Traditional healing: modern medicine's friend or foe?
The WHO recently launched the traditional medicine strategy 2014-2023 to mainstream traditional medicine alongside allopathic (modern, western) care, with an emphasis on improving safety and expanding access. The report aims to set up traditional medicine for contemporary health needs, diseases and standards.Traditional medicine in its many forms has proven to be an effective treatment for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – one of the biggest health burdens for developing countries. NCDs, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and chronic lung disease, kill more than 36 million people each year and 80% of the deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
Founder of AyurVaid chain of ayurvedic hospitals Rajiv Vasudevan says today’s “quick fix” society turns too quickly to pills and elective surgery but traditional medicine treats the root-cause. He says that allopathic medicine provides symptomatic treatment that, for example, returns blood pressure back to normal, but ignores the underlying conditions – a person’s constitution, the surrounding environment, diet – that cause the illness in the first place.