Sanctuaries of Healing
The roots of healing and medicine in ancient Greece lie in religion and spirituality. Asclepius, the Divine Physician, was worshipped as a god, and supplications were made to him for healing. Healing sanctuaries called Asclepions, dedicated to the god of medicine, were established throughout Greece, usually in settings of awe-inspiring natural beauty and scenic grandeur. The main Asclepion was in Epidaurus, with important branches in Cos and Pergamum. There, physician - priests practiced a kind of spiritual healing centered around dream therapy on patient - pilgrims, who came seeking a healing intercession from the Divine Physician.
The preliminary treatment for admission into the Asclepions was Katharsis, or purification. It consisted of a series of cleansing baths and purgations, accompanied by a cleansing diet, which lasted several days.
Then the supplicant was admitted into the sanctuary proper to participate in the Asclepian rites. Offerings were made, usually in the form of gold, silver, or marble sculptures of the body part to be healed. Sometimes, coins were tossed into a sacred spring. The priest invoked suggestive prayers to the supplicant, and also included accounts of previous cures…