Essay on The Ever Changing Concept of Health

2735 Words11 Pages
With the dominance of medicine over the past two hundred years many historical health concepts have gone through various changes. The definition of health is dependent on one’s perspective, be it lay, professional or from influences of specific cultures or social ideals and health policies of a particular time or place (Fleming & Parker 2012, p.30, Naidoo & Wills 2000).
An exploration through history will reflect on the health philosophies of the ancient Greeks and Romans, the Middle Age’s concept of quarantine and isolation and the religious theories of disease including a brief insight into the renaissance. Subsequently, a discussion of health concepts of the past two centuries including 19th century sanitary reform, the dominance in
…show more content…
The Greek scholar Hippocrates’ (c.460BC–c.370BC), defined the humoral conception of health, [the Four Humours], with the balance of these being responsible for health, interacting together with lifestyle and environment, including individual constitution, clean air, diet and clean water. He noted in his writings, regarding the workers and slaves, that neglect of diet affected their health, yet, work was not considered an influencing factor on humoral balance (Tountas 2009, p.186-187, Fleming & Parker 2012, p.28, Turner 2000, p.13, Krieger, pp.43-44, Noviik and morrow, 2008, p.5). Others such as Empedocles, Aristotle and later Galen extended Hippocratic humoral theory to link other elements (Hays 2009, pp.9-13). No matter which variation, these theories were an attempt to rationalise individual incidents of sickness and the differences in health status in the populace in relation to ‘underlying principles and environmental exposures’ (Krieger, p.46). According to Krieger (2011, p.47) Greek politics had influence stating ‘not only nature but politics informed the conceptualization of “balance” in Greek humoral theory’.
Tountas (2009, p.187) noted that ancient Greek physicians were itinerant craftsmen, earning their reputation for skill from the successes of previous visits (Veith 1980, p.532). The diversity of their practice included leech craft, magic and what is known today as allied health professions including dietetics, nutrition, occupational therapy,
Get Access