Wednesday, 27 July 2011

A healthy decision - As published in Times of India

    The move by select insurance groups to cover ayurvedic treatments is wise - and timely. Ayurveda is an ancient Indian medical practice, laced with philosophy around holistic health. It uses plant- and mineral-based medicines, yoga and other natural methods to combat illnesses. In contemporary times, with growing numbers of people rejecting chemical concoctions, ayurveda with its natural elements appeals powerfully to many.
    As insurance companies themselves find, several subscribers prefer ayurveda over drugs for particular problems. It makes no sense to deny them insurance - simply because we don't believe in a non-western medical practice. Ironically, despite the large numbers of Indians reaching for ayurveda, India lags behind the world in giving it due recognition. Ayurveda is part of a wide international healthcare umbrella titled 'Complementary and Alternative Medicine' that includes traditional Chinese remedies, naturopathy and aromatherapy. These appeal to many seeking options beyond drug- and surgery-based allopathic practices, whose drawbacks are many.

    Including ayurveda within insurance schemes will help India in the international patenting race, while assisting the science to rid itself of quacks domestically, propelling it towards greater standardisation and uniformity. It's always intelligent to be open-minded towards diverse cures that help the human body. When psychotherapy began, it was often dismissed as total quackery. Today, it's standard practice over the world, helping people understand their own behaviour. Mediclaim policies in India tend to be overly restrictive, confining themselves to hospital care beyond 24 hours. To gain more customers they need to widen their ambit. They shouldn't be criticised when they try to be innovative.

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