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IYA Central Secretariat’s Outreach Efforts 

On the 19th July, IYA team including Prof Kambhampati Subrahmanyam, Sri DR Kaarthikeyan and Ravi Tumuluri visited Rajarajeshwari Temple and paid their respects to Sri Sri Sri Jayendra Puri Mahaswamiji, the present pontiff of Sri Kailash Ashrama Mahasamshtana. Sri Sri Sri Tiruchi Swamigal was the…

Daaji’s Message from Kanha! 

Heartfulness proposes meditation on the heart with an aim of attaining subtler levels of consciousness. The heart is not merely a pump for blood circulation – its role goes far beyond that. References in ancient Indian literature on Yoga, especially that from Sages like Patanjali,…

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23 Sep 2023


My Health –  My Responsibility

My Health – My Responsibility 

by Shri Nitin Tawde,
Yoga Vidya Niketan

WHO constitution states: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” In this definition of health, the first three components, physical, mental and social well-being are most important and are stating that health primarily is the responsibility of every individual. Today this has become a crucial issue where more importance is given to the treatment of diseases than maintaining the health with proper lifestyle. Dr Aaron Antonovsky, professor of medical sociology, says we should shift our focus from diseases towards total health. Dr. Aaron described it as ‘health-ease versus dis-ease’, which is a continuous process. It is a journey of moving from ‘Pathogenesis’ towards ‘Salutogenesis’.

It will be interesting to see what Dr Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani says about Salutogenesis. “Salutogenesis means shifting focus from illness to wellness and more importantly, wellness shall not be misunderstood as absence of disease alone”. He emphasizes on Yoga to maintain sound health.

Dr Abhay Bang of ‘SEARCH’ has stated exactly the same thing when he suffered from cardiac arrest in his forties. He says, “I suffered due to my negligence towards health and no exercise at all. In fact, my sedentary lifestyle started since the time I entered medical college. I stopped exercising and playing. In a way, I handed over responsibility of my health at the mercy of doctors”. Later on, he reversed his heart disease by making positive lifestyle changes.

Dr Anand Nadkarni in his Marathi book, ‘Arogyacha Arth” states, we are forgetting that role of medical profession should be of a guide and advisor in maintaining sound health. Instead, people have passed on responsibility of own health totally to the medical profession and therefore medical profession today has attained unlimited control over social health care segment.

It is surprising to note that the medical science, in spite of tremendous technological advancements, has only a limited share in improvement of community health and this has been stated by none other than WHO. It says “Many factors combine together to affect the health of individuals and communities. Whether people are healthy or not, is determined by their circumstances and environment. To a large extent, factors such as where we live, the state of our environment, genetics, our income and education level, and our relationships with friends and family; all have considerable impacts on health, whereas the more commonly considered factors such as access and use of health care services often have less of an impact”. So, it clearly says that community health and environment are closely related. The inventions of vaccines, disinfectants, antibiotics and equivalent drugs, processing and purification of drinking water, scientific methods of waste management and drainage systems, all of them have significant effect on enhancing the environment qualitatively and has thus contributed positively for community health. On the other hand, large number of hospitals, doctors, modern equipment have very insignificant effect on ‘improving’ community health. It means, if we are looking for health then such medicalization of life is certainly not a solution.

In his famous ‘bestseller’ book ‘Medical Nemesis’, Ivan Illich, through his pathbreaking research on medical field has stated, “medical professional practice has become a major threat to health. Depression, infection, disability, dysfunction, and other specific iatrogenic diseases now cause more suffering than all accidents from traffic or industry”. Iatrogenic disease means the one caused as a result of wrong diagnosis, therapeutic procedure, wrongly prescribed drugs, negligence etc., by a physician. Today, after fifty years, this seemingly controversial statement stands not only true but has intensified to a great extent. People have become ‘consumers’ of medical services and it might lead to a ‘sick society’ in future if we overlook the true essence of medical science.

Dr Nadkarni states, till the first fifty years of twentieth century, role of medical science was in accordance with ‘Laws of Nature’. Thereafter it drifted away from nature and the trend was set to find the answers for any problem mere scientifically through logical reasoning.

Dr Abhay Bang mentions, ‘Patient History’ is of vital importance. What patient is suffering, what kind of pain he has, is very important to be noticed by the investigating doctor. Only few decades ago there used to be ‘family physicians’ who used to be well acquainted with medical history of entire family. Instead, today we have specialists and there is heavy dependence on the ‘check-ups’ and personal touch with patient has been lost. Patient has become a kind of ‘consumer’ of the medical fraternity.

Dr Nadkarni further states in his book, “these scientific advancements somehow have hampered the genetically acquired immune mechanism. Attitude of ignoring Nature is taking its toll now. Today’s, medical profession has acquired status of ‘controller of community health care system’ and is the ‘final authority’ of all health-related issues”.

We have experienced it during the recent Covid-19 pandemic. Vaccination became mandatory for all as it was decided by the medical system. We know what controversies have erupted worldwide regarding this vaccine issue. It was observed that people with proper lifestyle and balanced mental attitude, had high immunity to fight Covid virus. Unfortunately, since the vaccination was made mandatory for all, there is no data available to know, what played the major role in fighting this virus, efficacy of vaccine or high immunity due to proper lifestyle?
So, what is the outcome? Our health is solely our own responsibility. Role of medical science should only be of a guide and counsellor. Medical science has no alternative in case of emergency situations, surgeries, accidents, certain chronic ailments etc.

Finally, Yoga and Natural Living has no alternative in maintaining sound health. Adopting Yogic lifestyle with necessary alterations and strong mental attitude is the key for healthy and happy life.

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