Unani physicians were pioneers in surgery and had developed their own instruments and techniques. The practiced surgery and wrote many remarkable books on the subject like, Kitab-al-Tasreef by Abul Qasim Zahravi, Kitab-al-Umda fil Jarahat by Ibn-al-Quf Masihi, Kamilus San’a by Ali Abbas Majoosi etc.
As far as possible the Unani Physicians attempts to use simple physical means to cure a disease. But for certain specific and complicated diseases it applies special techniques. Some of them are enumerated below:
In certain ailments it becomes necessary to resort to Venesection and this method of treatment has been found very effective in certain lethal diseases. Venesection is found useful for following purposes:
This is the natural means of excretion. Waste matter from the skin, blood and from other parts of the body is excreted through sweating. It also reduces excessive heat.
Hot fomentations (dry and wet), bath with warm water, massage and keeping the patient in a room having hot air are some of the methods of diaphoresis.
Poisonous matters, waste products and the excess of humours is excreted through urine. It is applied as a cure for diseases of heart, liver and lungs. Likewise in certain cases diuresis is affected by keeping the patient in a cold room and applying cold water.
This is required for:
Cold bath is preferable in normal health. Hot bath is generally applied for the cure of diseases like Paralysis and muscular wasting etc, after massage.
Soft massage is sedative and relaxant; dry and hard massage is deobstruent and increases the blood supply while the massage with oil relaxes the muscles and softens the skin.
It prevents the poison malignancy of one organ from transferring it to other organs thereby strengthening the organ having cold temperament. In the pain of hip joint cauterization is found very useful. The pathogenic matters which are attached to some structures are removed or resolved. It is also used to check the catarrhal matters from accumulation.
Purgatives and laxatives have been widely used by the Unani physicians for intestinal evacuation in certain diseases. This method has resolving, derivative, antispasmodic and detoxicating effects. The Unani physicians have laid down certain rules for adopting this method, compliance of which is necessary because this method has direct effect on normal metabolic channel.
Emetics are used to cure headache, migraine,tonsillitis, bronchopneumonia and also bronchial asthma. This also cures mental diseases like mania and melancholia.
Physical exercise has great importance in the treatment of certain diseases, as well as in maintenance of healthy condition of an individual. It also prevents occurrence of certain diseases. Horse riding is useful for those physically weak and persons who have just recovered from an illness. Boating has been described as a means of cure for patients suffering from leprosy and ascitis. It is also good for stomach and strengthens digestion. The Unani physicians have laid down rules regarding hard, moderate and light exercises and have also indicated the timings and conditions for various physical exercises. The method of exercises of various organs of the body have also been described i.e. oration with raised voice is chest exercise, whereas listening to melodious songs and observation of beautiful sceneries are good for hearing power and eye-sight respectively.
To apply leeches is a unique method for removal of bad matter from the blood. It is useful in skin diseases i.e. baldness and ring worm etc. Certain conditions have been laid down by the physicians for applying this method i.e. the kinds of leeches to be applied, the water from which they are to be obtained etc.