yǒu bìng bù zhì, cháng dé zhōng yī 有病不治，常得中医
Self-treating an Illness Can Usually Get a Good Result.
The proverb, which is similar in meaning with the concept “prolonged suffering from an illness will turn a person into a doctor,” comes from The History of the Han Dynasty. It later changed into sayings like “taking no medicine is better than seeing a mediocre doctor,” which means essentially it is better not to see a doctor than to be mistreated by a mediocre doctor. Incompetent treatment will make a patient sicker rather than better. On the other hand, certain illnesses can recover automatically over time without treatment. This saying speaks to the rejection of people of mediocre doctors and longing for competent ones. At the same time, it also implies the notion that some diseases can cure themselves over time without treatment.
And some prescriptions are not appropriate to treat diseases. Medicines that are hot in nature make patients even hotter whereas those that are cold in nature make patients even colder. They damage their essence, energy, and spirit, though it does not show any symptoms in appearance. That is the mistake solely of misusing medicines. Hence the proverb: self-treating one’s illness can usually get a good result. (The History of the Han Dynasty)
People say, “Self-treating one’s illness can usually get a good result.” That saying may not apply to all diseases, but if one’s illness is not serious, practicing selftreatment may be better than trusting a mediocre doctor who may prescribe wrong medicines and make one’s condition even worse. (Ye Mengde: Essays Written on Summer Holidays)
An ancient proverb goes, “self-treating one’s illness makes medical sense, too.” That proverb was perhaps already prevalent before the Song Dynasty. The reason may be due to the loss of the past medical skills, resulting in frequent occurrence of wrong diagnosis and treatment. Frustrated and yet unable to judge the skills of the doctors, patients simply stop taking medicines. That may carry the danger of never recovering from their illness but may save them from being murdered by quacks. Moreover, if the illness is not life-threatening, it will gradually cure itself. Therefore, such an approach “makes medical sense.” (Xu Dachun: The Origin and Development of Illnesses)