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Can there ever be a conclusive answer which treatment modality is better?

The recent slugfest between the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and yoga guru Ramdev has come at a time when the focus should be on saving lives, irrespective of which treatment modality achieves it, rather than on debating the merits and demerits of the treatment modalities. Whether modern allopathic medicine has been effective in dealing with diseases or whether Ayurveda, yoga and traditional medicine protocols have shown more efficacy, is a debate which will probably never have conclusive answers since cure and responsiveness to a treatment protocol varies from individual to individual. What may work well for you may not work at all for me, and vice-versa. Hippocrates, regarded as the father of medicine, emphasised the significance of treating the individual and not just the disease symptoms when he said, “It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has.”

Examples of some people responding well to allopathic treatment while others having the same ailment doing well with naturopathy, yoga etc abound. Each treatment system has its pros and cons and based on their demonstrated effectiveness in treating a particular ailment, it is the individual’s own choice on which modality inspires confidence in them. Faith in the doctor and the treatment protocol is an important element in restoring health and its importance cannot be under-estimated. In this context, the broader debate of superiority of one treatment system over the other narrows down to a more personalised level and becomes a question of ‘what has worked for whom’. Proponents of different modalities of treatment should do well to respect this, be tolerant towards treatment systems other than their own and try imbibing the best practices of others.

Also, it’s prudent for practitioners of all treatment systems to remember the old adage – ‘The doctor treats, but it is God who cures.’ In their zeal to project the superiority of their treatment modalities over others, perhaps it will suffuse a bit of humbleness about their role in effecting a cure.



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Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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