In the 11th century doctors in Europe were widely called “leeches” or “barber-surgeons” and their trade consisted mainly of cupping and blood-letting – the universal cure-all. They used herbs, vinegars and wine in treatment, but very little was known about the human body, disease and hygiene. At the time the witch-hunt was on full force and many doctors were afraid to be accused of witch-craft, making them even more restricted in their medicinal practice. The “wise” women and men, who had a deeper knowledge of plants and healing were all too often burned at the stake or drowned for witch-craft, seriously depleting this empirical knowledge. What was left of it moved into the cloisters.
At the same time there existed a school for physicians in Persia where young men were taught religion, physics, medicine, law and philosophy. The great man Avicenna (Abu Ali at-Husain ibn Abdullah ibn Sina) was the leading expert and guru of the time. He developed a medical system that combined his own personal experience with the medical system of the Greek physician Galen (AD 129 – 199/217). The Greeks had done autopsies on human bodies, giving them invaluable knowledge of how the human body works. Due to religion, this practice was forbidden in European and Islamic cultures during the 11th century, and pigs were used as substitutes to learn about the human body.
Via different routes, not least via cloisters and traveling Jews, was spread the ideas of hygiene, nutrition, emotional and vibrational healing. Different schools of thought were born using “humors” and signature medicine. There was a deep understanding of the body as a whole; body/mind/soul, and that without considering all facets of a being, healing could not be successfully achieved.
Fast-forward to ad 2000: Medicine has advanced and developed with the speed of lightening; un-believable medical feats are being performed and there is an extensive knowledge of how the body works. At the same time it is as though the body has been separated from the soul. Many chronically ill people complain of the inhuman treatment of them, they become a machine, something interesting to study.
Medicine is more than just body, for deep and true healing to take place the soul needs to be healed as well. I think it is time to re-instate complementary therapy into the equation. I, as a therapist, do not set broken bones or operate on tumors. But I massage, see and listen to the person behind the disease, I help their souls to heal – or sometimes die – if that is the case. Medical doctors usually don’t have this knowledge, and instead of (in some cases) scoffing it, they should seek to work with it. I have worked with medical doctors who are amazed at the healing powers a person has when they are treated complementary as well. We are both aware of the fact that our “medicines” are entirely different – and that is a good thing.
At last; If it was only about repairing the body; why are people so ill? Why are the surgeries and chemo and radiation and transplants not enough? Why do some people heal and others not? Complementary therapy is not subsidized, making it un-available for many people which is unfair. In UK complementary therapies are offered at hospitals and hospices as part of the program, maybe it is time for other countries to follow suite.
If alternative/complementary therapies got acceptance from society, there would be stricter rules about education and training, making it easy for people to find a true therapist, because Yes, there are a lot of “fakes” around – giving the profession a bad rep.
And people, you are paying for your medical care through taxes, you have a say in what you need: If you want it, demand it.