Iranian-Islamic traditional medicine a route to healthier life

April 18, 2017

TEHRAN — While today medical approaches applied in hospitals and used by doctors are conventionally acceptable for the treatment of diseases alternative therapies are getting more popular among the public regarding the side effects of drugs and invasive surgeries.

Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage therapy most often practiced by licensed practitioners have become widely accepted while herbal medicine, Chinese medicine, homeopathic medicine, mind-body medicine (namely yoga, meditation, and music therapy), and faith healing are becoming fairly widespread as well.

Personalized medicine

The term personalized medicine is rather a new proposed medical model which individualizes healthcare including all preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic medical interventions which is believed to result in the best optimal effect on one’s health.

As hard and far-fetched as it may sound personalized medicine can be a path to a healthier life with experiencing less medical condition by recognizing one’s individual and distinguishing biological characteristics.

Ancient paradigm of personalized medicine

The concept of the Iranian traditional medicine have mingled with the Islamic doctrine originated from both Holy Quran and Ahl-ul-Bayt (the successors of prophet Muhammad (PBUH)) education and great ancient Iranian physicians such as Avicenna.

In the Iranian-Islamic traditional medicine an ancient paradigm for personalized medicine has been described based on the excess or lack of body fluids (called "humors") including blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm defining four temperaments of  "sanguine", "choleric", "melancholic" and "phlegmatic" respectively.

It is believed that an even combination of the four aforesaid bodily fluids would result in a person’s health and an imbalance would lead to different health conditions.

Although such attitude toward medicine and its individualization has been also attributed to Hippocrates, an ancient medical scientist in about 2400 years ago, apparently there has been an ancient comprehensive paradigm of personalized medicine in Iranian-Islamic traditional medicine.

Mizaj, a determinant factor

As thoroughly explained in National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine website Iranian-Islamic traditional medicine is a holistic medicine which has been based on individual differences, a determinant basic concept named as Mizaj (temperament). According to Iranian-Islamic traditional medicine, everybody has a distinctive Mizaj which is determinant to construct all physical or mental characteristics. Mizaj is a quality concluded of compounding every four basic elements (Arkan) with each other in a specific proportion and their interaction. These basic elements are: Water, fire, soil, and wind, producing kinetic energy (warmness) and fluidity (humidity) in the body. Human health depends on the maintenance of the Mizaj in a balanced state. Every mal-temperament or Sou-e-mizaj could lead to illness. 

The tempers (Amzajeh) are classified totally into nine categories: Moderate, warm, cold, wet, dry, warm and dry, warm and wet, cold and dry, cold and wet. Different intrinsic and extrinsic factors, like age, gender, ethnicity, environmental conditions, weather, and different seasons can influence on these tempers. Moreover, every natural substance like food and drink has a specific nature (Tabé) which can affect individual temperament. The Mizaj is in a balanced state if all effects influencing on temper would be compatible with it.

Health is a lifestyle process

Now that health care has merely turned into an industry that people are mostly treated once they get sick, the Iranian-Islamic traditional medicine offers practices with regard to an individual temperament and internal and external factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, season, and environment to help them to treat or even avoid any possible diseases.

In other words the traditional medicine would offer more natural, less drug-oriented therapies, sometimes as an alternative to conventional medicine, sometimes in a team approach along with it by being more in touch with a person who is receiving the treatments and making them more responsible for their own health.

Once one gets the hang of the Iranian-Islamic traditional medicine and manage to discover their true temper they would be able to take care of their wellness rather than finding treatments for their illnesses which is the ultimate end of the traditional Iranian medical practices.

Therefore, in case you find it believable, finding out about one’s temperament and acting in accordance with it and in general a change in lifestyle can for sure help to keep a steady health and avoid any infirmities.

Over the next weeks the Tehran Times would strive to dig deeper into the tempers and introduce food stuff which could help each individual with their definite temper to maintain a physical and mental health.

MQ/MG

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