Schmidt, Josef M.
The concept of health - in the history of medicine and in the writings of Hahnemann.
In: Homeopathy, Vol. 99, No. 3: pp. 215-220
The number of notions of health is not infinite. In the history of medicine we can only find a number of different conceptions or paradigmatic ideas of health, in a variety of references and combinations. Health was seen as: 1. harmonious balance between principles or entities, 2. result of a struggle against opposing forces, 3. continuous dialectical process, 4. hierarchy of components or functions, 5. potential to perform and to develop, 6. transcendence towards higher levels of being, 7. result of conscious autonomous action, 8. optimal causal functioning, or 9. public task and responsibility.
Hahnemann’s view of health, as reflected in his writings, utilized virtually all of these elements. They reappear for instance as: 1. harmonious tuning of the life force, 2. defeat of pathogenetic influences, 3. admittance of aggravations, 4. autocracy of the spirit-like life principle, 5. reference to a higher goal of human existence, 6. perfecting character of medical service, 7. concern about dietetics and life style, 8. utilization of causality and natural science, and 9. appealing to governmental provisions and medical police.
These paradigms have been repeatedly recombined and applied. The theory of medicine is the attempt to analyze, adjust, and develop concepts that meet the demand of contemporary medical practice. Medical theory lies between the fields of observable facts and metaphysical convictions. Distinguishing the levels of practice, theory, and metaphysics could allow the open discussion of theoretical issues, such as the concept of health or disease, without raising purely theoretical objections to well-established practice.Un