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The Effect of The Protestant Reformation on Healthcare

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The Protestant Reformation has impacted and reformed a variety of things such as science, religion, art our mentality and even reforming parts of healthcare. The Protestant Reformation has greatly impacted healthcare by increasing awareness of a new logical ideology and how it leads to the ideas of bioethics as well as advancement in technology. The Church viewed Healthcare as a way to become purified and to be rid of all sin. Medicine was a sensitive and complicated subject during 16th century Europe, as it would often be heavily influenced by the Church. Many patients and physicians feel as though sharing the same values and beliefs aide throughout the treatment process and helps both parties understand each other more on a spiritual level. The Church sought after medicine and treatment as a way to have more influence over the people, they did this by heavily pushing Christian values onto both doctors and patients while also determining what was right or wrong in the medical field. The Church was often against those who challenged the Church’s way of thinking or questioning how their actions, which explains why the Church often silenced and ridiculed others and continued to push their own religious ideology onto the medical field. Scholarly thinking has changed in that “folk medicine is a vital component to reconstruct the cosmology of the common man,” essentially saying that folk medicine would be a special age to see the working of the human mind.

Prior to the Protestant Reformation, the Church views illnesses as a sin or demons manifesting in one’s body. The Church has heavily influenced health care and doctors as said before, the Church was corrupt and often had a say in what was right or wrong for treatment. For treatment doctors often had patients drip their blood to rid their bad blood that flows in their veins, the reason for this procedure was due to doctor’s religious beliefs being that sin would flow throughout their body and they must extract it to cure the patient. Doctors have performed this procedure in a variety of different ways whether it be by leeches or other instruments that can be used to extract the blood from the body, but leeches do prove to have some benefits as they were extremely effective artificial veins in certain situations. The leech can serve as an artificial vein by drawing off excess blood or congested blood, so then the patient can regrow their small, venous capillaries. There are also many other medical treatments such as cutting into a vein and letting the blood drip, but all of these treatments have one thing in common and that was to drain blood or sin from the body to purify it.

During this time, the public often wanted their physicians to respect their spiritual beliefs and they felt that they received better care. Much of the Protestant thought and the influence it has on physicians will find that physicians share many of the same values and beliefs as their patients. It was important for a patient to have a physician that shared many of the same beliefs and could help with the treatment process, this understanding of how to prompt these wishes and how to respond appropriately will enhance both patient care and minimize the conflict between both parties. The treatment process was very delicate and weighed very heavily on one’s beliefs rather than the facts, and the “reformers preached that by God’s grace alone that people are saved,” Pauls remarks. Patients that have received medical treatment report that they have better patient care with a physician that had the same core values and beliefs, compared to an ordinary physician. However, there were still those who were against the Church, many have challenged the authority of the Pope and encouraged other followers to read the Bible themselves to push the new ideas of Protestantism.

Before the Protestant Reformation, the physician’s experience has brought a great variety of education to the Protestant era. Doctors’ and physicians’ education varied but they all took root into lecture halls, often tuning into professors that lectured over philosophers like Aristotle. The famous philosopher, Aristotle, focused on the biology of individuals and his works put emphasis on good reasoning and the scientific method forms the foundation of most of his work. The teachings in lecture halls have influenced both doctors and physicians to both explore and experiment, further pushing intelligent thinking into European society. Due to Aristotle’s teachings, many doctors and physicians have influenced them to push for a new way of thinking leading up to the Protestant Reformation and soon to be the Renaissance.

Although the Protestant Reformation did not reform healthcare, it did change how others perceived and thought of healthcare as well as pushing new Protestant ideas such as focusing on intellectual thoughts. Soon universities across Europe played an essential role in both the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation, hosting innovative research in many fields and forever changed European religion and society. The loose organization in universities made it possible for professors to create and produce original research in law, medicine, and the humanities which also helped push for Protestant/Renaissance ideas. People flocked to universities to acquire degrees and a set of skills to have them eligible to secure high positions in society. The impact it had was great in that rulers and city governments founded new universities due to their belief that society would benefit from university learning as well as satiate the Europeans thirst for knowledge.

Healthcare has changed drastically due to the impact of the Protestant Reformation and has led to a shift in the Church’s views on healthcare. As more ideas of going against the Church and Pope emerged soon ideas to support logic also emerged from the Protestant Reformation. The Church then started changing its ways and became more open to such logical thoughts as the European society changed also, the Church slowly became less corrupt and had less say in what other’s believed in, effectively losing its influence over the people. Even with a loss of influence, the great majority of Europe still believed in Christianity, however with more freedom people were able to indulge in knowledge. This was key to advancements in healthcare as it allowed the physician and patient to freely think and to determine what treatment will best fit rather than following the Church’s beliefs.

However, even with the new shift into logic, there are still connections with religion and healthcare could lead to a healthier lifestyle. The break and separation of the Church from healthcare have to lead to new innovative research, although others speculate that there is a link in having a spiritual life that would lead to a healthy life. This shows that even if the Church were to lose influence, Europe will still follow God and see the benefits of Christianity which will heal the soul and mind. This benefits both the Church and the Protestant Reformation movement because people have a more open-minded perspective into accepting both mindsets, both spiritual and logical ideas that can intermingle with one another. A study conducted by Yankelovich Partners found that roughly 86 percent of Americans believe that personal prayer, meditation, and other religious practices can help with the medical treatment of ill patients. Dr. Harold Koenig writes, “There is a definitive relationship between religion and quality of life as well as health,” this can be proven by Koenig’s research in that those who attend church are hospitalized less, and those who take part in religious activities tend to have less blood pressure compared to those who don’t. After the Protestant Reformation, science branched away from religion, and medicine grew into a separate discipline.

The impact that the Protestant Reformation had on healthcare was great in that it leads to a new way of thinking, Protestantism, which challenges the Church and promotes intellectual thought. This would soon lead to the Renaissance and would further advance the medical field along with the advancement in science. Although the Protestant Reformation did not necessarily reform healthcare and the medical field as a whole, it did push a logical ideology on European society. Although the Protestant Reformation did not reform healthcare, it did change how others perceived and thought of healthcare as well as pushing new Protestant ideas. Starting a new age of thinking, the Renaissance/Protestant Reformation allowed others to indulge in knowledge without their beliefs influencing their decisions. The new intelligent mindset has opened gates to the medical field, effectively establishing better education such as the founding of universities as well as the advancement of technology due to research and the emerging Renaissance.

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