Atma - the Science of the Balanced Body
Let me guess, you've been eating a lot of hot food, haven't you? Yes, yes. What you need is to balance that heat with cold. Rest in an hour in a cold draft a few times a week, avoid fires and eat only temperate meals.Atma is one of the primary theories on medicine and health currently popular in Araea. Its practitioners are known as Medikari and they believe that illness comes from within, not without. Imbalance causes the body to function poorly and break down, and only by restoring things to their right and proper order can healing be achieved.
Hot, cold, dry and wet, sour and sweet. These are the things that the Medikari seek to bring in balance. When one element is imposed over the others, the body begins to break - so the advocates of Atma claim. The system is flexible and broad enough that anything can fall within these terms. Spice can be dry and hot, while Slough-skin is thought to be brought on by an excess of cold and wet.
Blight is a category all of its own and thought to be necessary like any other ingredient, but in much smaller doses. When all else fail, the Medikari suspect that the sick does not have enough Blight in their system and seek to irradiate them as a remedy.On occasion, the Medikari are forced to make quite the leap of imagination to put some of the stranger afflictions in Araea into these terms but so far, they've made it work.
The Medikari of Atma have many tools they use to alleviate the suffering of their patients. Diet, environment and blood-letting are just to name a few. They use a number of fungi and mushrooms for their medicinal purpose and according to their elemental state on the hot-dry-and-so-on scale, though wagging tongues insist the Medikari placed them there after noting their effect, not before. Diet is another common way with which the Medikari balance the body. Meals rich in one element or another can balance out another and workers who spent long hours in cold caves might be encouraged to eat warm meals and warm their bodies afterwards. As one might expect, surgery is not the strong suit of the Medikari and they prefer to treat the internal troubles from without. Medikari rarely preform invasive surgery, though they are capable of setting bones and sometimes use trepanation. A number of methods are used to determine the "state" of a patients body, becoming more elaborate as the wealth of their patient increases. Sweat and urine is collected, smelled and sampled, while careful journals are kept on diet and activity.
Serious medical knowledge is rare in Araea. Most common folk rely largely on home remedies and superstition to treat many minor afflictions and Kaia often know of mushroom or fungi with beneficial and restorative effects. But the exact mechanics of the human body are largely a mystery, with much remaining guesswork. To many, the school of Atma makes sense and its theory can be effective; they are not wrong in their diagnosis or treatment in the dread Slough-skin disease. But other conditions allude them. They disdain serious surgery as barbaric and the butchery more than it is medicine. But they are neither stupid nor lazy, with many new and wildly experimental treatments that aim to restore balance being tested every year.
Medikari in the World
Despite the best efforts of the Medikari, many diseases and plagues remain debilitating and deadly in Araea. Depending on the nature of ones affliction, the aid of a Medikari can either save your life or shorten it considerably.
The Atma map of the Body
Tools of the TradeThe Medikari use containers to hold samples of their patients fluids, small hammers and singing rods that they use to sound out the body for impurities and imbalance. Blood-letting is done usually by carefully cutting veins with small, sharp blades and draining the blood into vials or mugs.
Center of AtmaThe largest seat of learning for practitioners of Atma is the College of Medicae in Mharaji. This grand, imposing structure has taught generations of Medikari who have been able to afford its steep fees and many experimental treatments have first been conceived off within its halls. It doubles as a hospital and the very sick (and very wealthy) are reassured that they keep some of the most skilled Shikei on staff.
Dueling DoctorsFor centuries, the practitioners of Atma have been at odds with the scholars of Deva over those way of treatment is the correct one. These debates sometimes become brawls, giving both sides ample opportunity to practice their craft. Many patients prefer one or the other, to the point of refusing the service of a doctor of the "wrong" school.
Yes, clearly the *mushrooms* growing from his face is caused by eating too many pies. For the love of.. Come on! How can anyone take you seriously when you tell them that. If you sprout this nonsense anywhere near my patience, I'll imbalance your face!