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The hardships of a career in Ayurvedic practice

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March 06, 2023

Why in news?

Despite the publicity campaigns to promote Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH), there is a trust-deficit in these systems.

What is AYUSH?

  • AYUSH systems are based on definite medical philosophies and represent a way of healthy living with established concepts on prevention of diseases and promotion of health.
  • In 1995, with the objective of optimal and focused development of these systems, the Department of Indian Medicine and Homeopathy was created in the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • In 2003, this Department was re named as Department of AYUSH.
  • India has a rich heritage of medical   wisdom derived from the Vedas that prevailed as Ayurveda.
  • AYUSH is the principal medical practice of the country for centuries, forming part of Indian ethos and culture.

Why AYUSH is viewed with scepticism?

  • Credibility of Ayurvedic theories – There is widespread scepticism in the public mind about the soundness of Ayurvedic theories and the fruitfulness of its practices.
  • Archaic theories that are apt to arouse suspicion in the minds of educated patients are peddled as sophisticated dogmas.
  • Not in line with today’s science – The Ayurveda establishment has failed to keep pace with the intellectual and scientific advances of the times.
  • Lack of scrutiny – Treatments are made to escape straightforward experimental scrutiny because of their supposed rootedness in such theories.
  • Lack of evidence – A major reason for the trust-deficit in Ayurveda is its diminished evidence-based quality.
  • Slow treatment – That Ayurveda treatments are slow to heal is another common view that characterises the public image of Ayurveda.

What is the status of AYUSH today?

  • Contemporary to modern science – Ayurveda has grown and adapted like any other medicine or school of medicine in the world.
  • National Ayush Mission (NAM) – It is a flagship scheme of Ministry of AYUSH.
  • The basic objective of NAM is to promote AYUSH medical systems through cost effective AYUSH services.
  • It envisages flexibility of implementation of the programmes which will lead to substantial participation of the State Governments/UT.

What are the difficulties faced by the AYUSH practitioner?

  • No practical lessons – The practitioner would discover that what has been taught to them in college training is a huge corpus of ancient medical wisdom, where only a part is practically usable.
  • Lack of ecosystem – Ayurveda does not have a vibrant ecosystem of science and research, the poor practitioner has to depend on himself to discover treatments and approaches that actually work.
  • Affects reputation – The process involves a lot of trial and error with patients and predictably leads to erosion of the practitioner’s reputation.
  • Gimmicks – Few practitioners who are using regular newspaper columns, television shows, and social media sites, entrap gullible patients.

What is the need for integrating various medicine fields?

  • China – In the 1970s, it pushed traditional medicine, through its economic and political agenda to get total quality Chinese medicine outside China, which eventually was accepted by the world.
  • India – India has a brand ambassador in yoga and wellness as our Prime Minister, and wellness is being accepted across the world.

The e-health market size is estimated to reach US$ 10.6 billion by 2025.

  • Wellness – We should focus on pushing wellness on a larger horizon and approach it from the point where it complements whatever is going on in allopathic hospitals.
  • Post-surgery recovery – Ayurveda can be used to complement what hospitals do, especially after surgeries when they have to recover.

To know more click here.

What is the way forward?

  • Policy making – Appropriate policy-making can solve a lot of these problems faced by the Ayurveda practitioners.
  • Focus on primary care – Primary-care doctors are becoming an endangered species in India’s health-care system.
  • Rejuvenating primary care is a sine qua non if a country is to secure the health of its citizens.
  • Training – Ayurveda graduates can contribute enormously towards this rejuvenation if trained properly.
  • Promotion of Ayurvedic theories – A vigorous evidence-based appraisal of Ayurvedic theories and practices in order to sift the usable from the obsolete will help the cause.
  • Modern medicine – Ayurveda graduates must be allowed to practise modern medicine in stipulated primary care areas.
  • These reforms would help create a workforce that can function effectively to meet the primary health-care needs of both urban and rural India.



  1. The Hindu │ The hardships of a career in Ayurvedic practice

  2. The Economic Times │ India's challenge is to combine Ayurveda and contemporary medicine
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