D. D. Palmer

The first School of Chiropractic

Founded in 1895 when DD Palmer applied chiropractic restoration for the first time in patient

... more

Centaur Cheiron

The Centaur Cheiron is the most famous of the Centaurs

It is the first to use herbs to treat illnesses and injuries.

... more


His name is connected with the science of medicine

His place was always close to the people, for the sake of which he offered his expertise.

... more


The wider medical genius, the creator of scientific medicine

"Take note of the spine, because that is the prerequisite for many diseases"

... more


One of the most interesting figures of Greek mythology is Asclepius. His name is connected with the science of medicine and he is considered to be the first doctor. Son of a God and a mortal, Asclepius was one of the powerful Gods who lived on Mount Olympus and was considered a simple hero, who had divine origins. But he was very popular among the people, honored and respected. Perhaps because he wasn't unapproachable and did not bring fear as other Gods. Instead, his position was always close to the people, for the sake of which he offered his expertise.

His fame had spread all over the Greek world, but also outside it. The God-doctor spread the word of medicine, treated more and more people and build special buildings where patients seeking treatment gathered. The activity continued at shrines of Asclepius by his priests, the Asklipiades. The worship of Asclepius was that great, that he was treated equivalent to other Gods. Moreover, Asclepius, like Hercules at the end was admitted to the divine house of Olympus.

His origin, as we said, was divine. He was the fruit of one of the many loves of Apollo, the handsome God of love with a princess, the beautiful Koronis. He had with her a son. But before the baby is born she falls in love with a stranger, named Ischis. She quickly regretted her act, but it was too late. Apollo, who saw the fraud, outraged asked his beloved sister, Artemis, to punish the young Koronis for the disrespect. The Olympian Goddess then killed her with arrows, along with other women. Perhaps this can be the cause of a great plague that hit the region. So many fires lit to burn the corpses. When the merciless flames wrapped the dead body of the princess, Apollo, who was watching, could not bear to see his child die with her. He immediately rushed to the fire, pulled from the womb the still alive child and he went to Magnesia, to the Centaur Chiron.

Centaur knew very well the powers of herbs. Growing up near him Asclepius learned the medical art. He became especially known for his healing abilities, so that from every corner of Greece people sick or injured, came to find him. Asclepius healed them and any kind of disease. Sometimes he gave them their health with herbs, sometimes with miraculous ointments he manufactured himself and sometimes with magic and prayers. Other were cured of the mania, as they say he did with Proetos daughters, when Hera drove them crazy. Others were made to walk again and to others he gave back their sight.

Indicative of the high activity he developed is that many sanctuaries found scattered in Greece. Of course, many created by the priests. The most famous is the Asklepieion of Epidaurus and then follows the Athens, Kos (where the father of medicine Hippocrates comes from) and Pergamum. When patients visited the shrine seeking therapy, they were not allowed to enter until they were purified. They washed their bodies, made sacrifices to the God and made strict fasting. In the evenings they were admitted to the sanctuary where they would spend the night.

Asclepius, as a son of Apollo, had clairvoyant abilities or as many believe revealed to mortals the revelations of his father, as Pythia did. Whether this was true or not, however, Asclepius gave his medical prescriptions in the form of oracles. The priests claimed to the patients who stayed overnight in the holy, that the God would visit them in the form of a dream and revealed to them the medicine that would cure them. The great doctor-God, not just cured any disease, but could even revive the dead. So when Artemis asked him to revive her beloved Hippolytus, he brought him back to life.

This miraculous ability he had was the cause of his death. It is said that the resurrection of a dead made Zeus very angry and blinded by his rage struck Asclepius with a thunderbolt. Others say it was not personal anger that pushed the King of the Gods to kill Asclepius, but the wrath of Hades. The God of the Underworld complained to Zeus that Apollos son did not allow people to die, and fewer were coming in his kingdom.

His father, Apollo, was hurt deeply for the loss of his son. He had saved him from death once, when he was in the belly of his mother. But this time he was unable to react. He was so sad and angry, that to revenge the death of his beloved son, killed the Cyclopes. They had donated to Zeus the thunder which he always kept in his hand and with which he cut the thread of life of Asclepius.


 Τhe Αsklepieia

Hundreds Asclepieia were scattered throughout Greece .. They were temples dedicated to the God Asclepius and patients would go there to heal. The religious faith, which is anyway a strong incentive and means of treatment, in collaboration with medical and psychological means such as healthy eating, massage, therapeutic baths and interpretation of dreams, brought healing.

The patient, after going through a phase of preparation, then slept for a night in the sanctuary where the God was supposed to visit, advise him or cure him within dreams. This process, which began in Asclepieia established in the 4th century called prolonged slumbers ("enkimisis").

Then the patient alone or with the help of priests interpreted dreams, developing thet way the direction of the therapeutic process and further lifestyle that he should take to stay healthy.

The Hippocratic medicine- although it had already deviated from the magical and ritual treatments for the benefit of rational science- wasn't hard to reconcile the continued worship of Aesculapius, giving the sacred sites of Asklepios similar character with that of today's hospitals. The temples built in places with a healthy climate, combining the best elements of both approaches, namely, the miraculous or psychological treatment through faith and the natural or physical therapy through medical treatment and adjustment of lifestyle.

Large and reputed Asclepieia were those of Triki (current Trikala), Kos , Epidaurus , Tithorea , of Titane , in Sikyonia but also to the results of such Lepanto and Pergamon . Depending on the priests,  each Asklipieio gained fame! Others priests for instance were specialized in surgery and other psychiatric disorders or other in venereal diseases, it was something like today's specialized hospitals.

The treatment was free but people used to offer specials or offerings of gold or silver which depicted the healed member. This practice continues today with the so-called "offerings" left by believers in "miraculous" images.


>> Back to History