Though primarily practiced in South Asia, Unani is based on principles that were developed by Galen, Rhazes and Hippocrates. Though it was later advanced and put into practice by Avicenna, the Muslim scholar.
It is often compared to Ayurvedic medicine due to closely related beliefs and theories. Both focus on the main elements of life, which include earth, wind, fire and water. Both believe that the reason for illness or ailments is due to disproportion of the elements. The aim of the medicine, or other forms of treatment, is to restore the balance of the elements.
Unani requires diagnosis in order to guide the patient down the right path. The first analysis of the patient is to inspect their appearance. The patient will then be asked questions that relate to sleeping patterns, diet, and bowel movements and so on in order to gain more knowledge. The main method of diagnosis includes inspection of the pulse by using fingers.
Other methods, like in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TMC) and Ayurvedic practices, include urine and feces examinations. This method of medicine strives to use modest techniques on the body in order to eliminate illness. The main techniques used in Unani medicine include massage, cupping, exercise, vomiting, sweating, leeching and disciplined therapy.
When it comes to supplements or actual medicine, Unani only uses natural ingredients. The ingredients used are always closely related to plants elements in order to prevent an side effects and to stimulate the body into restoring and rebalancing itself.
The medicine typically given in Unani medicine is used to strengthen and encourage the immune system to work at its ideal level, in order to be strong enough to fight off and prevent diseases.
Unani medicine has helped cure diseases such as respiratory, liver, skin, musculo skeletal and nervous system ailments.