Greco-Roman Medicine and What It Can Teach Us Today by Nick Summerton

I find medicine, especially in a historical context, fascinating. So I was keen on reading Greco-Roman Medicine and What It Can Teach Us Today by Nick Summerton* which is a book that did not disappoint at all. I gave it a very well deserved 5 stars because I liked how the information was structured, the amount of primary sources, and his analysis and perspective on how these ancient views on medicine, health, and treatments can be an inspiration for us today.

Greco-Roman Medicine and What It Can Teach Us Today by Nick Summerton

The book looks at preventive medicine, health, medicines, psychological well-being, and physical therapies. His presentation of the ancient beliefs are clear and interesting. What I am going to talk about is about his views on how and if we should incorporate some of these beliefs into our modern-day therapies. I was a bit apprehensive before reading the book as I was hoping for a science-based approach and he did just that. The author has clinical experience and that is clear from how he presents the necessity of incorporating what might appear as alternative therapies, but, in fact, should be included anyway.
For example, he talks about bibliotherapy, which, as someone who reads so much, I can fully understand his argument regarding it. Recently, when I was stressed by what was happening in the world, I did what is called bibliotherapy, but at that time I had no idea there is a name for it. I left my phone in another room, I opened a book and “forced” myself to read 2 or 3 chapters. This kind of disconnecting from the thing you cannot control helps with mental health. But I doubt many a GP would suggest reading 2-3 chapters from a book as a therapy and would consider medication for relieving stress.

Overall the book is very interesting and it is quite short. I think it should be read by health professionals just for the ideas, and by everyone else for the fascinating details.

Greco-Roman Medicine and What It Can Teach Us Today by Nick Summerton

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Pen & Sword Archaeology
Year it was published: 2021
Format: Hardback
Genre(s): Ancient History
Pages: 208

About the author: Dr Nicholas Summerton qualified as a medical doctor in 1984, and has worked in hospital medicine, general practice, public health and clinical research. He has written three books on diagnosis and screening plus a short booklet entitled Medicine and Health Care in Roman Britain. He also has longstanding interests in the Roman world and a specific focus on Ancient Medicine.
Website & Social Media Links: Pen and Sword

*I was sent a copy of Greco-Roman Medicine and What It Can Teach Us Today by Nick Summerton for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

6 thoughts on “Greco-Roman Medicine and What It Can Teach Us Today by Nick Summerton”

  • Traditional and ancient healing methods relied a lot on preventive measures and natural ways to treat an ailment. Bibliotherapy is really simple and interesting 🙂 I wonder what other gems are there in this book.

  • Bibliotherapy – What an interesting concept. I think I actually enjoyed less bibliotherapy during Covid and since, than I did before! My concentration levels are definitely much reduced, as I am forced to recognise that so many things I took for granted before Covid, are never going to come back for me and that I have to find a whole new coping strategy for my forced change of circumstances. Maybe I should try to practice bibliotherapy more strictly to try and clear my mind, the effects have to be more beneficial that popping GP prescribed pills!! – Great sounding book, thanks for featuring and highlighting such an appropriate therapy for all us readers/bloggers xx
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    • There is a difference between reading for fun and bibliotherapy. Think of how the talking therapy works, with a special setting and it lasts for 50 minutes or so. If you want to try bibliotherapy, do that, when you have at least 30 minutes to allow for this, go somewhere where you are comfortable, without being disturbed, to read a set amount of chapters/pages. I hope you will try it because it is really wonderful.

  • Excellent review! I’m going to see what my options are for reading this book.

    I think the key to bibliotherapy as you state it here is to leave my phone in another room. I get too easily distracted by it! As for mental health Rxs, that’s why my doctor told me to start walking outdoors. I can attest that it’s helped a lot.
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    • Yes, walking helps too. We are so surrounded by “helping” technology, when in fact, some time outdoors would make us feel much better.

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