A new method or immersed in history?
You may be familiar with the use of alternative medicine or perhaps you have seen the benefits of alternative medicine and alternative therapies amazing can bring to your life. But do you know how long its been practiced and where it originated? Well, let me take you on a trip to the fascinating history of alternative medicine.
The history of alternative medicine is interesting and has links to many different cultures. However, it is hard to say exactly when it started alternative medicine, partly because, until recently, the practices included in this term conventional medical practices of the time. But if we go back in history and trace many forms of healing that are labeled as alternative, we find that its origins date back to 5000 years.
Eastern philosophy to the West Alternative Widely used
One of the oldest forms of alternative medicine can be traced back through Chinese history. The ancient Chinese, in much the same way that alternative medicine is used today, according to its importance in healing the body and mind to be in balance. Much of the philosophy of Chinese medicine is based on Taoist and Buddhist principles and the belief that the person and the environment are closely linked. Widely known principles of Yin and Yang come from Chinese medicine and are an integral part of their practice. Yin and Yang explains how the opposing forces are part of the other and as harmony in the body takes place, must be in balance. When out of balance, disease occurs.
Chinese medicine works to restore balance in several ways, including herbal medicine, acupuncture, breathing and movement (Tai Chi and Qi Gong), and even food. The doctor looked at the patient’s health and life in detail to determine where their life or force Qi (pronounced chi) is out of balance. Several methods are used to restore the patient back to health. Such was the effectiveness of traditional Chinese medicine still forms a large part of modern health care in the East. It is not uncommon for these “alternative” practices for use in hospitals alongside Western medicine.
Culture than the East has a long history of alternative medicine is India. Ayurvedic medicine dating back to 6000 years and as Chinese medicine also has links with Buddhism. Ayurveda comes from two Sanskrit words – Ayu means life and veda means knowledge. It is a system of medicine that keeps a person’s body and mind in harmony with nature, in order to maintain good health.
When in Rome …..
In the West, the history of alternative medicine dates back about 3000 years. Treatments such as hydrotherapy was popular with the Greeks and Romans. The ancient Greeks were influenced largely by the Babylonians and to a lesser extent India and China in Western herbalism. Hippocrates (c. 460-377 BC), Greek physician known as the father of medicine, practiced herbal medicine.
During the Middle Ages, European monks studied and grew medicinal plants and translated many books on the subject of the Arabic language. Healers also shared their knowledge of healing through the word of mouth from master to apprentice. Understanding the different plants have taken root in many indigenous civilizations and men able to understand and thrive in often hostile environments. When Europeans settled in America they found that the Indians had a deep understanding of the healing power of native grasses. Similarly, Australian Aborigines have understood the power plants that are in their environment.
Moving forward in time to the 19th century, before the arrival of Western medicine, as we know now, doctors were more like today’s naturopaths. They took a detailed medical history with special attention to the patient’s lifestyle. The following are suggested ways to improve it through changes in diet, environment and also prescribe herbal remedies.
How a little mold turned the tables in alternative medicine
The widespread use of alternative medicine in its various forms has declined during the 20th century. The treatment of patients who are more focused on the utilization of the hospital, and the development of modern medicine lead to widespread use of drugs to treat the disease. The discovery of penicillin and its development into a drug that could treat bacterial infections in health care in the 1940s and revolutionized the alternative medicine lost favor with most physicians.
Although many physicians deliver what they considered obsolete treatments such as homeopathy, herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medicine for many patients still ordination, especially when conventional medicine does not work for them.
It is no longer an alternative, now another option for improving health
The result today is that alternative medicine is increasing. Practices such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, aromatherapy and healing is kept alive by professionals who specialize in one type of alternative therapy. The alternatives are often used with modern medical treatment, which led to the term alternative medicine given free.
This brief history of alternative medicine shows that many of the practices that today have been with us for thousands of years. Given the growing popularity of using alternative medicine to treat health problems today, it is very likely that these practices will be around for many more.