Many people hear the words alternative healthcare, natural medicine, herbal remedies, and so on, and they roll their eyes. This is not a new reaction. These people believe that natural medicine is “mumbo jumbo” and can’t compete with Western medicine. What is probably unknown to them is that natural medicine or alternative healthcare has been around for a very long time. It has a history that is much longer and more diverse than that of Western medicine, and it is actually accepted by a majority of the Eastern world, as well as many other places on earth too.
The history of alternative healthcare begins in the middle east and Egypt, around 5000 years BC. The people of these countries and regions had their specific methods of healing their sick or wounded, and they had many solutions for common everyday ailments, as well as long term observable ones. These methods were passed down from medicine man/woman to the next, and through the generations, the doctors of the time honed their healing skills and became great assets to their people.
Further east, scientists and historians have found that both India and China have medical practices that are also 4000 to 5000 years BC. In India, the healing principles that were passed through the generations, namely amulters, and Ayurvedic medicine are still practiced today, and have now stretched beyond India. This is not only a testament to the power of oral tradition and a great heritage, but it is also proof that these natural remedies do work, because they have survived so long and are still recommended.
In China, the concept of balance, yin and yang, Chi, the five elements, the harmony of emotions and spirit are concepts that are still seen today. Not only do many of the people in China still follow these theories and principles, but almost any place on earth where you find a Chinese population, you find a Chinese herbalist or medicine man, or a practitioner of acupuncture. Taoism is also still a popular alternative medicine that is practiced today. What is remarkable, however, is that more than Inidan remedies, Chinese remedies have stretched out to other societies, and some of its practices have even been given recognition by Western doctors.
Coming into the Western world, Europe too had a history of natural medicine which is around 2000 years old. The poor of Europe found herbal remedies to help their sick. They were also practitioners of naturopathy and hydrotherapy, though hydrotherapy or water therapy is something that can be traced back to ancient Rome. Even the US has a history of natural medicine, widely used during the time of the first colonies where healing was left mainly to the wives, who later on were persecuted as witches.
Though many are skeptical, alternative healthcare still has its place in the world today. Twenty-five per cent of Scottish doctors are qualified in homeopathy, and the US is opening up its doors to these Eastern traditions. Radical as it sounds, there’s actually nothing more natural. After all, the entire world has been practicing this manner of healing for thousands of years!