Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine that originated in India more than 5,000 years ago and is based on the belief that the balance between the body, mind, and spirit is crucial for overall health and well-being. Ayurveda has holistic approach to health and wellness, considering the interconnectedness of the body, mind, and spirit. This aligns with the modern scientific understanding of the mind-body connection, where mental and emotional well-being can impact physical health. Today science is talking about stress being a big factor for illnesses. Ayurveda, already had this connection established thousands of years ago. Practices like yoga, pranayama, meditation were established for complete well-being of the human beings. Ayurveda has a more preventive, holistic and person centric approach than modern medicine.
In modern medicine, most diseases are diagnosed at a later stage which makes them difficult to treat. Nowadays, there is introduction of new concepts in the healthcare field, PCM (person centric approach) and PPM(Personalized, Predictive, and Preventive Medicine) which refers to a model that focuses on personalized medicine tailored to individual patients, predictive analytics to anticipate health issues, and preventive measures to maintain well-being.
PCM and PPPM are new integrative concept in health care sector that enables to predict individual predisposition before onset of the disease, to provide specific preventive measures and treatment. If we look at ayurvedic methodology of treatment, we see that it is already follows this model. ‘Prakriti’ of an individual is very important in ayurveda. Understanding one’s Prakriti (constitution) helps in personalized preventive measures. By knowing your inherent strengths and weaknesses, you can adopt lifestyle practices that maintain balance and prevent imbalances that lead to disease.
Ayurveda has a holistic approach which is personalized, predictive as well as preventive in nature. It always had a person centric approach. Treatment in ayurveda is not started before Nadi parikshan (pulse diagnosis which can accurately diagnose imbalances in body and illnesses), jivha parikshan (tongue check-up), observing and understanding person’s lifestyle and medical history. These can quite accurately diagnose both physical and mental diseases as well as dosha imbalances if done by an expert. These are important diagnostic tool used by Ayurvedic doctors to understand prakriti and vikriti.
Modern medicine is based more on rationalism, reductionism with deeper understanding of molecules, cells, organs and diseases in parts. In that process, however, the sight of the person as a whole and unique seems to have been somewhat neglected. In comparison, we see that ayurveda pays a lot of attention to individual constitution ‘prakriti’ and ‘doshas’ to prescribe treatment. The holistic approach of Ayurveda aims at identifying the root cause of infertility, ensuring that the underlying issues are treated with herbal medications, therapies, diet, and lifestyle changes.
Ayurveda treatments are customized based on the health and medical history of the couple. Ayurvedic therapies along with herbal medications correct underlying problems that cause infertility by regulating menstrual cycles, enhancing a man’s sperm quality and woman’s egg quality, reducing stress, enhancing sleep quality, controlling anxiety, and improving blood flow in the pelvic area.
Ayurveda identifies three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Imbalances in these doshas are believed to contribute to infertility. Ayurvedic treatments aim to balance these doshas through lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, and herbal remedies.
While modern medicine does not explicitly use the concept of doshas, it does recognize the importance of hormonal balance, overall health, and well-being in fertility. Hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, and lifestyle factors can affect fertility, aligning with Ayurvedic principles.
Diet and Nutrition:
Ayurveda emphasizes the role of a balanced and nutritious diet in promoting fertility. Specific foods and herbs are recommended to enhance reproductive health.
Nutrition is a crucial factor in fertility, and scientific research has shown that certain dietary patterns and nutrients can influence fertility in both men and women. Ayurveda recommends eating fresh, seasonal and whole foods and advises strictly against stale and processed foods. Modern science through research is slowly recognizing the harmful effects of packaged and processed foods.
Ayurvedic practitioners often prescribe herbal formulations to address reproductive health issues. These herbs are believed to have properties that support the reproductive organs and balance the doshas.
Some herbs used in Ayurveda have been studied for their potential effects on fertility. For example, certain herbs may have antioxidant properties, support hormonal balance, and improve reproductive function. Herbs and supplements like Ashwagandha and Shilajit have shown positive impact on male fertility in scientific research. Shatavari’s effect on female fertility has also been established in some research.
Yoga and Meditation:
Ayurveda recommends practices such as yoga and meditation to reduce stress, enhance relaxation, and promote overall well-being, which can positively impact fertility.
As per modern research in medicine also, Stress is known to affect fertility, and practices like yoga and meditation have been associated with stress reduction. Scientific studies suggest that reducing stress may improve fertility outcomes. There has been research on mantra meditation and various ‘kriyas’ showing positive impact on mind and body.
Ayurveda includes a series of detoxification therapies known as Panchakarma for internal cleansing, eliminating toxins from the body and restoring balance. These are specialized therapies and techniques which can be done under expert’s guidance only. There are numerous evidence of people getting benefitted by Panchakarma.
While there may not be direct equivalents to Panchakarma in modern medicine, the concept of reducing environmental toxins and promoting a healthy lifestyle is recognized for supporting fertility. Modern science is also recognizing positive effects of oil massages and steam baths which are an integral part of panchakarma.
Certainly, more extensive scientific research is required in the field of ayurveda to collect data and evidence supporting treatment and practices to make the world trust this ancient science with confidence. There is also a dire need to standardize medicines and the strict quality control during preparation to avoid too much variation and contamination. This also includes proper labelling and certifications by government and independent bodies to instill confidence and increase acceptance throughout the world.