Alternative medicine

Alternative medicine is finding new takers during the pandemic

Ever since Baba Ramdev claimed that “allopathy is a dumb science”, a debate has raged about the different systems of medicine and how they stack up against each other. Metrolife spoke to alternative medicine practitioners to ask how they are doing during the pandemic.

Energy solutions

Reiki, a Japanese energy-based healing technique, has seen renewed interest, according to Reiki healer Ravi Kumar Sardana.

Generally understood as practical therapy, during the pandemic it moved online. “Cosmic energy is available in abundance. It is unaffected by space, time or distance. Healing can occur by channeling the energy and redirecting it back to the patient,” he says. Some online lectures have helped him learn about the possibilities. “My clients have doubled in number. The acceptance is increasing,” he says. He recommends a minimum of three sessions and thinks Reiki can work with allopathy to speed healing.

Focus on holistic health

Kaivalyadhama, a health and yoga research center based in Lonavala, offers week-long health and healing retreats.

Since reopening last August after lockdown, many have been coming for detox, immune boosting and post-Covid recovery sessions.

The center uses a combination of yoga, Ayurveda and naturopathy. Those entering must provide a negative RT-PCR test.

Several aspects of alternative medicine, such as diet, nutrition, supplements, oils, and eating habits, are taught online. “We have also launched online workshops and teleconsultations to bridge the gap. They are better than nothing and could be considered 50% efficient,” says Subodh Tiwari, CEO.

Before the pandemic, the center welcomed 5,000 people a year, 60% of whom came from abroad. After the outbreak of the pandemic, it is attracting increased interest from within the country. “We have had almost 1,000 participants since August 2020. We see a large number of young people drawn to yoga,” he says.

For those who suffer from fear and anxiety, yogic practices like pranayama and meditation are helpful, he explains.

HempCann Solutions

Odisha-based HempCann Solutions established India’s first medical cannabis-based clinic in Bengaluru in 2020. The company manufactures Ayurvedic medicines, herbal supplements and body care products.

“We source valuable medicinal plants, study them and create unique formulations for acute and chronic diseases,” says Sourab Agarwal, Founder.

Over the past decade, the cannabis plant has gained great scientific importance due to its potential applications in medicine, preventive health and integrative medicine.

The many ongoing studies and clinical trials that show the use of cannabis and cannabinoid adjunctive therapy in Covid-19 have helped increase that popularity during the pandemic, he says.

“More than half of our patients are over 40, while about a quarter are between 29 and 40,” he says.

Medical cannabis can be used to improve a multitude of conditions, including sleep disorders, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, different types of cancers, etc., he says .

“The recreational use of mind-altering substances in the 1960s West eclipsed the work done by chemists and scientists using the same substances for therapeutic purposes,” he says.

natural healing

Ozone therapy refers to the process of administering ozone gas to treat an illness or wound. Dr. Mili Shah, President of the Indian Ozone Forum, says that ozone is an energetic form of oxygen and the molecule purifies blood, lymph and other body tissues by combining with them.

“It’s an adjuvant therapy that helps improve immunity and boost the body’s ability to fight disease,” she explains.

The natural healing modality is used to treat infected wounds, circulatory disorders, geriatric conditions, macular degeneration, viral infections and bowel conditions, she says. With more and more people seeking alternative treatments, there’s also a rising trend in those seeking ozone therapy, she says.

healing power of flowers

Based in Bengaluru, Indroneil Mukerjee is a Bach Flower Therapist and Transformational Coach. For the uninitiated, Bach Flower Therapy is the practice of healing mental and emotional states using 38 “vibrational remedies” made from flower essences and natural spring water.

Discovered by Dr. Edward Bach in the early 1930s, it has been practiced in India for about 40 years now. “Thanks to social media and online educational content, its popularity continues to grow,” he says. For more than a year, he has been giving certification courses and nearly 200 therapists have graduated to date.

Many turn to this system to heal their fears and anxieties, and cope with the boredom of being cooped up at home, he says. Most of his patients are women in the age group of 25 to 50 years old. “No chemicals or biochemicals are used in the remedies. Thus, they are absolutely safe and without any side effects. There is also no risk of overdose. It works well with other therapies,” he says.

Online consultation, however, did not hinder his efforts. “The medium doesn’t matter. It all depends on the ability of the therapist,” he explains.

Need the hour

Much has been made of the dilapidated state of the country’s medical infrastructure. Alternative medicine practitioners say they can ease the burden. “We should reduce our reliance on allopathy alone and look to nature and find solutions,” says Ravi.

India, says Subodh, has the added advantage of the availability of a system of traditional medicine under AYUSH. “If done scientifically and systematically, our recovery rate could be much higher. All systems of medicine should work together, there is good in everything,” he says.