Transformative impact of Ayurveda and Yoga on healthcare and therapeutic wellness

Rajiv Vasudevan
Contd from previous issue
Ayurveda and Yoga are poised to play a strong complementary, integrative role to complete the healthcare value chain, and particularly in primary-secondary-tertiary prevention of non-communicable diseases. Further, Ayurveda and Yoga can significantly contribute to reducing the out-of-pocket expense burden of the common man by obviating/ preventing/ delaying the need for a significant proportion of elective surgeries.Another key use case is the whole-person-care model offered by Ayurveda wherein people with multiple co-morbidities are rendered a personalised prescription of diet-lifestyle-counselling-medicine-therapies.
Additionally, Ayurveda based ‘Integrative Care’is an emerging practice that includes:
(a) Ayurveda and Yoga as complementary treatment to allopathy to enhance Functional-Health (State-of-Mind, Sleep, Bowels, Appetite, Digestion, Vitality, etc.) and overall Quality-of-Life.
(b) Ayurveda as adjuvant to primary allopathy care to manage Oedema, Myelosuppression, Cachexia, Spasms/Cramps, Mobilisation, Mucositis, Diarrhoea, Rashes, Nausea, and Pain, etc.
(c) Ayurveda and Yoga along with Physiatry (Physical & Medical Rehabilitation) for step-down-care post tertiary/quaternary allopathy management, to prevent disease recurrence and to restore good health (e.g., Rehab post CVA-Stroke/ Cancer/Polytrauma).
Ayurveda and Yoga based services shall generate employment in large numbers since they span multiple service avenues: Therapeutic Wellness, Standalone Ayurveda Hospitals/Therapy Centres/Clinics, Integrative Medicine Centres, Leisure Wellness, Step Down Care Centres.
Ayurveda hospitals offer the potential to alter the economics of healthcare particularly in a relatively capital-scarce country. Complementing the default high-capital-investment, short length-of-stay, tertiary/quaternary care models with low-capital-investment, longer (3x-5x) length-of-stay disease management models, Ayurveda and Yoga shall enable the building of a healthcare system that is affordable, accessible, acceptable to/for the common man. A healthcare system which in addition to offering high quality tertiary/quaternary medical care spans the entire preventive healthcare spectrum from primal to primary to secondary to tertiary prevention.
Over the last 10 years there has been for the first time significant investment and growth in Ayurveda and Yoga based start-ups. Innovation spans Ayurveda products (pharmaceuticals, foods, nutraceuticals, cosmetics, lifestyle products), Ayurveda/Yoga services (hospitals, clinics, telemedicine, health management services, medical spas, training, leisure wellness) and innovative med-tech based on Ayurveda principles. Indeed we see burgeoning interest also from the VC/PE fraternity to invest in this sector since consumer preference has gravitated towards herbal, natural, organic, wholesome products and services.
It is common knowledge that a majority of tourists who come to India have Ayurveda and Yoga as one of the primary experiential visit objectives- either for disease management or wellbeing. These tourists come from the most developed OECD countries. India, with Ayurveda and Yoga, is uniquely placed to become a health and wellbeing destination for the world.
Ayurveda and Yoga are India’s most powerful means of Soft Power- to win the hearts and minds of the peoples of the world. As developed nations struggle with balancing their healthcare budget with burgeoning chronic disease burden, double whammy of longevity with concomitant disability, ageing populations, shortage of healthcare professionals, Ayurveda and Yoga offer an alternate paradigm for whole-person, root cause disease reversal and sustained wellbeing. India need not repeat the mistakes of first world nations. Instead it can show the path and inspire a more humane, citizen centric, affordable model of healthcare leveraging our unique heritage and strengths in an evidence-based, protocols driven health model- i.e. complete healthcare that reaches every village, town, and city. In the next five years I am optimistic that Ayurveda and Yoga in partnership with conventional medicine shall enable the promise of accessible, acceptable, affordable healthcare for every Indian. Ayurveda and Yoga industry shall partner with Government at all levels to substantially realise this vision.
The writer is MD & CEO, Apollo AyurVAID Hospitals