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What do #AncientGreek and Traditional #Chinese Medicine share in common, to be discussed in 1st Hellenic Chinese Congress on #Health in #Athens

Posted by moodhacker on April 25, 2017 at 3:10 AM

The Greek-Chinese Institute of Development (EKINA) in cooperation with distinguished Greek and Chinese Universities have organised the  of the 1st Hellenic – Chinese Congress on Health,  to take place in Athens, Greece, between 11 and 14 May 2017.

The incentive for organizing the Health Congress, said representatives of the Congress Scientific Committee,   is to bridge the Hippocratic and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) – theory, practices and approaches- with the present achievements and research findings as well as, to foresee and steer the future advances of Medicine, Bio-Medicine and Bio-Technologies in a unified concept and idea where the past enlightens the future.

This concept allows for a deep understanding and respect of the roots and values of traditional practices and their relation to the present scientific findings in the effort to prevent treat and heal illness. Physical and mental illness in Hippocratic and Traditional Chinese Medicine is examined in relation to social and natural environment and all treatment is based on Nature and its products and elements, which are considered inseparable from any living organism. The notion “Physsis noson iatros” (Nature is the healer of illness) is under investigation by using high technological and advanced techniques and procedures in order to reveal the magnificent way by which Nature prevails in health and wellness.

During the Press Conference of the Congress Scinetific Committee Chairman Chrousos George, Professor of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, who is presenting "The concepts of homeostasis and stress in Western philosophy and Medicine: comparisons with the East" topic at the Congress said that Homeostasis principle described by the Ancient Greek Medicine is the Greek version  of Qi in Traditional Chinese Medicine, giving  one  of the impressive highights of the Comparative contemporary sciencethat studies the two ancient Health Medicine worlds. 

Other Topics of the Congress include

  • "From Hippocrates and Dioscorides to biomedical research and implementation" to be presented by Lionis, Ch., Professor, Medical School, University of Crete, Greece
  • The common elements between Ancient Greek and Traditional Chinese Medicine, by Tilikidis, A., Medical Doctor, Founder of the Academy of Ancient Hellenic and Traditional Chinese Medicine, Greece
  • Anti-inflammatory effects of oxyresveratrol on LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 cells are mediated by estrogen receptor activation, by Fan Guanwei, Professor, Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine China
  • Bioactive compounds from natural sources and their use in Medicine, by Ferraro, A., National Technical University of Athens, Greece
  • Cinnamon extract preparation method, composition and application, by Junjie Yang, Chairman & CTO, Bridge Biomed, China

and more 

A special exhibition in Athens in December 2014 In the Museum of Cycladic Art  brought together close to 300 artefacts from antiquity that give a picture of how ancient Greeks dealt with illnesses and disease, from healing methods and medicines, to surgery and the instruments used by doctors.

The ancient Greeks believed that illness or disease was a punishment sent from the mythological gods, divine intervention for some bad act.


"Any actions or inactions, something someone did, or did not do, were reasons to be punished by the gods," said Nicholas Stampolidis, Director of the Museum of Cycladic Art, venue of the health exhibition, entitled "Hygieia" - Greek for health.

Some of the more 'non-scientific' beliefs of the ancients included not eating certain foods if someone was ill, such as onions, roosters, or garlic. They should not wear black clothes, they should not cross their legs, and they should not wear the skin of a goat.

Ancient Greeks would make sacrifices to the gods in an effort to cure their illnesses, and votive offerings in the shape of the part of the body that was suffering were sculpted, in order to plead to the gods to heal the illness. The exhibit displays these votive offerings, made from clay or marble, of legs, arms, genitals or reproductive organs, breasts or ears, even internal organs, and placed in sanctuaries of the gods. The limbs could reflect various possible illnesses, such as infertility for genitals or reproductive organs.

Centuries later this custom still exists in some parts of Greece; but now people hang such offerings in Orthodox churches, and they are small charms of pressed silver, but still depict limbs.

With this mix of religious belief, doctors took on a godlike status for patients. But physicians of ancient Greece progressed with scientific experimentation and contributed to modern medicine in several ways. Many ancient Greek surgical instruments continue to be used by doctors today, such as scalpels, catheters, probes, and forceps. Most medical terms derive their names from the ancient Greeks, as do diseases or illnesses, as they existed then as well, such as diabetes, cancer, cholera, epilepsy and arthritis.

The ancient tools were quite different from the instruments of today however and probably quite painful as they were all made of stiff bronze or iron, where many now are of soft plastic and smaller. There was also no anaesthesia as in modern surgeries.

Ancient cutting shears for example looked more similar to a garden tool. Needles to sow up wounds were thick iron, vaginal speculums looked like miniature car jacks, clysters and catheters for use in the genitals or anus were made of stiff iron, as were bone levers used to push a bone back into place. Ouch.

If a patient was not already unconscious, they would experience intense pain during the first stages of surgery as well, which was often through  

Bloodletting, which would continue for centuries, was common, as was trepanning - a familiar practice in antiquity even before the Greeks, of opening a hole in the head to relieve pressure in the skull.

The exhibition displayed  a skull of a male in his 50s with a perfect round hole from trepanning performed with great skill by a surgeon. The man survived the operation, according to records.

In a second skull of a 20 year old woman, a hole is again observed, caused by a rock fired from a slingshot that caused a serious cranial fracture. The doctor performed a delicate process of scraping away the bone fragments and salving it with barley flour and vinegar. The patient went on to live for years after.

In both cases the professional skill of the surgeon has been observed. Patients did not always live, but experimentation allowed surgeons to succeed and their methods were still being used thousands of years later.

"Some lived for years after, and anthropologists in forensics tell us that some of these people even lived for decades. This is how society progressed, with experimentation," said Stambolidis.


One healing tool still used from Greek antiquity is hot water bottles. In ancient Greece hot water bottles were made of clay, not the rubber of today, and moulded in the shape of the body part it was to be placed on, such as the hand, foot or head. These clay vessels were also used as cold packs when filled with cold water.

Herbs used for medicine in ancient Greece are the precursors to prescription drugs today, and it was through experimentation that the ancients learned to heal with flowers and herbs.



Categories: Greek to me Holistic , Health Travel &Travel Health in Greece , Greece Cultural Heritage

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