Ibn Sina's Canon of Medicine: Aspects of Holistic Medicine

  • Muzammil Ahmed University of Michigan Medical Center
Keywords: Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Islamic medicine, holistic medicine, Canon of Medicine, History of Medicine


Ibn Sina describes the purpose of medicine as being to "preserve health and to eradicate disease." This paper explores Ibn Sina's work, the Canon of Medicine, and concludes that his concepts of health and diseases have allowed him to develop an integrated and holistic view of the patient from an authentically Islamic tradition. Ibn Sina considered health to be a dynamic balance between an individual and his/her environment. He describes three levels of health that interact with each other: structural, functional, and spiritual. By focusing on ways to maintain an equilibrium in each of these three interacting levels of health, Ibn Sina formulates a system of medicine that attempts to treat patients in a far more encompassing manner than is traditionally practiced today. These and other works demonstrate that the tradition of Islamic medicine can enrich our own practice of medicine.
Islamic Perspectives