Psychological factors in the Western patients from an Ayurvedic point of view

Prof. Dr. S.N. Gupta

Head, Post Graduate department of Kāyacikitsā
J. S. Ayurveda college & P.D. Patel Ayurveda Hospital, Nadiad, India
Head, Academic advisory board,
European Academy of Ayurveda, Germany

Cikitsā followed by a proper rogaparīkṣā which again based on a proper rogīparīkṣā is a recommended approach in Ayurveda. (Ca.su.20/20; Ca.su.10/21). Ayurveda duly emphasizes the consideration of deśa and kāla in every segment of clinical practice. Ayurveda is śāśvata and sārvabhauma (having all time and everywhere applicability) science. To experience these attribute one has to understand and apply the principles of Ayurveda in relation to deśa and kāla. Surprisingly in Ayurveda deśa denotes both patient as well as his land (his immediate and remote surroundings) and both are interrelated. This concept is described in detail in Ayurveda (Ca.vi.8/92-93). Success of cikitsā lies in knowledge about all the aspects of patient and his surroundings. Human-behavior is always influenced by his beliefs and that again are influenced by sociocultural environments. This is applicable also for patients, particularly regarding their (mis)beliefs, understanding, approach towards their disease, its treatment, and their surroundings. If a clinician is not aware about the contribution of these factors in the disease process, he may be misled and cannot successfully treat a patient. In this presentation an attempt is made to analyse these factors which is not based on scientific research, but on a 25 years’ observation on patients and health care providers and the information gathered from the students.

There are some false beliefs due to cultural influences always prevalent in every society and they affect the patient’s mind set. For example, in India Dhāt syndrome is a quite prevalent problem which is basically related to some sex-taboos.

In Europe certain clinical conditions are observed which are believed by a patient without any evidence. Teeth-amalagam, intestinal fungus, liver problems and food intolerances are some presenting issues which do not often show any evidence but confuse a clinician in making a proper diagnosis. It does not mean that a patient may not suffer with such problems. A clinician has to ascertain after proper examination. There are some misconceptions about Ayurveda itself. A common belief that Ayurvedic treatments are unexceptionally safe or Ayurveda can cure any disease.
There are also certain common observed dispositions which may be named as Atlas syndrome, Space syndrome and world-managership syndrome. These dispositions of individuals towards surrounding, contribute in some of their psychic or psychosomatic issues. It is vital for a clinician to know all these facts before proceeding for a diagnosis as well as treatment of a patient.
jñānabuddhi pradīpena yo nāviśati tattavavit āturasyāntarātmānam sa na rogānścikitsati (Ca. Vi. IV.12)
(Even a knowledgeable physician if does not enter into the inner-soul of the patient by virtue of the light of his knowledge he will not be able to treat the disease)

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