Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Hufeland, Christoph Wilhelm


Born Aug. 12, 1762, in Langensalz; died Aug. 25, 1836, in Berlin. German internist-clinician; doctor of medicine (1783).

Hufeland received his medical education at the University of Göttingen. He was a professor at the University of Jena (from 1793) and chief physician of the Charité Hospital in Berlin (from 1800). He helped to found the University of Berlin, where he was a professor in the department of internal medicine from 1810. He established the Polyclinic Institute in Berlin. Hufeland rejected the metaphysical teachings of S. Hahnemann and F. Broussais, but he borrowed from them some points that he regarded as rational. Based on these propositions, he created an eclectic system in which he often mixed contradictory teachings and points of view. Hufeland’s Handbook of Practical Medicine (1839) was translated into Russian by the Russian physician G. I. Sokol’skii, who also furnished original critical notes.

The great merit of Hufeland is that he laid the foundation for a special branch of biology and medicine, gerontology, which he called macrobiotics. In his work The Art of Prolonging Human Life (1797), which played a major role in the elaboration of ideas concerning the factors that influence longevity and in the shaping of the teaching on longevity, he included comprehensive recommendations on personal hygiene, physical labor, rest, alternation of physical labor and rest, diet, and the control of excesses. The book enjoyed great favor and was translated into Russian (five editions, 1805–56) and all the European languages. Hufeland promoted and introduced vaccination. He organized the Society for Assistance to Needy Physicians (1829) and a similar society for widows of physicians (1836).


In Russian translation:
Sistema prakticheskoi vrachebnoi nauki, parts 1–2. Moscow, 1811–12.
Enchiridion medicum, Hi Rukovodstvo k prakticheskoi meditsine. Moscow, 1839.
Iskusstvo prodlit’ chelovecheskuiu zhizn’. St. Petersburg, 1852.


Shilinis, Iu. A. “Khristofor Vil’gel’m Gufeland.” Terapevticheskii arkhiv, 1963, no. 2.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.