Hippocrates
On the Nature of Man
Part Two

translated by W.J.Lewis, with the assistance of J.A.Beach

110. "One should know these things about diseases: whatever diseases result from fullness, are cured by draining; the diseases generated by draining, are cured by fullness; the ones arising from exertion, are cured by rest and the ones caused by excessive idleness, are cured by exertion. With the knowledge of all this, the physician must stand in opposition to the constitutions and diseases and forms and seasons and times of life, and should loosen those things which tighten, and make tight those things which are loosened. In this way the sickness may be halted, and this seems to me to be the cure."

118. "The diagnosis of each disease should be made in this way: when many men are stricken by one disease at the same time, the cause should be assigned to that which is the most common and which we all make use of. And this is that which we breathe. For it is clear, that the regimens of each of us cannot be the cause since the disease has been contracted by everyone in turn, the young and the old, the men and the women, drinkers and non-drinkers, wheat-eaters and bread-eaters, those exerting themselves heavily and those exerting themselves little. So regimen cannot be the cause when men living in so many different ways are stricken with the same disease. But whenever diseases of all types arise at the same time, it is clear that the individual regimens are the cause of each disease."

 

119-121. "...and the treatment must be carried out in opposition to the cause of the disease, as I have said elsewhere, and there must be a change in regimen. For it is clear that the type of life the man is accustomed to lead is not suitable, either entirely or in most respects, or in some single respect. These things, once they have been discovered, should be changed, and the treatment should be performed based on the observation of the manís time of life and his body type, and the season of the year, and the kind of disease; sometimes removing, sometimes adding, as I have said before. And it is necessary to make alterations in the medicine and regimen based on each of these: time of life, season of the year, body type and disease. But when the epidemic of a single disease prevails, it is clear that the regimen is not the cause, but rather that which we breathe, and it is clear that it possesses some noxious vapor. And at such a time, this advice should be given to men: not to change their regimen, which is not the cause of the disease, but to look to their body, that it may be as thin and as weak as possible, gradually reducing the food and drink which they are accustomed to consume. For if the regimen should be changed abruptly, there is a risk of some newer danger in the body from this change. But it is necessary that the regimen be followed in such a way that it is clear that there is nothing harming the man. And it is necessary to be mindful of the breath, that the airflow into the body be as slight as possible and as distant as possible, exchanging those places in which the disease prevails for ones of a different type, and reducing the body, for on that account men will need less plentiful breathing and less deep."