Ayurveda: A Gold Mine for India
medical tourism market in India was estimated at $330 million in 2004 and it
will be $2 billion by 2012 as per estimates by the Indian ministry of tourism.
This estimate is based on foreigners arriving for heart surgery, bypass operations
and other major treatment at India's high-tech hospitals. The Ayurveda medical
tourism which will reach every village in India without any high-tech hospitals
is thereby not included in the above estimate.
According to the WHO, chronic diseases are the major cause of death and disability
worldwide, and increasingly affect people from developing as well as developed
countries. This reflects a significant change in diet habits, physical activity
levels, and tobacco use worldwide as a result of industrialisation, urbanisation,
economic development and increasing globalisation of food market. An estimated
177 million people are affected by diabetes. Two-thirds live in the developing
world. More than one billion adults worldwide are overweight, and at least 300
million of these are clinically obese. People worldwide are consuming more foods
that are energy-dense, high in sugar and/or saturated fats or excessively salty.
The scientific evidence is strong that a change in dietary habits and physical
activity can powerfully influence several of these risk factors in populations.
Heart attacks and strokes kill about 12 million people every year. In addition,
3.9 million people die annually from hypertensive and other heart conditions.
Up to 80 per cent of cases of coronary heart disease, 90 per cent of type 2
diabetes cases, and one-third of cancers can be avoided by changing to a healthier
diet, increasing physical activity and stopping smoking.
Established scientific evidence suggests there are major health benefits in
eating more fruit and vegetables, as well as nuts and whole grains, daily physical
activity, moving from saturated animal fats to unsaturated vegetable oil-based
fats, cutting the amount of fatty, salty and sugary foods in the diet and maintaining
a normal body weight. Almost all of the above health issues can be addressed
through Ayurveda. Treatment of chronic disease like obesity, heart disease,
diabetes, spinal disorders, arthritis, asthma, migrane, impotency etc play a
vital role in Ayurveda. Chronic diseases arise out of wrong way of life as above
described, thereby disturbing the balance of 'vata', 'pita' and 'kapha' elements.
Ayurveda knows how to correct the imbalance of the elements, thereby free the
patient from these chronic diseases. Ayurveda, a universal care system, being
developed and practiced in India since 1,500 BC is a blessing for mankind. The
physicians or 'rishies' preserved their findings on treatments for coming generations
since 1,500 BC on palm leaves. Such documents are still preserved. Ayurveda
has effective remedies for chronic diseases. The Western medical system have
failed to offer any effective curative treatment against chronic diseases. They
just try to suppress the symptoms for a while, the real cause remain suppressed
which later become chronic.
Ayurveda can help these patients. But how to help them? They first need consultation
with a doctor, who is specialised in that field. Only after due consultation
a treatment can be planned out. There is no efficient system to satisfy this
demand. Such a system is now for the first time implemented in www.ayurveda-portal.com
where a panel of doctors is available for customers worldwide to speak to individually.
Joseph Kaduthanam from Germany who had initiated Ayurveda medical tourism in
1985 has developed this portal. A documentary on Ayurveda treatment broadcasted
in Germany in 1988 trigged off a boom in Ayurveda medical tourism to Kerala.
It is high time the Government of India and the tourism department promote Ayurveda
Medical Tourism to villages of India, by offering financial help to Ayurveda
doctors to improve facilities in their hospitals and resorts to attract guests
from all over the world. This would improve employment opportunities in Indian
villages and would generate more revenue than medical tourism to high-tech hospitals.
In 2004, Christina (a 15-year-old German girl), who had collapsed in her school
was put on wheel chair for five months. As she got no medical help from German
doctors, her father approached Joseph Kaduthanam who was known as an Ayurveda
tour operator in Germany to inquire about Ayurveda treatment. After a weeks
search, Kaduthanam could suggest an Ayurveda doctor in a remote village in Kerala.
After studying the case history Dr Sreekrishna from Nelluvai, Trichur agreed
to treat her. After one week of treatment, the girl got control over her legs
and started walking. After four weeks of treatment, she went back to Germany
leaving her wheel chair in the hospital. Dr Sreekrishnma explained she had a
viral attack in her stomach which had attacked her nervous systems laming her
legs. Coming back to Germany, Udo Wirz, the father of the girl asked Kaduthanam
to create a software method to give access to such an efficient treatment system
for the outside world. This prompted him to develop a software. After three
years of development, the Ayurveda portal is now on line.
The Ayurveda portal has several functions:
- Consultation facilities with specialised panel of
- Education on Ayurveda: its history, principlesvata,
pita kapha theory.
- Various treatment methods and herbal plants used.
- Search facility on Ayurveda hospitals, resorts.
- Online instant booking and payment gateway facilities.
- Global Ayurveda directory.
This portal is linked to more than 1,500 travel agents, 2,000 yoga centers,
to promote Ayurveda medical tourism to India. It gives links to more than 3,000
organic bio-shops worldwide, so that patients after an Ayurveda treatment can
continue their diet.
On July 29, 2007, the Ayurveda Hospital Management Association honoured Joseph
Kaduthanam as the brand ambassador of Ayurveda.
A week earlier, the media had already selected Kaduthanam as Ayurveda brand
ambassador. A suitable title he deserves.