The theories of Hippocrates and Galen are of vital importance to the development of medicine, as they shaped medicine for many centuries to come. Hippocrates was the first to dismiss the notion that magic, spirits, or the Gods could cause or cure disease, reforming the course medicine took. Galen followed in the footsteps of Hippocrates, working relentlessly on human anatomy, endeavoring to fathom how the body functions and what happens when something goes wrong. Without Hippocrates’ belief in diseases being a product of nature revolutionizing medicine, and Galen’s extensive work on the anatomy of the human body, medicine may not have progressed to what it is today.
Hippocrates of Cos was an Ancient Greek physician who is thought to be one of the most revolutionary figures in the history of medicine. He is referred to as the “father of modern medicine” in recognition of his lasting donations to medicine as the founder of the Hippocratic school of medicine. This school of medicine modernized medicine in Ancient Greece, ascertaining it as a discipline distinctive from others, notably theurgy (the practice of rituals, sometimes seen as magical in nature, to evoke the presence of one or more Gods). Hippocrates is recognized as the first person to consider that ailments were triggered by natural causes, and not owing to superstition and Gods. He separated the theory of medicine from religion, believing that disease was a product of environmental factors, diet, and living habits. Hippocrates was interested in rational medicine.
Hippocrates pioneered scientific approaches to medicine and the practice of clinical observation. His medical practices were based on observation and on the study of the human body: a method developed from the Ancient Egyptians. Hippocrates believed that a doctor should only give medicine if he was sure he knew what was wrong with the patient. He was the first to accurately describe symptoms. He is given credit for the first description of clubbing of the fingers, an important diagnostic sign in chronic lung disease, lung cancer, and cyanotic heart disease. Today, clubbed fingers are also referred to as Hippocratic fingers.
Hippocrates learnt from two earlier thinkers, Pythagoras and Alcmaeon of Croton, that the body was healthy if all parts were in balance: an early idea of homeostasis. Thus, the theory of the Four Humours was born. Hippocrates believed that the body was made up of four liquids or humours-blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile. Each of the humours was connected to a season. Blood was linked to spring, phlegm to winter, yellow bile to summer, and black bile to autumn. Hippocrates believed that a preponderance of one of the four humours would cause a person to be ill. For example, when people caught colds in winter, he suggested that they had too much phlegm in their body. Therefore, the appropriate treatment for this ailment would be to give medicines to clear the phlegm. Hippocrates’...