A young Hessian physician, born in 1735, who had hoped for an academic career had to return home after his graduation in 1762 because of the death of his father, also a physician, and a fire which destroyed the major part of his home town including his paternal home and property. He put aside his original plans for research and became a general practitioner in his small town. His practice also encompassed the neighbouring Spa at Brückenau and the court of the neighbourhood prince. The medical biographies list him as an able and sage practitioner and credit him with several writings which were frequently used in his time for reference regarding the usefulness of Spas for various diseases. The least recognized of his works, however, is a book published in 1787, nine years before his early death. In the introduction, he designates this work as the “red thread” of his scientific occupation but one which he was only able to produce slowly because of the lack of physical and scientific means. This book, Die Leidenschaften als Heilmittel (The Passions as a Means of Cure), is the first systematic presentation of what we today call psychosomatic medicine.
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