UPSC Exam Preparation-Gist of Yojana June 2019 Issue: Yoga and Alternative Systems of Medicine

UPSC Exam Preparation: Gist of Yojana June 2019 Issue: Yoga and Alternative Systems of Medicine

Table of Contents: Yoga and Alternative Systems of Medicine

1. Introduction

2. Alternative Systems of Medicine in India: An Overview

3. Traditional/lndigenous/Alternative Systems of Medicine in India

4. Ayurveda: Fifty years of Transforming Research and Development in India

5. Yoga: The Art of Being and Science of Well-Being

6. Naturopathy: The Science of Health and Wellness

7. Unani System of Medicine: The Science of Health and Healing

8. Siddha system of medicine in a nutshell

9. Homeopathy in India – An Overview

Chapter 1: Introduction

Humans have actively engaged in medicine as well as in alternative systems of drugless healing over centuries, and across societies and civilizations. There has been a growing consciousness around the world for improving healthcare using alternative systems of medicine.

  • Yoga is an ancient practice and a spiritual discipline focussing on assimilating the mind, body and nature to establish an organic harmony between all forces.
  • The word ‘yoga’ comes from Sanskrit which means to unite, and hence yoga is not just physical exercise but a means to achieve a balance between thoughts and actions and channelizing the body and energy as a holistic approach to well-being.
  • Yoga has had various lineages, traditions and driving philosophies that have led to the emergence of different traditional schools of Yoga, each with its own set of principles, objectives and practices.
  • Yoga is recognised all over the world for its immensely uplifting values.
  • Each year, June 21 is celebrated as the International Day of Yoga, and especially for India, Yoga has a cultural and heritage value too.
  • Naturopathy, Siddha system of medicine, Ayurveda, Unani, Homeopathy, Naturopathy and others, are also various practices in addition to the more popular system of medicine, i.e. Allopathy, which is the commonly followed system in India and most other parts of the world.

It is in relation to Allopathy that these others systems are referred to as the alternative systems of medicine. However, given the multitude of health issues that humanity is facing today, it is important to integrate the preventive, curative and uplifting aspects of the traditional as well as the modern Systems of medicine in order to combat the challenges facing us today in a holistic and balanced manner, while combining the best of various streams of knowledge.

Chapter 2: Alternative Systems of Medicine in India: An Overview

Traditional Medicine (TM) along with Complementary Medicine (CM) and Alternative Medicine (AM) are terminologies that are often used interchangeably for a broad range of healthcare practices, theory, service delivery and systems in both Eastern and Western parts of the world (including for Ayurvedic Medicine, naturopathy, traditional Chinese medicine and homeopathy etc) that have developed separately from the conventional system of medicine. These systems put together are referred to as Traditional and Complementary Medicine (T&CM).  India has a rich culture of T&CM, Alternative Systems of Medicine (ASM), which include both, Indian/indigenous systems i.e, Ayurveda and Siddha as well as those not originated in India, i.e, Homeopathy.

Evolution of Medicine since Ancient Times:

  • The history of medicine indicates that almost every major civilization and culture had developed their own system for curing diseases through the approaches varied.
  • Medicine in ancient form was practices in all societies and civilizations – Egyptian, Chinese, Indian, Mesopotamian, Greek, Roman and Arab and is referred to and recognized by the names of the civilization.
  • The dawn of scientific or modern medicine started in the mid of the 15th It evolved on the foundation created by the ancient systems of medicine over a period of 4500 years (2500 BC-1500 AD).
  • In the mid of the twentieth century, the stream of medicine based upon the concept of treatment of diseases by use of a drug which produces a reaction that itself neutralizes the disease condition or disease-causing agents’ started getting popular and is now known as Allopathy or Allopathic Medicine.
  • Allopathy: is the most commonly used system of medicine in India and most other parts of the world. Most often, it is Allopathic medicine compared to which other systems are termed as traditional, complementary or alternative systems of medicine.
  • Indian Medicine: Medicine in India originated around 3000 BC, when the practice of Ayurveda is considered to have started. In addition, the Siddha system of medicine is also Indian in origin. The period of 800 BC to 600 AD is regarded as the golden period for Indian medicine, a period which coincides with widely accepted authorities in Ayurvedic medicine, such as Atreya, Charaka and Sushruta. Of them, Atreya (about 800 BC) is considered as the first great Indian physician and teacher. Charaka (200 AD) wrote Charaka Samhita and was the most popular physician of the time. Sushruta is referred to as the father of Indian surgery. He wrote Sushrura Samhita, a treatise on surgery (between 800 BC and 400 AD). Around 800 AD, the Charaka and Sushruta Samhitas were translated into Persian and Arabic and Indian medicine had spread to Indo-China, Indonesia, Tibet, central Asia and Japan.
  • Egyptian Medicine: Egyptian civilization had well-advanced medicine, which is reported to have reached its peak in the days of Imhotep (2800 BC).
  • Chinese Medicine: There are well-documented records of Chinese medicine since 2700 BC. Some of the medicinal practices of those times are still followed in various forms.
  • Mesopotamian Medicine: The Codes of Hammurabi, in name Of King of Baby Lone, were formulated around 2000 BC in the Mesopotamian civilization to govern the conduct of physicians to guide health practices.
  • Greek Medicine: Greek Medicine was most evolved between 460 BC-136 BC and Aesculapius (around 1200 BC) and Hippocrates (460-370 BC) were amongst the leaders in Greek Medicine, Hippocrates is often termed as “Father of Medicine” and the oath drafted by him guides medical ethics even now.
  • Roman Medicine: Roman Medicine emerged from Greek Medicine. Roman Medicine was more about overall health with focus on disease prevention and control (and not restricted to curing illnesses, as was the predominant feature of some other medicines prevalent at that time or earlier)- Galen (130-205 AD) was a famous Roman medical teacher, whose teaching lasted till mid of sixteenth century when some recent knowledge on anatomy and physiology emerged.
  • Arab Medicine (Unani Medicine): From 500 AD to 1500 AD, Greeko-Roman medical literature was translated into Arabic. The local adaptation gave birth to the Unani system of medicines in schools of medicines and hospitals in Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo. The period of 800-1300 AD is often referred to as the golden period in Arabic medicine. Abu Beer (also known as Rhazes) and Ibn Sina (also known as Avicenna) are known as two leaders of Arab medicine.

India and Alternative Systems of Medicine:

  • In the last three decades, there have been focused initiatives to mainstream traditional and alternative systems of medicine in healthcare services in India.
  • The first full-fledged department for Indian Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy (ISM&H) was created under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of lndia, in March 1995 to promote and regulate the practice of alternative systems of medicine in the country.
  • This department was, in November 2003, renamed as Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH).
  • A fully independent Ministry of AYUSH was formed in November 2014.
  • In 2002, the Government of India also formulated the National Policy on Indian Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy.
  • The current National Health Policy of India has proposed functional linkage of AYUSH at all levels of health systems, including service delivery as well as work force.
  • The policy proposal focuses on inclusion of Yoga at work- place, in schools and in the community as an important form of promoting health and wellness.

Discussion and Way Forward:

  • The Current and predicted increasing burden of chronic and Non- Communicable Diseases (NCDs) is often considered the most urgent reason for developing and strengthening collaboration between conventional and T&CM health sectors.
  • The study of state level burden of diseases in India has highlighted the emerging burden of NCDs, which mandates higher provision of preventive and promotive health services, along with curative and diagnostic services.
  • Many T&CM (especially Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy) largely focus on principles of wellness and health promotion.
  • There is a vast infrastructure and plenty of providers in these systems and it is a great opportunity to tackle NCDs as well as other emerging health challenges in the country.
  • The global evidence has pointed towards the need for task shifting (assigning some of the tasks done by allopathic doctors to other cadres of healthcare providers) in health systems.
  • A lot of such approaches are the standard of care in many resource poor settings and countries.
  • The discourse is aligned with dialogues for moving from ‘doctor-centric’ to a ‘team-based’ approach to health service delivery, where each type of provider (doctors, nurse, alternative system of medicine, pharmacist, counsellor) play different and complementary roles.
  • India is making some progress in this area through MLHP under HWCs, yet more is needed and is possible through engagement of already available human resources under alternative systems of medicine in delivery of personal, population and public health services.
  • The ongoing initiatives at all levels need support through government leadership and financing. The research on different aspects of T&CM and the use of proven methods and approaches need to be promoted in addition to ensuring the availability of these Services for the people.


Traditional and Complementary Medicine-Definitions:

  • Traditional Medicine (TM): The sum-total of the knowledge, skill and practices based on the theories, beliefs and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness.
  • Complementary Medicine (CM) or Alternative Medicine (AM): A broad set of healthcare practices that are not part of that country’s own tradition or conventional medicine and are not fully integrated into the dominant healthcare system. In some countries, the term Traditional Medicine (TM) is used interchangeably with CM and AM and also together as ‘Complementary and Alternative Medicine’ (C&AM) and are used interchangeably. These systems typically use a variety of methods that fall under the CAM umbrella (herbal remedies, manipulative practices).
  • Traditional and Complementary Medicine (T&CM): T&CM merges the terms TM and CM, encompassing products, practices and practitioners.

Chapter 3: Traditional/lndigenous/Alternative Systems of Medicine in India


  • The Ayurvedic System of Medicine evolved nearly 5000 years ago (3000 BC).
  • The word Ayurveda means ‘Science of Life’ and employs treatment modalities, such as purification, palliation, prescription of various diets, exercises and the avoidance of disease causing factors.
  • The Ayurvedic medicine, though practiced for a wide range Of health needs, is more commonly used for preventive and health and immunity boosting activities.
  • Ayurveda is widely used in India and is more popular in Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Orissa.

Yoga & Naturopathy:

  • The concepts and practices of Yoga are reported to have originated in India.
  • Yoga is now being adapted to correct lifestyle by cultivating a rational, positive and spiritual attitude towards all life situations.
  • The role of Yoga techniques in the prevention and mitigation of diseases and promotion of health are being studied.
  • Yoga is widely practiced across India and has spread to many other parts of the world.
  • The United Nations (UN) has designated 21st June as ‘International Yoga Day’.
  • Naturopathy or the naturopathic medicine is a drugless’ non- invasive system of medicine imparting treatments with natural elements based on the theories of vitality, toxemia and the self-healing capacity of the body, as well as the principles of healthy living.
  • The common naturopathy modalities include counselling, diet and fasting therapy, mud therapy, hydrotherapy, massage therapy, acupressure, acupuncture, magnet therapy and yoga therapy.

Unani Medicine:

  • Unani Medicine originated in the Arab world, though over a period of time it imbibed some concepts from other contemporary systems of medicines in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Persia, India, China and other Middle East Countries.
  • Unani medicine treats a patient with diet, pharmacotherapy, exercise, massages and surgery.
  • Unani Medicine was introduced in India around the 10th century AD and at present it is popular in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan.


  • This system has originated in India and is amongst the oldest systems of medicine in the country.
  • It takes into account the patient, his/her surroundings, age, sex, race, habitat, diet, appetite, physical condition etc. to arrive at the diagnosis.
  • Siddha System uses minerals, metals and alloys and drugs and inorganic compounds to treat the patients.
  • Unlike most T&CM, this system is largely therapeutic in nature.
  • Siddha literature is in Tamil and it is practiced largely in Tamil speaking part of India, i.e. Kerala and abroad.


  • The word ‘Homeopathy’ is derived from the Greek words, ‘Homois’ meaning ‘similar’ and ‘pathos’ means ‘suffering’.
  • It originated in Germany and was introduced in India around 1810-1839.
  • It uses highly individualized remedies selected to address specific symptoms or symptom profiles.
  • It is practiced in many countries and in India, where it is the second most popular system of medicine.
  • Homeopathy is practiced all over the country and is popular in Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Gujarat and North-Eastern States.


  • The word combination means the ‘science of healing’ and is considered one of the oldest living and well-documented medical traditions of the world.
  • It originated from Tibet and is widely practiced in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Mongolia and Russia.
  • In India, this system is practiced mainly in Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Darjeeling (West Bengal), Dharamshala, Lahaul and Spiti (Himachal Pradesh), Ladakh region (Jammu and Kashmir) and in parts of Delhi.

Chapter 4: Ayurveda: Fifty years of Transforming Research and Development in India

Ayurveda, the science of life, is one of the oldest and comprehensive systems of healthcare. It was discovered through suitable sources of acquiring knowledge and evidence (Pramana), viz. (l) Pratyaksha (Direct perception), Anumana (logical inference), Aptopadesha (verbal & authentic documentary testimony), (4) Yukti (experimental evidences), etc. These pramanas are very well comparable with the present research methodology

  • Research and documentation has always been an indispensable part of Ayurveda.
  • It is the oldest system of medicine, being practiced in India since ages, though its patronage decreased during the medieval period.
  • After Independence in 1947, the movement for revival of Indigenous Systems of Medicine gained momentum.
  • The Chopra Committee in 1948 identified the objectives and areas for research in the Indian Systems of Medicine, and based on its recommendations, the Central Research Institute for Ayurveda was established at Jamnagar in 1953.
  • The Udupa Committee in 1958 further streamlined the research priorities with establishment Of the Post Graduate Institute of Indian Medicine at Banaras Hindu University Varanasi in 1963.
  • Later for undertaking integrated and coordinated Research, Composite Drug Research Scheme (CDRS) was initiated in 1964.
  • In 1969 Central Council for Research in Indian Medicine and Homeopathy (CCRIM&H) was established for systematic research in Indian systems of medicine after Vyas Committee recommendations in 1966.


  • Life in Ayurveda is conceived as the union of body, senses, mind and soul.
  • The living man is a conglomeration of three humors (Vata, Pitta &Kapha), seven basic tissues (Rasa, Rakta, Mansa, Meda, Asthi, Majja & Shukra) and the waste products of the body i.e. mala, mutra and sweda. Thus the total body matrix comprises of the humors, the tissues and the waste products of the body.
  • The growth and decay of this body matrix and its constituents revolve around food which gets processed into humors, tissues and wastes, Ingestion, digestion, absorption, assimilation and metabolism of food have an interplay in health and disease which are significantly affected by psychological mechanisms as well as by bio- fire (Agni).
  • Ayurvedic practice involves the use of medications that typically contain plants, metals, minerals, or other materials.
  • In Ayurveda special focus is given to purification and other processing of potentially toxic plants and metalo-mineral materials.

Integration of Ayurveda with Modern System of Medicine:

  • Ayurveda defines health as a state of equilibrium of dosha (regulatory and functional entities of the body), dhatu (structural entities), mala (excretory entities) and agni (digestive and factors) along with healthy state of sensory and motor organs and mind with their harmonious relationship with the soul.
  • The Strength of Ayurveda lies in its three fold holistic approach of prevention of disease, promotion of health and cure of disease. This is achieved through care of body, mind and soul where physical, mental and spiritual aspects of health are considered.

National AYUSH Morbidity and Standardized Terminology E- Portal (NAMASTE portal)

  • In order to enhance the global footing of Ayurveda, Siddha, and Unani systems of medicine, the Ministry of AYUSH has been actively pursuing efforts to include AYUSH systems of medicine in the Traditional Medicine chapter of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). In this regard, CCRAS has been involved in the development of Standardized Ayurveda Terminologies.
  • The National Ayurveda Morbidity Codes (NAMC) is an important part of this document which is also being used for morbidity data collection under NAMASTE Portal. This portal has the potential to revolutionize morbidity statistics data collection.



India has a long history and strong base of traditional medicine and Ayurveda is poised to get globalized for the benefit of humanity. The health promotive, disease preventive, rehabilitative and recuperative roles of Ayurveda coupled with its holistic approach is a driving force that has taken the world by a storm. Global community is looking towards Ayurveda for solutions to the emerging health problems, which are otherwise not manageable with concurrent medical approach. Now the time is to harness the benefits of AYUSH with its rational, affordable, evidence based and discriminate use. The core aspects for integration comprise education, health care and research.

Chapter 5: Yoga: The Art of Being and Science of Well-Being

Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. Yoga is one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophical traditions. There is a broad variety of yoga schools, practices, and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.

  • Yoga is an inner science comprising of a variety of practices and methods through which human beings can achieve a union between the body and the mind to attain self-realisation.
  • The aim of Yoga practice (sädhana) is to overcome and endure all kinds of sufferings that leads to a sense of freedom in every walk of life with holistic health, happiness and harmony.
  • One of the deep impulses of human mind is a craving to know.
  • Founders of philosophical thoughts – Vedic seers, ancient Indian Yoga Gurus, Maharishis, Mahavir, Buddha, Christ, Mohammed and Sufis have dedicated their lives to the quest of understanding the source of suffering of mankind.
  • All these masters have developed a common path, based on their concrete experiences which are practical, methodical and systematic for unfolding and culturing the unlimited potentialities of mankind which can be realised by the practice of Yoga.
  • The roots of Yoga are in ancient India; its universal origin is the burning desire in the heart of the philosophers – the yearning to be happy and free of suffering.
  • In Indian thought the term Philosophy stands for Darshana i.e. ‘vision’ as a means of self-realization through self-purification which claims to end the three-fold suffering of mankind forever.
  • While minutely observing the life phenomenon, ancient Indian masters have concluded that so long as we do not pay any serious attention towards our day-to-day activities as well as the activities of Mother Nature, we go on performing all our actions mechanically in the form of reflexes.
  • Nowadays, millions of people are practicing Yoga and have been benefitted by the practice of Yoga which has been preserved and promoted by the great eminent Yoga Masters from ancient times to this date.
  • Yoga is being practiced as an art and science of well- being across the globe.

Traditional Schools/Kinds of Yoga:

Different philosophies, traditions, lineages and guru-shishya paramparas of Yoga led to the emergence ofdifferent traditional schools. These include Jnäna Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, Pätanjala Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Dhyäna Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Laya Yoga, Räja Yoga, Jain Yoga, Bouddha Yoga etc.

The Fundamentals of Yoga:

  • Yoga works on the level of one’s body, mind, emotion and energy.
  • This has given rise to four broad classifications of Yoga: Karma Yoga where we utilize the body; Jnäna Yoga where we utilize the mind and intellect; Bhakti Yoga where we utilize the emotion and Kriya Yoga where we utilize the energy.

Yogic Practices for Well-Being:

  • The widely practiced Yoga sadhanas are: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pränäyäma, Pratyähära, Dhärana, Dhyäna, Samädhi, Bandhäs and Mudras, Shatkarmas,yuktähära, Mantra-j apa, Yukta-karma etc. Yama’s are restraints and Niyama’s are observances.
  • These are considered to be pre-requisites for further Yoga practice.
  • Äsanas, capable of bringing about stability of body and mind, involve adopting various psycho-physical body patterns and giving one an ability to maintain a body position for a considerable length of time.
  • Pränäyäma consists of developing awareness of one’s breathing followed by wilful regulation of respiration as the functional or vital basis of one’s existence. It helps in developing awareness of one’s mind and helps to establish control over the mind.
  • Dhärana indicates broad based field of attention (inside the body and mind) which is usually understood as concentration.
  • Dhyäna (meditation) is contemplation (focussed attention inside the body and mind) Samädhi (integration).
  • Bandhas and Mudras are practices associated with Pränäyama.
  • Teaching methodology in Yoga has also ingrained modern educational methodological rigours into it.

How Yoga Works:

The following are just a few of the mechanisms through which Yoga works as an integrated mind-body medicine:

  1. Cleanses the accumulated toxins through various shuddikriyas and generates a sense of relaxed lightness through Yogic sukshmavyayama (simple micro movements for all joints and ligaments of body). Free flow in all bodily passages prevents the many infections that may occur when pathogens stagnate therein.
  2. Adoption of a Yogic lifestyle with proper nourishing diet, creates positive antioxidant enhancement thus neutralizing free radicals while enabling a rejuvenative storehouse of nutrients packed with life energy to work on anabolic, reparative and healing processes.
  3. Steadies the entire body through different physical postures held in a steady and comfortable manner without strain. Creates physical balance and sense of ease with oneself and also enables all physiological processes to occur in a healthy manner.
  4. Improves control over autonomic respiratory mechanisms though breathing patterns that generate energy and enhance emotional stability. The mind and emotions are related to our breathing pattern and rate and hence the slowing down of the breathing process influences autonomic functioning, metabolic processes as well as emotional responses.
  5. Integrates body movements with the breath creates psychosomatic harmony
  6. Focuses the mind positively on activities being done, enhances energy flow and results in healthy circulation to the different body parts and internal organs.
  7. Creates a calm internal environment through contemplative practices that in turn enable normalization of homeostatic mechanisms. Yoga is all about balance at all levels of being. Mental balance produces physical balance and vice versa too.
  8. Relaxes the body-emotion-mind complex through physical and mental techniques that enhance our pain threshold and coping ability in responding to external and internal stressors. This enhances the quality of life as seen in so many terminal cases where other therapies are not able to offer any solace.
  9. Yoga works towards restoration of normalcy in all systems of the human body with special emphasis on the psycho-neuro-immuno- endocrine axis. In addition to its preventive and restorative capabilities, Yoga also aims at promoting positive health that will help us to tide over health challenges that occur during our lifetime. This concept of positive health is one of Yoga’s unique contributions to modern healthcare as Yoga has both a preventive as well as promotive role in the healthcare of our masses.

Thus, Yoga is a perfect wellness module as it is comprehensive and holistic in its nature. Yogic principles of wellness help to strengthen and develop positive health enabling us to withstand stress better.

Scientific Studies on Yoga:

  • Since most of the modem day health problems, particularly the chronic NCDs, are because of faulty life-style, Yoga is useful in combating these disorders and shows that science and spirituality need not always be treated as separate entities.
  • Yoga has the potential to solve the lifestyle problems and psychosomatic diseases.
  • A series of research studies were carried out across the globe to scientifically evaluate and validate the beneficial effects of Yoga.
  • The studies revealed that yoga through its effects on autonomic nervous system and endocrine system influence cellular and molecular aspects of health in Yoga practitioners.
  • It was observed that yogic practice brings stability of autonomic equilibrium along with strengthening Of parasympathetic system, thereby minimizing the wear and tear in different physiological systems and thereby slowing down the aging process.
  • It also strengthens our immunity thereby preventing diseases.

Yoga and Mental Health:

  • Yoga brings about positive health by causing the relaxation of the whole body, slowing down the respiration (making it quiet and deep) and calming the mind, thereby helping in improving attention and concentration.
  • It improves awareness of body, emotions and mind; and the flow of healing ‘Pranic Life Energy’.
  • Research at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences has also shown that the practice of yoga has effects on biological parameters like increasing the parasympathetic tone, reducing cortisol levels and decreasing the neuro-inflammation in patients with depression. In fact, yoga has been used as a sole treatment for patients with mild to moderate depression in several recent studies in India and abroad.
  • Yoga holds promise as a complementary therapy in cases of tobacco, alcohol and opioid dependence along with routine medical intervention
  • Current research evidence suggests that yoga can be used as an add-on therapy or in some instances as a sole therapy for psychiatric disorders as well. It not only improves the symptoms, but brings about holistic change in an individual.
  • Patanjali in his Yoga sutras says “Yogah chitta vritti nirodhah” which means the primary aim of Yoga is removal of fluctuations or the mind. “Samatvam Yoga Uchyate” which translates to ‘yoga is equanimity of mind in any situation’ is cited in the Bhagavad Gita (5000 BC).
  • Yoga has been shown to help improve symptoms in several physical disorders, like diabetes, hypertension, asthma and also in mental disorders like anxiety, depression and psychosis.
  • Yoga practice has been reported to help depressive symptoms since a long time.
  • It lifts the mood and improves interest in activities, attention/ concentration/memory, sleep and appetite.
  • Ashtanga Yoga as outlined by Patanjali, consists of eight limbs: Yama (universal ethics), Niyama (individual ethics), Asana (physical poses), Pranayama (breath control), Pratyahara (control af the senses), Dharana (steadiness of mind), Dhyana (meditation), Samadhi (bliss).
  • As per this model, yoga if practiced in the sequence leads to bliss which is the ultimate state.

Increasing Relevance of Yoga in Modern Times

  • Ever since UNO declared June 21st as International Day of Yoga (IDY), celebration of this IDY has become a global phenomenon.
  • The Union Government with advice from Yoga Gurus in the country has developed a common Yoga Protocol, which can be used worldwide by people.
  • The Union Government through the Ministry of AYUSH is promoting Yoga for integrated health of people, irrespective of cultural, racial and religious barriers.
  • The aim of the Government is to promote and encourage the youth who have excelled and achieved in the disciplines Of Yoga and sports.
  • Hence there is a serious effort to popularize Yoga from school to university levels.
  • The great contributions of ancient Indian medical doctors like Charaka, Sushruta, Vagbhata, Madhava, Nagarjuna, vedic sages and others merit our attention. Those concepts have been tested scientifically by modern researchers, through Inter and multi — disciplinary research thus earning name and fame all over the world.
  • Yoga would become a powerful means for promoting ageless Indian culture and tradition.


Promotion of Yoga:

  • UNESCO inscribed Yoga in the representative list Of Intangible Cultural Heritage Of Humanity
  • In order to leverage proper healthcare legacy, the National Health Policy 2017 recommended introduction of Yoga in school and at work places as part of promotion of good health.
  • In order to promote Yoga as a part of school curriculum, Yoga Education was made compulsory by National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE), a statutory body under Ministry of Human Resource Development, through its 15 Teacher Education programmes.
  • Yoga Certification Board has been established by the Ministry of AYUSH for certification of Yoga professionals and accreditation of Yoga Institutions and Personnel Certification Body.
  • UGC has established Yoga Departments in Six Central Universities and framed Standard Yoga Syllabi for various courses e
  • Ministry of ExternaI Affairs (MEA) under auspices Of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) also deputes Yoga teachers to Indian Missions for imparting training to local students and teachers.
  • NCERT has taken the initiative of “YOGA OLYMPIAD” for School Children.
  • Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga (MDNIY), Ministry of AYUSH, has introduced Yoga training to Central Armed Police Force (CAPF).
  • PM Awards on IDY: Four awards, Two National and Two International, have been announced in the field or Yoga.


 Yoga is a science and a way of healthy living, which helps to achieve a harmonious personality. The holistic wisdom of Yoga and other ancient health systems offers the necessary wisdom, experience and capabilities that are crucial for such transformational change. It is proving to be the most desired traditional system of health and well-being in the present scenario.

Chapter 6: Naturopathy: The Science of Health and Wellness

Yoga and Naturopathy are traditional Indian sciences practiced for health and wellness. These are the drugless systems of healthcare. These systems are by and large used as complementary or alternative to conventional healthcare in India as well as in the occidental world. Yoga and Naturopathy have become prominent players of healthcare for their promises of managing the lifestyle induced illnesses by simple corrections in lifestyle and not treating them synthetically through the drugs of chemical origin. These practices which focus upon correction of lifestyle and bringing harmony between body and mind, also have a promise of showing the way to a stress free, peaceful and happy life.

Concept of Health and Wellness in Naturopathy:

  • Naturopathy or naturopathic medicine is a form of alternative medicine that employs an array of pseudoscientific practices branded as “natural”, “non-invasive”, and as promoting “self-healing”.
  • The ideology and methods of naturopathy are based on vitalism and folk medicine, rather than evidence-based medicine.
  • Naturopathy is a traditional system of healing based upon natural principles that govern life, living and health.
  • These principles of healthy living, prevention of disease and healing were firmly integrated as the customs in the ethnic culture of people in India since ancient times.
  • The references of such principles can be found in the scriptures like Vedas, Upanishads and Epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata.
  • Naturopathy is called a drugless system of healthcare based on well- founded philosophy and practices.
  • The simplicity and ease of Naturopathy has made it acceptable globally.
  • Naturopathy believ es that entire universe is composed of five basic elements panchamahabhutas viz. Eather (akasha), Air (vayu), Fire (agni), Water (jala) and Earth (prithvi) and so is the human body. Imbalance of these elements creates disease. The diseases can, therefore, be treated by the appropriate use of these elements and such treatments are called Prakritik Chikitsa or Naturopathy.

Therapeutic Modalities Used in Naturopathy:

The main therapeutic modalities of Naturopathy employed for preventive, promotive and curative purpose are Upvas Chikitsa (Fasting Therapy), Aahar Chikitsa (Diet Therapy), Mitti Chikitsa (Mud Therapy), Jala Chikitsa (Hydro Therapy), Malish Chikitsa (Massage Therapy),Surya Kiran Chikitsa (Helio Therapy), Vayu Chikitsa (Air Therapy), Yoga Chikitsa (Yoga Therapy).

Chapter 7: Unani System of Medicine: The Science of Health and Healing

The Unani System of Medicine has a long and impressive record in India. It was introduced in India by the Arabs and Persians sometime around the eleventh century.  As the name indicates, Unani system originated in Greece. The foundation of Unani system was laid by Hippocrates. The system owes its present form to the Arabs who not only saved much of the Greek literature by rendering it into Arabic but also enriched the medicine of their day with their own contributions. In this process they made extensive use of the science of Physics, Chemistry, Botany, Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, Therapeutics and Surgery.

  • In India, Unani System of Medicine was introduced by Arabs and soon it took firm roots.  The Delhi Sultans (rulers) provided patronage to the scholars of Unani System and even enrolled some as state employees and court physicians.
  • The fundamentals, diagnosis and treatment modalities of the system are based on scientific principles and holistic concepts of health and healing.
  • lts holistic approach considers individual in relation to environment and stresses on health of body, mind and soul.
  • Temperament (Mizäj) of a patient is given great importance in diagnosis and treatment of diseases with natural remedies derived mostly from plants.
  • Temperament is also taken into consideration for identifying the most suitable diet and lifestyle for promoting the health of a particular individual.
  • Unani System of Medicine considers the entire universe including human beings, disease, drugs, environmental factors etc to be intrinsically defined by four primary qualities — Hot, Cold, Dry and Wet.
  • These qualities are reflected in all the basic concepts of Unani System of Medicine such as elements, temperament and four humours which are used for describing and correlating human health and disease with promotive and curative factors e.g. diet and drugs.

Regimental therapy (Ilaj-bil-Tadbir):

  • Regimental therapy is special technique / physical methods of treatment to improve the constitution of body by removing waste materials and improving the defence mechanism of the body and protect health.
  • In other words these are the best known “detoxification methods”.

Dieto therapy (Ilaj-bil-Ghiza):

  • In Unani treatment, food plays a key role.
  • By regulating the quality and quantity of food several ailments are treated successfully.
  • There are several published books, which deals with the subject of diet in relation to specific diseases.
  • Certain foods are considered as laxative, diuretic and diaphoretic.

Pharmacotherapy (Ilaj-bil-Dawa)

  • This type of treatment involves the use of naturally occurring drugs, mostly herbal.
  • Drugs of animals and mineral origin are also used.
  • Natural drugs only are used because they are locally available and have no or less after effects on the body.
  • Unani medicine presupposes that the drugs also have their own temperament. Since in this system, emphasis is laid on the particular temperament of the individual, the medicines, administered are such as go well with the temperament of the patient

Surgery (Ilaj-bil-Yad )

  • This therapy is of very limited use, although the Unani system is credited to be pioneer in this field and having developed its own instruments and techniques.
  • At present only minor surgery is in use in the system.


India has emerged as the world leader in Unani system of Medicine with its noteworthy network of well-developed quality educational institutions, comprehensive healthcare facilities, state of art research and quality drug manufacturing industries. Many countries are approaching India for cooperation and support in the field of Unani medicine.

Chapter 8: Siddha system of medicine in a nutshell

Siddha Medicine:

  • The term ‘Siddha’ is derived from the root word ‘Siddhi’ which means an object to be attained’ or ‘perfection’.
  • As Siddhi means perfection, the practitioners of Siddha medicine aimed at perfection of health.
  • The Siddha system of medicine owes its origin to medicinal ideas and practices of a class of Tamil sages called the Siddhars —”perfected” or “holy immortals”—who were, and are still, believed to have superhuman powers as the word Siddhi itself also refers to supernatural powers.
  • They had firm faith in the “deathless” physical body being in tune with the spiritual immortal “soul”.
  • Significantly, one of the definitions of Siddha medicine is conquest of death: that which ensures preventive against mortality.
  • Siddhars were men of highly cultured intellectual and spiritual faculties. They were well aware that the physical body is transient, that is, the only instrument by which a person can reach the ultimate goal, is to become one with the Lord. So they found Siddha system of medicine.
  • It will not be wrong to say that Siddha medicine is the result of their search for reaching God.

Siddha Diagnosis:

  • In Siddha system of medicine, eight tools are mentioned in the armamentarium of the Siddha physicians.
  • They are as follows: Naadi (Siddha way of Pulse examination – Figure I), Sparisam (Touch and palpation), Naa (Tongue examination), Niram (Colour, complexion, discoloration etc.), Mozhi (Voice examination), Vizhi (Eyes examination), Malam (Stools examination) and Moothiram (Urine examination) including Oil on Urine Sign
  • Oil on Urine Sign (Neikkuri Examination) Neikkuri or Oil on urine sign is a unique method in Siddha system of medicine to arrive at the diagnosis and prognosis Of the disease conditions.

Siddha Therapy:

  • The word “marunthu” (drug) in Tamil language itself denotes scented ‘root’ or ‘leaf’.
  • The foremost substance given for an imbalance of three humours or illness is of herbal origin.
  • The commendable usage of herbs can be understood by a special method popularly known as ega mooligai prayokam.
  • It means selecting and administering a single herb on the basis of five elements that is present in the herb to neutralize the affected humour.
  • Moreover, the selection of herbs is based on many properties such as: taste, potency, class and action.
  • In the armoury of Siddha Pharmacopoeia, 32 types of Internal and 32 types of external medicines are used to combat the imbalance of humours/disease.
  • In addition, according to the Siddha maxim “Food itself is medicine and Medicine itself is food” incorporating a balanced healthy diet is also considered as medicine.
  • Above all, Siddha medicine uses several mineral and animal products as second line of treatment for chronic intractable diseases.


  • The science of Varmalogy was introduced by Siddha sages.
  • Available written evidence support this, especially in Tamil Nadu, South India.
  • Varmam can be understood as follows “Wherever vasi touches, there is varmam. Wherever the breath reaches, there is varmam”.
  • In general, varmam is used as a general word to cover ‘vasi’, vital air and breath.
  • These are all words that denote energies that operate in the body. Therefore, we must infer that varmam is an extremely subtle energy that operates inside the body.
  • Varmam treatment can cure a whole range of ailments — from headaches, lumbar disc prolapse, cervical problems and even heart & brain related disorders.
  • Varmalogy has several special features that make it truly unique. For example, more than 8000 Varmam points are described in varmam texts. Very detailed study of nearly 360 nerves is available. Fundamental treatment procedures such as purgation, vomiting and nasal application can be induced by stimulating varmam points alone.
  • At the same time, even the most extreme medical emergencies can be handled through the use of life-saving techniques.
  • In addition, Varmalogy has its own extensive herbal medicine repository.
  • Thus, Siddha Medicine is a unique blend of therapies which provide holistic care and offer advice for a more natural healthy lifestyle.

Chapter 9: Homeopathy in India – An Overview

  • Homeopathy: The word ‘Homeopathy’ is derived from two Greek words, ‘Homois’ meaning similar and pathos meaning ‘suffering’.
  • Homeopathy simply means treating diseases with remedies, prescribed in minute doses, which are capable of producing symptoms similar to the disease when taken by healthy people.
  • It is based on the natural law of healing- “Similia Similibus Curantur” which means “likes are cured by likes”.
  • All over the world 10th April is celebrated as ‘World Homeopathic Day’.
  • Founder of Homeopathy: Dr. Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann (10 April 1755–2 July 1843), a German Physician articulated its basic principles and organized Homeopathy as a new medical system in 1796.
  • The term ‘homeopathy” was coined by Hahnemann and first appeared in printin 1807.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) data suggests that Homeopathy is currently the second largest system of medicine in the world.
  • A rough study states that about 10 per cent of the Indian population uses Homeopathy for their healthcare needs and is considered as the second most popular system of medicine in the country.

Homeopathy in India:

  • Homeopathy came to India in 1810 Dr. John Martin Honigberger, a French traveler who learnt homeopathy from Dr Hahnemann, visited India and treated patients.
  • He treated Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the-then-ruler of Punjab, a remedy Dulcamara while he suffered from paralysis of the vocal cords.
  • Homeopathy continued to spread and Indians found in its philosophy and principles a reflection of their belief and culture.
  • It nourished in Bengal at first and then spread all over India.
  • Babu Rajendra Lal Dutt (1818-1889) is called the Father of Indian Homeopathy.

Popularising Homeopathy:

  • Non-Government Organizations in Homeopathy NGOs are playing a key role in the education, research and development of Homeopathy in India.
  • Some of these are R&D sections of pharmaceutical industry and others are acting independently.
  • They are popularizing and providing Homeopathic health care not only in the urban areas but also to the remotest areas in rural sector.

Homeopathy – Myths Busted:

  • Homeopathic medicines are not harmful because the crude substances used for preparation of medicines are processed through a process called drug dynamisation, wherein the toxicological effects are removed and the dynamic properties are enhanced.
  • They are safe, non-toxic and non-addictive.


  • Homeopathic medicines seek to stimulate the diseased system so that the body will overcome the disease naturally.
  • People prefer to be benefited through natural treatments rather than by conventional drugs or surgery.
  • Homeopathy is as effective for animals as it is for humans.
  • It has proven strength in the treatment of allergic disorders, skin diseases, children’s problems, several so-called surgical problems like piles, tonsillitis, sinusitis, menstrual disorders, life style diseases and common mental and emotional disorders.

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