Different Healthcare Philosophies

Thousands of years ago, Greek Hippocratic healthcare was based on a concern for patients, and a philosophy not of sickness, but of Wellness. To quote Hippocrates: "Humans are designed to be healthy, as long as they are whole, body, mind and spirit. People are characterized by self-healing properties that come from within, and an innate health force. Perfect health and harmony, is the normal state of all life. " This was referred to as the philosophy of Wellness or Vitalism. It wasn't long before another opposite philosophy emerged.

The philosophy of sickness, or Mechanism, was developed soon after Vitalism. This philosophy split body, mind and spirit. It viewed the body as a complex machine that was prone to breaking down. And when it broke down, you would need to "tinker" with it to fix it. For many centuries, the debate between these two philosophies was a tie. Until, Sir Isaac Newton, in his planetary studies, convinced philosophers and scientists that the universe was only made up of physical matter. Centuries ago science threw out the idea of mind, as an element of influence on the body, and said that the body is an independent element and exists by itself.

In many ways, the history of modern healthcare is the story of the triumph of Newton over Hippocrates. Hippocrates relied on the patient's own potential to be healthy, while Newton and other scientists, following the course of the industrial revolution, relied on technological advances in drugs such as digitalis, morphine and penicillin, which fueled this mechanistic healthcare philosophy. We began to feel that modern research could do anything with dramatic and immediate short-term payoffs. After all, it worked.... Or did it? We now have serious concerns about antibiotic use creating resistant bacteria that cannot be stopped. Does a more sophisticated, more expensive technology makeup for a failed philosophy? We have the most expensive healthcare system in the world, but medicine continues to be the third leading cause of death, after heart disease and cancer. Things are not working. And to paraphrase Albert Einstein, "We have problems that cannot be solved at the same level of thinking of which they were created." Our current national healthcare dilemma is a question of two philosophies in conflict. A mechanistic philosophy of healthcare causes us to enter our healthcare system only when our health is gone. If it is a healthcare system, why do we have to loose our health to enter it? Which of these two philosophies makes the most sense to you?

The practice of Chiropractic is a Vitalistic healthcare philosophy which sees people as whole persons, body, mind and spirit, who tend toward wellness, if there are no barriers to prevent it. That has been the premise of Chiropractic practice for over 100 years.

"Nature needs no help... just no interference." - B.J. Palmer, D.C., Doctor of Chiropractic.

Source: "From Simple Beginnings" - A Chiropractic Documentary