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.