Traditional Arabic and Islamic Medicine Primary Methods in Applied Therapy

  •  Sara N. AlRawi    
  •  Michael D. Fetters    


Applied therapy is a commonly utilized method of treatment for preventive and therapeutic measures. Avicenna, a significant physician of the Islamic golden age, described 36 methods to restore balance of patients’ elements, humors and faculties. We propose a categorization of these methods within a single theory and framework, as this has previously been lacking. To be considered under the rubric of TAIM applied therapies, the procedures must have: 1) proof of use in the Arab and Muslim world; 2) considered an essential component of Avicenna’s compendium of regimental therapy; and 3) historical lineage according to regional, cultural or Islamic healing practices. We developed a taxonomy of applied therapies by denoting each as a primary or supportive method and providing a definition for each category of methods. We define applied therapy as techniques or procedures involving physical and manual contact with the individual that are aimed at restoring health and preventing illness. Primary methods describe therapies which when used individually can impact the vital force of the body in order to preserve or restore health, while supportive methods describe therapies used in conjunction with primary methods intended to augment or create a synergistic and enhanced effect, exceeding that of primary methods alone. Our work provides a fundamental step in continuing the evolution of the TAIM conceptual model and advancing our understanding of the diverse practices under the rubric of applied therapy. Researchers can use this comprehensive TAIM taxonomy for investigating the respective elements, and systematically exploring the theoretical and therapeutic applications.

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