“Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they know
little, to cure diseases of which they know less, in human beings of
whom they know nothing.” Voltaire
The natural state of the human body is that of good health.
Yet it would appear to be rather difficult to maintain the body in the state
of good health throughout a person’s entire lifetime.
Although illness may seem to be a common human experience, it can
manifest in a variety of different forms and to varying degrees of severity;
the common cold, for example, is self-limiting and short-lived, whereas
many chronic conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, are considered to be
incurable and lifelong. It may be assumed from this that illness is largely
unavoidable or is even an inevitable aspect of human life; but this would be
a mistaken assumption, as this book will demonstrate.
Nevertheless, the fact that large numbers of people experience some form
of illness during their lives raises some fundamental questions, not least of
which is: why does it occur? In other words, what really makes people ill?
The usual responses to such questions refer to two interrelated ideas, both
of which are widely believed to be fundamental truths. The first of these
ideas is that illness occurs because a person has contracted a disease of
some description. The second is that each disease is a distinct entity that can
be identified by the unique symptoms it produces within the body. This
book will also demonstrate that these ideas are not truths.
The conventional approach to illness adopted by virtually all systems of
‘healthcare’ is one that employs remedies, or ‘medicines’, that are claimed
to alleviate or bring an end to a patient’s symptoms. This approach is based
on the idea that the cessation of symptoms indicates that the disease has
been defeated and that this successful outcome has been accomplished
solely by the ‘medicine’. However, despite their common approach,
different healthcare systems employ the use of different types of ‘medicine’
in the treatment of human disease; these ‘medicines’ may take the form of
natural substances or products derived from natural substances, or they may
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