Professor Chris Gill and Professor John Wilkins, of the University of Exeter’s Classics Department, lead on the Healthcare and Wellbeing: Ancient Paradigms and Modern Debates project at the University of Exeter.
Many people live healthy lives in this country, but the predictions from the World Health Organization are for all five continents to suffer from obesity and heart disease and that more than 450 million people suffer from mental health issues across the globe. Obesity is predicted in more than 50% of British children by 2020.
Some people seek solutions in Chinese or Indian philosophy and medicine. We believe that a similar system is available in Western culture, written by the Greek doctor Galen in the second century AD, and used in this country until the 19thcentury. His programme for preventive medicine and good mental health could provide a useful complement to main stream biomedicine. We believe that it could also give people control over their wellbeing, and reduce the need for drug and other therapies.
Our project, Ancient Healthcare and Modern Wellbeing will explore these issues. We have also set up a number of projects to test out the idea and will share our experiences on this blog We hope this way forward will have wide appeal and are interested in hearing from anyone who is interested in this area.
If you’re interested in finding out more, you can download two essays by Chris Gill and John Wilkins to show what our case is below:
- Chris Gill ’s essay Philosophical Therapy as Preventive Psychological Medicine (PDF 230KB) presents ancient philosophical therapy as a form of ‘preventive medicine’ for psychological illness, planned to be part of a volume on ancient mental illness.
- John has just completed Galen on Good Health, which explores Galen’s programme for preventive medicine in a social context. The essay provided is Chapter 7 Galen and Our World (PDF 186KB) of that book.
We are keen to have discussions around this area and to establish a network of interested people. Feel free to comment on this post and we will be in touch.
Please also take a moment to watch our introductory video on the project: