Potential of Ayurveda - An eye opener

Science is the systematic study of the nature and behavior of the material and physical universe, based on observation, experiment, and measurement, and the formulation of the laws to describe these facts in general terms. (Collins English dictionary) Survival of any science solely depends on its philosophical strength, and if the philosophies are true to the sense of scientific temperament, they can survive against all odds and flourish eternally. The emerging health trends show there is a tilting of health seekers toward traditional health systems such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine popularly known as TCM. Acknowledging the growing response from the public across the globe, the WHO is trying to create an equal platform with complementary health system wherever it is required.

Ayurveda has great potential to improve patients' well-being and can contribute to the existing health challenges of the world. Ayurveda is more adaptable and applicable throughout the world because of its principles. The in-depth understanding of Ayurveda gives us the knowledge regarding the ancient practice of holistic approach and healing, and how the good practices of quality control, pharmacology and toxicology testing, carefully designed clinical studies.

Although Ayurveda is believed as a complete system of medicine in India, its outreach at the global level is very limited, probably the reason for this is, Western scholars, believe “Ayurvedic science has no scientific principles or approach.” But actually, when we go through the fundamental principles of Ayurveda it is so evident and sensible that it is absolutely a very scientific science which has been beautifully amalgamated the fundamental sciences such as physics, life science, biometeorology, anthropology, and many more. It is definitely possible to bring Ayurveda and Western medicine on the same platform without any frictions, with the sole objective of people welfare. At the same time, it is equally very important for the Ayurveda fraternity to explore the true science of Ayurveda in a globally acceptable language or format, in fact, Ayurveda is a completely developed ancient scientific Medical system of the world.

However, Ayurveda needs rigorous scientific data and evidence-based standards for quality control and regulation of its medicines and other products to prove its scientific credibility in the global perspective.

As a key concept in Ayurveda, Lakshana of Swastha and Vyadhi (meaning syndrome or pattern) are the overall physiological and/or pathological pattern of the human body in response to a given internal and external condition, which usually is an abstraction of internal disharmony defined by a comprehensive analysis of the clinical symptoms and signs gathered by a practitioner using Darshana (inspection), Sparshana (palpation) and Prashana (interrogation). Correctly identifying Lakshana as fundamental for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

It is possible that Western diagnostics would benefit greatly from the integration of broader knowledge of relationships between symptoms, including consideration of Ayurvedic descriptions of syndromes (VyadhiLakshanas). Ayurvedic descriptions on diseases offer potential directions for detailed, explanatory biomedical research, bringing us closer to a bio-psycho-social model of health in which more and more relationships between diseases, psychology, and behavior are uncovered. Arguably, the dearth of understanding of the dynamics of systems presents the greatest opportunity for improvement in Western health-care diagnostics. It is a topic that will only grow in importance as the focus in the health-care shifts from the treatment of acute disease to the long-term management and prevention of chronic diseases. Among the more promising developments that may improve our understanding of system dynamics are the application of nonlinear dynamic modeling techniques to the study of coherent oscillations in the brain, examination of the synchronization of physiological rhythms such as heartbeat and breathing rhythms, and the study of metabolic processes that show oscillatory behavior. Recent work suggests that photon distribution dynamics may provide insights into regulatory coherence at a high systems level. Indeed, these coherent light functions may be directly involved in communication in addition to influencing biochemical networks.

It should also be clear that modern quantitative technologies developed in the West have a great deal to offer to Ayurvedic diagnostics. Especially relevant are methodologies that provide information about the large-scale organization of systems as well as the dynamics of such organization. Integration of Western and Ayurvedic medicine thinking has enormous potential for synthesizing modern technological and social innovation. Although Ayurvedic and Western medicine are perceived as wholly distinct paradigms today, they are poised to merge in the arena of personalized systems medicine, wherein patients can take a greater role in managing their own health and wellness. The integration of Western science and technology and Ayurvedic medicine can be much more than the sum of the parts: it can accelerate the shift from disease management to health promotion that is presently taking place in health-care systems around the world.

The extent of Ayurveda goes beyond a medical system; it has a very wide range of philosophical understanding of life and the world. It does not only describe the prevention and management of sickness but also includes everything about life. When we closely observe its core principles, it is definitely possible to understand how scientific Ayurveda is.

Article was first published in AYU (An International Quarterly Journal of Research in Ayurveda) in the year 2016 published by Gujarat Ayurved University.  Started in 1964, the journal has continuously contributed for the research, education and propagation of Ayurveda on the national as well as international platform. 

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Article availableonline/offlineon: AYU,Vol. 37, Issue-2, Jan-Mar 2016, Page no.1-2, for more details please visit: www.ayujournal.org

About Author: Prof. Mahesh Vyas, Executive Editor - AYU, IPGT and RA, Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar - 361008, Gujarat, India

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