Unani

Synonyms

Unani-tibb, Unani-tibbi.

Background

Unani is a medical system of thought based on its philosophy of the unique relationship of one of four "humors" assigned to every patient and the patterns of disorder that cause illness.

Unani has some similarities with Ayurveda. However, Unani's primary influence is Islamic, while Ayurveda's primary influence is in Vedic culture.

Unani began as a Graeco-Arabic medical practice that was popular at the time of Hippocrates. Eventually, this system became popular in the Middle East and some Asian countries around 10 A.D. Scholars in these areas outside of Europe have continued to develop and refine this medical system and its treatments for contemporary times.

Today, Unani is a popular system of medicine, particularly in India, where the practice is regulated by the government.

Treating illness using the Unani system of medicine may be less costly than with Western medicine, due in large part to the absence of expensive diagnostic procedures. The Unani system of healing encompasses everything from hygiene and nutrition to mental health treatment.

Unani disease categories, as well as herbal formulas, are currently under investigation as medical treatments in a number of countries worldwide.

Unani is a medical system of thought based on its philosophy of the unique relationship of one of four "humors" assigned to every patient and the patterns of disorder that cause illness.

Unani has some similarities with Ayurveda. However, Unani's primary influence is Islamic, while Ayurveda's primary influence is in Vedic culture.

Unani began as a Graeco-Arabic medical practice that was popular at the time of Hippocrates. Eventually, this system became popular in the Middle East and some Asian countries around 10 A.D. Scholars in these areas outside of Europe have continued to develop and refine this medical system and its treatments for contemporary times.

Today, Unani is a popular system of medicine, particularly in India, where the practice is regulated by the government.

Treating illness using the Unani system of medicine may be less costly than with Western medicine, due in large part to the absence of expensive diagnostic procedures. The Unani system of healing encompasses everything from hygiene and nutrition to mental health treatment.

Unani disease categories, as well as herbal formulas, are currently under investigation as medical treatments in a number of countries worldwide.

Technique

The process of patient examination and diagnosis is quite different than from what a patient might expect at a conventional Western healthcare provider's office. Regardless of the reason for visiting a Unani health care provider, a patient will have their pulse, stool, and urine examined. The body may be palpated or touched with varying amounts of hand pressure. The physician may examine the eyes and skin. The doctor may also feel the patient's temperature and inquire about the current level of pain. These methods of evaluation are used to determine a patient's medical disposition, called a humor, as well as likely treatment options.

After an examination, the patient receives a unique diagnosis and is prescribed one or more types of treatment, regimental therapy, diet therapy, or pharmacotherapy. Regimental therapy is a phrase that covers a variety of practices and routines, including exercising, leeching, purging, vomiting, massaging, bathing, sweating, cupping, and/or bleeding. Diet therapy involves the addition or subtraction of particular foods in order to assist the patient's body in returning to a healthy state. Pharmacotherapy involves giving the patient one or more herbs. Advice in lifestyle modification is often given as well. To Western medical professionals, the role of the Unani practitioner may appear to be something between a doctor and a counselor.


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