Revitalizing Ayurveda

‘AyurVaid’ is a well known brand in India, dedicated to applying classical Ayurveda (a traditional system of medicine in India) in combination with modern medicine to solve health problems, with a particular focus on chronic illnesses. The for-profit model is spread across the cities Bangalore and Cochin in India.

The current health market is crowded with private and public models based on Allopathy or modern medicine, but does not have many models based on Ayurveda.  This is what makes it interesting to look at AyurVaid and understand some of their challenges.

Traditional systems of medicine in the 21st century health market

In India today, a majority of people seek allopathic treatment, as they provide immediate relief. Even though the Government has tried to promote AYUSH (Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) through the public health system, launching the National AYUSH Mission earlier in 2014, these traditional systems of medicine are not the first choice for the vast majority.

Ayurveda, translating to “the science of life,” is one of the oldest systems of medicine known in the world. Having originated in India over 3000 years ago, it focuses on the balance of the 3 energies or doshas in the body. Ayurveda believes that a person can be sick if there is an imbalance in these energies.[1]

Today, the scope and relevance of Ayurveda are lost in a society which only associates it with  herbal remedies or relaxing massages (the Sukha Chikitsas i.e. treatment for pleasure, often associated with tourism in Kerala)

In a country grappling with a growing burden of noncommunicable diseases, there is a lot of attention on preventive and promotive health. This is where Ayurveda lays most emphasis, combining preventive and promotive health care with the management of chronic conditions. This makes revisiting the practice of Ayurveda within today’s framework of quality and standards relevant.

What does AyurVaid offer?

AyurVaid, a chain of hospitals in Bangalore and Cochin, was started in 2008 to create a comprehensive model of primary care that could integrate with modern medicine and provide the best of both worlds to its patients.

All AyurVaid hospitals (6 hospitals-small to medium size) offer in-patient and out-patient care, pharmacy, meditation room, and a healthy and carefully prepared Ayurvedic diet; some hospitals also have an operation theatre. The hospital at Domlur in Bangalore is the first and only Ayurveda hospital in india to receive the prestigious accreditation by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH).[2]

Doctors at AyurVaid focus on patient education and knowledge. Though in most hospitals, time is money and conversation with patients are rare, AyurVaid believes in empowering clients to make choices and manage their health in an informed way. Their doctors believe that mandatory health surveys and in-depth communication with their clients - explaining causes and conclusions, pointing out illnesses they could be prone to and suggesting preventive measures to be taken - is the right way to go. They make sure that through the rigorous consultations and counselling sessions, their clients understand themselves as uniques individuals with varied body types and thus varied requirements.

The hospital offers discounts to low-income customers, senior citizens and others who may not be able to afford care all all hospitals. Called “Ayurseva”, the discounted and sometimes free care, allows all sections of the society to access care and is AyurVaid’s way of addressing equity. The AyurVaid Discovery Foundation is a charitable trust has been set up to focys on research and knowledge creation.

AyurVaid builds on Ayurveda’s knowledge of treating chronic conditions and has started a Centre in Bangalore with focus on reversing diabetes and preventing complications. Their Integrated Cancer Rehabilitation program (IRCP) focuses on appropriately integrating ayurvedic therapies with the primary management of cancer, to alleviate acute side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, there by enhancing functional health, overall sense of wellbeing and improve quality of life.

 

Photo: Outlook Business

[1] http://nccam.nih.gov/health/ayurveda/introduction.htm

 

[2] In order to get NABH (http://www.nabh.co/) accreditation, stringent 600 plus objective elements for the hospital must be met which include patient centered standards and organization centred standards.