- Submit Abstract
7 Sep, 2023
Traditional medicine encompasses the healing knowledge, skills and practices used by a variety of cultures and groups.
Examples of traditional medicine include herbal medicine; acupuncture; Tui Na—which is a type of massage originating in China; Ayurveda—which is an ancient system of promoting health through diet, exercise and lifestyle from India; and Unani—which is another ancient system of health from South Asia, balancing key aspects of the mind, body and spirit.
In recognizing that traditional medicine and other alternative forms of healing are critical sources of health care for many people worldwide, the World Health Organization and the government of India co-hosted their first-ever Traditional Medicine Summit. The summit took place in August 2023 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India.
As researchers interested in how to provide patients both in the U.S. and around the globe with the best possible medical care, we were interested in the summit's findings. Understanding traditional medicine can help health care professionals create sustainable, personalized and culturally respectful practices.
In China, for example, as more people have embraced Western culture, fewer have chosen traditional medicine. In contrast, many African migrants to Australia continue to use traditional medicine to express their cultural identity and maintain a cohesive ethnic community. A patient's preference for traditional medicine often has significant personal, environmental and cultural relevance.
Interest in traditional medicine is growing among those who have mainly used conventional medicine in the past. More research and collaborative efforts to develop safety standards can make traditional medicine accessible to all who seek it.