Transformative impact of Ayurveda and Yoga on healthcare and therapeutic wellness

Rajiv Vasudevan
Over the last 10 years Ayurveda and Yoga sectors have seen a quantum leap in awareness, adoption, acceptance, and credibility amongst all stakeholders- consumers, insurance sector, policy makers, health professionals-in India and globally. The transformation is in no small measure due to the concerted focus and perseverance of the Government of India over this period to promote Ayush systems of medicine as a mainstream, integrative, complementary system to the conventional system of medicine.
Lending concrete testimony to the Government of India’s results-oriented approach are the following facts:
i. The International Day of Yoga has been proclaimed by the United Nations & WHO since December 2014 and celebrated globally each year on 21st June since 2015.
ii. Setting up of a Global Centre for Traditional Medicine at Jamnagar in August 2022
iii. Inclusion of Ayush disease codes in ICD-11 TM-2 standard in January 2023
iv. Restoration of Ayush insurance coverage with clear guidelines from the IRDA starting from 2016, followed by affirmative steps in 2020 and as recently as 2024 whereby insurance enabled full cashless coverage is available for Ayurveda medical care.
v. Inclusion of Ayush care for Central Government employees and their families under CGHS scheme since 2016.
vi. Approval and setting up Ayush treatment centres/clinics by Ministry of Defense, Railways, ISRO, DAE, ESIC and many other government bodies.
vii. Inclusion of Ayush in the Heal-in-India and Heal-by-India flagship programs to promote medical value travel and foreign exchange earnings through Ayush based health and wellbeing services.
viii. National Clinical Management Protocols for each Ayush system was promulgated for prophylaxis and treatment of mild- moderate COVID-19 disease whereby Ayush played a potent role in limiting the adverse impact, severity, and number of deaths on account of COVID-19. Further, Ayush continues to play a significant role in Long COVID rehabilitation.
ix. Consistent dissemination and endorsement from India’s governing leadership of the appropriate role of Ayush in advancing public health goals.
Over the years the concept of preventive health- care has evolved significantly-from mere disease management to life cycle health management at individual/community level. “To ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” is the Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG 3) of the United Nations. The 13 targets and 28 indicators of SDG 3 cover and focus on various aspects of healthy life and healthy lifestyle. Ayurveda and Yoga inherently approach preventive, curative and promotive health from a life-cycle perspective with interventions that are appropriate to the disease stage, the individual, place, time. Further, it adopts a whole-person approach that is culturally sensitive. Ayur-veda and Yoga offer a com- prehensive life-cycle health management framework for society at large that enables the achievement of several of the 13 targets of the SDG 3.
There is a rapid epidemiological transition with a shift in disease burden with proportion of deaths due to NCDs (among all deaths) from 38% in 1990 to 62% in 2016.

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