No alternative to espousing nature

You may pity the people who are permanently disabled to relish the mouth-watering delicacies on the platter, or those unable to have proper sleep despite best of beds and furnishings. Such people are among those who remained too engrossed in their professional, business or other pursuits to listen to warnings of their body or mind, little realising that the foundations of sound health in advanced years are laid while still young.

Good performance anywhere is function of a sound body and mind. Pleasures of life are also reserved for the healthy lot. However, it is dismaying that much of our environmental and social milieu, the lifestyle and aspirations most people harbour, impinge on the health of our body and mind.

Worse, those officially and morally responsible to educate others on health and provide tips, are bent on exploiting the patients. The global health regulator WHO admits that due to poverty and ignorance "at least half of the world's populations still do not have full coverage of essential health services." Advising the health seekers to expect least from medical fraternity, celebrity physician Andrew Weil said, "You can't afford to get sick, and you can't depend on the present healthcare system to keep you well. It's up to you to protect and maintain your body's innate capacity for health and healing by making the right choices in how you live."

As on date, India is short of five lakh qualified doctors. Even after Cabinet's recent nod to increase MBBS seats by 10,000 and PG seats by 8,058 by 2021, shortages shall continue. One study based on MCI data has predicted that for catering to health care needs, India will require over 20 lakh additional doctors by 2030. Bleak prospects indeed, precipitated by fresh medical graduates in large numbers quitting Indian shores at the first opportunity.

Considering poverty and ignorance as major barriers to partake of best medicare facilities, and 'universal health coverage for all' as focus of this year's World Health Day, WHO expects member-nations to ensure that "all people can get quality health services, where and when they need them, without suffering financial hardship" by 2030. In same spirit Ayushman Bharat campaign is sought to cover 50 crore people or 10 crore families under free medical insurance. Admittedly a laudable idea, yet given the snail's pace of building diagnostic and treatment infrastructure together with perennial crunch of doctors, its success is highly doubtful.

Nowhere near the goal of 'Health for All' can we reach under allopathic dispensation that has no cultural roots in our country. What we need is naturopathic, Ayurvedic, Yoga or similar indigenous therapeutic systems.

Disillusionment

The process of disillusionment at modern medicine has already set in; the irreversible, permanent damage it wreaks on the individual's body, mind and psyche is being documented. People in growing numbers are opting out from modern medicines. Conceding the tangible relief brought to persons struggling with tuberculosis, malaria, heart ailments, eye disorders, HIV/AIDS, and enhancing life expectancy (in India it rose 68.2 in past two decades), modern medicine could make little dent in controlling mental and neurological disorders, which shall outnumber physiological diseases in a couple of decades.

Officially, about 14% of Indians require active mental health intervention. Further, as evidence-based studies show that synthetics-based allopathic drugs undermine body's immune system, people are drifting towards alternative systems like Yoga and herbal remedies. Then there are ignominious intensive care units, humorously referred to as death wells, accounting for one lakh unconscionable deaths due to nosocomial or hospital-borne infections annually in USA alone.

In India, of those admitted in ICUs, a whopping 10% succumb to death due to a disease other than for which he was admitted, like the orthopaedic patient dying of lung infection.

In contrast to symptom-based modern medicine with accent on physical pathology, naturopathy, Ayurveda, Yoga or Ayurveda treats body and mind as two halves of a single entity, either of which cannot be addressed in isolation.

As Joseph Addison laid for fitness, "Cheerfulness is the best promoter of health and is as friendly to the mind as to the body." Through proper breathing techniques, one can rejuvenate and strengthen the capacity of internal organs thus increasing immunity.

Other nature-based therapeutics include staying close to nature, intake of vegetables and fruits without additives, discipline in kind and timing of food, and keeping it minimal.

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