Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) and Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Chikitsa Chatushpada – the 4 limbs include the physician (bhishak or vaidya), the patient (rogi), the medicine (dravya or aushadha) and the caretakers (upastha, nursing staff, family and friends of the patient). These four limbs can participate as an integrated system and help people to age gracefully, to avoid diseases related to ageing process and also to prevent them whenever possible. Every limb has its own role and limitations.
Ayurveda is the first medical science to mention a branch dedicated towards ‘management of ageing and related problems’ under Jara branch of Ashtanga Ayurveda (8 branches of Ayurveda). Jara means ageing. Ageing is inevitable factor and eclipses everyone at a particular part. It is a natural part and occupies towards the end stages of our life cycle.
Jara Chikitsa not only aims at treating the age related problems, but also to help in delaying the ageing process and enables an individual to feel young and energetic in spite of biological ageing in progression.
Jara Chikitsa (Ayurvedic geriatrics) comprises of discussion of Rasayanas. Rasayanas are multi-dimensional medicines (also includes non medicines which act like medicines) which help in proper formation of body tissues (dhatus) in terms of quality and quantity. Proper health and balance of dhatus point towards (indicators of) good immunity and strength. Rasayanas are disease modifying agents, preventive medicines, anti-ageing medicines, tissue and body rejuvenators and immune modulators.
Rasayanas when properly planned and implemented helps in preventing or delaying ageing or premature ageing process, helps in graceful ageing, keeps the body and mind healthy and fit and helps in getting rid of age related problems.
This planning of graceful ageing should be done by Chikitsa Chatushpada.
Read related: 16 Tips For A Graceful Ageing: Be Young At 60
Role of Chikitsa Chatushpada in helping individuals towards Graceful Ageing
Role of the Physician
The physician can help in comprehensively planning the measures and steps to be taken by the client towards prevention / curing an ailment.
Ayurvedic doctors can take it as a research protocol. They can prepare protocols for ageing people focused towards different decades of ageing. The physicians can try this basically with their family members and later with a small sample of volunteering adults, try to help them to plan the maintenance of ‘different ageing decades’ and have a follow up on regular basis.
This shall include the planning of diet, lifestyle, stress management, emotional management, planning hobbies and alternative jobs (according to the interest of the ageing individuals), planning Rasayanas, building protocols for effectively combating the next decade etc.
Setting up ‘Clinics and Research Centers for managing Ageing Disorders’ or ‘Jara Chikitsa Clinics’ or ‘Rasayana Clinics’ would be the dream projects of future where the younger generation of doctors can take up.
Counseling of aged people and giving them assurance is the key. Workshops and orientation programmers for the old aged people and caretakers should be done to educate the people.
Clients shall be counseled / trained for (and guided to) –
- Block the ageing process in the mind
- To get over the blues of Retirement Syndrome or fear of consequences of Vanaprastha Aashrama
- Have a positive thought processing and take preventive measures
- Identification of their weaker areas of body, frequently encountered health issues and addressing them at the earliest
- Systematic approach towards diet, lifestyle, stress and ‘high-end-emotion’ management, sleep
- Planning fitness for next decade
- Planning for alternative hobby, job or interested activity
- Pampering body and mind with suitable bahirparimarjana measures
- Planning Rasayanas
- Keeping in touch with doctors and having check on chronic and long standing ailments
Role of patient
Role of Patient or Client or Ageing individual –
The participation of ageing individual towards maintenance of their health is a must and should be promoted. Giving moral support, counseling by doctors and family members and assurance will help in motivating them towards active participation in Jara Chikitsa.
The patient should be submissive to the doctors and have a comprehensive relation with family and friends and take their suggestions with a positive note.
The points of guidance mentioned under ‘Role of physician’ in the above said context should be religiously followed by the patient. If the person in the ageing process thinks that he or she is important, half job will be done. The other half could be done by participating in the above said programs.
Role of Medicines
The role of preventive and curative medicines, immunity boosting medicines play a vital role in keeping the strength and immunity of ageing individuals at optimum levels. Skilful use of Rasayanas and external treatments like Abhyanga etc as mentioned earlier will help.
The medicines they have been consuming to address chronic ailments like High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disorders, and arthritis, nerve pains etc should be continued and should not be stopped indiscriminately without the consent of the doctor. Likewise no medicines should be taken without being prescribed, nor too much emphasis and importance given to home remedies and googled medicines.
Role of Caretakers
Caretakers, i.e. family and friends play a vital role in happy ageing of an individual. The moral support they give and the care and service they provide selflessly and without any expectations will keep the aged or ageing people happy and healthy. They need a ‘child-like-care’.
Ageing and aged people should be sensitively and sensibly handled. They are our treasure, delicate ones too. Getting them involved in our regular daily activities will keep them engaged. Their opinion should be sought and they should be made feel important and worthy. Their diet, medicines, health, lifestyle, entertainment, mood, stress etc should be carefully monitored and supported.
Making the aged and senior people to feel that ‘we are there for you’ and ‘you are important for us’ is a responsibility of each one of us, more than half treatment lay in moral support, love and unconditional support that the family and friends provide to the aged or ageing individuals.
Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu)