The complementarity of Ayurveda and allopathic medicine

Published: 06.03.2017.

All medical systems in the world deal with the topic of health care, which they define differently. Allopathic medicine defines health not only as the absence of disease, but as a general well-being in different aspects of life – in the field of psychology it is defined as mental health; when it comes to physiology, as the absence of pathological conditions; in the field of sociology it is defined by successful interpersonal relationships, etc.

Ayurveda states that a person is healthy when: all three doshas are in balance; when body tissues (dhatu) are properly formed and function in balance; when the metabolic processes in the body, ie. digestive fire (agni) are in balance; when the excretion of waste products (mala – stool, urine, sweat) is in balance; when the spirit is in the state of internal stability, and when sensory organs are balanced.

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‘The complementarity of Ayurveda and allopathic medicine’, the lecture organized primarily for domestic and foreign media, attempted to reconcile these two approaches. Two members of our expert staff, the Secretary-General of the World Academy of Ayurveda, Mr. Jadranko Miklec, a highly qualified therapist in the field of yoga and Dr. Ivan Vladić, surgeon at Zagreb Merkur Hospital and one of the pioneers of transplantation surgery in Croatia, talked about the advantages of Ayurvedic approach to healing, in terms of its potential as a discipline complementary to modern medicine.

Miklec presented pulse diagnosis as a very precise method for detecting imbalances in the body. He particularly emphasized the basic principle of Ayurvedic approach, where full attention is given to the cause of the disorder (which manifests itself as a disease) and the main focus is on eliminating the causes of disease. He pointed out that Western medicine treats the symptoms and not the cause, which leads to chronic diseases, that, in terms of allopathic medicine, can be characterized as incurable. At the same time, the Ayurvedic approach treats chronic diseases with great success.

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Miklec further emphasized Ayurveda’s exceptional preventive capacity. Ayurveda examines in detail how a specific disease appears in the body and, just like allopathic medicine, establishes six stages of the disease: accumulation, aggravation, dissemination, localization, manifestations and complications. By an ancient method of pulse diagnosis the imbalances can be determined at the first level, which means that the occurrence of the disease can be prevented by minute changes in diet and daily routine. Due to these exceptional preventive capacities, Ayurveda can be considered the cheapest system of treatment.

The differences between allopathic and Ayurvedic medicine were commented on by Dr. Ivan Vladić, a longtime active supporter of natural healing, whose worldview change was motivated by his own health problems. “The concept of the disease and the treatment are diametrically opposed from the perspective of allopathic and Ayurvedic medicine. While allopathic medicine sees the illness as an attack on the body, and the treatment as a fight against it, Ayurveda approaches the disease as an imbalance in the body, and the treatment as bringing the body back into balance.”, he stressed.

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Without diminishing the importance of allopathic medicine, especially in acute cases and cases of emergency, Dr. Vladić stressed that he believed that a holistic approach, which treats the person as a whole, was favorable over the ‘reductionist’ methods of allopathic medicine. With tremendous respect for the traditional knowledge passed on for generations, Dr. Vladić drew attention to the very positive trend called ‘complementary or integrative’ medicine, occurring worldwide due to the insight that allopathic medicine does not posses the answers to all the questions. It has become evident, even to allopathic physicians, that certain ancient skills such as Ayurveda or traditional Chinese medicine could significantly contribute to the success of treatment.

The debate, naturally, included a criticism of the system that educates physicians to become pharmacotherapists and, often, opponents of herbal pharmacy, forgetting that the herbal medicine was a foundation of the pharmaceutical industry. Modern drugs are created by extracting the active substance from nature and later synthesizing it in a laboratory, with their composition, in respect to herbal medicines, reduced. Modern medicines lack the strong synergistic effect of many medicinal compounds naturally found in medicinal herbs.

The importance of a healthy diet, which is an important part of Ayurvedic medicine was also mentioned. Ayurveda puts exceptional emphasis on nutrition and its impact on health, and warns that food can be a factor in the creation of health but also of the disease, which is why it is advisable to get acquainted with Ayurvedic principles of preparing and combining foods. Behind Ayurvedic cuisine are the ideas of holistic health and disease prevention, which are impossible to achieve if the body is fed with processed foods.

The negative impact the processed food has on health is best represented with statistics, according to which the number of diseases worldwide is persistently growing, which is linked to the intake of processed food, as well as to the unhealthy lifestyle of the modern man. The conclusion of the lecture was that the modern man can indeed be helped by merging the best practices of both worlds – the world of holistic medicine with the world of allopathic medicine.

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