Wisdom of Life

Hippocrates: On the Wisdom of a Healthy Life

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.

“Walking is man’s best medicine.

“The greatest medicine of all is teaching people how not to need it.

“A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illnesses. A wise man ought to realize that health is his most valuable possession. Persons who have a painful affection in any part of the body, and are in a great measure sensible of the pain, are disordered in intellect. Prayer indeed is good, but while calling on the gods a man should himself lend a hand. Everyone has a doctor in him or her; we just have to help it in its work. The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well. Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food. But to eat when you are sick, is to feed your sickness. Each of the substances of a man’s diet acts upon his body and changes it in some way and upon these changes his whole life depends.

All disease starts in the gut. If you are not your own doctor, you are a fool.

Illnesses do not come upon us out of the blue. They are developed from small daily sins against Nature. When enough sins have accumulated, illnesses will suddenly appear. Disease is not an entity, but a fluctuating condition of the patient’s body, a battle between the substance of disease and the natural self-healing tendency of the body.

Many admire, few know. Men ought to know that from the brain and from the brain only arise our pleasures, joys, laughter, and jests as well as our sorrows, pains, griefs and tears. It is the same thing which makes us mad or delirious, inspires us with dread and fear, whether by night or by day, brings us sleeplessness, inopportune mistakes, aimless anxieties, absent-mindedness and acts that are contrary to habit.

Everything in excess is opposed by nature. Extreme remedies are very appropriate for extreme diseases. To do nothing is also a good remedy. If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health. All parts of the body which have a function, if used in moderation and exercised in labors in which each is accustomed, become thereby healthy, well developed and age more slowly, but if unused they become liable to disease, defective in growth and age quickly.

Positive health requires a knowledge of man’s primary constitution and of the powers of various foods, both those natural to them and those resulting from human skill. But eating alone is not enough for health. There must also be exercise, of which the effects must likewise be known. The combination of these two things makes regimen, when proper attention is given to the season of the year, the changes of the wind, the age of the individual, and the situation of his home. If there is any deficiency in food or exercise, the body will fall sick.

Before you heal someone, ask him if he’s willing to give up the things that make him sick.

The physician treats, but nature heals. Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a mater of opportunity. The physician must be able to tell the antecedents, know the present, and foretell the future — must mediate these things, and have two special objects in view with regard to disease, namely, to do good or to do no harm. It’s more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has. A physician without a knowledge of Astrology has no right to call himself a physician. A physician who is a lover of wisdom is the equal to a god.

Physicians are many in title but very few in reality. Any man who is intelligent must, on considering that health is of the utmost value to human beings, have the personal understanding necessary to help himself in diseases, and be able to understand and to judge what physicians say and what they administer to his body, being versed in each of these matters to a degree reasonable for a layman.

Anyone wishing to study medicine must master the art of massage. The way to health is to have an aromatic bath and a scented massage every day.

There are in fact two things, science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance. People think that epilepsy is divine simply because they don’t have any idea what causes epilepsy. But I believe that someday we will understand what causes epilepsy, and at that moment, we will cease to believe that it’s divine. And so it is with everything in the universe.

Make a habit of two things: to help; or at least to do no harm.

If you are in a bad mood go for a walk. If you are still in a bad mood go for another walk.

***

~Hippocrates of Kos, also known as Hippocrates II, was a Greek physician of the Age of Pericles, who is considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine.

Quotes from The Aphorisms of Hippocrates and Hippocratic Writings

©Excellence Reporter 2020

Categories: Wisdom of Life

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