Asia has been known for its various kinds of alternative healing of several diseases of human beings, whether common or uncommon. While most of the western countries and other affluent nations all over the world have been spending thousands of dollars to cure diseases, most of the Asian countries have been making use of their natural resources and other alternatives for medications without compromising the patients’ financial status.
China for instance, has been known for these kind of traditional medicine practices by which the Western world has called the these practices as alternative medical system. Such practices include treatments through the use of herbal medicine, dietary therapy, and both Tui na and Shiatsu massage. The Chinese people believe that diseases have something to do with five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. In these phases, they believe that there are interactions and relationships between phenomena. Further, they also relate diseases with cardinal directions or cardinal points: north, south, east, and west which are used for geographic orientation on Earth and can as well be calculated on a rotating astronomical body.
Most of the theory regarding the traditional Chinese medicine originates from the same concept that provides information about Taoist and Buddhist thought and mirrors the classical belief of Chinese about an intimate relationship between individual’s life and activity with the environment on all levels. The documented 833 medicinal substances of the country include those that were taken from stones, minerals, metals, plants, herbs, animals, vegetables, fruits, and cereal crops. These substances were notably giving medical advances during the Middle Ages particularly from the year 649-683 under the Tang Dynasty.
Meanwhile, India has been known for other alternative medicinal terms such as naturopathy (the science of health), Yoga (the science of the soul), Acupuncture (the Chinese body work), and Dietetics (the science of eating). Dr. Manoj from Kerala, India believes that there is innate power of healing within every person and that the cure evokes this potential in natural ways. He claims that the key to raise this dormant energy depends on the food, breathe, exercises, thoughts, reasons and meditations.
Naturopathy emphasized on the existence of five great elements by which the human body is composed brings a perfect harmony between the elements and forces which comprise the human entity. Involved elements in this therapy are earth element-mud therapy, water element-hydrotherapy, light/fire element-Chromo therapy/Diet therapy, Air element-fresh air and breathing exercise, and ether element-fasting therapy.
The concept and practice of yoga in the country is believed to have been originated by the saints and sages several thousand years ago. At present, its science has been accepted globally and has been used to suit the lifestyle. The goal of yoga is to manifest the divinity of every human being by controlling nature, external and internal. This therapy can be done through a steady control of the senses and mind and a complete cessation of the afflictions of fluctuations of consciousness.
Acupuncture however is a traditional art originating from China by which healing of various illnesses was done through insertion of very fine needles on specific parts of the body. This therapy believes in the theory of five great elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water transforming from one for to another. Its core theory is the principle of meridians and the idea of Qi, the inner force maintaining the balance and function of energy in a human body.
Dietetics is the therapy mainly referred to a natural diet. This involves a positive diet plan based on the common and main principles of nature. Hence, this gives emphasis on a vegan (Vegetarian) diet making use of all the available natural resources. Naturopath and nutritionists around the world are commonly those who make use of this as a preventive diet programme. This therapeutic diet involving grains, fibre, vegetables, fruits, plant proteins, and fresh juices is designed to cure specific ailments.
While the alternative medicine in some Asian countries generally makes use of natural resources, the Philippines has its distinctive lists of ways of its alternative medicine. Aside from herbal therapy which becomes the common denominator of alternative medications in almost all Asian countries, the Philippines is where you can acquire ideas about faith healers, hilots, and albularyos.
The study of the country’s alternative medicine does not only revolve around the mere alternate therapeutics but also offers scrutiny of the origins of its people, the cultures, and influences such as centuries of Spanish colonial rule and the indelible consequences of its religion.
Faith healing in the Philippines shows the people’s religiosity and involves patron saints, Sto. Niños, Marian devotion, sightings, intercessions and miracles. It also highlights the fascination and disposition of its people for the supernatural and mystical beliefs, tribal spiritualities in its healing modalities. This kind of healing has been associated with many ingredients including prayers, massage, herbs, magnets, and crystals.
The “manghihilot” in the Philippines refers to a practitioner of the craft of chiropractic manipulation and massage aiming to diagnose and treat musculoligamentous and mukuloskeletal ailments. “Hilot” is the practice which is in contrast to the western medical process and is considered low on science but high on esotery. These practitioners are not versed in the practice of other forms of healing practices in the country or other alternative therapies and they only focus on treating bodily complaints amenable to chiropractic manipulations and massage.
By tradition, “albularyos” referred to the general practitioners, the primary dispensers of health care particularly in the rural areas. In most cases, this ability to heal by them are a calling, a power or ability bestowed by a supernatural being, often associated to the Holy Spirit. Like “manghihilots,” these practitioners also lack formal education and they usually have a history of a healer in the family-line. The “albularyo’s” diagnostic rituals and healing modalities are affected by the belief in creatures such as dwarfs and other creatures that often complicate pathophysiology’s conundrum.
These healers have something in common and that is a fervent religiosity which they believe guiding them in their practices to cure maladies. In addition, they all consider Tuesdays and Fridays as most effective days of healing and days of the week that coincide with the feast of the Sto. Niño and the feast of the Black Nazarene.