Ancient medicine systems like Ayurveda look at the human body holistically. They believe that the body interacts with the environment and is influenced by it. Each individual is different and has varying needs.
It was an observation-based science. Scholars observed people’s interactions with nature and, through hits and misses, came up with rules, formulations, and practices to help an individual recover from an ailment. This observation process probably began a thousand years before Sushruta and Charaka came up with their first compilations in the latter half of the first millennium BC.
Ayurveda views health as a balance of the mind, body, and spirit rather than just the absence of physical symptoms. Its dosha theory mentions three biological energies (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) govern the functioning of the body and mind, and imbalances in these energies result in health issues.
Ayurveda recognizes each individual’s unique needs and constitution, and treatment is tailored accordingly. It relies on using natural substances, such as herbs, oils, and dietary changes, on restoring balance and health. Ayurveda recognizes the connection between emotional and mental health and physical well-being. It strongly emphasizes preventive care and promoting overall wellness rather than treating illness.
Some of the fundamental concepts of Ayurveda continue to be relevant today in the 21st century and therefore deserve respect. I do not subscribe to the group of people who will say that Ayurveda has no relevance today and will become completely irrelevant in the future. Nor do I fall into the diehard supporters camp.
This herbal medicine system will probably rank at the top in the holistic nature-based sciences of the world. Currently, it has reached stasis and not evolving. Ayurveda teaching and research require a complete overhaul.
It has to be freed from the stranglehold of people who claim to be diehard supporters and practitioners of Ayurveda. Rational scientists must be placed at the head of their teaching and research. Ayurveda teaching today is stuck in the 1st millennium BC. This can be done only by people who look at this great scientific heritage objectively.
If research in Ayurveda is conducted using modern scientific tools and methodologies, It can greatly improve healthcare globally. Some of the steps that will help modernize this ancient healing system are:
Incorporating modern research methods: Integrating modern research methods and techniques to validate Ayurvedic principles and treatments.
Improving standardization: Establishing standard protocols for Ayurvedic diagnoses and treatments to ensure consistency and reliability.
Bridging the gap with conventional medicine: Collaborating with practitioners to provide a comprehensive and integrated approach to healthcare.
Updating education and training: Revamping Ayurvedic education and training programs to include modern knowledge and techniques.
Increasing accessibility: Making Ayurvedic treatments and products more accessible and affordable, especially in rural areas.
Emphasizing preventive care: Promoting Ayurveda’s emphasis on preventive care and holistic well-being.
At the heart of the future of Ayurveda lies a complete transformation of its teaching methodology, course design, and course curriculum. I am not advocating that Ayurveda teaching should copy Allopathic medicinal curricula. It is a holistic science and needs to be dealt with as such.
If some of the suggestions above are adopted, I see a bright future for Ayurveda. Otherwise, it will continue to languish, praised to the sky by its supporters and decried by its detractors.
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