The basic pillar of Hippocrates' Medicine is the inseparable relationship between body and soul. Hippocrates makes a bold statement that the most active means of health and longevity is the calming of mental passions. This can be done only by one who rules his body according tothe rules of medicine. Consequently, the primary concern of the physician when examining the patient is to distinguish whether the cause of the disease is also from psychological reasons.
“Rarely does the body suffer without transmitting the sickness to its soul for it is rare for the soul to suffer without the body suffering. Thus, you are doctors not only of bodies but also of souls of which are impossible to heal if you do not look after your own soul.”
So what is the Soul?
The word “soul” (comes from the verb “psycho”in other words “breath)” etymologically meaning “breath”. The terms of the religious – philosophical meaning of the “soul”, there are many existing definitions since ancient times however according to Orthodox theology the soul is the bodiless essence of the human by Ioannis Damaskinos which constitutes the foundation of its personality. “man is a psychosomatic unity” and so he will remain after his resurrection to eternity, thus exceeding the philosophical theory that only the soul is immortal. The soul is a creation, a possession without pre-existence and it will continue to exist long after our death by grace of God.
The soul was created along with the body. Contemporary findings of the science of Embryology confirms the paternal view being that the embryo “during its conception, the soul is also created”. Along withconception, the soul is also created “and so the soul then acts, the flesh increases the body and this energy”. As the body grows, the soul manifests its energies as well.
Trying to give a definition for the soul with its spiritual meaning, as the spiritual element of our existence, we refer to Saint John of Damascus who says that the soul is “a living matter, simple, bodiless, invisible by nature to the human eye, rational, mindful, shapeless while using the body as an organ and providing life and growth and feeling and birth without having a mind within it has its own cleaner part (as the eye is to the body, so the mind is to the soul), self-sacrificing, intentional and energetic, that is a volunteer because it is a creation, since all of those have been taken by nature by the grace of its creator Since all this has been taken by nature from the grace of its creator, from whom it has been taken and is so by nature.
Ancient philosophers believed that the soul is located at a specific point in the body, for example others located it to the brain like the Acropolis (the Greeks) whilst others believe it to be in the heart “a psychic spirit”, as an authentic vessel (The Jews). Grigoris Nissis in his works, “In the creation of man” refers to the soul, due to the souls looseness with the body, it must be found equally in all the body’s molecules.” said by both M. Vasileios and Ioannis Damaskinos “The soul is completely connected to the body, while he firmly maintains the view that the soul is not contained in the body, but the body in the soul, saying that the spiritual body looks like a branding iron that is surrounded by the fir. This happens because the shapeless matter “doesn’t possess a physical form but only a spiritual one”.
Saint Grigoris Palamas says that we know precisely that the logistics are in the heart, not in a vein, as is it bodiless, neither outside the heart as it is attached to it. The heart of man is the regal organ, according to St. Gregory, the throne of Grace. There lies the mind and the thoughts of the soul. The saint claims that we received this teaching from Christ himself, whom is the creator of man. That is why the basic purpose of healing is, according to the saint, to restore “consciousness through the senses” from the outside into the heart, which is the organ of the soul which controls the body.
Saint Makrina, sister of the Great Vasileios located in Asia Minor in 379 AD, gave the following definition: “The soul is a created essence, alive and intelligent, transmitting single handedly the strength of life and perception of the senses to the body’s organs, to the point where their coherent nature reaches”.
Whilst she was quoting those things, she points to the doctor’s hand who was sitting next to her and had treated her with manual therapy and said: “The proof of what we are saying is in front of us. Tell me, how does he (the doctor) by touching the artery with his fingers, listens in some way through touching the body, it responds and tells him of the illnesses? In other words, to say that the illness is acute, in which organ it originated and for how long will the fever will last?”
According to the distinguished Osteopath Jean-Pierre Barral, “the symptoms of visceral dysfunction form a delicate combination with the emotional state. Among all the information received at the time of stress, the brain does not always distinguish between physical and mental information. This reveals that an organ can be the source of either an emotional or behavioural problem, the brain that manages stress discharges to a part of the affected organ, causing it irritation or inflammation. While on the other hand it is bombarding the brain with pain information. Spiritual and physical pains are mixed until the brain can no longer distinguish them. Reinforcing each other and vice versa”.
Blood and soul
“...the blood is considered ... to be the material face of the soul and it is identified to it many times...” (Great Hellenic Encyclopedia volume B page 708).
The main component of biological life is blood and it is identified by it and for this reason the word “Soul” was connected to the word blood, for example in Genesis 9/th: 3,4, where God speaks to Noah: “Blood of soul, thou shalt not eat. (But meat, with blood that is the main ingredient of biological life, do not eat)”.
Similarly, we read in Leviticus “The soul of all flesh, blood of it. And I have given this to you on the altar for your souls. The blood of this soul is exalted instead of the soul”. Here, too, the soul is identified with blood, because it says that “the soul of all flesh, blood of it is”.
St. Gregory of Nyssa refers to blood as a red and warm breath of life, exalting the role of heat in its release from the heart (Microcirculation System).
The significance of the presence and energy in both the soul and the blood in each cell was highlighted by great healers of the previous century. The founder of Osteopathy, Andrew Tailor Still, stated as a basic principle that: “The rule of the artery is supreme” by associating the blood with the celestial element, distinguishing it from the bones that he related them to the earth / moon element.
The founder of the Asia Minor Trapezounta Irini Iatridou called the capillary vessels “channels of the soul,” the openings of which bring both physical and mental renaissance to man, leading to his gradual transformation - the ultimate union of man with his creator Christ. A union that is achieved physically with the holy communion of its own life giving body and blood at the time of communion.
Considering all of the above regarding the relation between the soul and the body, more specifically the soul and the blood, as the manual healers in the field of holistic healing even today, after treating a large number of patients, never ceased to be amazed by this amazing connection between body and soul. At the same time, it is also challenging to diagnose and to treat this connection.
I will never forget my first steps in applying the Asia Minor Trapezounta manual therapy methods, impressed by the positive mental changes of the patients, to surprisingly ask my teacher Irini Iatridou “Grandmother, what sort of therapy are we doing?” And she answered “that, my child is the therapy of the soul”.
It appears, therefore, that through manual therapy, by increasing the body temperature in man, we stimulate their microcirculation and break the connection between mental and physical pain, resulting in the “thawing” of their soul.
Thus, created with a resemblance to God, the human face is not only a universe (microcirculatory system), nor only a universe (soul) but also - much deeper and essentially - fundamentally - a potential god. As beings composed of matter and non-matter, we are each an imago mundi, a “world image”, endowed with the call to balance, reconcile, and harmonize the whole of the created order within ourselves. Up and beyond and above these, as imago Dei, as “the image of God”, we also have the possibility through the divine grace, to transcend ourselves and through this transgressive act, to experience the Light of our psychosomatic transformation. MeTamorphosiS.
- Grigorios Nissis, “About the making of man”. Tertios Publications, 2004, pg. 259-261,269-271.
- Grigorios Nissis, “About the Soul and Resurrection” pg. 46,61A
- Ioannis Damascinos, Exact Publications of Orthodox Faith, Publications Thessaloniki 2007, pg. 152.
- Nikitas Stithatos, “About the Soul”, Zitros Publications 2006, pg. 213-214.
- Great Hellenic Εncyclopedia v. B pg. 708c’
- Jean-Pierre Barral, “The messages of our body and how we interpret them”. Livani Publications (2012).
Sotirios G. Antonopoulos