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
Medicine is supposed to be a scientific study and its practice an art.
The study of disease requires the aid of science. Consummate art is required to effect a cure when nature is no longer able to help herself. Understand, nature does the curing herself, all the time. Even if nature has to be helped, she does the curing. When nature is beaten down too greatly, there is no chance of getting back.
"Medicine.--The healing art. The art of preventing, curing, or alleviating diseases."--Century Dictionary.
"Medicine.--The science which relates to the cure and palliation of disease. "--Webster.
"Medicine.--The science and art of preserving health and preventing and curing disease. "--Gould.
Rogers, in his "Introduction to the Study of Medicine," says: "Medicine is sometimes considered a science, and sometimes an art, The object of medical science is to study disease." This is a mistake. Man should be studied in life and health--the influences on the body of food, clothing, bathing, and the daily care of the body. A live man, well understood, is worth more from a health standpoint than thousands of dead men. The aim of medical art is to restore and maintain health.
A better definition would be hard to find; for the fundamentals--such as chemistry, anatomy, biology, physiology, hygiene (confined to sanitation), the mechanics of obstetrics and surgery--are scientific studies, and impart a knowledge of the animal and the human body; but the most important part of the animal or human body is life, and this subtle element cannot be analyzed, measured, or dealt with objectively. Like electricity, it must be controlled through an understanding of its agencies. It will be necessary to understand the agencies used by life when at rest-when in the static state--as seen in the egg, seed, ovum, etc., and the character of all environments in which life manifests in the active or dynamic state; also the character of environments out of which life has passed. This knowledge is necessary before the art of medicine can be applied. Hence a correct definition of the word "medicine" is:
An understanding of all circumstances under which life manifests, and the scientific and artistic skill to adjust them to life's needs--the understanding of life's needs, and the knowledge and adeptness of supplying them.
We know the difference between life and death. We become acquainted with life by studying the phenomena of life and death. We learn to recognize what life is by studying objects that possess it and objects that are deprived of it.
We learn to know what life is by carefully studying the live body; and, on the other hand, we learn to know what life is not by studying the body after life has gone out.
The study of the dead body gives us knowledge of the elements, organs, their construction and arrangement, their relation to each other.
The study of a dead organ gives its mechanical construction. A study of the construction of organs, their location, their connection with each other, gives a mechanical understanding of the functions of the body. When this is known, we are ready to observe the functions of these organs, and the functions of the union of organsthe body.
The student of mechanics and physics can readily see what an organ or community of organs will do when the energy is turned on--when animated by life.
Those who are thoroughly scientific can take hold of a heart or other organ and tell about its attributes. Why? Because one who is thoroughly master of mechanics can tell what a piece of mechanism is for.
The study of the dead body is a study in mechanics--physics. In no sense is it a study of medicine, using the word "medicine" to signify an understanding of the cause of disease.
The study of physiology is the study of the mechanics of the organ or organs and the body in life. This study is chemical: analyzing the waste products--the secretions and excretions--and the amount of organic and systemic work done under the use of different foods; the action of elements and the action of every environmental influence on the body.