Certain ancient health practices across the world have been used to heal disease, obesity, depression, and even the common cold. Many are perhaps things we might have never considered. As I learn more about health, and the world with each year, I am finding various ancient health practices incredibly interesting, with many offering sound advice. Our world is so much bigger than what we know, and health is a huge part of it. No other country sees health the way America does, and that’s so refreshing in my opinion. A far cry from diet obsessions and fast food marketing, there are a world of other cultures to learn about, and expose yourself to. Consider some of these ancient health practices to expand your knowledge on the world around you!
One of the most valued and popular ancient health principles of today is Ayurveda, yet it is actually over 5,000 years old. Ayurveda stems from the Indian culture, and is by far my favorite ancient cultural practice. Ayurveda sounds strange, but the concept is beautifully simplistic. It basically states that each of us have what are called “doshas”. These are a combination of our body types, personalities, and our natural eating preferences or habits. When our doshas are in balance, so are we, yet when they are out of balance, it becomes detrimental to our lives, especially our health. They can be altered by life circumstances, culture, and how we live. The three doshas are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each vary and each have different lifestyle tips and diet principles they should follow to stay in balance. Ayurveda also incorporates yoga as the main type of exercise. To learn more visit: chopra.com.
Did you know that common prayer is an ancient health practice? It isn’t just something that you do at the dinner table, but a way to offer up our spirits to a higher being, whatever that may be. Prayer has been proven to heal in cultures all over the world, is used in communities, and gives people a sense of peace.
3. Herbal Medicine
Herbs and tinctures are an ancient health practice used in many parts of the world, but were especially used in Chinese medicine, Asian medicine, African cultures, and with the Native Americans. Herbs and tinctures are still very popular today, and have been proven to heal anything from the common cold, to yeast infections, to cancer. For more about herbal medicine you can visit: unh.edu.
Acupuncture is a popular form of healing today, and stems from Chinese and all Asian medicine. Needles are specially placed on pressure points on the skin to heal different ailments in the body. I cannot speak for this myself, but know many people who attest to its truth in healing.
5. Yin and Yang
I’m sure you’ve heard of Yin and Yang principles before, but are you aware of their origin and what they mean? Yin and Yang are both ancient cultural aspects used as a gauge to balance the body. Chinese cosmology is a system of beliefs that believes all of creation is born from the marriage of two polar principles, Yin and Yang. For example, heaven and earth, wind and fire, night and day, cold and hot, etc. They are intricately connected to keep the body in balance when our diet, lifestyle, and minds align. Therefore, you will often hear someone who practices Chinese medicine say something brings “too much Yin” or “too little Yang”, and this is what they mean. For example, too many cold foods like salads and smoothies would be Yin overload, while hot soups, stews, and cooked food, would bring too much Yang. The idea is to bring balance into our lives, and for this, I think this practice can be a helpful, and quite interesting, gauge of how balanced our health is.
Cleansing is something we hear a lot about, but have the wrong idea of. Cleansing has been used since the beginning of time, in every culture known to man. Though each culture has their own form of cleansing, all are intended to cleanse the mind, body, and spirit. Many cultures use water, herbs, and certain foods to cleanse the body, while others might use tinctures, wraps, chants, and exercises.
Across the whole world, community is of upmost importance, and is a common cultural practice used for everything from eating to healing. Many communities in other cultures and in the United States are for religious ceremonies, personal events, and are there to support one another through hard times. This common practice we know today, is actually one of the most valued principles of all time. Embracing a community is a way to experience the world, give a part of yourself to the world, and share life together.
Considering that ancient health practices can include everything from the most familiar idea to the most strange, they are all definitely something to consider. I think expanding your view on the world is always a good thing, and these cultural practices are a great way to start. Do you follow or participate in any of these, or have your own? Share it!