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Naturopathy less expensive than conventional medicine in the long run

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KR Raghunath, Sr Chairman, Jindal Naturecure Institute (JNI) explains to Express Healthcare how JNI’s drugless regime can complement primary allopathic treatment and what they are doing to help the nation achieve universal health coverage

Naturopathy is perceived as an expensive alternative treatment. Kindly expand on how naturopathy can benefit the low-income group, who tend to have more illnesses?
It is a misnomer that naturopathy is expensive. You need to understand the principle behind it if you want to know why it is more cost effective in the long run. The disease burden of non-communicable diseases is steadily on the rise. They have overtaken communicable diseases to become the leading cause of deaths in the country. These are diseases that can be avoided with non-invasive treatments, lifestyle and dietary changes. However, public remains largely unaware of the long-term benefits of preventive care. It plays a key role in culling the incidence of lifestyle diseases, saving the hassle of expensive hospital visits down the line. In that sense, naturopathy is a lot less expensive than conventional medicine.

JNI claims to follow a ‘drugless regimen.’ What is the philosophy and in which disease conditions can this be applied keeping patient safety in mind?
Naturopathy is a drugless, non-invasive branch of medicine that believes in addressing the root cause of illnesses rather than treating just the symptoms. The naturopath takes into account physical, environmental, psychological and social factors before prescribing a patient-centric treatment plan. The conditions that we predominantly address are lifestyle diseases that can either be corrected or reversed with non-invasive therapies, lifestyle changes and dietary modifications. It is very safe compared to most alternative branches of medicine, and our naturopaths closely monitor the condition of our patients during their stay and treatment in the institute.

What is the role of western medicines and health care systems at JNI?
If the condition of the patient is so serious that it needs regular allopathic medication, then our treatments in some cases and to some extent can just complement their primary treatment regimen and make quality of life easier for them. In such cases, our naturopaths work in close collaboration with the primary physician to design a treatment plan that will alleviate their condition.

What is the compliance level once patients leave the JNI premises and how is this tracked?
Once the patient has finished his/her stay at the institute, they are recommended to follow the lifestyle and diet changes prescribed to them by our naturopaths. They are advised to follow the schedule and diet, they learn during their stay in our institute. Generally, we make it a point to advise the patient to stick to the changes till it become a habit. Having said that, there is only so much that we can do. We hope patients choose to proactively learn from their past and correct their habits and lifestyle for their own betterment.

Is JNI part of any public health schemes like Ayushman Bharat, etc?
We are empanelled under the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS). Central government employees and pensioners are welcome to reap the benefits accorded to them under the scheme. Apart from that, we have beds for lower-income classes, including free beds for those who cannot afford even the economy wards.

What is JNI doing to better the health of the common man?
Like we said, we believe in a preventive approach to healthcare and our naturopaths do their best to advocate patients on practices, they need to follow to maintain good health and avoid illnesses. We have a variety of cost-effective accommodations for economically vulnerable sections of the society. They do not get the treatment they need from public health facilities as they are overcrowded and understaffed. Even if they manage to get evaluated by a physician, it is cursory and incomplete on account of the time constraint, most physicians operate under. As a result, the health outcomes of the patients suffer. In such cases, we strongly urge them to seek the guidance of a licensed naturopath knows as BNYS graduate so they can be educated on their condition and given the care and treatment they deserve. This is going to be one of the main areas of focus for our institute going forward. We want to do our part to help our country achieve universal health coverage.

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