History of Medicine and Medical Practices

History of Medicine and Medical Practices

[I wrote this TPOR (Thoughts, Perceptions, Opinions, and Recommendations) in the process of doing a study on the history of medicine as it applies to the development of a basic-generalist physician.  I tried to see what are the medical practices being done from ancient to present times and what are the pros and cons. The general categories of medical practices from antiquity to present consist of faith healing and non-faith healing, with the latter consisting of giving some medications and performing procedures.]

Studying and analyzing the history of medicine is essentially studying and analyzing the history of mankind which in turn is also studying and analyzing the history of the medical treatment of human beings when they sick or the practice of medicine by formal and informal practitioners and by patients from ancient to present times.

Medical treatment means the management and care of a patient to combat disease or disorder.

The practice of medicine involves diagnosis, treatment, or correction of human conditions, ailments, diseases, injuries, or infirmities whether physical or mental, by any means, methods, devices, or instruments.

As mentioned, in the history of medicine, medical treatment can be done by formal and informal practitioners and by patients themselves. There are myriads of ways of medical treatment and medical practice from antiquity to present.

They can fall under two general categories: faith healing and non-faith healing. Faith healing is the method of treating diseases just by prayer and exercise of faith in God. The non-faith healing medical treatment or practices include the following subtypes, namely, 1) folk medicine or traditional medicine; 2) mainstream or conventional medicine; and 3) alternative and complementary and integrative medicine.

Folk medicine is the treatment outside mainstream medicine by remedies and measures based on experience and knowledge handed down from generation to generation. Thus, the other term in traditional medicine. It is traditional medicine as practiced by nonprofessional healers or embodied in local custom or lore, generally involving the use of natural and especially herbal remedies.

Mainstream medicine is the conventional healthcare based on the “Western model” of evidence-based practice for diagnosing and treating disease. The other term is conventional medicine. Mainstream medicine assumes that all physiologic and pathological phenomenon can be explained in concrete terms. Mainstream medicine implies that the other forms of medicine present are outside the mainstream such as the alternative and folklore medicines.

Alternative medicine and complementary medicine are groups of medical practices that are considered to be outside the realm of conventional medicine. The folk medicine strictly speaking can be considered as a non-mainstream medicine but is a different entity from alternative and complementary medicine by virtue of its definition – traditional medicine as practiced by nonprofessional healers or embodied in local custom or lore. If the non-mainstream practice is used in place of the conventional medicine, then it is considered an alternative medicine. If the non-mainstream practice is used together with conventional medicine, then it is considered as a complementary medicine. When the complementary medicine is integrated into the conventional medicine, then it is considered as an integrative medicine.

As medicine evolves, some practices that were considered non-mainstream such as folk, complementary and alternative medicines may become a part of conventional medicine and will no longer be considered non-mainstream or alternative medicine.

Insights:

For faith-healing:

All patients with a remediable medical condition should do self-treatment or seek assistance from physicians or medical practitioners rather than just purely rely on prayer and an exercise of faith.  They can complement the self-treatment and treatment by physicians or medical practitioners with prayers and exercise of faith though (praying and hoping that they will be successfully healed).  

See ROJoson TPOR on Faith Healing.

For the non-faith healing medical practices:

All patients should give priority to mainstream medicine over non-mainstream medicine particularly those with data showing effectiveness for the former.  If there are data showing effectiveness for the non-mainstream medicine, go ahead.  

The non-mainstream medicine may be use as a complement to mainstream medicine as long as they can be shown to produce better results when combined.

ROJ-TPOR@17apr13

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