The Physician and the Doctor

According to the Pan American School of Natural Medicine, “Natural Medicine” is: A system of therapeutics in which only natural, medicinal agents and forces are used that is inherently suitable for an invariable sequence between specified conditions (ill health) and an expected phenomenon of healing.

In philosophy, ‘naturalism’ is the view that an explanation is justified just so far as it rests on evidence of an empirical kind.

It derives from the philosophy of Plato, who claimed that true knowledge is knowledge of the Idea (Greek eidos).

To be natural is something to be expected, to be inherent, something that is spontaneous and easy.

Natural is a word of broad implications: of human nature, not surprising; to be expected, of a person’s behaviour; unaffected, easy, spontaneous; of qualities inherent; innate; a person or thing naturally suitable, adept, expert, etc.

It is often remarkable to ask a student of today’s medicine, the definition of the word – medicine -, and determine if he or she is able to correctly answer. It is often remarkable to hear their tale. According to Stedman’s Medicine Dictionary:

“medicine” is:

The art of preventing or curing disease; the science concerned with disease in all its relations.

Origin [L. medicina, fr. medicus, physician]

Now, what is even more surprising is to ask the student the definition of the word ‘doctor’, and the accurate response drops even more dramatically. Yes, most know that it is a title conferred by a university, institute, academy, or school on one who has followed a prescribed course of study, as doctor of medicine, philosophy, etc. However, in the ancient and pure definition, a ‘doctor’ is a teacher, originating from French – doceo, pp. doctus, to teach.

Now a physician, especially one upon whom has been conferred the degree of M.D., N.D., D.O., D.C. etc., by a university or school is not only a person who has been educated and trained to practice the art and science of medicine, but from its ancient and pure meaning, a physician is a ‘natural philosopher’ [Fr. physicien,].

Thus, by combining the two terms – doctor and physician – in its original term and spirit, is a natural philosopher who teaches their patients how to be well, stay well, or become well, first and foremost; and in the process, do no harm.

James J. Lehman, DC