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Weird Complementary & Alternative Medicine, Treatments and Therapies in Asia
Why many completely logical and rational people are swayed into trying some strange and bizarre therapy and alternative treatment?
Have they lost hope on the prescriptive western medicine?
Maybe, or perhaps they are now going back to their roots?
Asian Healing Tradition
Before the introduction of science-based western medicine, Asians had been practicing herbal and natural remedies, witchcraft and other supernatural practices to treat ailments from depressions to highly infectious diseases such as leprosy.
As these Asian countries progress to developing country status, conventional prescriptive medicine becomes the norm and the old traditional medicine took a back seat.
Although folks in the interiors or from the lower income groups will still practice them, the educated and the town folks will go for prescriptive medicines. This is partly because employers will only reimburse expenses on medical treatment if ‘science-based’ educated doctors treat it.
However, when the sickness takes a longer time to cure or when western-medicine fails, they might go back to traditional treatment.
These treatments that were once the norm for their ancestors are now termed as alternative treatments.
The instinctual impulse to try alternative medicine has gained a lot of traction not only in Asia, but also in the west. This has prompted countries such as China and India to develop them into lucrative industries.
Exploiting the Strange and Bizarre Treatment
Seeing good economic opportunity in this area has prompted some ‘creative healers’ to come out with what we will term it as ‘weird and complementary’ treatment or therapy.
There is no known medical research or study to confirm the efficacy and safety of these weird treatments, but it has become very popular form of alternative treatment.
Let us look at these strange and bizarre treatments in Asia that, as mentioned earlier, had swayed many completely logical and rational people to try.
1. Snake Massage
If your idea of relaxation massage with snakes slithering and writhing all over your body is worth a try, then you are in for some exciting time.
On the other hand, you may panic and your heart will beat faster, which gives you the adrenaline rush.
When you feel that you are in danger, the endocrine gland will release the adrenaline hormone. This will boost up your energy level to react to this 'dangerous' situation. This will happen during snake massage session.
Adrenaline Rush is Good for Metabolism?
Hence, promoter of snake massage will tell you that this therapy will give the adrenaline rush that is good for your metabolism. Although not confirmed by any study or research yet, studies on Effects of Adrenaline by researchers at Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark, confirmed the followings:
- It prevents the production of insulin
- it stimulates the synthesis of sugar and fat. This is used as fuel to react to the danger situation
Hence, the association of the above effects to the benefits of snake massage.
However, an adrenaline rush can be bad as well as it can affect the proper brain functions. It can also lead to chronic stress and subsequent heart failure.
Will Snake Massage Relieve Stress?
How can snakes slinking all over your body be a stress reliever? Well, they said that once you overcome the initial fear, the unique sensation of snakes sliding over your body would relieve the muscle tension, hence relieve the stress.
Bigger snakes will relieve deeper muscle stiffness while the smaller snakes will give kneading effect. These are similar to deep tissue massage, and light to medium pressure massage techniques administered by humans.
Studies on the benefits of massage shows that it is a stress reliever. So can we also assume the same with snake massage?
Massage will Improve Blood Circulation
Other benefits of massage is improvement to the blood circulation.
The snake's sliding movement will improve blood circulation as it causes blood to move and that will include to the congested area. Availability of oxygen rich blood to various parts of the body will therefore improve body functions.
How does Snake Massage Work?
The treatment may use one big snake, which is usually python, or several snakes of various sizes. These snakes are non-venomous snakes and are initially washed and dried.
The snakes with their mouths taped will then be encouraged to move around your unclothed body, supervised by two masseuses. These masseuses will also apply small kneading pressures without disturbing the snakes’ movements.
The session can be for one hour or 90 minutes. I guess if it is your first try, an hour is probably long enough!
This alternative yet bizarre form of therapy is gaining popularity and you can now find snake massage not only in Indonesia and Thailand, but in health spas in Israel and Russia as well.
Urine is composed of:
- 95% water
- 2.5% urea
- 2.5% mixture of salts, minerals, enzyme and hormones
Although it contains some body waste, it is non-toxic. See Wikipedia article on urine.
2. Urine Therapy
Urine therapy or urotherapy is the use of your own urine to treat ailments that range from eczema to cancer.
You may either drink a few drops or a glassful of your urine or inject directly to the bloodstream.
Besides drinking your own urine, urotherapy also involves massaging your body or the affected parts of your body with urine. There are also powdered versions that you apply directly to the affected skin area or taken in capsule form.
To produce a good urine, you must drink plenty of water and have a balanced light diet.
This alternative treatment, which may be strange and bizarre to most of us. But it has been in use as a traditional medicine for thousands of years in India and China.
Celebrities That Drink Their Own Pee
Some of the famous people that have drunk their own urine are:
- Mexican professional boxer, Juan Manuel Marquez
- Former Prime Minister of India, Morarji Desai
- Hollywood actor, Steve McQueen
- American lead singer of rock band The Doors, Jim Morrison
- British singer & songwriter of rock group the Beatles, John Lennon
- Author, J.D. Salinger
- British actress, Sarah Miles
Benefits of Urine Therapy
This drugless form of treatment has a negative stigma associated with urine and not many people are willing to give it a try.
Urine therapy proponents claimed that there are several benefits to be gained from this alternative treatment and it is practically free. Some of the benefits are as follows:
Urotherapy for Cancer Patient
In the study by J. Eldor of Theoretical Medicine Institute, Jerusalem, Israel, it concluded that urotherapy might be a new treatment method for a cancer patient.
The study found out that urine could provide the intestinal lymphatic system with tumor antigens to produce antibodies to fight against cancer cells.
- Urine for Beauty Treatment - Acne, Skin Scars
Urine as a treatment for acne? Yes, since the enzymes present will lower the production of sebum, the oily substance that is responsible for acne.
You can also use urine to treat scars and for other skin problems. Some people even use it as a skin toner.
Reference: The Golden Fountain: The Complete Guide to Urine Therapy by Coen Van Der Kroon
World Conference on Urine Therapy
Tired of the traditional prescriptive medicines, believers in Urine Therapy organized the first World Conference on Urine Therapy in 1996. More than 500 people attended this inaugural event. This world conference has now become a regular event.
Some of the world's big names in Urine Therapy are:
- Coen van der Kroon (author of the book "The Golden Fountain")
- Dr. Schaller (France)
- Atom Inoue (Columbia)
- Dr. Sonia Rodridgues (Mexico)
- Dr. Kang Kook Hee (South Korea)
- D.r John Wynhausen (USA)
- Dr. Lutz Riedel (Germany)
- Dr. Carmen de la Concepcion (Cuba)
- Dr. Ryosuke (Japan)
Are You Ready to Drink Your Own Pee?
If you are keen to try this drugless form of treatment, this is what you should do:
- Take a small sample of your urine in a small glass (discard the initial fluid)
- On your first attempt, just give it a small sip
- Continue taking small sips every day and gradually increase it to two, three and more as you get used to the taste
- As the weeks go by, you probably have gained enough courage to try a glassful
- Soon, you will graduate from once a day to two and three times a day
- Alternatively, you can mix the urine with fruit juice, to mask the taste
- After every attempt to sip or drink your pee., do not forget to rinse your mouth with water
The first pee in the early morning is the best urine to drink. It is rich in nutrients as any hormonal secretion will take place when our body is relaxed and repairing itself. This will happen late at night and the early morning hours. However, it will taste strong and may be hard for beginners to try.
During the first few days or the first week of urine therapy, you may feel weak or have a fever, as your body is adjusting and reacting to the treatment. This will slowly go away.
Reference: The Golden Fountain: The Complete Guide to Urine Therapy by Coen Van Der Kroon
3. Cow Dung as Medicine
Cow dung is serious stuff in India and to 'recycle' the cow's waste as medicine may sound ridiculous. Then again, animal dung including cow dung was used in British folk medicine from the early times, so it is not just confined to Asian cultures.
The Indians had used cow dung as medicine for centuries and is part of the Ayurvedic treatment regime. They have done extensive research and the healing properties and health benefits of cow dung were documented in several of their ancient Hindu texts.
Among its uses are to treat diabetes, cancer (with a mixture of cow dung and cow urine), arthritis, and even AIDS.
Reference: Therapeutic Potentials of Cow Derived Products - A Review published in International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research
Cow Dung in Capsule Form
In India, cow dung medicine dispensing is either in liquid or powder form (capsule or tablet). If you are tempted to try this 'alternative home remedy', but find it difficult to consume, the pill form will be your savior!
The use of cow dung does not just stop at medicine. You can buy soap made from cow dung, which is claimed to be good for dandruff, skin disease, will rid the body of bad odors (yes, with cow dung soap!) and finally, it will make your skin soft.
You can find several of these clinics practicing traditional medicine, including cow dung medicine in several parts of India.
Medicines Made from Cow Dung & Cow Urine
4. Bathini Mrugasira Fish Medicine
Every year since 1845, the Bathini Goud brothers from Hyderabad, India will give free medication to people suffering from asthma and respiratory problems using their famed Bathini Mrugasira Fish Medicine.
On every first week of June on Mrigasira Karthi day, thousands of people will throng the city stadium for their live Bathini fish treatment. The fish that has a secret herbal formula stuffed in its mouth is given to the patient to swallow whole.
The wriggling action of the live fish as it goes down the throat will clear the phlegm congestion. This 2-inch murrel fish is a species of snakehead fish and is also known as Channa SP or Ophio Cephalus.
Patients have to take this treatment for three consecutive years and have to follow a strict diet for 45 days.
Bathini Mrugasira Fish treatment is only administered by the Bathini Goud brothers in Hyderabad, India during the Mrigasira Karthi day. Hence, do not go to other places that claimed to offer similar treatment.
Taking the Bathini Mrugasira Fish Medicine Treatment
Will You Try This Strange & Bizarre Cure?
If given a choice, which of the alternative treatment will you try?
Weird & Unusual Health Practices
The above are just four of the strange and bizarre therapies that are in practice in Asia, and some have even spread to other parts of the world.
Despite the unusual and weird approach to these alternative medical treatments, nothing seem to damper people’s desire to try. Whether it is an alternative or complimentary to the current medical treatment, the quote by Dalai Lama practically sums up our way of life:
"When asked what surprised him most about humanity, Dalai Lama replied, Man: because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then, he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. Then, he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present. The result is: he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived"
~ Dalai Lama
© 2014 Mazlan