The appearance of alternative treatment early 19th Century

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The enlightenment emphasized reason and individualism rather than tradition and is closely tied to the scientific revolution with its discoveries which overturned many traditional concepts and introduced new perspectives on nature and men’s living which was also the beginning of the secularization with its search for meaning of life.


When the Industrial Revolution began and the traditional social structures were dissolving most people had no access to any physicians and pharmacies. Instead they were looking for assistance in pastors, teachers, local herb women, shepherds or lay healers. Lay healers were healers without an official authorization of being a physician.


Among the physicians, wound healers, the precursor of the modern surgeon, and midwifes the standardized education was first introduced only in 1852 in Prussia, the largest state in the German Empire.


Furthermore, one should also take into account that in the early 19th Century the concept of healing of lay healers and physicians was the humoral pathology of Hippocrates that means there was no real difference in their treatment. The physician worked mainly for rich or urban dwellers and mainly advised and counseled the sick person by adjusting diet or bringing order in their life as there was rarely a surgery or medicine available. In contrast lay healers were an alternative for the rural population and the poor using all kind of other often natural and folk treatment methods.


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