The future is ayurveda
Greek physician Hippocrates said, “The natural healing force within each of us is the greatest force in getting well.”
In the last 50 years we seem to have forgotten the natural healing force. The traditional healing practices like Ayurveda, the 5,000-plus-year-old Indian “science of life”, once designed to promote mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. Ancient people used the herbal remedies, storytelling, ceremonies, crafts, ideologies, and dances to heal people. This is a holistic healing process associated with a person to help him heal, not just physically but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
It is interesting to note that more than 3000 years ago, Charaka Samhita describes these theories on human body, etiology, symptomology and therapeutics for a wide range of diseases. It has sections on the importance of diet, hygiene, prevention, medical education, the teamwork of a physician, nurse and patient necessary for recovery to health. And, surprisingly described vividly about Pandemic/Epidemic, and its management in the 3rd Chapter of Vimana Shana – JANAPADA DHWANSANIYA Vimana.
Ayurveda places great emphasis on prevention and encourages the maintenance of health through close attention to balance in one’s life, right thinking, diet, lifestyle, and the use of herbs. Knowledge of Ayurveda enables to understand how to create this balance of body, mind, and consciousness according to one’s own individual constitution and how to make lifestyle changes to bring about and maintain this balance. The approach believed that, just as everyone has a unique fingerprint, each person has a pattern of energy—an individual combination of physical, mental, and emotional characteristics—which comprises their own constitution. This constitution is determined at conception by several factors and remains the same throughout one’s life.
This branch of healing believes that these four aspects of the human being: mind, body, emotions, and spirit are all interrelated; weakness in any of these areas causes a person to become unbalanced. The theory goes that Ayurveda can help heal imbalances in the body’s doshas — the three basic energy types – which include pitta (the principle of transformation; the fire element), vata (the energy of motion; the air element), and kapha (the principle of growth; the earth element). Ayurvedic practitioners believe that each person has some vata, pitta and kapha in them, but that one or two is typically dominant. In face paced environment that we live in there are reasons that can disturb the energy balance, such as stress, an unhealthy diet, the weather, stressed work atmosphere and strained family relationships. And these disturbance shows up as disease. Ayurvedic treatments takes a holistic approach to healing, considering the patient’s diet, history, and emotional and spiritual health in addition to the symptoms presented help bring the doshas back into balance.
Ayurveda makes sure that these energy types are in harmony by taking the route of love applied to mind, spirit and the body along with exercise, diet, attitude and behavioural changes, environmental measures, bioenergy enhancements and relationship and spiritual counselling. Ayurveda often takes a holistic approach to healing, considering the patient’s diet, history, and emotional and spiritual health in addition to the symptoms presented and focus on distinguishing the root of the issue. When the root of the issue is discovered, the proper treatment methods to prevent and cure the symptoms long term is the goal. The physicians, in alternative therapies also have a better personal relationship with their patience, and care about the success of their treatments. Having a good relationship with your physician and knowing that they care is an uncommon occurrence in the allopathic community.
With the advent of this COVId19 pandemic, and with no cure in sight people have started recognising that these thousand-year-old traditional medicines and healing methods might be some of the best remedies. And therefore, you see sudden rise on the popularity of Ayurveda, meditation and yoga exploding everywhere. The Ayurvedic practitioners and researchers in India and the US are planning to initiate joint clinical trials for Ayurveda formulations against the novel coronavirus. All these point that the physical and mental health benefits of this traditional methods have put ancient healing methods on the map.
As the popularity of meditation and yoga have risen in the U.S., so has interest in Ayurveda. In the last couple of months more and more people have resorted to local prophylaxis measures such as herbal decoctions, consumptions of hot water, gargling with medicated water, and steam inhalation etc. All this is described in Ayurveda for respiratory illnesses. People have also been resorting to dietary supplements and herbal remedies only because they are considered natural products and they contain ingredients found in nature.
Alternative medicine encompasses any treatment that is not considered conventional in US medical practices. With the effective leadership of WHO, several countries have now developed traditional medicine policies. Some Western countries have committed to supporting Traditional, complementary, and alternative medicine in terms of the funding for research and practice. As various treatment options undergo more research, some treatments once considered alternative may become a part of conventional treatments. Alternative medicine, like Ayurveda can be used with or without an accompanying conventional treatment. When an alternative treatment is used in conjunction with a conventional treatment it is known as complimentary medicine.
With more than 80 percent of people in developing nations can barely afford the most basic medical procedures, drugs, and vaccines, we may see alternative and traditional practices like Ayurveda gaining acceptance and credibility. There will more Integrative medicine centers and clinics will be established, and that will be the future.
Remember that whatever medicine we pursue, progress toward balance and health is proportional to how well we stick to the guidelines of diet and lifestyle. Old habits sometimes die hard and our changes may be very gradual but, to achieve progress, the changes need to be made. We will have to oversee our own rate of change to optimise our health!
Aneish Kumar K
Non-Executive Chairman Clearsynth Labs and Former Managing Director & Country Manager ,The Bank of New York Mellon