Traditional healing is the oldest form of structured medicine. It has some set
of principle which keeps it relevant in today’s world as well. It is a proven
fact that all forms of medicine like Chinese medicine, graeco-arabic medicine
and modern western medicine are all derived from traditional healing. An
integral part of semi-nomadic and agriculture tribal societies, archaeological
findings suggest that traditional healing dates around 14,000 BC, but its
origin is believed to predate even the last Ice-age.
Traditional healing has no philosophical base. The
practice of traditional healing totally depends on the healing knowledge that
has been gathered over thousands of years in addition to the healer’s
experience gained over years of practice. Traditional healers think of the universe
as a living intelligent being that operates under the natural laws and
manifests according to specific rules and correspondences. They also exercise
their conviction that the purpose of life and the nature of disease cannot be
understood without the knowledge of these laws and the individual’s
relationship to the natural world.
Traditional healers have comprehensive knowledge and profound
understanding of the natural laws and its influence on all living beings
present in the planet. This is why traditional healing is also known as “wisdom
medicine”, and traditional healers are known as “wise” and “clever” men or
women. The traditional healing knowledge is remained similar in its core
principles through the ages and in different parts of the world.
Medicine practice of traditional healers is way different
than other medicine practitioners. They practice “world medicine”, the original
heritage of all humanity. The medicine is free of any philosophical layer that
has been added in other traditional medicines over the centuries due to
political and religious pressure. The traditional healers are holistic and have
the ability to understand the mind-body relationship. Humans are considered to
be complete beings who cannot survive as component parts.
Traditional healing comprises of natural methods of treatment as these natural
methods have nurtured the human race throughout life. Traditional healing is
integrated and combines different approaches like counselling, nutritional
therapy, herbal medicine and other physical therapeutics for complete healing
of the body and mind.
Traditional healers learn from other healers by means of apprenticeship which
takes a minimum of seven years. Nowadays almost every healer have a combination
of formal higher education who are also mentored by experienced traditional
healers over an extended period.
The traditional healers have strong ethical principles
that they extend to all life forms. They believe that it is their duty to
foster life in all its form and to alleviate suffering as much as possible. It
is also believed that the nature’s law should always be obeyed to curb and
avoid decline and ultimate disaster.
Even though modern medicine has improved over the years,
the use of traditional medicine has not yet stopped. Rigorously practiced in
South Africa, traditional healer fulfills different social and political roles
as well. And even though scientists are trying to adopt traditional healing in
western medicine, it has a long way to go.