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A Sound Mind For A Sound Body

The Indian government is shifting its focus towards traditional methods through the AYUSH programme, which stands for ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy


Wellness is more than physical fitness or absence of diseases. It is a deep sense of well-being that emanates from mental and spiritual health. Awareness has increased about the need for not just the body but the mind and the soul also to be healthy. The wellness industry is booming, with FICCI and Ernst and Young estimating the market to grow by 12 per cent and reach a record high of $1.3 trillion by the fiscal year 2020. The idea of holistic approach to health is not new to India. Be it ayurveda, siddha, or yoga, all of which originated in the country, the fundamental stress is on right living. While the body should be healthy, the mind too should be free of maladies to enjoy and retain good health and develop a sense of well-being.

In the last several decades, however, the focus has been on treating ailments only, and the dependence on allopathy has increased to control and prevent symptoms. Fearing counteraction between different forms of medicine, patients are advised to follow one method of treatment. To be fair to the practitioners, such a segregation arises primarily from their concern for treatment outcomes. However, over the course of time, this approach has proved insufficient as allopathy addresses only the body. And while the patient may recover or be able to manage a disease, mental well-being is not addressed except as a separate branch of treatment for severe cases. Increasingly, there is awareness that this is not enough.

A Concerted Effort
Till some time back, discussing mental health was taboo. There was a sense of shame and a tendency to hide it. But today, thanks to media, there is more awareness on the need to address mental health as well. While consulting a psychiatrist no longer brands one as mentally unsound, there is also a revival in interest in the alternate methods of fitness and treatment and the correction of diet and lifestyle. This has a positive impact on the mind and the body and is leading to an improvement in the overall health index. Doctors too are more willing to advise their patients to take up yoga and meditation to enhance the impact of treatment and accelerate recovery.

The Indian government is shifting its focus towards traditional methods through the AYUSH programme, which stands for ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy. It is encouraging research in herbs and medicinal plants for better use in treating certain maladies. Efforts are on to improve the quality of education at AYUSH educational institutions and adopt quality standards of AYUSH drugs in state and union territories. Government’s mHealth initiatives such as mCessation and mDiabetes promote awareness about the need to quit tobacco and manage diabetes, respectively.

Healthcare Innovations
The government has also introduced mobile apps such as the Swasth Bharat app to provide general information on health and diseases. Apart from this, many private players and wellness startups are helping people keep tab on their health parameters and take timely decisions that can keep diseases at bay or help them get timely treatment. Wearable devices are motivating people to take exercising, diet and nutrition, and their health more seriously and helping them find ways to motivate and continue with plans beneficial for their good health.

Our forefathers believed that a sound mind makes a sound body. Our approach to healthcare and wellness should be founded on this principle. A healthy diet, work-life balance, regular exercising, yoga and medicine can help achieve this goal. While the doctors may address the pathological aspects of a disease once it manifests itself, prevention is key.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Magazine 28 April 2018 wellness anniversary special

Naresh Trehan

The author is a renowned cardiovascular and cardiothoracic surgeon

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