May 18th, 2012
Choose life over lifestyle
Lifestyle diseases appear to become ever more widespread as
countries become more industrialized. They are different from other
diseases because they are potentially preventable, and can be
lowered with changes in diet, lifestyle and environment.
Experts recognise Ayurveda as the world’s oldest medical system. It
originated in Indian subcontinent, where more than 80% of the
population uses it exclusively or combined with conventional medicine.
Ayurvedic medicine is practiced in more than 80 countries in the world.
Experts have revealed that in UK, there has been a steep rise in the
number of people suffering from diseases caused by notorious lifestyles
like poor diet, lack of exercise, and increase in alcohol consumption in
the past few years. In UK, nearly a quarter of adults (over 16 years of age)
are obese. An article in Lancet magazine stated that, in many western
countries, people’s diet have changed substantially with increased
intake of meat, dairy products, vegetable oils, fruit juice, and alcoholic
beverages, and decreases in consumption of starchy foods such as
bread, potatoes, rice and maize flour. Many aspects of lifestyle also
changed including low physical activity.
Lifestyle diseases share risk factors similar to prolonged exposure to
three modifiable lifestyle behaviours—smoking, unhealthy diet, and
physical inactivity—and result in the development of chronic diseases,
specifically heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, metabolic
syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and some types of
Ayurveda has always emphasized on diet and lifestyle with the use
of herbal medicines to produce mega effects. Ayurveda uproots the
disease, recognising its multi-factorial origin and psychosomatic
elements and treating the patients as a whole. Ayurvedic remedies are
safe and effective when prescribed by competent practitioner with a good
medical and herbal knowledge.
Ayurvedic medicines do not target the disease-causing organisms
instead they stimulate defence mechanisms and restorative energies of
the body so that it heals itself. It is not only curative but also preventative.
In choosing life over lifestyle, we need to move from sickness to
wellness. Wellness isn’t merely an absence of disease but is the
dynamic equilibrium between the body and mind.
Ayurveda helps in wellness by boosting the immune system,
replenishing the energy levels of the body and rejuvenating the mind. Our
future generation needs to inherit wellness and not disease from us.
Towards this end, a change in perspective is the need of the hour where
healing therapies complement rather than compete against one another.
Also, a doctor should not look at his patient as a person in desperate
need of his expertise but rather as a knowledgeable consumer in equal
partnership to achieve common goals of health and wellness.