Ayurveda to go beyond Panchakarma and tourism
It is roughly estimated that over 1300 practitioners in traditional
medicine treat patients in the North Central Province. According to a
research by the Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the
Medical Faculty of the Rajarata University that a significant portion of
the community in the North Central Province depends on traditional
Dr. Senaka Pilapitiya
"So far there has been no survey done on the number of practitioners
other than the ones registered with the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine.
And there could be a huge number of Traditional Medicine practitioners
in the entire island," said Dr. Senaka Pilapitiya, Director of the
Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
The Centre which was started to conduct research and to popularise
traditional medicine, has commenced several projects especially in
collaboration with the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine. "The most
positive aspect is that the present network of Ayurvedic and Traditional
Medicine practitioners can be utilised to promote community health with
a few necessary alterations," Dr. Pilapitiya added.
For this, a comprehensive survey must be done and explore all the
potentials, said Dr. Pilapitiya. As an initial step the Centre has
started an Ayurvedic Paediatric clinic, jointly with several ayurvedic
practitioners while giving researchers and medical students a chance to
do clinical research.
Considering the philosophy behind Ayurveda it is quite clear that its
concepts could give a very positive support to the National Health
system, as Dr. Pilapitiya explained. Yet the problem remains with
opinion of the professionals from both sides.
"Ayurvedic treatment is time tested and there is no doubt about it
but many Traditional Medicine Practitioners assume that there is no need
to go for scientific inquiry. When we try to go for an integrated
medicinal approach these aspects contribute to labelling Ayurveda and
other traditional medicine to be more unscientific.
This is what is contradicting with the modern science. Ayurvedic
treatments are time tested. Many of those who practice traditional
medicine stick to this norm. Sometimes this concept will not be accepted
100% by many. Sometimes in certain parts of the country traditional
medicine could be the only medical system available. So we have to
understand all these aspects in order to bring in a better community
health system for the people," he added.
"The way to certify the effectiveness of a medical system is to
analyse the way the system has developed. Now in Ayurveda it has
developed in a very logical way over hundreds of years. Even it explains
why we need a medical system.
That's at the start," he added. Ayurveda has developed with
philosophy. It first discusses the purpose of life. According to this
philosophy there are four purposes of life for anyone - i.e. Dharma,
Artha, Kama and Moksha. Dharma is living a righteous life where you
don't indulge in wrong doings.
Artha means collecting worldly belongings, do a job for an income.
Kama is living with all the pleasures in life fulfilling our five
And Moksha is salvation. So irrespective of religion and believes
people expect Moksha in there lives. So everyone in the society have
these factors in different proportions.
Ayurveda explains that this is the main purpose of life and discusses
main obstacles to achieve this. And in Ayurveda it is explained that
disease is the main obstacle.
"So disease is the main obstacle to achieve the purpose of life. It
is mentioned in the Ayurvedic textbooks that it was a gathering of
'Rishis' who came up with a medical system as a solution which became
Ayurveda. From the very beginning Ayurveda developed in a very
scientific way. When we go to the fundamentals of Ayurveda they mention
a scientific approach. And they talk about sub atomic particles," he
Going deep into the Ayurvedic philosophy it is mentioned that in
order to eliminate obstacles to obtaining the purposes of life as
mentioned above Ayurveda talks about three elements in treating - i.e.
Dirghayu, hithayu and sukhayu. Dirghayu is longevity, sukhayu is quality
of life and in allopathy these two factors. We talk about extending life
time and improve quality of life. The third factor Sukhayu is what makes
This means peaceful coexistence with nature and the society and
contributing to uplift dirghayu and hithayu. Which means that the person
whom an ayurvedic practitioner restore his treatments must live to
uplift the longevity and quality of life while having a healthy living
bonds with the nature and society. This ensures people become more
community friendly and environment friendly.
This creates a positive type of a person to society. There are
psychological aspects that is considered in allopathy but not to the
extend ayurveda considers in creating a good person.
Considering Modern Health concepts it is based on the The World
Health Organisation definition of health. And Ayurveda has a similar
"Though Ayurveda has a positive approach to community health today it
is widely practised in Ayurveda and oil massages.
This has to go beyond this and try clinical treatments. This is what
happened in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
With a massive support from the Chinese Government there were a lot
of research on Traditional Chinese Medicine and today it plays a leading
role in world health. With an advanced system like Ayurveda what we have
to do is to do research and prove its suitability for an integrated
medical approach," he added.As Dr. Pilapitiya further explained these
scientific proofs are necessary as an integrated medical approach gets
numerous cross reference points.
"To a developing country like ours an integrated approach can be
highly beneficial as we are using resources that we already have," he
Development in Ayurveda can bring up health tourism as well.
"Today when we say Ayurveda it is mostly 'panchakarma' and tourism,"
Dr. Pilapitiya said. Yet if we try to develop the clinical practices -
i.e. treating major illnesses - we could be greatly benefited through
health tourism, he added. "Ayurveda has high capabilities in treating
ailments like chronic heart conditions, chronic fatigue problem,
Muscular clinical diseases and even successful pain management," he
Thus, Ayurveda and traditional medicine going beyond spas and
panchakarma treatments can bring in immense benefits to health systems -
both local and international.