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In the West, little is known about Tibb, a tradition of health synthesised in the crucible of the Middle East, which integrates elements from Egypt, India, China and ancient Greece.

Today, Tibb provides healthcare for millions of people in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and various parts of the Middle East.

"Tibb” literally means ‘nature’. It is a body of knowledge and practice for health maintenance, and health restoration.

In Tibb, health is defined as “a purposeful condition of dynamic balance, in which all the functions of the human being are carried out in a correct and whole manner”.

In historical times, the condition of wholeness and balance was the norm for most human beings. However, as people and societies moved away from natural patterns, disharmony and diseases increased.

There are three types of professionals within Tibb:

  • Hakim, a philosopher/physician.
  • Tabib, a physician.
  • Mualliaj, a practitioner.

    Physicians of the Tibb system work with the whole person. They assess the whole person, while attempting to locate the focus of any given disease. The imbalance(s) may be:

  • Physical;
  • Emotional;
  • Mental, or;
  • Spiritual.

    In addition, physicians look at:

    a) The individual patient's temperament (Mizaj), and;

    b) The level of their imbalance.

    Accordingly, the physician chooses one or more technique/modality/therapy to enable order and balance:

  • On the physical level, massage, manipulation or cupping.
  • This may be complemented with subtle changes in diet.
  • This can be supported by a single or compound remedy from rich materia medica, mostly from plants (herbal medicine).
  • If necessary and appropriate, the physician may use wholistic psychotherapeutic measures to balance the inner dimensions of emotions and thoughts.
  • If there is a spiritual imbalance, then the Hakim may use logo-therapy to harmonise the transcendental aspects at the core of the person.

    The clarity within the Tibb tradition regards the genesis, nature and purpose of a human being and provides a vision that is above time and space.

    It recognises the transcendental aspect of human beings and acknowledges the spiritual nature of each person, which can enable and galvanise individuals towards transformation and unification, an essential need of the 21st century.

    This potential towards transformation and unification constitutes the excellence and zenith of Tibb; balanced, whole-person medicine.


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