Big Picture

Human health in history – How it was and how it has evolved

A red cardiogram in a heart shape

Health has not always been addressed in the same way. While today we have the luxury to live longer thanks to advance technology people in the past were not very troubled. The crucial part here is that we have to define which point in the past we are referring to. At this point, we talk about the years before Christianity came up.

Perhaps the issue of lifestyle gives the most interesting perspectives regarding this issue. Let us take the example of ancient Greece that focuses on people in the really long past. For this time we have abundant clues about how people used to live, their habits, and their overall lifestyle. The written word that has been saved through all these years gives us valuable information about people in the past in general. Thanks to the tragedies that were written and the philosophy that was developed we now have enough clues to evaluate how people managed to survive.

According to the evidence, dying at a very young age was very possible and was a real threat until the child reached the age of two years old. In addition, there were quite many dangers for the woman that carried the baby as well. Really young girls were not supposed to get married because they were not expected to carry babies and give birth. Once their period made its first appearance young girls would have to wait for another four years before they get married, have sex, and finally conceive. In other civilizations, the same concept was captured but implemented in other forms. For instance, women in other places of the world were not allowed to get married before they reach the age of 20 years old.

What people cared about was that girls would not get pregnant because if they had to give birth at a very young age before the body was fully formed their chances to die right after they gave birth to their babies was significantly increased. Of course, sex was not forbidden, however, marriage was strictly related to the creation of the next generation and reproduction. Therefore women were protected by the rules that society had already silently set.

It is important, to point out that no woman was expected to be a virgin, and sex was not considered to be a sin; something that would make a difference between an ”innocent” girl and a grown woman. Both genders were allowed to make love according to their needs without having to apologize for their human nature. Moreover, sex with people of the same gender was also allowed. It is widely known that people in ancient Greece would make out with everyone regardless of their sex without thinking this is strange, unnormal, or wrong.

Everyone would have to be very careful about the time they have their first child. In addition, kids until the age of 2 were considered to be extremely vulnerable since many deaths had been observed and people were very careful in order to protect them. So, what about after the critical point of birth? As it turns out if people could escape these two traps their ability to live and be healthy for the rest of their lives was amazingly good. Most people would die after the age of 80 years old unless they were injured during a fight in a war. Other than that they did not seem to have anything else to be afraid of.

The cause for their well-being was their simple nutrition and lifestyle that allowed them to process the food they ate. Clearly, we talk about a time that processed food was not available or even invented. People consumed the most natural and organic food one can imagine and that was enough to allow them to live without any health issues for many years. Medicine was not so developed but it was also not so essential. Prevention was the key to their prosperity. Can you imagine what the level of our health would be if we combined the lifestyle of ancient Greeks with the advanced knowledge of medicine we have today? The results would be magnificent and nothing holds us back from welcoming both techniques into our lives today.

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Anna Siampani
Anna Siampani, Lifestyle Editorial Director at the CEOWORLD magazine, working with reporters covering the luxury travel, high-end fashion, hospitality, and lifestyle industries. As lifestyle editorial director, Anna oversees CEOWORLD magazine's daily digital editorial operations, editing and writing features, essays, news, and other content, in addition to editing the magazine's cover stories, astrology pages, and more. You can reach Anna by mail at anna@ceoworld.biz