The Validity Of Hippocrates

’ Aphorisms Essay, Research Paper

Hippocrates was a Greek philosopher who lived about twenty-four hundred years ago. He is considered the founder of medical science. Many of Hippocrates philosophies, aphoristically written, have a common theme. Some of these aphorisms still hold true today, however others have been proven false.

One of Hippocrates main themes is sleep and the lack thereof. He wrote, “Both sleep and wakefulness are bad if they exceed their due proportion”. This aphorism still holds true today in that most people need about eight hours of sleep a day. If someone gets less then he is tired, and if someone gets more he is dazed. Hippocrates realized that the right amount of sleep was essential to a healthy life.

Although most are true, some of the aphorisms Hippocrates wrote have been negated because of advances in modern medicine. Hippocrates said that if after sleep a person feel worse, then the disease is fatal, and if sleep is beneficial then a disease is not fatal. Some of today s viruses do not affect sleep and are still fatal, while others cause trouble and are not fatal. One such virus is AIDS. AIDS is eventually fatal, however it causes no

trouble sleeping. Because the ancient Greeks did not know about AIDS and other such diseases, this aphorism was true when Hippocrates wrote it, and still may be true when we learn more about these diseases.

Hippocrates was intelligent enough to realize that under normal conditions, people don t spontaneously become tired. He wrote, “Unprovoked fatigue means disease”. When Hippocrates used the word unprovoked, he meant for no apparent reason. This aphorism holds true today because of diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome and insomnia. With both diseases one becomes tired for no apparent reason. Hippocrates noted that under normal circumstances one should only become fatigued after physical activity or at night. This helped him to realize when people had diseases, and when they needed to be cured.

Hippocrates aphorisms can be grouped under many different themes. The accuracy of his aphorisms dealing with fatigue was astounding. Many of Hippocrates aphorisms were proven false compared to today s standards for medicine. But even after the scrutiny of modern medicine, many of Hippocrates aphorisms still hold true today.


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