Bahrain’s health authority has established four directives to regulate the sale and prescription of traditional, alternative medicines. This step was taken in response to concern about the credibility of some businesses. Now the National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA) will establish guidelines for the sale, use, and advertising of alternative medicines, including services and practices such as ‘cupping,’ known as Hujama. The NHRA will look to World Health Organization guidelines for guidance to create a list of approved specialties.
The Middle East is home to diverse traditions of alternative medical practices. For example the Adyghe people, a predominately Sunni Muslim minority originally from the Northern Caucasus, has a time-honored tradition of musical treatments for healing.
They believe that music penetrates the body and can thus heal a person from the inside. Folk songs are traditionally prescribed to soothe patients with burns or women experiencing difficult births. Musical remedies were not a substitute for medical treatment but have generally been used the ease discomfort, much like a modern painkiller.
The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization estimates that over 2 million Adyghes currently live in Turkey and over 150,000 in Jordan, Israel and Syria.
In recent years modern science has discovered the medicinal properties of common spices often used as herbal treatments, including thyme as a topical treatment for acne and cumin as a remedy for a range of ailments.
As in Bahrain, medical professionals in the United Arab Emirates are also perfecting the art of balancing traditional remedies with western medicine. The first western-style hospital in the UAE was a 12-bed facility opened in 1951 with British aid. Today modern hospitals are common place in big cities. But this has not eradicated local traditions. The UAE has recently seen a resurgence of demand for alternative treatments.
“Modern and traditional medicine are complementary to each other,” Dr. Carina Huwari told The National. “Balance them properly and don’t underestimate the body’s natural power to heal. It just needs a little bit of help.”
Image of woman doctor by Michael Jung, via Shutterstock.
Image of Circassians in Israel via Andynapso, Wikimedia Commons
Read more about alternative medicine:
Natural Herbs for Breast Health and Enhancement
Boost Your Natural Immune System With Medicinal Plants and Herbs
The ABCs of Middle East Spice Medicines, Part IV – Oregano to Rosemary