Healing Medicine and Practices from Around the World
Before Westernized Medicine, how did we as humans heal ourselves? Since the dawn of civilization, humanity has been working with the natural world, healing itself in holistic methods and through the use of traditional medicines.
Traditional medicine has strong historical roots from various cultures and groups around the world. Using natural remedies and healing herbs, people have been healing themselves and others for centuries.
We have put together some common healing practices from various parts of the world to show how alive this holistic type of healing is.
Ayurveda is a traditional healing practice that originates in India and dates back over 10,000 years. It enriches a person’s quality of life through the understanding of prana (energy). This is a holistic approach to healing, as Ayurveda focuses on a change in lifestyle that incorporates diet, herbal remedies, massage therapy, yoga, and meditation to improve one’s wellness and balance the body, mind, and spirit (John Hopkins Medicine).
In Ayurveda, the interconnectedness of these parts of our wellbeing is based on the doshas (life forces). Understanding these doshas, one can properly assess, diagnose, and heal through specific treatments relating to that dosha.
One of the common methods of healing through Ayurveda is through diet and herbal remedies. Since this type of medicine was founded in India, many of the natural remedies use herbs and spices from that region of the world. Turmeric for example is a powerful ayurvedic treatment and has been used to heal ailments such as inflammatory, heart disease, and even improve brain function (healthline).
Traditional Chinese Medicine has similar beliefs as Ayurveda, but originates and was practiced in ancient China for over 2000 years. It is a holistic form of healing that focuses on one’s life force energy (qi) and how to increase this in the mind, body, and soul. Traditional Chinese Medicine uses various methods of healing to move and balance one’s qi in their system. These are through practices such as tai chi and acupuncture, or herbal remedies.
Acupuncture is a technique that uses small, thin needles in specific points in the body to stimulate the flow of qi through the meridians (energy pathways). Studies have shown that acupuncture stimulates the release of the body’s natural painkillers and can help in chronic pains such as low-back, neck, and even osteoarthritic (NCCIH).
For centuries, China has been using herbs for their medicinal benefits. Similar to Ayurveda, herbs are recommended due to the energy of a person. These are based often on the five elements. There are hundreds of medicinal Chinese herbs. For example, reishi is a mushroom that has a long history with Chinese medicine. For over 2000 years, it has helped to treat asthma, cancer, high blood pressure, and many more health issues (Reishi Mushroom Basics).
Appalachian Folk Medicine
Even in places where Western medicine is commonly practiced, there are traditional folk medicines, such as Application Traditional Medicine. Appalachian medicine has a strong and rich history. It is mixed with Native American plant use, healing practices brought from Africa by the slaves, and folk medicines of Great Britain (Spirit of Change Magazine).
In Appalachian Folk Medicine, blood is the strongest indicator of health, as it is the river in which oxygen and nutrients are carried to our cells. It focuses on the blood types and incorporates them with the elements of the natural world. Appalachian Folk Medicine uses traditional herbs and plants found in the area to help cure and heal ailments from fevers and colds, to more serious health issues like heart and respiratory illnesses.
Curanderismo is a holistic healing system found in Latin America. It is a traditional folk medicine that is practiced strongly in the areas of Nicaragua, Honduras, Argentina, Mexico, and the southwest region of the United States. It uses healing treatments such as herbal remedies, massage, and spiritual/religious practices to induce healing (Mesothelioma Resource Online).
While much of Curanderismo involves heavy rituals, involving chanting, the use of incense, etc., herbal remedies are also present in this practice (Research Gate). These are mixed into pastes, salves, or drunk as teas to help heal the body.
As one can see, there are many traditional healing methods that are still practiced around the world. These are deeply rooted in the cultures of the areas in which these healing modalities stem from, yet anyone can work with these traditional healing folk ways and incorporate these into their own lives.
- Ayurveda : John Hopkin’s Medicine : https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/ayurveda
- Chinese Medicine History : Traditional Chinese Medicine Resource Center: http://www.tcmcentral.com/chinese-medicine/chinese-medicine-history/
- 12 Powerful Ayurvedic Herbs and Spices : Healthline : https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ayurvedic-herbs
- Traditional Chinese Medicine: What you Need to Know : National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health : https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/traditional-chinese-medicine-what-you-need-to-know
- Reishi Mushroom Basics : Chinese Herbs : https://www.chinese-herbs.org/reishi/
- The Roots of Southern Folk Medicine : Spirit of Change Magazine : https://www.spiritofchange.org/the-roots-of-southern-folk-medicine/
- Curanderismo : Mesothelioma Resource Online : https://www.mesotheliomasymptoms.com/curanderismo
- The Practice of Curanderismo : A Qualitative Study from the Perspective of Curandera/os : Research Gate : https://www.researchgate.net/publication/313814263_The_Practice_of_Curanderismo_A_Qualitative_Study_from_the_Perspectives_of_Curanderaos