Dr. Vijeyapall J Jonnagadla is a leading figure in the Ayurveda circle and he is one of the pioneers in spreading Ayurveda abroad particularly in Singapore. He dialogues with us through an email interview on what he thinks about the future of Ayurveda and how this traditional medical system can be exploited to its full potential…
1) Tell us about your association with Ayurveda?
Hailing from the family of Ayurvedic Vaidyas, My great grandfather was a chaya vaidya (Looks at the shadow and does treatments).My Father was also an Ayurvedic vaidya who worked with the famous Dr. Natesa Iyer of Marwadi hospital, Chennai. After successfully graduating from the Venkataramana Ayurveda college with a gold medal, I joined the Tamilnadu Medical service as a Medical Officer. I was posted in the Panchakarma ward and subsequently headed it, till I resigned from the service.
2) Do you think there is scope for Ayurveda to be on par with modern medicine?
There is better scope for Ayurveda, if you look at the larger picture.
Ayurveda has been the main line of treatment for the Indians since ages intact, while all the other systems are invented by the humans; Ayurveda is bestowed by the Gods. So many references were seen in the old scripts, it is called as the fifth Veda.
With the advent of western medicine, the popularity has diminished partly also because of the mindset of the people. We were living in an era where we don’t want to fix things. Either we manage or replace .Hence the popularity has come down. But the scenario is changing with people realizing, the harmful effects of the chemical medicines and are suffering in the hands of corporate hospitals. With shrinking families, now the needs of family doctor who understands the need of the individuals and supports them is coming up. Ayurveda can easily and effectively fill that need. Patients spend more time in clinics and hospitals
Ayurveda is more about altering the lifestyle habits. It emphasizes more about prevention than cure. With half the time and money one spends in clinic, if the same is spent on the preventive, proactive aspects, one can save money and time.
3) What do you think needs to be done to spread Ayurveda globally?
By large people think that Ayurveda is just Spa massages and health drinks. That image should be changed. Lots of awareness has to be brought about the Ayurvedic system of medicine and its scopes
People tend to believe all wrong information’s about Ayurveda. They should be educated about Ayurveda. Govt. should fund Ayurvedic Reaserch & Studies. Papers should be published.
Government should revive the native healers practices and document everything. They should be patented. A long procedure, but we have started them already
4) What is the scope for Ayurveda in contemporary times?
Super times are ahead. People come to Ayurvedic doctors as first choice. Many are willing to follow the life style changes. They pretty well understand that life is all about living well. Not just prolonging with drugs. People are fed up with taking medicines as food. Instead they are willing to follow the changes in food, habits and other routines, to maintain a healthy life. Who wants to be a walking pharmacy, anyway?
5) How safe are Ayurveda medicines?
Ayurveda is Very safe. There are some common myths about Ayurveda. One such thing is Ayurvedic medicines contain harmful metals.
Not all the medicines are filled with metals. In fact the metals used in ayurvedic medicines are used after proper purification and calcification. So the end product will have a completely absorbable organic products. But nowadays when tested, the traces of lead, arsenic are seen in sporadic cases. Mainly because of the soil contamination or contamination from handling, utensils etc. Not to mention about quacks who mix chemicals and steroids and give it to the patients. So patients should strongly be discouraged from going to doctors who prescribe medicines without names.
Usually the formulas are poly herbal. Many herbs are added to balance each other. So the question of getting very heated doesn’t arise unless your doctor has given you multiple medicines which eventually heat the system. This is the case with other systems of medicines too
A right prescription, by the right doctor and the right medicines from a certified GMP pharmacy are the most-safest medicines.
6) Is surgery done in Ayurveda? If yes, how safe is it?
Though Acharya Sushrutha is deemed as the “Father of Surgery”, with the advent of western medicine the practice of surgery has almost come to standstill.
Ayurvedic doctors are trained in allopathic surgical procedures (MS in Salya thanthra) and they perform apart from it there are procedures like kshara suthra useful in Anal fistula. With successful healing rates more than 90% this procedure is safest than the in vogue specific surgery for Anal fistula.
7) What are the most common treatments done at your centre in Chennai, Hyderabad, as well as in Singapore?
We do poorvakarmas like Snehana abhyangam (Thereuputic oil massage) swedana (Sudation therapies) Panchakarma like Virechana (Purgation), Asthapana vasthi (Herbal enemas) sneha vasthi (Medicated oil enemas), Utthara vasthi (Vaginal enemas), parimarjanam (Signature Weight loss therapies) ,Shirodhara (Relaxing therapies), Takra dhara (Specific therapies for psoriasis), Akshi tarpanam (Speciality therapies for improving eye vision), Nasyam (Nasal inhalation / errhines). By the way specializing poorvakarmas (The preparatory procedures),which have elaborate processes using herbs, Rice bran, Salt, oil etc, many pains has been relieved with these procedures itself.
We also specialize in deciding the exercise programs by the name Triple E for the patients. Not all the pains are same, so we suggest the exercise schedule according to the needs of the individual. We also do exclusive diet counseling because, “If the food is right, you don’t need the medicines. If the food is wrong, there is no use of the medicines.”
8) In your opinion, what is the future for Ayurveda?
All the systems of medicines treat the diseases. They are “Sickcare”
Ayurveda postulates ways for preventive health and hence are truly “Healthcare”
If one system can tell you how to lead healthy life, what has to done on daily basis, the regimens to be followed on seasonal basis, the incompatible of food, what to be done to prevent a particular illness, wont you prefer it, instead of swallowing harmful pills and tiring procedures? Ayurveda will be the future system of medicine!