The hardships of a career in Ayurvedic practice


  • Despite the publicity campaigns to promote Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH), there is a trust-deficit in these systems.



Public Health:

  • It is the science of protecting the safety and improving the health of communities through educationpolicy making and research for disease and injury prevention.


  • Traditional & Non-Conventional Systems of Health Care and Healing Which Include Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa-Rigpa and Homoeopathy e

Features of the Indian systems of medicine:

  • Their diversityflexibility; accessibility; affordability, a broad acceptance by a large section of the general public
  • Comparatively lesser cost and growing economic value
  • Great potential to make them providers of healthcare that the large sections of our people need.


Reasons for Skepticism about AYUSH:

  • Skepticism in the public mind about the soundness of Ayurvedic theories and the fruitfulness of its practices.
  • The Ayurveda establishment has failed to keep pace with the intellectual and scientific advances of the times.
  • Archaic theories that are apt to arouse suspicion in the minds of educated patients are peddled as sophisticated dogmas.
  • Treatments are made to escape straightforward experimental scrutiny because of their supposed rootedness in such theories.
  • Diminished evidence-based quality.
  • Ayurveda treatments are slow to heal is another common view that characterizes the public image of Ayurveda.


A practitioner’s ordeal:

  • Ayurveda does not have a vibrant ecosystem of science and research
  • A poor practitioner has to depend on himself to discover treatments and approaches that actually work.
  • Sifting the usable parts from the obsolete ones requires prior experience, a knowledge of practice trends, and of course, a robust common sense.
  • The process involves a lot of trial and error with patients and predictably leads to an erosion of the practitioner’s reputation.
  • Ayurveda can be used safely and efficiently only in about 60%-70% of primary-care illnesses.
    • Patient interest would necessitate complementing Ayurveda with modern medicine.
  • Most States prohibit the practice of modern medicine by Ayurveda graduates and, consequently, the practitioner finds himself crippled again.


Success of some practitioners:

  • Practitioners resorting to gimmickry and publicity have a field day.
  • Using regular newspaper columns, television shows, and social media sites, they entrap gullible patients.
  • Ayurvedic astrology,” the AYUSH establishment also implicitly lends support to their ‘charlatanry’.

National Ayush Mission:

●     Launched in September 2014 by the Department of AYUSH under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, during the 12th Plan for implementation through States/UTs.

●     Now, it is implemented by the Ministry of Ayush.

●     The scheme involves expansion of the AYUSH sector to promote holistic health of Indians.

●     The Mission addresses the gaps in health services through supporting the efforts of State/UT Governments for providing AYUSH health services/education in the country, particularly in vulnerable and far-flung areas.


Components of the National AYUSH Mission

Obligatory Components:

1. AYUSH Services.

2. AYUSH Educational Institutions.

3. Quality Control of ASU&H (Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani & Homoeopathy) Drugs.

4. Medicinal Plants.


Flexible Component:

1. AYUSH Wellness Centres comprising Yoga and Naturopathy,

2. Tele-medicine,

3. Innovations in AYUSH including Public Private Partnership,

4. IEC (Information, Education and Communication) activities,

5. Voluntary certification scheme: Project based, etc.


Way Forward

  • Real patient benefit would be sustainable as opposed to patient gratification which is momentary.
    • Sustainability of treatments requires a gradual transition from illness to wellness.
  • There is enough material in medical literature today to substantiate the prudence of this approach — at least, in principle.
  • The popular view that Ayurvedic treatments are slow to heal is thus a half-truth.
    • It can be corrected by appropriate patient education
  • Appropriate policy-making can solve a lot of these problems that well-meaning Ayurveda practitioners face.
  • Primary-care doctors are becoming an endangered species in India’s health-care system.
    • Rejuvenating primary care is a sine qua non if a country is to secure the health of its citizens.
    • Ayurveda graduates can contribute enormously towards this rejuvenation if trained properly.
  • A proper training of Ayurveda graduates with a view to make them good primary-care doctors would involve preparatory exercises:
    • Vigorous evidence-based appraisal of Ayurvedic theories and practices in order to sift the usable from the obsolete
    • A statutory decision to allow Ayurveda graduates to practice modern medicine in stipulated primary care areas.
  • Ayurveda, science, and public welfare all stand to gain: There is need for sincerity, straight-thinking, and some adventurism on the part of stakeholders.


Source: The Hindu

  • Prelims: Current events of national importance, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), AYUSH,
  • Mains GS Paper I & II: Development and management of social sectors/services related to Health and education etc


Besides being a moral imperative of the Welfare State, primary health structure is a necessary precondition for sustainable development.” Analyze.(UPSC 2021) (200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)

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