What in the west we call “medicine” is not the only medicine: there are many ways of practising medicine, some of which are more common and have been around for far longer than western “civilisation”.
Indeed if you take a pill when you are feeling ill then you are in a minority. Whilst in countries like US and UK an individual will, on average, take well over 100,000 pills in their lifetime – over 80% of humans will take none.
Taking a pill can be a convenient way of introducing elements that stimulate or help our body to heal itself. It can also be an effective way to gain short term relief from that which ails us [like pain] so that our body can get on with doing what it does while we get on with being busy.
But taking those pretty pills never come without a price that may be greater than the benefits they bring us – taking them may lead to us becoming more unwell.
Medicine is more than prescribing drugs.
What if Doctors refused to believe that the reaching for the prescription pad is all they can do?
And what if as patients we were to look to our doctors for more than pills?
Dr Chris van Tulleken conducts a social experiment, covered in two part documentary by BBC.