Suresh Tomar was constantly being troubled by cold, fever and body ache. He didn't want to go for allopathic treatment as he dreaded antibiotics. When a friend suggested going to a homeopath, he reluctantly agreed. The homeopathic medicine worked wonders and a week later, Suresh was a happy man. "My fever, cold and ache were gone. I had heard of homeopathy but never tried it. I never thought it would work," he says enthusiastically. Liver problems had made Rajeev Gupta's life miserable. Like Suresh, he too was wary of antibiotics. He continued to suffer for many years till someone recommended Ayurvedic treatment. It took some months, but Rajeev is a relieved man now. Though not completely cured, he can take food like a normal person and feels a lot better.
Welcome to the world of alternative therapy.Owing to increasing awareness about the possible side-effects of allopathic treatment (read antibiotics) and the cost factor, people are increasingly turning to alternative therapies– homeopathy, ayurveda and alloveda.Three years back, BBC reported about a survey conducted by a diagnostic clinic in London, which combines orthodox and complementary medicine. The survey that randomly questioned 1,000 people threw up interesting facts. Sixty-eight percent of 1,000 people questioned had faith in alternative therapies, such as herbal medicine. Twenty-five percent thought western medicine was the only way to treat health problems, the survey found. People aged between 35 to 44 were the most likely to have faith in complementary medicine.
The popularity of alternative therapies has prompted UK government to pledge £900,000 to fund the regulation of some complementary medicine, BBC reported.
In India, though there is no such recent survey to back the popularity of alternative medicines, a quick round of any neighbourhood in a city like Delhi or Mumbai reveals the rising number of homeopaths and ayurvedic doctors.Homeopath Dr. Suresh Sachdev agrees, "Yes, on seeing good results, the number of people opting for homeopathy has definitely increased. The reason is that it can cure chronic diseases– whether it is an emotional problem, acidity or even stones in the kidney. Homeopathy has more or less treatment for all diseases if clinically diagnosed at the right time."
Another fellow homeopath Dr. Suraj Singh Tanwar agrees with Dr Sachdev. He says the main reason why people are trying homeopathy is that awareness about the alternative therapy has increased. "Treatment is without any side-effects and pain. So people think why not try this out?"
Ayurveda is another alternative treatment that has been around for ages but has become popular due to television and the likes of Baba Ramdev. In emergency cases, ayurveda has its own limitations but it does wonders in gastro-enteritis, liver problems, constipation, ulcer, respiratory disease, allergy and such other chronic diseases.
Ayurvedic doctor Dr. Parul Gupta says ayurvedic medicines keep the natural balance, work internally and improve the whole metabolism process. "If a patient comes at the initial stage, the root cause of the disease can be treated. Even chronic diseases like diabetes can be controlled. If the metals used in the herbs are used in right percentage, it can do wonders. Herbs have the power of regeneration and rejuvenation of new cells."
Dr Gupta has a word of caution too– never go for self-medication in Ayurveda and be aware of quacks. "Knowing the name of a medicine is not enough. Also, quacks try to befool patients, especially in ayurveda. Before approaching any ayurvedic doctor, the patient should check if he/she is registered or not."
A new name alloveda that has cropped up is 'alloveda', a system that combines allopathy and ayurveda. Dr Shashibala, who practises this form of treatment says, she goes for this type of treatment when a patient cannot be treated only through allopathy or ayurveda. "Then we have to combine both. We see that it does not interact in a negative way. Like in rheumatic arthritis cases we can't go only with ayurveda because ayurveda does not have analgesic (pain killers). Then we have to take the help of allopathy. When the patient is relieved of the pain, we continue with ayurveda," she adds.
Dr Shashibala said right now in Moolchand Hospital, nearly 20-30 per cent patients are going through this type of treatment.
Allopath Dr AK Bali agrees that lots of people are going for alternative treatment but still roots for his field. "Allopathy gives fast results because it has scientifically proved evidence-based medicines for every disease. We start treating the patient after clinical testing and can change medicines depending on how the patient is reacting."
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