For whole of the year 2020, the world has been caught up in the unabated Covid-19 pandemic. The figure of people having suffered from this infection in our country has crossed the one crore mark with nearly one and a half lakh deaths as a result, out of the worldwide figures of more than eight and a half crore infections and eighteen lakh confirmed fatalities…..
By Dr(Prof) R K Tuli
India as a nation had a far less per capita incidence as well as mortality, with much higher recovery rate than the developed nations equipped with far superior medical facilities. This has been attributed by some experts to better innate immunity among Indians due to spiritual heritage of our ancient civilization.
At the same time this pandemic has revealed inherent limitations of exclusive dependence worldwide on modern or the ‘allopathic’ system of medicine due to its inability in containing this virulent infection, like most other diseases. During this period different pharmaceutical manufacturers have tried to promote their drugs to make quick profits at the expense of ethical practices.
The final hope of containing this pandemic has come to rally around prevention through persistent use of face masks, safe distancing, personal hygiene and finally developing human ‘IMMUNITY’ through a vaccine of which various candidates are trying to compete to prevent further spread of infection among the masses.
But, none of these vaccines appear to be ideal or even optimum. The manufacture of vaccines in such huge numbers and the process of vaccination would itself be a huge financial and administrative challenge as it requires covering more than sixty percent of global population to be administered with at least two successive doses at the advised gap of 4 weeks within next few months.
No one, at this stage, knows long term implications of this exclusive reliance on Vaccine. In spite of official rebuttals, there are controversies and doubts, as well as questions about the nature and long term consequences of these vaccines. It’s not deniable that, due the serious situation of the pandemic, unprecedented short cuts have been allowed in their development within a short period of few months.
With the dawn of new year, on the 3rd of January 2021, the government of India has given clearance to two vaccines, the Oxford-Astra Zeneca ‘Covishield’ manufactured by Serum Institute of India and the indigenously produced candidate by ICMR-Bharat Biotech ‘Covaxin’. The point that needs to be highlighted is that these vaccines, at this stage, have been given clearance for EMERGENCY LIMITED use.
There is a significant number of scientists and people opposing vaccines on social media with more than 30 million anti-vaccine groups, according to a leading newspaper, on Facebook alone! There is a point in it as no edible grain, vegetable or fruit which has undergone genetic interference (viz., the G.M. foods) as most of these vaccines except purely indigenous ‘Covaxin’ are designed, cannot be termed strictly ‘organic’ or harmlessly promotive for human health in the long term.
We may recall the huge success of ‘Green Revolution’ in the face of emergency due to draught of food grains in the country during the 1960s. Its long term consequences have been in a large population developing ‘gluten sensitivity & leaky gut’ due to traditionally staple diet of wheat. Besides, it’s being attributed to increasing incidence of obesity, diabetes and consequent diseases. The successful use of technology in ushering ‘White Revolution’ involved enhanced dependence on chemicals and hormones leading to recent increase in incidence of Lactose Intolerance and Osteoporosis.
However, what has universally crystallised is the opinion to follow the age-old proverb “Prevention is better than any Cure” and development of IMMUNITY of masses is the exclusive reliable answer to contain this pandemic.
But, what surprises in our land of ‘Atharveda’ with our popular Prime Minister having initiated to get Yoga recognised all over the world and his commitment to ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ with ‘Focus on Local’ and an independent ministry dedicated to promotion of indigenous AYUSH systems of health that, while the whole world has gone all out to develop a vaccine with the purpose of developing immunity of the people, we as a nation have missed the opportunity to develop scientific evidence through multicentric research projects to authenticate the role of Yoga, Naturopathy, Ayurveda and Acupuncture with its roots as ‘bhedan kriya’ in our country, in enhancing natural drug-free immunity for all almost at nil cost.
It’s well known that immunity of an individual is directly proportional to one’s quality of health, which in turn is most importantly based on yogic life-style, ayurvedic nutrition, adequate sleep and regular fitness activities. It’s universally recognised that practice of Yoga & Ayurveda as a life-style leads to promotion of health and resultant prevention from all diseases. Not only it helps its sincere practitioner to develop a comprehensive armour against all communicable infections, that would include Covid-19; at the same time lead to significantly reduce incidence of all other life-style diseases which are also growing as an unbridled menace and epidemic all over the world with mortality rate more than twenty times that of current pandemic.
Let’s not forget that the cause of death in majority of people during the pandemic has not been the virus directly, but due to co-morbidities like uncontrolled Diabetes, hypertension-heart disease, poor lungs health, or immune suppression due to poor health or caused by medication for various ailments like cancer and autoimmune disorders. Therefore, we need to give even more attention to controlling atmospheric pollution and non-communicable diseases which according to official figures were attributed to 14 lakh and 58 lakh deaths, respectively in one year 2018.
I’ll strongly besiege our Hon’ble Minster of AYUSH to bat for promotion and development of the traditional drug-free ayurvedic practice of ‘bhedan kriya’ which reached the far east along with the spread of Budhism and patronised by Chinese royalty to be presented to the modern world as the Chinese system of Acupuncture. It has gained lot of credibility with W.H.O. giving it recognition way back in year 1982, and many developed nations licensing its practice. I’d endorse from my over 50 years of medical practice that it’s extremely efficacious at all the three levels of health, in all ages, and at all stages of every sickness. I call the practice of acupuncture as “Therapeutic Yoga” as it, just like the practice of yoga works by restoring the ‘milieu interior’ of the individual and boosting immunity. I converted to its practice as it enabled to manage medical emergencies and incurable conditions far more efficiently. It being a drug-free modality is highly predictable, reproducible as well as sustainable in its benefits, qualifying it to be a scientific phenomenon. Optimum integration of drug-free modalities of yoga, ayurvedic panchakarma, balanced nutrition and acupuncture complements drug based allopathic medicine to treat the human being as a whole and all the ailments of an individual çoncurrently to call it Holistic Medicine.
Its practice shall be invaluable, and far beyond the scope of conventional medicine, in first enhancing positive health, robust immunty to prevent occurence of Covid-19 amongst all infections, and further help in efficient cure of Post-Covid Syndrome leaving a trail of morbidity and mortality, in saving and restoring many many lives.
An honest strong political will with commitment at planning as well as professional level for “HEALTH FOR ALL” can be easily reached by an all inclusive strategy comprising Holistic model of Health for an ‘Ayushman Bharat’ within existing infrastructure and financial resources by adopting the Hon’ble Modi Ji’s ‘Skill India’ programme for all workers in letter and spirit.
(The author is Founder: Society for Holistic Advancement of Medicine “SOHAM” and Former. Senior Consultant & HOD Holistic Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi)