Endless Blue – Week 37.2 – Medicinal Cultures   3 comments


Medicinal Cultures

Illness and injury are unavoidable parts of life, especially so on Elqua.  In a world where predators roam freely above, below, and all around, the risk falling afoul of them is massive.  Even the tiniest creatures, the phytoplankton that serve as the meal of the majority of Elqua’s species, can become toxic to pisceans under the wrong circumstances.  Before the piscean races achieved a modicum of civilization, these natural causes kept their species from overpopulating.  As time progressed, individuals noted the natural healing process, and through imagination and experimentation sought methods to supplement that process.  This was the birth of medicine in the Endless Blue.  With its development, the sentient races could overcome the natural balance that had kept their schools thinned and flourish.

Ayurvedic medicine is the belief that the systems in the body must be in balance in order for the patient to enjoy good health.  Locanthic shamans believe they must align the subject’s dosha.  Dosha are the three bodily humours — vata, pitta, and kapha — which form the fundamental basis of the body’s constitution.  Each individual’s balance of humours is different, and the shaman must diagnose the off-balance in order to determine the proper agent to restore health.  Vata is the humour of gas, and governs the body’s rheumatism and flatulence.  Pitta is the humour of bile, and invovles the secretions of the stomach, digestive system, and bowels.  Kapha is the humour of phlegm, and aids in the generation of mucus and other bodily lubricants.

The crux of Chakra stems from the harmonious vibrations in crystals with the force centers of the Kouton body.  Different crystals vibrate at a pitch that is harmonious to the wavelengths of one of the eight nadis that run along the center of the patient.  By placing a properly resonant crystal in the proper place, its harmonics will coax the off-pitch nadis into realignment.  These nadis are represented by the color of the gemstone used to re-tune it:

Mula is the Root Chakra, represented by the ruby.  It is located in the pelvic region.
Swadi represents the the Sacral Chakra, and its gemstone amber is placed on the coccyx, the first bone of the tail.
Mani resonates with topaz, and is the Plexus Chakra.
Anah, the Heart Chakra, uses the emerald.
Vishu links the Throat Chakra with sapphire.
Ajna, as the Third Eye Chakra, places tanzanite at the brow.
Sashra is the Crown Chakra found at the top of the head, which is sympathetic with amethyst.

The savage Sahaguin of the south have developed a philosophy of health care that mirrors their brutality.  Chirurgery treats illness and injury as ruination to be cut away and abandoned.  Just as predators will purge the sick and the elderly from their midst in order for the pack to survive, chirurgery excises tainted flesh and broken limb with no mercy.  This culling of the species has contributed to the ruthlessness and violent tendencies of the race, which in turn makes the sacrificing that much easier.  It is a vicious cycle that has produced a viscous race.

This difficult to comprehend method of healing fittingly comes from the alien minds of the Lumulus.  The philosophy stipulates that all things have an amount of “willing energy” that keeps them from passing on.  Illness and injury deplete this well of energy, reducing the individual’s willingness to get better.  Everything that lives has energy, and depleted reserves of essence are continually being replenished when the Lumulus consume anything (this is part of the the Lumulan ritual of consuming their shed carapaces).  Vitae manipulators, their equivalent to healers, essentially will the sick and mauled into getting better, imparting a portion of their own essence to bolster the dwindling well of those in their care.

It is of little surprise that the physically adroit Cetaceans developed their medicine around a core principle of exertion and pressure.  Their healers are as martial as their warriors, and prescribe rigours regiments of stretching, straining, and swimming called qigong.  To stimulate the body’s natural healing and supplement the qigong exercise, healers may employ acupressure and acupuncture, pressing with heated stones or puncturing with tiny needles the myriad meridians scattered across the piscean body.

Operating under the auspice of “like cures like”, the egalitarian Chelon practice medicine in a highly ritualistic manner.  To treat illness, the secret is to turn it against itself.  Those suffering from fever should be bundle up in thick quilts, those that feel queasy should be induced to vomit.  Special preparations, called tinctures of diluted substances, are swallowed under the axiomatic law of similars.  The ancient race as been practicing this gentilic brewing for as far back as their race has memory, and since tradition has worked so well in the past, see no reason to abandon it now.

It is hard for anyone to argue that magical healing is effective.  While the Godless may rail against the superstitious worship of greater beings, even they must acknowledge that divine healing works.  The Yaun-Teel fully embrace healing through magical means, in part to the ease in which it happens, and also due to the feeling of superiority it gives them.  Divine healing is the will of the gods, which means the gods approve of the Yaun-Teel way of life and want it to continue.  It meshes well with their indulgent ideologies, and serves as a rationalization to continue their draconian ways.

Even the lowly Ceph have an attitude towards dealing with their ill.  Lacking the formal education of the civilized races, the Ceph have resorted to scavenging nature to heal themselves.  A survival trick during the long years of being hunted for their Kraken ancestry, these persecuted cephalopods had no choice to but scrounge for food to eat,  Through their persecution, they learned the benefits of nature and the secrets it held for curing the infected.  This type of medicine is not simply knowing which herbs are beneficial, but of how to use animals such as leeches in a manner that paralleled the roles they evolved into.  An animal is not to be gutted for its beneficial healing, but instead should be used as nature groomed it to fit in the natural order.

Arguing philosophers claim the Mer method of medicine is little more than Sahaguin chirurgery, and in many ways the are correct.  The Mer take a practical approach to medicine, requiring evidence that treatment has efficacy.  While they have developed a code of ethics that dictates healers should not harm their patients, they also employ tactics of invasive surgery and amputation.  Perhaps the one saving grace of this “practical” science is that it is open to innovation, and embraces new methodologies that have proven themselves effective.

Practitioners of this healing style are requested to join the College of Doctors, a guild that audits the ethical behavior of its membership in an effort to maintain the highest standards.  The institution forces their strict code of ethics on their membership, and demands a high rate in fees to be paid for the privileged of membership.  This has led to “rogue surgeons” in isolated rural areas, practicing their craft according to their own morals.  Such unlicensed doctors, through some dubious legal dealings, can be brought up on charges in larger settlements for such activities.

While the different cultures may have produced alternate methods of healing, they are not constrained by that history.  Medicine can be practiced by anyone adept enough to learn its teachings, and once learned those teachings can be put into practice in any body of water.  There are those in the Mer Currents that believe in the philosophy of like cures likes, just as some of the nomadic tribes in the Gulf of Locanth employ nature’s own bounty to cure.  The racial bias shown here is just to illustrate the historical origins of these branches of medicine, and in the Known World today all can potentially be found in the same settlement.

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