Voices Pushpesh Pant S Vaidhyasubramaniam Shinie Antony Ravi Shankar Neil McCallum Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev MAGAZINE Buffet People Wellness Books Food Art & Culture Entertainment NEW DELHI december 13 2020 SUNDAY PAGES 12 Alternate is Reality Is alternative medicine the magic pill? Blame it on a pandemic where modern medicine had little to offer. A new revolution is sweeping Indian health landscape. By Smitha Verma A s befits a Sunday morning, an otherwise busy lane in a tony south Delhi locality is visibly empty Except for a single nondescript build. ing, outside which a few citizens are basking in the winter sunshine, peeping inside through its glass-panelled door at periodic intervals. As minutes make way to hours, cars arrive and park and drive away adding to previous automobiles. New sets of restless faces replace the old ones as visitors enter and leave. The waiting lounge is scattered with 20-odd wrought-iron chairs, mostly occupied, with patients who have travelled from all corners of the city The building is where a branch of the legendary Arya . Vaidya Sala (AVS) Kottakkal operates where with clockwork precision two Ayurvedic physicians are listening to long tales of woes and prescribing medicines, to be purchased from the adjoining counter. “This is my first visit here and I am looking for a cure for my skin allergy says Amar,” deep Singh, a 42-year-old man from Gurugram. Ayurveda isn’t the only alternative medicine worth swearing by . A 44-year-old HIV positive Andhra woman was saved by Amrita Hospital doctors in November 2019 using their integrated medical approach that combines Western medicines with Ayurveda. A 42-yeer-old electrical engineer from Chennai was able to walk after Siddha Vaman therapy healed his fracture without surgical intervention. A yoga guru was relieved of chronic pain that put her in a wheelchair in her teens by the great yoga exponent BKS Iyengar. An Air India captain, who would’ve lost his job because of fading vision, was cured by acupuncture. Twenty years after treatment, he is still flying. A 65-year-old stroke patient on ventilator was revived by homoeopathic medication. After lengthy rehabilitation, he leads an independent life now. Unani cured a 32-year-old salesman from Hazratganj, Munger, Bihar, of a chronic liver condition after daily Pan IV injections failed. Not a single death occurred and not one health professional was infected at the All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) in Delhi, which was turned into a Covid-19 treatment facility . COVID DOES A FAVOUR The nearly year-long coronavirus contagion, its vast death toll and confusing data flows have exposed the limitations of modern medicine. No one diagnosis is effective. Symptoms are too inconsistent to get a fix on the disease. The vaccine shopping list has too many choices but most of the information about their development is cloaked in secrecy; the side effects are not fully known. There is no drug yet to counter the virus, only experimental cocktails. Never before has the spotlight fallen more on the efficacy of non-Western medicines, or Alternative Medicines as native healing systems are called, than during the pandemic. “Exports of Ayurvedic medicines have gone up by three to four times post the outbreak of Covid-19,” Popular Therapies Reiki Vaidya Devendra Triguna, president, All India Ayurvedic Congress, and president, National Academy of Ayurveda claims. Because of its historical associations, India is a melting pot of medical knowledge. The Greeks brought Unani medicine. The Chinese introduced acupuncture. The Tibetans came with their Himalayan cures. The Germans brought Homoeopathy India itself had Yoga, . Ayurveda and Siddha that include natural medicines and astrology Health institutions . across the world are now placing complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the ambit of science. According to Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary Ministry of AYUSH, , the fight against Covid-19 is at full throttle to generate “tangible evidence to develop confidence among global and national scientific community”. The ministry has so far documented the impact through the Sanjivani mobile app among 1.47 crore people. “ Almost 85.1 percent respondents have reported use of an AYUSH remedy as prophylaxis/treatment of Covid-19. Of that, 89.8 percent reported benefits from the practice of AYUSH advisory and 79.1 percent reported overall good health,” Kotecha clarifies. The Covid-19 facility at the AIIA in Delhi had close to 170 patients who were treated according to strict AYUSH Covid-19 protocols. Triguna explains that Ayurvedic medicines are best for lifestyle disorders, liver and kidney issues, spondylosis, digestion issues, rheumatism, and arthritis, to name a few. BITTERSWEET PILLS India is making strong strides in the traditional medicine sector both at organisational levels and popular acceptance. Last week, Stanford University released its global list of top 2 percent scientists, which included three Indian alternative medical practitioners—two yoga therapists and one homoeopathic physician. “It’s our continuous research and publication in peer-reviewed journals that aided us to achieve this feat,” says HR Nagendra, yoga therapist, author and founder of Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana in Bengaluru and one of the scientists named in the list. He is also Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s yoga consultant. Ayurveda and Yoga share a deep synthesis since ancient times. Modi’s messianic passion and India’s greatest Turn to page 2 Reflexology It works on the principle of various specific points being energy centres of the human body. Stimulation of these points helps correct imbalances in the flow of life energy and thus provides healing. An energy healing process, it originated in Tibet and Japan. It is said that reiki provides healing by bringing physical, emotional, mental and spiritual balance, using energy centres in the body. Pranic Healing It is an energy “no-touch” healing system based on the fundamental principle that the body has the innate ability to heal itself. Hypnotherapy A form of psychotherapy, it uses guided hypnosis for pain, stress and anxiety. The list is indicative not exhaustive Acupuncture This traditional Chinese medicine technique involves insertion of very thin metal needles into the skin at specific points on the body to clear energy channels, with the aim of restoring and maintaining health. It is used for a wide range of ailments, including low back pain and pain related to arthritis, headaches, post-operative pain, adverse reactions to chemotherapy and radiation therapy, addiction, hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
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