Ancient medical practices that are still relevant in the modern world
There hasn’t been a constant phase for medicine ever. We wake up to new cures, and new developments in the medical field every day. While...
There hasn’t been a constant phase for medicine ever. We wake up to new cures, and new developments in the medical field every day. While most of these developments have been new, just born; many have been ancient – dating back to the 1700s. Now they have been witnessing progressions and moderation.
When it comes to ancient medicinal practices, most of them have been quite controversial for being absurd, risky and sometimes even fatal. However, as we are becoming more conscious and practical in our approaches, these practices have either been discarded or have evolved to become more rational, safer, convenient and more effective than ever.
Today, in this blog post, we will be discussing some ancient medical practices that are still relevant and in practice today.
Ayurveda needs no introduction, we are all familiar with the concept of Ayurveda. It is a well-organised system of traditional health care practised all around the world, but especially in parts of Asia. Even though it dates back to 3,000 years ago, it still remains a preferred form of healthcare in India and other parts of the Eastern world.
It is both a preventive and curative form of medical treatment. The preventive component emphasises personal and social hygiene. The curative aspects feature the use of herbal medicines, physiotherapy, external preparations, and certain food items.
Homoeopathy dates back to the 1700s. It was developed in Germany. It is based on the belief that our bodies are capable of curing itself. Natural substances such as plants and herbs are used in homoeopathy. They are believed to stimulate the healing process in humans.
Homoeopathy is preferred by individuals who do not desire any side effects from the medicines. Allopathic medicines sometimes cause side effects in individuals. Even though homoeopathy has zero to few side effects, it can take time to show results and efficacy.
Cataract is a leading cause of blindness around the world. However, thanks to medicine, cataracts can be treated via cataract surgery. It was in 800 BC that ancient Indians developed the first documented treatment, named ‘couching’. The surgery or treatment focussed on puncturing the eye and manually dislodging and removing the cloudy lens. Being a controversial technique and unsafe, it led to several medical complications.
It was in the mid-1700s, that Jacques Daviel, a French ophthalmologist made significant moderations to the procedure. The result was the development of Extracapsular Cataract Extraction (ECCE), which involved the use of a knife, spatula and blunted needle. The procedure involved extraction of the lens through an incision in the cornea. Following this, the patient’s eyes were washed in water and then covered with cotton.
This procedure built the foundation of ECCE and modern cataract treatment, which is still practised today, but in a refined manner.
Imagine your body being sewn like a piece of cloth. It can be bizarre to imagine, but sutures are still relevant medical procedures performed after surgeries.
The history of suturing goes back thousands of years, an eyed needle was invented. But, the first official account of a surgical suture was in Ancient Egypt, in around 3000 BC. As per reports and scriptures, the oldest known suture was performed on an Egyptian mummy in 1100 BC. The synthetic suture materials that are used in modern medicine have evolved from sutures made using plant fibres, tendons, hair, and wool threads.
Now fast forwarding to the present, sutures are widely used in surgeries to close wounds or other tissues. The process involves the use of a needle attached to a thread to stitch the wound shut.
The surgery is performed to remove pituitary tumours. In the modern era, surgery is performed by inserting a thin yet rigid tube called an endoscope through the nose. Now, the surgery is performed keeping the patient under the influence of anaesthesia. Back then, it was performed manually and was brutal, keeping the patient conscious.
Transsphenoidal techniques were employed by Egyptians in the preparation of mummies. The technique involved the usage of instruments with curved hooks; they were inserted through the nostrils to eliminate brain matter from corpses. However, now several advances have been made and this surgery has become one of the most common medical treatments to remove pituitary tumours.
While the field of medicine has made tremendous advancements over the centuries, it is remarkable to discover that certain ancient medical practices continue to hold relevance in the modern world. These age-old practices, rooted in deep knowledge and observation, offer valuable insights into holistic health and well-being. By embracing the wisdom of the past alongside modern medical knowledge, we can strive for a comprehensive approach to healthcare that honours both tradition and progress, ultimately leading to improved health outcomes for individuals and communities worldwide.