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6 It took a further 1400 years before Paracelsus enjoined European physicians to work with clean hands and to wash open wounds with fresh water or wine in the manner of the Hippocratic teachings. Galen extended the prevailing humoral theories of physiology inherited from Hippocratic physicians. He was the first to relate the individual humours of blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile that were used to interpret the nature of disease, to human temperament and psychology. He consequently classified individuals according to the four personality types of sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric and melancholic.
This led to an unprecedented release of works that had previously been in the possession of libraries and private collections. As knowledge began to disseminate more widely, and as earlier prohibitions on the study of human anatomy slowly lifted, the theories of humoral medicine and early descriptions of the body and its functions became Comp Medicine Pages 20 3/11/05 2:57 PM Page 20 Holism and Complementary Medicine increasingly difficult to reconcile with the new anatomical observations. Andreas Vesalius charted this new terrain in his De Humani Corporis Fabrica, published in 1543.
Sickness and disease may reflect disturbances in the free movement of those energies through our bodies. The task of the practitioner is to monitor and interpret the quality of energy flow through the meridian systems, and to correct any imbalance through the use of acupuncture or moxibustion, through the prescription of medicinal substances, through the use of such manual therapies as tui na, or through the prescription of such practices as tai ch’i chuan or ch’i gung. Although the traditional practice of acupuncture is based on such principles, it can also be applied in a purely symptomatic manner.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Herbal Remedies by Wolfe