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Times of India
02 June 2011
By Laxmi Birajdar
Pune, India

Vaibhav Mandhare, 42, chose to go for Ayurvedic treatment after he gave up on allopathic medicines for acute colitis some six months ago. Today, his enthusiasm for life and good health are evident. "I was hospitalised, unable to move, and suffered from vomiting and severe eating problems. The treatments didn’t help me at all. Following advice of family members, I sought Ayurvedic treatment and saw my colitis disappearing. I’m back on health track," said Mandhare, a corporate executive.

His recovery has now inspired his entire family to go the Ayurveda way. "My young daughter, who used to be a cranky girl with eating disorders, now eats well and socialises better, all thanks to Ayurvedic treatment," Mandhare added.

Homemaker Rakhee Kharatmal’s pregnancy is not giving her any problems with her ongoing Ayurvedic treatment. It was this lifestyle change that helped her overcome her thyroid problem. "The Ayurvedic treatment has boosted my energy levels and I feel more fresh now," said the to-be-mother.

Harshad Pendse, 40, took to Ayurveda as a preventive measure more than anything else. "My main motivation has always been never to fall sick. I believe flushing out toxins and consuming a healthy, balanced diet, contributes to your well-being. Ayurvedic treatment is all about healthy eating, resting and exercising, preferably yoga. These simple changes reflect the choices that I have made," said Pendse, an engineer.

In the last two years, Ayurveda doctor Jay Tamhane has seen a 20% rise in the number of patients at his clinic. "It’s obvious that a lot of people, from various backgrounds and age groups are turning to Ayurveda for health solutions. Previously, Ayurveda used to be looked upon as the last resort when options in modern medicine failed. But now, with increased awareness, people are realising that Ayurveda is all about making concrete lifestyle changes," said Tamhane.

Young students and professionals with acidity, sleeplessness and chronic stress-related problems, young women battling hormonal imbalance and couples wanting solutions on infertility, are now resorting to Ayurveda, Tamhane said.

"There are several cases of girls entering puberty late, women encountering gynaecological problems and couples struggling with infertility issues. Talking of other problems, they are very often stressrelated. This stems from a faulty lifestyle and negligence to minor illnesses that can turn chronic over a period of time. Ayurveda, is a holistic approach to correcting these health problems by changing one’s lifestyle and this is how this science is most effective," said Tamhane.

Sonali Shinde, another Ayurveda doctor, treats about 25 patients for ‘panchkarma’ therapy, on a weekly basis. And they are mostly IT professional with severe neck and back problems, and those grappling with hypertension, diabetes and obesity. "This number was around 16 per week a couple of years ago. But now, people realise the importance of receiving holistic treatment in the form of external therapies and massages, internal medication and lifestyle changes. Only then can changes happen. Ayurveda has the capacity to tackle various health problems," said Shinde.

Ayurveda doctor, Prashant Daundkar, receives patients with sex-related problems, spondylitis, knee problems, obesity and hypertension. "Patients have approached me in larger numbers in the last couple of years, all thanks to awareness about Ayurveda," says Daundkar.

"We’ve seen several Ayurveda clinics coming up in the city, especially in the last ten to 12 years. Also, awareness on Ayurveda has been propagated largely through media because of which more and more people are turning to this science for health solutions," says Ramchandra Gogate, president of Ayurveda Vyaspeeth, Pune.

Chandrashekhar Thite, president, Ayurved Vyaaspeeth, Pimpri-Chinchwad, says today, there are about 250 clinics in PCMC, as compared to only a couple in 1990.

Ayurvedic medicines includes oils, concoctions, pills, tablets, syrups and powders, either made by an Ayurveda practitioner or by companies. More so, as people are trying to seek a solution beyond modern medicine and lifestyle, especially for improving their diet. "When it comes to lifestyle changes, Ayurveda offers solutions in terms of cooking habits as well. Specific diets are recommended for curing specific ailments," said Ayurvedic expert Sachin Nandedkar.

What is Panchakarma?
It’s a word for the five different procedures used in Ayurveda which are believed to purify the body. This is done in two ways: pacifying the aggravated ‘doshas’ by using appropriate diet, natural herbs and minerals, and eliminated the increased ‘doshas’ from the body. A ‘dosha’ is one of three bodily humours that make up one’s constitution, according to Ayurveda, namely vata (wind), pitta (bile) and kapha (phelgm).

"A lot of people have misconceptions about ‘panchakarma.’ They think the procedure involves external therapies like oils and massages. It actually involves medication depending upon the ‘dosha’ in a patient. The end of procedure marks detoxification," says Ramchandra Gogate.

Who is an Ayurveda practitioner?
An Ayurveda practitioner is a qualified medical professional who has completed the five-and-a-half-year Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) course. As per a Maharashtra state general resolution, an Ayurvedic practitioner can prescribe allopathic medicines depending upon his knowledge. About 20 to 22 hours in first year of the four-year MBBS course are dedicated to Ayurveda.

Panchakarma treatment differs from season to season
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