This section is from the "Impaired Health: Its Cause And Cure" (Volume 1) book, by John H. Tilden. Also available from Amazon: Impaired health its cause and cure: A repudiation of the conventional treatment of disease
In archaic medicine there was a therapeutics in the form of suggestion. It was in the form of foretelling and divination. There was something in it to help the people. Sick people want someone who can look ahead and give them hope; and hope is one of the important remedies. Suggestive therapeutics is built largely on hope--belief in betterment. We have schools of suggestive therapeutics, and there are many who practice it. They teach people how to suggest themselves out of a belief in sickness. The cure comes from within the individual; and if it happens to be that the individual needs a mental therapeutics, suggestion helps him think a little differently--helps the patient develop a more health-building belief.
In archaic medicine the serpent on the staff is the symbol of medical art. Egypt, Greece, Germany, South America, and North America employ it.
The asp on the crown of Queen Isis was a sign of the physician.
The fire serpent on a sign-post was the sign of an Assyrian physician.
In Mexico and Brazil the rattlesnake is the sign of the profession.
The serpent signifies occult life-principles and power to divine--preternatural power. The seraph on the staff set up by Moses possessed the power to save those about to die. When they were sick they had the belief that, if they could look upon the seraph, they would get well. They were sick in their minds, the same then as now. Fifty per cent of all sickness is mental.
When a person gets sick, the mind gets busy at once. Nearly all people are afraid of tuberculosis. When they have a cough or a pain in the chest, they go to doctors to find out if there is anything wrong with their lungs.
Places of learning were built in cemeteries in the valley of the River Nile.
Herodotus declared that the Babylonians had no physicians. They used the public parks. The invalids would congregate in the parks, and the people passing along were expected to talk with the sick people and ask how they felt. If they themselves or any of their family had had a similar ailment, they would tell the sick person how they got well. It was the duty of the well people to converse with the sick and help them get well according to the methods they had used. This plan, under wise guidance, could become a more perfect system of cure than any of today.
It is not very different in this day. We can always find someone who thinks he is capable of prescribing for all who are not well, notwithstanding, perhaps, the leading physicians of the community are prescribing for them. Such laymen know very well that their prescription is better than the treatment received from the physician. The layman does not realize that all the experience he has had is with himself, while the experienced physician has watched hundreds and should know much more. It shows that people are natural-born healers, all of them.
It was the same in the days of Jesus. The sick came to the road where he was expected to go by, and they expected him to heal them. That kind of healing has come down through the ages.
This method of healing the sick was not confined to Assyria and Palestine; it was in vogue even in Egypt, along with priestcraft and secular physicians.
Placing the sick in the public thoroughfares is alluded to by many of the older historical writers.
Fast-days were one of the therapeutic remedies of the Euphrates countries.
Mysterious rites, incantations, formulas, the secret word, images, symbols, sacred texts, have all served their purpose in exorcising the evil spirits that caused disease.
All the therapeutics, ancient and modern, above referred to, rests largely on the belief that cures must come from without. This is a belief that will bar the profession and the people from reliable health knowledge, so long as it prevails.
Causes must be discovered and removed. A cause is something--in influence--that always acts; not an influence that acts part of the time, and part of the time it does not.
Germs, as a cause, act sometimes, and sometimes they do not.
Germs always act under a given circumstance; namely, when the body is enervated--when resistance is lost. Then, to prevent germ action, the proper thing to do is to keep the standard of health above the point where germs thrive.
What must be the therapeutic agents? Correct eating, correct care of the body, correct sanitation, and a sane, well-balanced mind.
A knowledge that will help man to enjoy health, evolve the greatest efficiency, and save him from driveling senility or early death, is procurable today.
None but the misinformed will go about seeking cures. Cures, like salvation, spring from within, not from without.
Knowledge is the only reliable therapeutic agent.