Doctor or physician?

Current medicine likes to pride itself on its professional attitude, patient-focus and scientific substantiation of its treatment methods. Doctors and other BIG registered people have an advantage with health insurance companies, the government and the public. The ancient Greeks had a number of clear positions on medicine. For example, Hippocrates wrote the famous physician’s oath. Plato wrote about the professional attitude that the doctor should adopt. He made a distinction between the doctor for free people and the doctor for slaves. If we look at the current doctor’s actions and compare them to the complementary care provider, we make an interesting discovery. Around the year 380 BC, Plato wrote about medicine in the fourth part of his Politeia. His book(s) are a form of Socratic question and answer game. It is striking that Plato’s insights still apply today.

Two classes

Plato first describes the two classes of patients: Have you noticed that there are two classes of patients? Slaves and free people?

Course of action

Plato then discusses the doctors for the slaves and their actions: And the doctors of the slaves run from one patient to another, continuously prescribing medicine. These types of doctors never talk to their patients or let them talk about their complaints. The slave’s physician prescribes what experience teaches as if he had exact knowledge, and when he has given his orders, like a tyrant, he hastens with equal confidence to the next sick servant.


Then Plato takes the reader to that other doctor: but the other doctor, who is a free man, cares for and visits free people, he asks profound questions, goes far back in time and searches for the nature of the disorder; he enters into discussion with the patient and his friends, immediately receives information from the sick person and at the same time gives him instructions as best he can; and he will prescribe nothing to him until he first convinces him.

Plato’s Equation

After this, Plato compares both views: if one of the doctors who treat their patients as slaves were to meet one of the doctors who approach the patient as a human being and heard him talk to his patient and hear him use a language that sometimes sounds almost philosophical, if hear him discussing the disease process from the very beginning and hear him discuss the total nature of the body, he would burst into joyful laughter.

Arrogance and mockery

After which Plato shows how arrogantly the doctor mocks the physician: He would say what most of those who are called doctors have in their mouths: Silly fellow, you do not heal the sick person, you teach him and he wants not become a doctor, but be cured? [1]

Hippocratic Oath

Hippocrates devised an ethical code that physicians had to adhere to. In 2003 it was given a new look and adopted by the KNMG for all its members:
I swear / promise that I will practice medicine to the best of my ability in the service of my fellow man.
I will care for the sick, promote health and alleviate suffering.
I put the patient’s interests first and respect his views.
I will not harm the patient.
I will listen and will inform him well.
I will keep secret what has been entrusted to me.
I will promote the medical knowledge of myself and others.
I recognize the limits of my possibilities.
I will be open and verifiable, and I know my responsibility to society.
I will promote the availability and accessibility of healthcare.
I do not abuse my medical knowledge, not even under pressure.
In this way I will honor the profession of medicine.
I promise; So help me God Almighty. [2]

Regular vs natural medicine

If we look at the current doctor, we see that he has to make a diagnosis based on symptoms in a 5-minute consultation. There is then two minutes to prescribe a treatment or referral. And finally, three minutes for keeping the administration and sending the invoice to the health insurer. The treatment methods that are recommended have now been investigated by our own ranks and are largely not recognized as evidence-based. [3] The question is whether this course of action is at all consistent with the Hippocratic oath.
This oath is also taken by naturopathic practitioners affiliated with a recognized professional association. This doctor takes an extensive anamnesis, going through the entire history of the person. Even the family’s. That lifestyle, nutrition, exercise, social environment, work and income are taken into account. That there is a deep explanation about the cause and effect (symptom) and person-oriented treatment. The focus here is on restoring one’s own healing capacity.

Your free choice

The choice is yours, the patient or client, but you must be well informed. Unfortunately, the government appears to play a very dubious role in this. [4]

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