Hippocrates was a descendant of Asclepius and studied medicine in the ancient temple (Asclepieion) of Kos. He is considered the founder of medicine. He was the first to object on the relationship between divine power and mortal sickness and brought to light medicine as a science. Even though he studied in a healing center and was related to Asclepius he opposed to the theories of the Asclepieians by establishing the idea that all illness is related to physical or genetic disorders and environmental effects.
At the time, his ideas were considered revolutionary or even a blasphemy that could have resulted in civil war, considering that they broke social and political boundaries and helped spreading the word for medicine as a science. The revelation of this knowledge in the ancient era did not suit a union that was built upon the distortion of medical knowledge.
Hippocrates views were built upon three basic principles. Firstly he claimed that all cause of sickness was not a result of divine intervention but the outcome of social, environmental, physical and psychological impact on the person. Secondly he believed that all humans have an internal force that can be translated either as human nature or human psyche. This force should be nourished and developed as it is the guard of the human entity. Finally he considered human beings as a psychosomatic unit that could be easily affected by its way of living, its nutrition, age, era and environment.
He also developed the theory of dreams based on the ideas of the Asclepieians but taking them further with a more rational eye rather than that supporting the connection of dreams with more divine energies. Although he agreed on the idea of the Asclepieians that dreams can be utilized in order to diagnose the patient’s illness, he regarded dreams as actual symptoms of the sickness.
Taking these ideas further and considering that Hippocrates based his theories on the notion that psychological disorder derived from physical disorder, we can say that he was more interested into examining symbolic dreams in order to put them into rational frameworks. For him the interpretation of symbolic dreams was corresponding with the physical state of the patient where the symbols were the clues for symptoms. He believed that these dreams could be a result of the medical prediction of the human psyche or nature.
On the other hand he admits the existence of ‘divine’ dreams. Dreams that could be premonitions of something good or bad that could happen to someone or to a place could be experienced, but only in moderation. He advised the patients not to completely surrender their critical eye and submit to the Gods as that would weaken the power of the soul and mind. Even though the priests would recommend frequent prayer he would emphasize on the fact that God can help the humans only if the humans are willing to help themselves.
Here we can see the influence by his studies in the Asclepieians. The medical assistance that derives from his predicament is that our way of living directly influences our body and soul, our conscious and unconscious mind and consequently our dreams. Therefore people should take responsibility for their actions and ride through life with a clear mind instead of pinning their hopes on others, in this case the Gods. He does not give credit on the human interpretation of dreams even that of the ‘specialists’ as he finds it defective in a way that they cannot protect the dreamer from dangerous news. And so the dreamer should learn to trust his own inner powers.