Hippocratic Medicine

By Dr. Regina Hillsman

Although the history of medicine dates back to the use of herbs during pre-historic times, one figure stands alone as one of the greatest contributors to the modern science and art of medicine: the ancient Greek physician known as Hippocrates. Widely considered the father of Western medicine, Hippocrates lived in the Age of Pericles during the 400s and 300s B.C. Hippocrates also played an integral role in the creation of the Hippocratic school of medicine, which established medicine as a profession and set it apart from fields such as philosophy and theology.

Among the first to believe that illness was not the result of superstition of the anger of the gods, Hippocrates sought to separate medicine from religion. By instead looking at external factors such as habits, diet, and environment, Hippocrates was one of the first physicians to exclude mystical causes when evaluating an illness. During his life, Hippocrates made a number of important contributions to medicine. Throughout the majority of his work, Hippocrates stressed the importance of discipline and rigorous training, placing a special emphasis on the practices of observation and documentation still in use today. Often credited with the discovery of clubbing fingers as a symptom of lung cancer and heart disease, Hippocrates also characterized illnesses based on their pathology, using terms such as acute, endemic, epidemic, and chronic.

Hippocrates made significant discoveries in the field of chest surgery and performed a large amount of research into the causes and treatment of hemorrhoids. Although Hippocrates made a number of significant contributions to the practice of medicine, he is also famous for his doctrine of humorism. According to the tenets of humorism, disease in the body was a direct result of imbalance in the four humors of the body: yellow bile, black bile, phlegm, and blood. Hippocrates also related humors to the four seasons and the elements of earth, air, fire, and water. Although many aspects of humorism fell out of favor with medical scholars in later years, Hippocratic therapy focused on patient-centered care and the importance of the body’s natural healing processes.

By Dr. Regina Hillsman


About drreginahillsman
After graduating cum laude from Bryn Mawr College with a B.A. in Biochemistry, Dr. Regina O. Hillsman won admission to the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C. As a medical student, Dr. Regina O. Hillsman demonstrated an unwavering commitment to her future profession, earning entry to Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and graduating with honors and distinction in 1977. Upon receiving her M.D., Dr. Regina O. Hillsman began a series of internships and residencies at some of the top-ranked teaching hospitals in the Northeast, including Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, Montefiore Medical Center, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and the Washington, D.C. Consortium of Hospitals, where she served as Chief Resident from 1981 through 1982. At the completion of her formal education and post-doctoral clinical training, Dr. Regina O. Hillsman began a long and successful career in orthopaedic surgery and sports medicine. In private practice since 1995, Dr. Regina O. Hillsman maintains an office in Naugatuck, Connecticut, offering a wide range of surgical procedures and treatment options for area patients. Over the years, Dr. Regina O. Hillsman has helped countless individuals recover from various issues related to neck and back pain, sports and work injuries, arthritis, pinched nerves, and more, with an excellent record of patient satisfaction. Dr. Regina O. Hillsman holds additional affiliations with New Milford Hospital, Ridgefield Surgical Center, and the Hospital of Saint Raphael. A frequent recipient of honors and awards from professional and civic organizations alike, Dr. Regina O. Hillsman has been named Physician of the Year, won the Greater Waterbury Chamber of Commerce Foundation Business Women's Forum Award, and, on multiple occasions, was presented with the Outstanding Young Woman of America Award and the Physician's Recognition Award. To read more about Dr. Regina O. Hillsman and her work, visit her official website at drhillsman.org.

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