You may be new to using alternative medicine or you may have already seen the incredible benefits that alternative medicine and alternative therapies can bring to your life. But do you know since when it is practiced and where it originated? Well, let me take you on a journey into the fascinating history of alternative medicine.
The history of alternative medicine is interesting and has links to many different cultures. However, it is difficult to say exactly when alternative medicine began, in part because until recently the practices that fall under this term were the conventional medical practices of their day. But if we go back in history and trace various forms of healing that are now labeled as alternative, we find that their origins go back 5,000 years.
From Eastern philosophy to widely used Western alternatives
One of the oldest forms of alternative medicine dates back to Chinese history. The ancient Chinese, much as alternative medicine is used today, based their healing on the importance of balance between body and spirit. Much of the philosophy of Chinese medicine is based on Taoist and Buddhist principles and the belief that a person and their environment are closely interrelated. The widely known principles of Yin and Yang come from Chinese Medicine and are an integral part of its practice. Yin and Yang explains how the opposing forces are integral to each other and how for harmony to occur within the body, they must be in balance. When these are unbalanced, disease occurs.
Chinese Medicine works to restore balance in a number of ways, including herbal medicine, acupuncture, breathing and movement (Tai Chi and Qigong), and also through diet. The practitioner observed the patient’s health and life in detail to determine where his life force or Qi (pronounced Chi) was out of balance. Various methods would then be used to restore the patient’s health. Such was the effectiveness of Traditional Chinese Medicine that it still forms a large part of modern medical care in the East. It is not unusual for these “alternative” practices to be used in hospitals alongside Western medicine.
The other Eastern culture that has a long history of alternative medicine is India. Ayurvedic medicine dates back 6,000 years and, like Chinese medicine, also has cardarine reddit
links to Buddhism. Ayurveda comes from 2 Sanskrit words: Ayu which means life and Veda which means knowledge of. It is a system of medicine that keeps a person’s body, mind, and spirit in tune with nature to maintain good health.
When in Rome…
In the West, the history of alternative medicine dates back some 3,000 years. Treatments like hydrotherapy were popular with the Romans and Greeks. The ancient Greeks, who were heavily influenced by the Babylonians and to a lesser extent by India and China, introduced herbalism to the West. Hippocrates (c. 460-377 BC), a Greek physician commonly known as the father of medicine, practiced herbal medicine.
During the Middle Ages, monks in Europe studied and cultivated medicinal plants and translated many works on the subject from Arabic. Folk healers also passed on their knowledge of healing by word of mouth, from master to apprentice. The understanding of the power that different plants have is ingrained in many native civilizations and has enabled man to understand and thrive in often challenging environments. When Europeans settled in the Americas, they discovered that the Native Americans had extensive knowledge of the healing power of their native herbs. Likewise, the Aborigines of Australia understood the power of the plants found in their environment.