Pillar 4: (Alternative) Healing Methods – Explanations

1. European folk medicine

Folk medicine has a long history throughout Europe. This culture was supported by people from a wide variety of social classes and professional groups. Throughout history, farmers as well as academics and the clergy have tried to support and help people in their time of need. The knowledge of folk medical practices and rituals was passed down almost exclusively orally.

At a later time, some knowledge was written down so that it could be passed on to the next generation. Over time, the content has become somewhat blurred, the shine has mixed with the facts and the gratitude of the patients has sometimes resulted in the glorification and mystification of the healers.

2. Shamanism

Shamanism is a religious-magical phenomenon that is practiced among various indigenous peoples and, according to numerous anthropologists, was a much more widespread phenomenon before the spread of structured religions than it is today.
A special feature of shamanism is the use of various means so that the shaman can achieve a trance state. These means include rhythmic drums, dances, psychedelic drugs, singing, incense, prayers, etc.

These trance states are generally interpreted as a transition into another “state of being”, an “other world” in order to communicate with the spirits.

The shaman thereby gains special abilities of healing and prophecy as well as various specific magical powers.

Equipped with these skills, the shaman takes on a large number of culturally specific roles within his sphere of activity. Roles from healer and exorcist, as a companion of souls into the realm of the dead, to master of ceremonies.

The phenomenon of shamanism entered Western consciousness mainly through the North American Indian cultures and the Siberian indigenous peoples, but can be traced in many different ways in many regions of the world.

3. Ayurveda

Ayurveda is one of the oldest forms of holistic medicine.

“Ayurveda is the art of daily living in harmony with the laws of nature.
The aim of this ancient, original knowledge is to maintain health and cure illnesses.”

The interaction of body, mind and soul, behavior and environment form the basis for holistic healing in Ayurveda. The knowledge of Ayurveda comes from the Vedic civilization of ancient India. The Veda is basically a collection of ancient texts, consisting of a wide variety of subject areas. It’s about knowledge – spiritual, philosophical but also practical like Ayurveda. Knowledge and insight serve to give life meaning and make everyday life easier.

These healing arts have been passed down orally for thousands of years. The oldest writings in Sanskrit are 5,000 years old. “Ayus” means “life”, “veda” means “knowledge, science”, Ayurveda is the “science of long, healthy life”.

4. Shiatsu

Shiatsu (literally translated: “finger pressure”) is a holistic treatment method. It comes from traditional Far Eastern philosophy and knowledge of life. The physical, mental and spiritual state of a person is therefore an expression of the distribution and flow of Ki (energy and life force).

With gentle, deep pressure – a special treatment method unique to Shiatsu – Shiatsu stimulates the flow of energy and thus promotes physical and mental balance. By stimulating and harmonizing the energy flow, blockages can be dissolved, which show up, for example, as tension, stiffness or painful areas in the body or can also affect the psyche as emotional upsets.

The harmonization of the energy flow leads to a feeling of well-being, sensitization, calm, centeredness and a refined body feeling. The self-healing powers are activated and often make the problems that burden our everyday life disappear. Shiatsu serves to maintain health because disturbances in the flow of life energy are discovered and treated early before they lead to illness and suffering.

Shiatsu treatment is also a beneficial and effective support for other therapies for chronic illnesses. In today’s world, which for many of us means loneliness, fear of high demands and stress, Shiatsu with its unintentional touch is a wonderful way to feel yourself again in the security and peace of the treatment and to come to yourself through relaxation to gather new strength.

5. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a misleading term that was established under Mao Zedong. It is a kind of summary of the complex methodology of diagnostics and therapeutic applications that had been used dominantly in Chinese and generally oriental cultures up to that point. With TCM, a coherent system that can be learned “quickly” was created, although it is by no means comprehensive of all Chinese medicine (CM), but it is compliant with Maoism.

Since the 50 years of the 20th century, TCM has attracted great interest in Western culture. Above all, acupuncture was adopted as a therapeutic method. Medical societies for acupuncture have set training standards and corresponding training has been carried out ever since. Chinese pharmacotherapy and Chinese nutrition are gaining more and more followers.

Tuina, a special combination of manual medicine and massage, is widely used.

Qi > Gong and Taijiquan, which can be described as meditation in motion, are now also very widespread.

CM is based on the assumption that the human body fights diseases and recovers when it is in balance of both polarities (Yin and Yang) and when there are sufficient defenses and life energy (Qi).

Based on this, two main branches of CM emerged.

Acupuncture or acupressure and herbal medicine. Qi Gong, Tina and Gua sha (a scraping technique) as well as cupping also play an important role in the applications. Pulse and tongue diagnostics should also be highlighted.

CM has five pillars, four treatments take place from outside. An attempt is made to bring about a balance of the five elements (water, earth, wood, fire and metal) either through acupuncture, massage (Tuina, Gua Sha), scent treatments using moxa (herbal medicine) and nutrition.

The fifth pillar stands for active movement theory such as: E.g.: Tijiquan, yoga and Qi-gong.

Slowly controlled movement increases awareness of your own body. With longer and regular use, coordination and flexibility increase.

Chinese medicine is based on empirical findings that have been incorporated into a classification system. This classification system is not the same as that of western medicine. This means that the Chinese diagnoses cannot be directly transferred to Western diagnoses. In addition to Western diagnostics, Chinese differential diagnostics are required so that Chinese medicine can be used lege artis. It is precisely because of its holistic approach that Chinese medicine is a useful complement to conventional Western medicine.

6. Arabic folk medicine of the Middle East / West Asia

The medicine of the Arab-Islamic Middle Ages was more than a millennium ahead of the contemporary healing art practiced in the West. Building on the extensive medical knowledge of the Indians, Persians, Greeks, the ancient Near East and Egyptian healing knowledge, the Arabs developed healing knowledge in the cultural and scientific heyday of Islamic civilization from 700-1300 AD. in-depth medical knowledge that remained unprecedented at the time. They made astonishing inventions in almost all medical disciplines and enriched and refined the medical heritage of antiquity in a remarkable way. Well-known hospitals, universities and libraries with hundreds of thousands of volumes emerged more than half a millennium earlier than in Western Europe.

While the Islamic world reached out to the stars of knowledge and turned to the light of knowledge, the Christian West remained in darkness. Due to the constant agitation of Catholic rulers against every form of knowledge, research, science and medicine, the West fell into a thousand-year sleep.

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