Bone Fractures in Ibn Sina's Medicine
along with some other articles on medicine from Muslimheritage.com
After thinking a bit more about the subject of medicine I started to have two contrasting trains of thought.
First I started to think back to other posts I've written about how Islam is reminiscent of a nature-based religion. The religious calendar follows the cycles of the moon. The prayer times don't follow "clock-time" but instead depend on the position of the sun, the lengths of shadows and the appearance of the sky. Animal sacrifices vividly remind Muslims of how life depends on life. And in many other ways Islam is a "natural" path. This is fleshed out (pun intended) a little bit more in the Grenada post called where's the beef? on islam and vegetarianism which also links to yet another post on the vegan Hardline movement. An argument can definitely be made that Islam encourages a drug-free natural wholistic organic approach to health/nutrition and other areas of life.
On the other hand, the above approach can't be absolute. The human body is a complex collection of distinct interrelated systems which can get sick in a variety of ways. It would be a bit naive to totally dismiss conventional medicine and exclusively rely on "natural" methods.
Something else which occurs to me is that almost by its very nature, the practice of medicine is going to tend to be ecclectic. Not all disorders can be treated in the same way. So instead of trying to find a "pure" Islamic system of medicine it actually makes sense to combine conventional medicine with prophetic techniques and alternative approaches. For example, I've read before that Chinese Muslims have developed "Islamic" versions of Qi Gong. (If I find out much more about this I'll probably blog about it.) And I imagine that Muslims in other parts of the world have also developed their own syncretic healing methods (which will still manifest some family resemblance due to common Islamic elements).