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Tue, 16 Oct 2018

Northeast Today

Alternative Medicine: Emerging Careers

Alternative Medicine: Emerging Careers
March 23
17:40 2017

February Edition, Career, NET Bureau

Traditional medical systems of the East, veiled in mystery until recently are now gaining acceptance as an alternative line of treatment and are being integrated into mainstream healthcare as complementary systems. While traditional medicine cannot replace modern medicine, certain alternative systems focusing on overall health and wellbeing have shown remarkable results in chronic illnesses like diabetes, leucoderma, cancer as well as hard to cure diseases like arthritis, asthma and even AIDS.

Traditional medical systems of the East, veiled in mystery until recently are now gaining acceptance as an alternative line of treatment and are being integrated into mainstream healthcare as complementary systems. While traditional medicine cannot replace modern medicine, certain alternative systems focusing on overall health and wellbeing have shown remarkable results in chronic illnesses like diabetes, leucoderma, cancer as well as hard to cure diseases like arthritis, asthma and even AIDS.

Alternative Medicine is an umbrella term that includes a variety of Indian and Eastern healing systems including Yoga, Ayurveda, Unani, Homeopathy, Tibetan medicine and Reiki.

In a developing country like India, alternative medicine plays a key role in alleviating sickness. Cost-effectiveness, efficacy, low toxicity, ease of administration and relative safety renders them invaluable as viable alternatives to conventional medicine. Home to over 15,000 medicinal plants, and one of the 12 leading bio-diverse countries of the world, India is awakening to this tremendous potential, with huge impetus by the government. The newly formed Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy, named AYUSH, is an example, with the government giving an official push to develop, educate and research traditional medicine.

Alternative Medicine: Education & Opportunities

The minimum qualification for most courses in traditional medicine is 10+2 with Physics, Chemistry and Biology. However, for Unani, Siddha and Tibet an medicine, arts and humanities students can also apply. Additionally, for pursuing a course in Ayurveda, you need to be well versed in Sanskrit or Hindi, while for Unani, some knowledge of Arabic or Urdu is a must. Similarly for studying the Siddha system you need knowledge of Tamil. To make your mark in this field you need to have an in-depth knowledge about the subject as well as working knowledge of modern medicine and diagnostic procedures. As they are complementary systems, a thorough understanding of latest developments and research activities in both fields is a prerequisite.

Alternative systems of medicine are beginning to offer decent career opportunities – in research as well as in practice. While private practice is a popular choice, homeopathic and Ayurvedic practitioners can also seek employment under Central government, state government, municipal hospitals and dispensaries all over the country. Combining two or more of these complimentary systems can also add to your repertoire. Drug and pharmaceutical companies and research institutions also hire consultants and research scientists to work in their respective fields. With several recognised institutions offering full-fledged courses of study, there is considerable opportunity in the academic sector as well.

Full-fledged bachelor and master’s degrees in traditional medicine – BAMS for Ayurveda, BHMS for Homeopathy, BUMS for Unani, BNYS for Naturopathy & Yoga are offered at more than 200 specialised medical colleges all over the country.

Some popular courses in India

Yoga: More than 30 Indian universities have established Departments of Yoga to impart education ranging from certificate, diploma, degree, post doctoral and teacher’s training programmes.

Ayurveda: Meaning the science of life, Ayurveda aims at healing the individual as a whole and is based on the theory that everything is composed of the panchamahabhutas, or the five basic elements – akaash, jal, vayu, agni and dharti. Bachelors in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery is a full time degree course and is offered in institutions like the upcoming North Eastern Institute of Ayurveda and Homoeopathy, Shillong and the Government Ayurvedic College and Hospital, Guwahati.

Homoeopathy: Homeopathy enjoys wide acceptability with its low cost of medication, ease of administration and absence of toxic side effects. In India there are over 1.5 lakh qualified homeopaths. Bachelor of Homoeopathic Medicine and Surgery is a full time degree course and is offered in institutions like North East Homoeopathic Medical College, Itanagar etc.

Unani: Unani medicine is based on humoral theory (relating to four bodily fluids) with each humor leading to a specific temperament in a human being. The system makes use of plants, minerals and animal products as curative agents to re-establish the person’s original humoral constitution. Bachelor’s in Unani Medical Science is a full degree course offered at more than 10 universities.

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