(Famous movie actor Sreeni as barber balan)
Over the years of my career as ENT surgeon, now more than 3 decades, I have come across very interesting traditional people and their inspired wisdom. The wisdom of these people always puzzled me. Like the wisdom of our ancestors, we don\’t understand them well.
Let us come to the story-
Barber balan had nasal surgery
Let me introduce a village barber who underwent Nasal surgery for intractable nasal allergy, which was his occupational hazard.He could not afford any Coblator or laser surgery, but just an old fashioned partial turbinectomy, which usually results in lot of crusting and need for frequent nasal cleaning in the clinic.
After surgery I advised him to buy a 10ml syringe and use salt water (saline) and wash the nose. After a week I reviewed him, to my amazement his nose was well healed, one hundred percent , which otherwise should have taken at least a month. I asked him, how he managed to get this type of healing.
He told me, doctor sir, I took salt water in my hairspray pump and kept spraying my nose on and off several times a day.
Hair spray pump of barber
He never heard or seen any “pulse” irrigator or nasal pumps, Sino wash etc which is only available in the western world.
Even though he is a barber, he had better wisdom than me. I admired his wisdom, though he was totally unaware of it.
Saline solution is a solution of sodium chloride, or salt, in sterile water. Normal saline solution is 0.9% sodium chloride, has wonderful healing property of good old salt.
We always recommend using Saline irrigation or saline wash or saline gel after nasal surgery.
Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding,
for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.
The Bible, Proverbs 3: 13-20
Barber Surgeons-Surgery in Ancient Europe
The barber surgeon was one of the most common medical practitioners of medieval Europe – generally charged with looking after soldiers during or after a battle. In this era, surgery was not generally conducted by physicians, but by barbers.
In this century, surgery and medicine are closely allied disciplines. This was also true in ancient Greece and Rome. However, through the Renaissance and until the 18th century in Western Europe, surgery was considered more a trade than a profession, and surgeons were barbers…
This separation between surgery and medicine might have originated with religious attitudes. During the early middle Ages, most healing -both medical and surgical- were carried out by members of the clergy. However, concern arose about the shedding of blood by priests, and a papal decree (reinforced in 1215 by the Tenth Lateran Council) prohibited priests from doing surgery. As a result, responsibility for surgery passed to monasteries, where it was conducted by barbers who had experience with razors. At first, this was likely done under the supervision of priests. Eventually, surgery spread outside of monasteries, especially during times of war, when military surgeons were in great demand.
The academic and social status of these barber-surgeons was usually considerably less than that of physicians. If medicine was considered a profession practiced by university-trained physicians, then surgery was a trade, sometimes carried out by illiterates.
Surgeons in the UK are called Mr or Miss-not Dr
In most other parts of the world all medical practitioners, physicians and surgeons alike, are referred to as â€˜Dr\’ whereas in the UK surgeons are usually referred to as Mr., Miss or Mrs. This is because, from the Middle Ages physicians had to embark on formal university training to gain possession of a degree in medicine before they could enter practice. The possession of this degree, a doctorate, entitled them to the title of â€˜Doctor of Medicine\’ or Doctor.
The training of surgeons until the mid-19th century was different. They did not have to go to university to gain a degree; instead they usually served on apprenticeship to a surgeon. Afterwards they took an examination. In London, after 1745, this was conducted by the Surgeons\’ Company and after 1800 by The Royal College of Surgeons. If successful they were awarded a diploma, not a degree, therefore they were unable to call themselves â€˜Doctor\’, and stayed instead with the title â€˜Mr.\’
Susruta Samhita-Surgery in Ancient India
The story was different in Ancient India; Surgery existed in India even 2600 years ago, when Sushruta, known as the Father of Surgery, conducted many complex surgeries.
Sometime between 800 and 600 years before the birth of Christ, the surgeon Susruta lived in India – practicing and teaching the art of surgery at the University of Varanasi located on the banks of the river Ganges in north eastern India. He is acknowledge today as the author of the Susruta Samhita, a monumental treatise on surgery that clearly described operations and detailed information on Cataract, Artificial Limbs, Cesareans, Fractures, Urinary Stone Surgery, Plastic Surgery and Brain Surgeries in Toto, he details 300 types of operations
The Sushruta Samhita contains 184 chapters and description of 1120 illnesses, 700 medicinal plants, a detailed study on Anatomy, 64 preparations from mineral sources and 57 preparations based on animal sources.
“Truly it has been said that there is nothing new under the sun, for knowledge is revealed and is submerged again, even as a nation rises and falls. Here is a system, tested throughout the ages, but lost again and again by ignorance or prejudice, in the same way that great nations have risen and fallen and been lost to history beneath the desert sands and in the ocean depths”. Paracelsus