Pureandcure, Wellness Travel Worldwide

The ancient wisdom of Traditional Arabic and Islamic Medicine

July 8, 2022

The ancient wisdom of Traditional Arabic and Islamic Medicine

Just like other ancient civilizations, the Arabic world brought forth a centuries old healing tradition: Traditional and Islamic Medicine (TAIM). Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som is world’s first modern top wellness resort based on Traditional Arabic & Islamic Medicine. In March 2022 it opened its doors for the world to experience the benefits of TAIM. Wondering what to expect when you visit Zulal and follow a TAIM programme? Curious we dove into the world of TAIM to uncover its secrets. And what we found deeply impressed us. 

TAIM discovered the immune system

For instance, did you know that it was TAIM that first introduced the idea of an immune system? It considers the immune system the supreme planner of the body. Another impressive fact, a lot of Western medicine contain medicinal herbs that the Arabs have been using in their pure and natural form for centuries.

Modern western medicine owes a great deal to TAIM

We also learned that the ancient book The Canon of Medicin (1025), written by the Persian physician/philosopher IBN SINA (Avicenna), is one of the most influential ancient books in the world. Not only is TAIM based on it, but up until the 18th century it was the standard reference for doctors in Europe. Our relatively young western medicine is standing on the shoulders of TAIM. 

TAIM is holistic

Although modern western medicine is indebted to TAIM, the differences are major. TAIM takes a holistic approach to healing. In TAIM, spirituality and regional medicine meet in five pillars: medicinal herbs, nutrition, body and mind therapy, spiritual healing and applied therapies.

TAIM is for everyone: it’s a lifestyle not a religion

The word Islamic might imply that the Islamic faith plays a big part in TAIM programmes at Zulal. However, Zulal emphasizes that this is not the case. They say that Islamic can be viewed as a lifestyle, instead of a religion. That we are all spiritual creatures, regardless of whether we are religious. To some spirituality might be to meditate or to be close to nature, to others it can be a yoga session or a relaxing head massage. Guests follow their own personal path and find their own spirituality.

Custom made: no two people or programmes are the same

This personal path is at the base of any programme at Zulal. No two programmes are alike. All guests follow their own custom made programme based on their personal needs and wishes. This individual attention starts before your visit, at home where you ‘ll fill out your goals and health issues in a health and wellness consultation form.

Personal intake TAIM doctor: what humour are you?

Upon arrival at Zulal, each programme starts with a personal intake with a TAIM-doctor. The doctor will check your skin, heart rate, constitution, activity and ailments. This determines which of the four elements is your dominant element. Are you fire (hot and dry), air (hot and wet), water (cold and wet) or earth (cold and dry)? The doctor will then look at your ‘Humours’. Don’t worry, you won’t be asked to tell a joke. Humours have nothing to do with how funny you are. They relate to your personality and the type of person you are. The four humours are black bile, yellow bile, phlegm and blood. Each person carries all four humours in them but if one becomes dominant you will fall ill.

Similarities with other ancient medicine   

If you are acquainted with Ayurveda, the humours might remind you of the three Dosha types. When you think about it, this makes perfect sense. For centuries the silk route was the most important trade route between the Asian and Arabic world. Over centuries, ancient medicine like TAIM, Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicin, Unani and Persian medicine all influenced each other.

Six essential factors of Zulal

Once your dominant humour type is determined, the doctor will make suggestions on what you need to restore balance. To achieve this a Zulal programme focusses on six essential factors: Nutrition, exercise and rest, metabolism and detoxification, balancing sleep and wakefulness, mental activities and rest, air and breathing. Daily consults with the doctor to discuss your progress and wishes ensure that your programme is fine-tuned to perfection.

TAIM advice: what to expect?

What kind of advice can you expect? Let’s say your dominant humour is fire (hot and dry). That means you will get suggestions on how to cool your body down. For instance, you will be advised to only exercise in the early morning or evening. And to focus on working out a little longer but not too intensely. With regards to nutrition you would be recommended to choose cooling foods like cucumber and carrots. Yoga and meditation would be suitable mental activities. And you would be advised to sleep a minimum of eight hours a day. The opposite would work for water types (wet and cold). Short but intense work-outs, warming foods like meat, fish and of course peppers. No sleep-ins with a maximum of six hours of night sleep. But instead of sleeping you could be dancing, as music and dancing are excellent activities for water types.

No strict regimes but gentle self-realization

Whichever humour type you are, in the end it’s always up to you. As a guest of Zulal it is you who decides what you would like your personal programme to look like. Zulal never imposes but gently inspires you on your journey to self-realization. They prefer you to work on yourself in a way that suits you and makes you happy. And to make this possible Zulal offers over 800 different spa-, holistic-, body- and beauty treatments!

All Zulal programmes contain a daily massage

Let’s be honest, for most of us the highlight of a wellness programme is the massage. That’s why Zulal decided to offer a daily massage in all programmes. Zulal therapists work with essential oils made from local products like almond or olive oil. The massage techniques they use differ from a regular spa and are based on your dominant humour. If you would like to experience a typical TAIM massage, make sure to choose one of these special treatments:

Abdominal massage: release pent up emotions and cleasing of the digestive system

Many modern massages skip the abdomen completely. According to TAIM, 90% of all diseases start in the belly region. It considers the stomach the second brain. All stress and emotions the first brain experiences, the second brain stores. This affects your digestive system causing it to hold on to things that should be let go of. An abdominal massage releases tightness and toxins. It helps the stomach to let go of stress and pent-up emotions and the colon to cleanse itself. This is a highly enjoyable massage and a very effective one to choose before a colon cleansing.

Hot stone massage according to TAIM

The massage therapist places hot stones on reflex points based on your humour type. For this massage Zulal uses a combination of the usual hot stone massage techniques and secret techniques developed by Zulal.

Cupping according to TAIM

Although TCM and Ayurveda also use cupping, TAIM has developed its own techniques. The cups are placed on reflex points connected to a specific organ. This causes your body to start making and sending extra white blood cells to this part of your body. If you are new to cupping, you might want to choose dry cupping, which is a milder treatment. For an intensive treatment, and a deeper effect, pick the wet cupping option.

Medicinal herbs and nutrition

We can’t discuss TAIM without talking about medicinal herbs and nutrition. Both are an essential part of TAIM with its vast knowledge of plants and herbs. While western medicine uses these plants and herbs in manufactured pharmaceuticals, Zulal provides you with herbs in their natural form. They simply pick them in their own garden which is 99% edible. Their House of Wisdom, where you are welcomed upon arrival, is another special place worth mentioning. Besides books and works of art, it houses an herb pharmacy and over 1000 tea plants. Zulal’s menu is also inspired by TAIM. All dishes and snacks are prepared based on the four humour types.


Would you like to experience TAIM yourself?

If this article has piqued your curiosity and you would like to know more about Traditional Arabic & Islamic Medicine, please click here to go to our Zulal hotel page. Or contact us by phone or email. We are happy to tell you more about Zulal and their TAIM programmes.