In many systems of medical care, prevention is at least as important as the treatment of an acute disease. Ancient Greek practitioners believed that balancing the four fundamental fluids or ‘humors, in the body was essential for health. So they advised their patients in methods to maintain good humoral balance. An early Hippocratic text called for appropriate diet and exercise as well as the use of music, and advised on the frequency of sexual intercourse.
Modern medicine has done much in the fields of infectious diseases and emergencies to aid cure. In most other fields, it is mostly control that it aims for, which is another name for palliation. Pharmacology, psychopharmacology included, is mostly directed towards such control and palliation too. The thrust, both of clinicians and research, must now turn decisively towards prevention and cure. Also, longevity with well-being is modern medicine’s other big challenge. Advances in vaccines for hypertension, diabetes, cancers etc, deserve attention; as also, the role of meditation, yoga, spirituality etc in preventing disease at various levels. Studies on longevity, life style changes and healthy centenarians deserve special scrutiny to find what aids longevity with wellbeing. A close look at complementary and alternative medicine is needed to find any suitable models they may have, cutting aside their big talk and/or hostility towards mainstream medical care. Medicine is a manifestation of the human eros, and should not become a means of its thanatos. It must realise its true potential, so that eros prevails, and thanatos prevails only ultimately, not prematurely.