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What Is Medicine?Western and Eastern Approaches to Healing$
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Paul Unschuld

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520257658

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520257658.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

Powers of Self-healing: Self-evident?

Powers of Self-healing: Self-evident?

27 Powers of Self-healing: Self-evident?
What Is Medicine?

Paul U. Unschuld

University of California Press

Both the Chinese and the Greeks knew that a certain proportion of human illness sometimes takes a turn for the better without any human therapeutic influence but only the Greeks discerned what they saw and looked beyond it for something more. In Greek antiquity, a healing power of its own was attributed to the physis, or human nature. The Greeks saw that illnesses can heal by themselves. The most terrible cancers sometimes unexpectedly take a turn for the better, without any recognizable external cause. In Greece and beyond, in contrast to China, this observation led to a significant number of theories on the reasons behind such self-healings. The ancient dictum nouson physieis ietroi says that every organism possesses its own authority, its physis, which is the true physician for the illnesses of the body. The so-called self-healing powers represent nothing other than the certainty that the body has self-interest and its own capacity to pull itself out of crisis and restore a condition of harmony.

Keywords:   human illness, Greek antiquity, human nature, self-healing, natural physician, Western traditions

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