Traditional Indian Medicine, Is it SCIENTIFIC???
What is my qualification to write on this topic?
I qualify because I am a human being (Homo sapien) who is quite curious and passionate about the workings of the body and mind. Furthermore, I am also an extensive reader on this topic and I have lived for 34 years, living each minute to the fullest (almost), letting each experience shape and sculpt my beliefs and thoughts on LIFE, rather than having a RIGID view, that I have observed in many of my species.
I was a firm believer of Modern medicine (like many others), and like the vast majority in India, I too wanted to become a doctor. I firmly believed that anything other than allopathy was bullshit. About 10 years back, I developed diarrhoea. I went to various doctors, took medicines, lived on curd rice and plain idlis. However the Diarrhoea did not stop for 3 months!!!!. I had lost a lot of weight and was feeling weak and concluded that I must be having AIDS (LOL!!). That is when one of my friends on facebook, an ayurveda doctor, recommended a medicine to me. I gave it a shot. Lo and behold!! My diarrhoea stopped. This was my FIRST interaction with AYURVEDA (the science of life).
DANCER, KNEE PAIN AND OLEATION
Later, when I was really busy with back to back dance shows, I developed a pain in my knees and sudden cramps in my calves. I consulted an Orthopedician at Chennai. He told me I had arthritis, which, he said was quite a common condition around 30 years of age (I was 28!!! And a dancer!!!!). He gave me some tablets, that I was supposed to take for a week. I did. I felt great, there was NO PAIN. WOW!!
However, once the week’s course was over, the pain was back, this time worse than before. I went to him again, took the (same!!!) tablets again. As soon as the course was over, the pain was back AGAIN!!! You remember this friend of mine, that ayurveda doctor, I called her. She told me to apply oil on my body (which I had NEVER done for years!!!) and certain other natural simple remedies like, drinking ghee early in the morning, in empty stomach. In about a month, my pain completely disappeared and NEVER came back again. I was AMAZED!!!!
DISCHARGE FROM MY BREASTS AS A SIDE EFFECT OF A TABLET!!!!
Specialization and reductionism have killed any real progress. The first Law of Thermodynamics says that "anything that divides eventually disappears." Today science has divided so much that in medical science we have right ear specialists and left ear ones who don't seem to see eye to eye on any ear! - Dr. B. M. HEGDE
The following experience changed my perspective on health almost by 360 degrees. This, I would say was THE life changing experience. About 2 years back, I took up this challenge of singing and doing nattuvangam for my student’s arangetram and a few other shows as well. A few days before the program, my throat became sore. I went to an ENT doctor who gave me a tablet for three months to completely cure the irritation that was caused due to acid reflux. I faithfully took those tablets. Two months later, I freaked out when I found liquid discharge from my nipples.
When I went to the nearest doctor, she asked me to test my Prolactin hormone level. It was WAYYYY higher than the normal range. I was super scared to say the least!!! I was wondering if my pituitary gland was ok. I went to consult the best Endocrinologist in town. The minute I entered, the doc asked me the names of the other tablets I was taking. On hearing the name of this tablet suggested by the ENT specialist, she told me that could be the reason for the HIGH Prolactin levels. Of course we had to rule out the Pituitary gland problem by checking the level of the other hormones that it produced, which was all, THANKFULLY normal.
FROM THAT DAY onwards till today, I have not taken ANY Allopathy drug, and I don’t intend to take one in the future as well unless there is an emergency where the ONLY OPTION to life is allopathy. I realised that human body is not a machine that is made up of different parts but is ONE WHOLESOME ENTITY that includes the mind and the soul as well. I found it really funny and tragic that my ENT Doctor did not know the side effect of the medicine that he had prescribed for me!!!!! Or if he did know WHAT WAS HE THINKING!!!!!That’s when I realised that ALL DRUGS have side effects. The side effects and the intensity of it that it will cause you, might be different from the side effect that it will cause me.
I DO NOT BLAME THE DOCTORS
I know some fantastic doctors, who are service minded, who consider the human mind and body as a wholesome entity. I have HUGE respect for them and their knowledge. Lets get this strainght, I DO NOT blame the doctors. I blame the SYSTEM. The problem starts right from our education, which never talks about the wonderful natural medicines that is abundant in our country. The SIDDHA and AYURVEDA principles, that were a must for each student to study in the ancient Indian system of education, disappeared after the British came into the picture. Now, each part of the human body is considered separately and treated, which is why we develop additional complications, when one complication is treated. HUMAN BODY WORKS AS A WHOLE. A good doctor is one who understands this, no matter what his/her speciality is. Finding such doctors is difficult. When you find one who believes in holistic healing, and is willing to listen to you, you can thank your lucky stars!!!!.
A few doctors, who dared to think and be different are Dr.B.M.Hegde, world renowned cardiologist, Dr. Lissa Rankin (Obstetrician-gynecologist), Dr Marcia Angell (world renowned Pathologist and Physician), Dr. Rangan Chatterjee. There might be more and they all point out one thing that has been well summed up by Dr. Rangan as follows
I’ve worked as a doctor for 16 years and I'm taking a stand. The way we practise medicine is wrong….well, half wrong at least! It all started when I began to realise that I was genuinely only helping about 20% of my patients in my busy GP surgery.
The sad fact is, as doctors, we’re largely taught to ‘cure illnesses’ by suppressing symptoms and to practice a type of medicine that’s suitable for acute or emergency care. Our training is not as useful for the current epidemic of chronic lifestyle-related conditions that are now flooding our surgeries.
KNOW YOUR BODY
We might be WHOEVER, but if we don’t know our body, then we are in for BIG TROUBLE. So we need to understand our body and mind. We need to remember that preventive health care is the BEST!
TRADITIONAL SYSTEM OF INDIAN MEDICINE
Ayurveda teaches that man is a microcosm, a universe within himself. He is a child of the cosmic forces of the external environment, the macrocosm. HIS INDUVIDUAL EXISTENCE IS INDIVISIBLE FROM THE TOTAL COSMIC MANIFESTATION. Traditional medicine always stresses on the importance of prevention, leading a healthy life style and attaches immense value to the regular practise of YOGA, which I find is very sensible.
Why I am writing this blog….
- Every time I talk about traditional medicine, many ask me if it is scientific? Let me tell you, NOTHING is scientific. If you believe in the medicine, IT WILL WORK. And the best thing is TRADITIONAL MEDICINE DOES NOT HAVE ANY SIDE EFFECTS, which means that you don’t put yourself under risk of Adverse drug reactions, non-alcoholic Cirrhosis of liver or some other side effect.
- Dr. B.M.Hegde
- PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE. (By Prevention, I am NOT referring to the routine screenings that many corporate hospitals offer as packages. )We need to know our body and mind. We need to stay happy. Mind is the horse that pulls the cart called the body and MIND is not only in the brain. It is in each cell of our body. The power of positivity, tranquillity and prayer should never be underestimated.
- Because there was this brilliant question about the effectiveness of Nilavembu Kashayam by a celebrity recently :-D
- Because we all need to THINK and not blindly accept anything in desperation and fear. Remember FEAR Kills!! No one, no matter how many degrees they have behind their name can predict for sure how your body is going to react to any illness, whether imaginary or not. We also need to remember that drug Companies rule the medical world. Many of them sell drugs by suppressing the information about their side effects.
Finally, Friends, Please do remember that, in cases of EMERGENCY, like accidents, heart attacks, acute wheezing, stroke, ALLOPATHY IS A BOON and is an ABSOLUTE NECESSITY. However, once the emergency situation disappears, we need to move to a holistic path towards wellness.
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO AGREE WITH WHAT I HAVE WRITTEN. That’s fine. But please think. Because if you think, you might realise that preserving the wellness of the healthy Swasthasya swasthya rakshanam (स्वस्थस्य स्वास्थ्यरक्षणं) and the traditional Indian medicine is SENSIBLE.
WIIFM (What’s in it for me?)
If you are healthy, I am healthy, for you and I are part of the same Macrocosm. :-)
Lots of love to you!!!
 Ayurveda The Science of self healing by Dr. Vasant Lad
Other References (A few)
What doctor’s don’t get to study in Medical School by DR. B.M.Hegde
Ashtanga Hrdayam by Vagbhata
Many Ted Talks and videos by the doctors whose names are mentioned above.