sea in a strip of about 800 m. The temperature of the thermal waters is from + 30 ° C to + 37 ° C, and they are used both for drinking and for bathing.

Indications for treatment: rheumatism, paralysis, diseases of the musculoskeletal system, heart, kidneys, liver, biliary and urinary tract, urolithiasis, diseases of the respiratory system, problems with blood circulation, nervous disorders.

Every guest of the city can get well in the Loutra Loutrakiu health resort - the cost of bathing ranges from 1 to 5 euros (depending on the capacity of the baths and pools). To improve the effect, it is recommended to have a massage before taking a bath (from 5 to 50 euros, depending on the time).

By the way, if you do not have the opportunity to visit these wonderful places now, but want to improve your health and relax, then you can do this in the near future without even leaving the country. After all, what was invented in ancient times by the Greeks has not lost its relevance today. These are baths where you can relax, strengthen your body and spirit with health benefits. It is very easy to find out what the price of a bathhouse is - go to the site and see. And there you will also find a wide range of services: Finnish saina, wood-burning sauna, Japanese sauna and much more. Everything for a wonderful pastime and relaxation.

Edipsou (about Euboea)

The Edipsos (Edipsu) mineral springs are located in the northwestern part of the island of Evia and have been known since the third century BC. ... This corner of Greece perfectly combines the beauty of the seaside and lush Mediterranean vegetation. Mineral waters from a depth of 3 thousand meters come out both on the surface of the earth (into pools and fountains) and into the sea itself, so even a beach vacation in Greece in this place can be extremely useful in itself. The local mineral springs contain radon, carbon, sodium, calcium, hydrogen sulfide, iron and nitrogen compounds.

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