AYUSH -The way to a healthy life

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AYUSH -The way to a healthy life

Thursday, 14 July 2022 | Brijender Singh Panwar

AYUSH -The way to a healthy life

Most diseases today are the result of poor lifestyle and bad living conditions. This is where the alternative system of medicine comes into picture

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), nearly 1.7 million deaths take place in India due to heart diseases every year. India is number two in the list of most diabetic nations with more than 77 million diabetics. Approximately 5.8 million Indians die of diabetes, cancer, stroke, heart and lung diseases every year. In other words, one out of four Indians is at the risk of dying from a Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) before the age of 70. In India, nearly 4 crore people go under the poverty line every year by spending on health care from their own pockets. The gravity of the situation can be realised from the fact that the poorest 10 per cent of the population relies on selling assets or on borrowing, entailing intergenerational consequences on the family’s ability to access basic goods and affecting long-term economic prospects.

Not many people are aware that most of these diseases are the result of poor lifestyle and bad living conditions. Simple routine practices like a healthy diet, regular physical activity, avoiding tobacco and alcohol and incorporating healthy habits like yoga can bring about a drastic change and help improve one's health. This is where the alternative system of medicine comes into picture. This proven effective system, which has been in place for a long time, is relatively affordable. It will be an effective measure to promote these systems in rural areas where people mostly practice them and are ready to adapt them. Common masses could be easily provided affordable and alternative treatment options by eliminating misconceptions, creating awareness, setting up

infrastructure and appointing expert practitioners.

To propagate this alternative system of medicine, the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) was formed on November 9, 2014, for the development of education and research in these areas. The Ministry’s objective is to upgrade the educational standards of Indian systems of medicines and homoeopathy colleges, strengthen existing research institutions and ensure time-bound research programme on identified diseases for which these systems have an effective treatment; to draw up schemes for promotion, cultivation and regeneration of medicinal plants used in these systems and to evolve pharmacopeial standards for Indian systems of medicines and homoeopathy drugs.

It is important to understand the relevance of this system in some detail. AYUSH is an acronym for five traditional medicinal systems. The Ministry promotes other indigenous and natural systems of medicines such as SOWA-RIGPA, Naturopathy etc. The Ministry follows the strategy of promoting these systems of medicines in such a way that they can coexist with allopathy and improve the healthcare framework. According to ayurveda, life is conceived as the union of body, senses, mind and soul. The living man is a

conglomeration of three humours (Vata, Pitta & Kapha), seven basic tissues (Rasa, Mansa, Meda, Asthi, Majja & Shukra) and the waste products of the body (mala, mutra and sweda). Thus, the total body matrix comprises the humours, the tissues and wastes. The ingestion, digestion, absorption, assimilation and metabolism of food have interplay in health and

disease which are

significantly affected by

psychological mechanisms as well as by bio-fire (Agni).

Maharishi Patanjali, known as the ‘Father of yoga’, systematically compiled and refined various aspects of yoga in his ‘Yoga Sutras’. He advocated the eight-fold path of yoga, namely, Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhayana and Samadhi. It is popularly known as ‘Ashtanga Yoga’ and is

practiced for all-round development of humans. Naturopathy, a very old

science finding mention in the Vedas and other ancient texts, is based on another well-founded philosophy. It is the art and science of healthy living and a drugless system of healing the body. Unani Tabb is another science which tells us about various states of the body, in health and when not in health, and the means by which health is likely to be lost, how to be restored. The basic theory of the Unani system is based upon the well known four human theory of Hippocrates. This presupposes the presence of blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile in the body.

Siddha is also among the oldest systems of medicine. The term Siddha means achievements. Mainly

therapeutic, the system is based upon the contribution of development of this

medical system by 18

siddhars. Two other ancient systems are homeopathy and Sowa-Rigga. Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1845) provided a scientific base to homeopathy which is derived from two Greek words — Humois meaning similar and pathos meaning suffering. It is based on the natural law of healing — “Similia Similibus Curantur”, which means “likes are cured by likes”. It has been serving suffering humanity for over two centuries and continues to be followed with success. “Sowa-Rigpa” is one of the oldest, living and well-documented medical traditions popular in the world. The term means “knowledge of

healing” and is popular in the trans-Himalayan region of Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal (Darjeeling), Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

(The author is the president, Community Radio Association of India. The views expressed are personal.)

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