Ayurveda – Is it getting too much commercialized? A Reality Check


Ayurveda has been an essential and integral part of the Indian Culture and Traditions. Ayurveda had been at the epicenter of our ancient medical treatments.

With the multiple invasions of India, this rich heritage was constantly suppressed and the other medical sciences were imposed upon the Indian Society. These included Allopathy, Unani, Homeopathy etc. All these invasions however could not vanish the Ayurveda completely. Just that it got into a shell of its own and remained with few distinguished people.

I am personally a very big fan of Ayurveda. It is said that it is slower in getting the desired results as compared to other sciences like Allopathy, but then it always works at the root cause of the health problems. Also it does not have any side effects and hence it is safe for health.

ayurveda

So as we mentioned earlier though it was down and off market, but was not completely out. A specific distinguished class of people has been using Ayurveda for medication and Yoga for Health Fitness. The Government of India has recently identified and acknowledged this great loss to the Indian heritage and strengths and decided to give Ayurveda and Yoga a great boost. To boost and promote these, it established a special ministry called “Ministry of Ayush”. With this ministry, the government is trying to promote Ayurveda not just in India but across the world. With its efforts, United Nations has already started celebrating the “International Yoga Day” on 21st June every year. Government is working hard to promote both Yoga and Ayurveda through its Ayush ministry. They eventually want to promote Medical Tourism coincide with this.

With all the above background, while one can be sure of getting Ayurveda reaching its desired height and glory, there is every possibility of getting it too much commercialized and eventually lose its true essence. So we all need to be careful and cautious that it really should not lose its desired objectives.

Now you might be thinking why am I so concerned about this?

Let me narrate a true incidence. Please bear with me for not using the real names for obvious reasons.

Well last year my wife met with a minor accident and with that she developed ACL injury to her right knee. We got it operated through a well known Orthopedic Surgeon. Under his guidance, my wife recovered and came back to normal routine over the period of 5-6 months. Since over this period she was mostly bed ridden or devoid of major activities, she developed some laziness. So even after this 6 months resting period, she used to avoid going out for regular work like grocery purchase etc. On the other side, due to some reason or the other, she stopped taking the medicines prescribed by Orthopedic Surgeon as my wife was tired of taking medicines. After some 2-3 months of stopping taking medicines, she started getting some pain in joints, back, legs etc. She also got some swelling to her hands, legs etc. We started wondering on what could be the reason. Then one of her friends told my wife confidently that it could be a Sandhi Vaat. We also thought likewise. We deliberated on which doctor to consult for this health issue.

In our city, there is well known Ayurveda clinic run by a doctor couple. We had been visiting this clinic for almost 13 years or so. We always found their treatment to be precise and spot on. They use to guide you properly and ensure that you are on the recovery path in shortest time with minimal cost. We always used to feel that they used to charge less as compared to the other Ayurveda clinics. So they were like family doctors to us for years. But in recent times we started noticing few not so admirable changes with this Ayurveda clinic. With the Ayush ministry in place and government’s special directive and initiative to promote Ayurveda and Yoga, this Ayurvedacharyas got over excited and they went on to the expansion spree. In no time they got 3-4 centers in the city.

I am not against the expansion, but then is it for a social cause as was being advertised? No, it wasn’t. In Ayurveda, I found people are very secretive as far as the treatments and medicines given. So this is the reason you will find the assistants of these main doctors are always of no use. They at the most help can help the patients with blood pressure measurements, weight and height measurements and so on. So here with the expansion to 3-4 centers, this couple would only be doing the diagnosis and treating the patients. With the increased awareness and advertisements, there has been an increased influx of patients. Now imagine the level of treatment one can receive as compared to the pre-expansion era. Secondly the expansion doesn’t come free of cost, there must be bank loans taken and hence there would be EMIs to be paid along with the interests. So obviously this extra burden needed to be passed on to the patients(customers). And that too at the degraded level of treatment.

So as we had been patrons to this Ayurveda Clinic for years, so we decided to visit the same clinic. The doctor confirmed immediately saying this is Sandhi Vaat, however we would need to conduct few tests from outside labs and also 1 or 2 tests internally. Their internal test they called something like “Rakta Mokshan” On the basis of the test results’ outcome (please remember this is the results from outside labs. They never let us know on their internal test result), the treatment was decided. This whole treatment went on for 2 months or so with hardly any improvements. As part of the treatment, they advised some treatments like Agnikarm, Snehpaan, Vidyutdaah etc. And can you imagine, these treatments they charge you per organ basis. Like 1 palm of hand, rest of the hand, back, foot, leg etc. individually cost some 600 INR. We paid them close to 12,000 INR for almost no health improvements. As a doctor, you need to talk to patient, explain him/her the problem and the line of treatment. Due to the overload of work, there used to be no discussion. Only they used to give desired treatments, their desired fees etc.

After all of this irritation and being fooled like feelings, we thought to revisit the Orthopedic Surgeon. After visiting him, he immediately told us that wife did not have Sandhi Vaat and that it could merely be a deficiency of calcium and probably hemoglobin as well. Just to confirm this, he asked us do few tests from outside lab. Later on, the tests also confirmed his claims. Within 2-3 days, my wife started experiencing the health improvements. After 2 weeks into the revised medication, she stopped experiencing any pain and there was no swelling as well. This had hardly costed us 2000 INR by then.

Now you tell me what should we call the Ayurveda Doctors? Are they really honest to their profession? Are they really ethical? Aren’t they cheating the patients and eventually the noble cause of Government of India? Is this what our beloved Prime Minister envisaged for? I think we all need to think about this along with the Government of India? We should boycott such doctors and their clinics. This will help Ayurveda to blossom the way our Prime Minister and Government has desired.

I have not written this article out of any personal grudge but just wanted to share the feeling with all. Today people have become very busy and hence there is a “It’s okay”, “let it be” kind of attitude developed and as a result of this, these kind of people are able to not just cheat people like us but also damage the very reputation of our old aged heritage of Ayurveda. So please help spread this message. Lets be vigil in defeating these culprits and help grow Ayurveda not in terms of price but in terms of reach to the people.

For more articles on Ayurveda, please visit Health & Ayurvedic Section

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