Following on from last week’s search for something beginning with ‘X’, this week’s endeavour has lead me to discover Xylotherapy.
Xylotherapy I discovered is defined as:
1. The use of certain kinds of wood in the cure of disease
2. Medical treatment by the application of certain woods to the body
3. Certain kinds of wood applied to the skin to regain sensibility to otherwise non sensitive (non feeling) skin
Search as I might though I could find little about how to practice Xylotherapy other than that the practice was to lay circles of the appropriate wood on the person and that any beneficial effects were considered to be in the mind.
Thinking about it though it is perfectly possible to understand how wood might have been, and can still be considered a tool for healing. For instance if we look at the properties of a few common woods we can find that many of them have healing properties associated with them.
Apple for example is associated with fertility and is thought to be helpful for nausea, toothache, fluid retention and digestive disorders.
Ash is said to help digestion and weight loss.
Beech is used for stomach problems, healing wounds and for sores and ulcers.
Elder is thought to help asthma, fevers and the healing of fractures.
Eucalyptus may ease coughs, colds and sinus problems
Oak, kidney stones, bleeding, circulation and fevers
And Pine may be used for chest, throat and lung infections, circulations and fevers.
Whereas in Xylotherapy wood may have been laid on the body, today we are more likely to use essential oils made from woods such as pine and eucalyptus for example. In some cultures and forms of healing, poultices may also be made from the bark of woods, or the sap of the tree used. So although we may not call it Xylotherapy healing with wood is still practiced today.