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Integrating traditional and modern medicine

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Dr SR Jindal, Founder, Jindal Naturecure Institute opines on how naturopathy can help achieve health for all

Across the globe, two divergent medical systems, one traditional and the other modern, are almost equally popular and in use even in the most developed countries. It is therefore important to understand the precise difference between the two.

The origin of modern medicine can be traced back to the Greek physician Hippocrates, who introduced a scientific approach towards treatments more than 2000 years ago. Thereafter, the system started evolving side-by-side with scientific discoveries in the society and finally, the industrial revolution in Europe, completely isolated the system from subjective to objective, making it a scientific product. It is now understood to be a research- oriented, demonstrative; strongly evidence based medical system which is evolving continuously.

On the other hand, a number of traditional and natural medical systems have existed and flourished across the world for thousands of years before the advent of modern medicine. India’s traditional system ayurveda and yoga, for instance, have existed for 5000 years. All these natural healthcare systems are empirical, holistic and have the backing of cumulative medical wisdom of centuries. These too are evolving with time, albeit at a slower pace.

In today’s world, the clinical practices of the two systems have similarities to an extent. In both the systems, physicians personally assess patients in order to diagnose, treat, and prevent diseases using clinical judgment. In both system the doctor-patient relationship typically begins an interaction with an examination of the patient’s medical history and medical record, followed by a physical examination using basic diagnostic medical devices and medical tests. Treatment begins by prescribing therapies or pharmaceutical drugs as per philosophy of the related system.

Now, when we are using drugs, it is to be clearly understood that no drug can be harmless because such drugs are not natural food, but processed and artificial, and the body tends to reject those in the first place. Even if the body is forced to accept the drug, it is doing so after a struggle, as it is prepared from an unknown chemical composition which is not part of the body’s evolution through ages. Hence, during one’s sickness, mindless drugging is got to be like whipping an already exhausted horse, making the horse weaker and sicker. No wonder that the number of modern hospitals with speciality services has increased manifold today compared to what we had 50-100 years back. In fact modern medicines and the industry that run the business are the real culprits. These medicines do not cure the diseases but suppress the symptoms, and in the process, leave behind a series of side effects/reactions, giving rise to more and different types of diseases. Hence, swallowing more medicines means inviting more diseases. This however, is not to imply that the system itself is to be discarded , as is in case of infections and certain critical conditions and life threatening diseases , drug use is inevitable, despite its side effects.

The traditional system of medicine, on the other hand, is holistic, considers human body as a unit of organism that works as an organised whole and treats the body by using therapies which are consonant with the five great elements of nature the body is made of, and hence, totally acceptable to the system without any harmful side effects whatsoever.

India recognises five different healthcare systems collectively termed as AYUSH which includes ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, sidhha and homeopathy.

Naturopathy, even among these traditional systems, stands alone with its emphasis on not using any drugs at all. In fact the unique and specific character of naturopathy in its drugless treatments and use of traditional therapies to invoke latent capacity of body’s unique ability to cure and prevent any disease by cleansing and detoxifying the entire system is a precious concept that has not been sufficiently emphasised /elaborated in medical world. It cures and provides wonderful relief in respect of various chronic, acute diseases like hypertension, respiratory problems, diabetes, sinusitis, obesity, abdominal/colonic disorder, liver, kidney, gall bladder, cancer and even the diseases which are otherwise incurable by modern medicines.

Today, unfortunately, government departments are dominated by practitioners of modern medicine (Allopath) who unfortunately have almost no appreciation of the historical, socio-cultural and medicinal values of traditional systems. Although yoga and ayurveda as well as unani have received a little attention , absence of any formal provision for a cross-talk between the professionals belonging to different streams , the men in authority have so far ignored or even looked down upon this wonderful branch of drugless healthcare i.e. naturopathy, which is not getting justice at all, as it strongly propagates against drug use unless in a life-threatening situation. Understandably, the government under the influence of biased Allopath is encouraging and popularising modern medical system with unrestricted drug use without going deep in to the reality of public health at grass-root level of the society and ignoring naturopathy as a potential alternative for a better preventive and curative regimen. As a result, more and more diseases are spreading needing more and more hospitals, doctors, paramedical staff and medicines. A majority of these miseries emerge from the side effects of modern medicines prescribed liberally without any precautionary advice to the patients and they, being ignorant, finally become the sufferer.

If a medium sized naturopathy hospital is established in each of the 600 districts of the country wherein indoor patients will be kept minimum but more emphasis is to be laid on campaign and making the precautionary measures popular in order to prevent diseases, the country will immensely benefit. For this, 600 plus nature cure hospitals, hardly 5 per cent of the total cost on medical care spent by the state and central government will be required. But people will be able to keep themselves away from a host of preventable diseases and consequently have better efficiency, less absenteeism from work and enjoy a disease-free quality life with sound health. If it happens, it is assured that most of the hospitals which are overcrowded today will be half empty.

With each system of medicine having its strengths and weaknesses, it is important to introduce them to each other to develop mutual respect and understanding. Even as the government is offering bridge courses to traditional practitioners to make them abreast of the basics of modern medicine, it is also important to accept naturopathy in its own strength which does not believe in using medicine at all. A human body, being a product of the five great elements of nature, is capable of taking care of its own through natural living without man-made drugs which are, after all, not a part of the divine scheme of protection. In fact the government will serve the people and the nation better by setting up naturopathy hospitals across the country, by allowing the system to flourish without tinkering it .

Meanwhile, it is enough to say that modification of faulty lifestyle and general detoxification of the body due to the presence of multiple pollutants are realities which even the scholars in modern medicine also accept This is where the wonders of naturopathy or nature-cure comes in a very practical way with its simple tenets of three major aspects – a) preventive b) educative and c) curative.

We strongly recommend that the government reviews the medical curriculum and introduces compulsorily the salient features of naturopathy in undergraduate and post graduate courses like MBBS and PG in any stream of modern medicine. The simple nature cure steps towards detoxification and cleansing of body can go a long way for better healthcare in society.

In practice, naturopathy is ingrained in our age-old way of life. For instance, it emphasises that for cleansing and detoxifying the body , we must take healthy food , which means a lot of roughage, and fibre in the form of seasonal vegetable and fruits , take at least 3-4 litres of water to replace the water we expel from the system by way of sweat , urine etc., a good deal of exercise such as yoga, walking, swimming , playing which is a normal activity as we are a product of a nomadic race habituated in movement for billion years. A sound sleep and a clear bowel will automatically follow. When doctors coming out from colleges will start prescribing such lifestyle, and focus less on prescribing medicine, then the public misery due to harsh economic burden, sufferings and time will be far less.

Following is a summary of nature’s importance in the form of quotable quotes:

1. Nature Protects – you do not fall ill, unless you betray her.

2. Nature is the best healer.

3. Fruits cleanse the body, vegetables build it.

4. Nature is kind but a hard task master –either you obey her or suffer.

5. Better to die early than living a bed-ridden long life.

6. Have firm faith, and follow naturecure and yoga.

7. You keep away from six s’s and chances of diabetes, as well as heart diseases will keep away from you. These six s’s are sugar, salt, smoking, stress, sedentary life and spirit (alcohol).

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