PREVENTIVE AND PROMOTIVE UNANI HEALTHCARE

The Unani System of Medicine includes the Science of Maintaining health. It has the methods of understanding and maintaining health in a positive and individualized manner, with different guidelines for different temperaments, genders, age groups, geographical regions, seasons, occupations etc. Some of the more commonly used guidelines are summarized as: Regimens for seasons(), Regimens for Age groups(), Regimens for Pregnancy(), Regimens for Travelers(), etc. The section on maintenance of health is followed by methods for preventing disease. It should be noted that it describes not only Prevention of Disease() but Promotion or what it calls Maintenance of Health () as a separate discipline, which should be used even before Prevention of Disease. This is because, being holistic, it possesses a positive concept and description of health. Though, understandably quite elaborate, the section on treatment of diseases comes only after promotive and preventive guidelines.

Like treatment of disease, maintenance of health is also based upon both deeply profound principles and rigorous testing and experimentation. As in treatment of disease, so in promotion of health and prevention of disease, the most basic principle is Temperament. In disease, treatment is done by using non-drug and drug factors of opposite temperament, while for maintenance of health, mostly non-drug factors of the same Temperament are used. It divides health into three states: Stable Optimum Health, Vulnerable Optimum Health and Debility without Disease. The first state should be maintained by a minutely described healthy lifestyle – both physical and psychic, and by a healthy environment and diet, specially tailored according to the Temperament of individual, which is determined not only by their innate Temperament but also by their Occupation, Region, Habitation etc.

The second and third states additionally require special diets, regimens (Massage, Exercise etc.) and even drugs. For maintenance of health Unani System of Medicine specially emphasizes the Six essential factors () i.e. air, food and drink, bodily movement and repose, psychic movement and repose, sleep and wakefulness, and evacuation and retention. Present day lifestyle related disorders e.g. depression, hypertension, coronary heart disease, obesity etc., which are the major health burden of present times , can be successfully, economically and safely managed by following the instructions with regard to these essential factors.

Sleep and wakefulness
Sleep is necessary for preserving pneuma and vitality and providing replacement of wear and tear, while wakefulness is necessary for voluntary functions. Since, they resemble repose and movement, respectively excess of sleep increases coldness and wetness, while excess of wakefulness increases hotness and dryness. Therefore, moderation should be exercised with regard to them. Just as wakefulness helps voluntary functions, particularly intellectual functions, sleep helps digestion. So, the digestion of hot food is more dependent on sleep.

Evacuation and retention
Evacuation is needed for removal of waste products which may cause obstructions or embolism and toxicity. Retention of nutrients etc. is needed not only for full digestion and metabolism but also to maintain reserves of nutrients and essential substances. Evacuation takes place by defecation, micturition, coitus, sweating etc. Unani system of medicine puts great emphasis on proper evacuation and prescribes mild laxatives like beet root soup for managing mild constipation. It also encourages all those activities in moderation that lead to evacuation, e.g. coitus, Turkish bath etc.