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Leech Therapy: A traditional way to cure ailments on Navroz Day in Kashmir

HealthLeech Therapy: A traditional way to cure ailments on Navroz Day in Kashmir

Hundreds of men, women and children were waiting at the Tailbal area on the outskirts of Srinagar for their turn for Leech therapy.

This was on the occasion of Navroz being celebrated in Kashmir Valley on Tuesday. Farooq Ahmad Bangoo an expert in Medicinal Leech Therapy or Hirudin Therapy was busy at Tailbal treating hundreds of patients with different ailments despite people mostly choosing modern medical science for the treatments.

The 49-year-old therapist, Farooq, believes if one applies Leech therapy with trust and belief on the day of Novroz, he will definitely get cured of his ailment. The ancient treatment of Leech therapy is mostly being applied from the month of March 14 with the commencement of the Iranian new year calendar for nine days and Farooq believes that these days are most appropriate for patients with high uric acid, hypertension, snow frost bites and certain kinds of tumours.

Since the time of ancient Egypt, leeches have been used in medicine to treat nervous system abnormalities, dental problems, skin diseases, and infections. Leeches are mostly being used in plastic surgery and another microsurgery as it contains peptides and proteins that work to prevent blood clots.

These secretions are also known as anticoagulants. This keeps blood flowing to wounds to help patients heal, he said. Currently, leech therapy is seeing a revival due to its simple and inexpensive means of preventing complications. A leech costs Rs 70, he added. Leeching is the application of a living leech to the skin in order to initiate blood flow or deplete blood from a localized area of the body.

Through the 19th century, leeching was frequently practised in Europe, Asia, and America to deplete the body of quantities of blood, in a manner similar to bloodletting. However, with the availability of modern scientific treatments for different ailments available all over the world and changes in lifestyle, people in less numbers believe in the Leeching application.

A woman in her thirties applied Leech therapy to treat her frostbites caused during the winter in her feet. “I have been undergoing this ancient treatment for the past three years and have been cured” she claimed. Most of the people who had come from far-off areas had reached Tailbal early in the morning to undergo the Leech therapy.

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