A new outlook towards healing for a wholesome and sustainable life
Alternative medicine has come a long way from its humble beginnings. With roots in ancient cultures and practices, it has often been regarded with scepticism in the increasingly modernised setups. This can be attributed to its lack of science-based research. The treatments prescribed in alternative medicine are not part of the mainstream western medicinal systems and thus lack popular support.
What alternative medicine does offer is the absence of side effects that are common to western medication and treatments, and a more holistic way of living. Moreover, in some cases the methods used in alternative medicines are equally effective as compared to the mainstream treatments.
Alternative Medicine in India and AYUSH
With its rich heritage and ancient scripture, India is no stranger to the benefits of alternative healing. The recent upsurge of yoga and the success of International Yoga Day is a prime example of that.
The Government of India formed the Ministry of AYUSH on 9th November 2014 to provide focused attention for the development of education and research in fields of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH).
It focuses on harmonising the connection between the spirit, body and mind, which translates to a wholesome approach to healing.
Each of the AYUSH treatments boasts an empirical base of codified knowledge that has not only stood the test of time but has also successfully endured and survived the onslaught of mainstream western medicine.
Here is a list of the alternative forms of medicine available in India.
Considered as one of the world's oldest healthcare system, it literally translates to mean “the science of life”. It is entirely holistic and aims to create a harmony that brings forth a certain balance, which can treat acute conditions and lead to a long and healthy life.
Yoga and Naturopathy
It comprises of a system that works towards the treatment of ailments without the use of any medicine. Yoga focuses on body postures and breathing techniques while naturopathy focuses on diet, exercises and massages.
Originated from traditional Greek medicine, it uses the philosophy of maintaining equilibrium for treatment of illness. Special Unani herbs are used for this purpose.
Siddha healing focuses on the spiritual energy in one’s body. Siddha practitioners take out the negative energy and enhance positivity for curing illnesses.
Recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the second largest therapeutic system in use, it embraces a holistic and natural approach to the treatment of the sick.
Growth of AYUSH
With the government allotting ₹1,326.20 crores to the Ministry of AYUSH in the 2016 budget, a major growth can be foreseen. Rajasthan is set to recruit 2,752 Ayurveda doctors while New Delhi is set to open a medical institute exclusively offering AYUSH treatments. The ministry aims at setting up such institutes in every Indian state.
Adopting Alternative Medicine
A growing number of patients are opting for alternative medicine as a form of complementary treatment to deal with the side effects of major illnesses. For example, the stress and weakness resulting from chemotherapy can be eased with the help of yoga, Ayurveda or naturopathy.
This aids the patients in overcoming depression resulting from a chronic illness and renews their energy with a new approach towards life.
AYUSH and Health Insurance
Quite a few insurance companies have identified AYUSH as acceptable method of treatment and have started offering medicliam policies which cover AYUSH treatment. Generally, the expenses incurred for Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) treatment are recognised only when it has been undertaken in a government hospital or in any institute recognised by the government and/or accredited by Quality Council of India / National Accreditation Board on Health. Expenses for hospitalisation required for evaluation or investigation is generally not covered.