Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Many times we see that the diseases or symptoms which appear to be easy-going or easily curable or manageable become complicated and incurable. Most often the targeted culprit is either the consulting doctor or the medicine. I am not denying the involvement of these two targeted culprits in complicating a disease process.
But we need to get the complete picture in the form of the reasons which make the curable diseases incurable. In this article I would like to touch upon the key points wherein a curable disease, condition or symptom takes shape of incurability, from Ayurvedic point of view.
Reasons which make curable conditions incurable
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Below mentioned are the 4 factors which makes a curable disease incurable –
- Preshya Upakarana Abhaavaat – Non-availability of attendants and medicines (tools of treatment)
- Dauraatmyaat – Lack of courage in patients
- Vaidya Doshataha – Defects in a physician
- Akarmataha – Improperly administered treatment
Preshya Upakarana Abhaavaat
Non-availability of compassionate attendants or caretakers (paricharaka) and tools (upakarana) needed for comprehensive treatment.
Ayurveda explains Chikitsa Chatushpada or 4 limbs of treatment. They include Bhishak (physician), Dravya (medicine), Upasthata (attendant or caretaker) and Rogi (patient). When all these limbs work in a comprehensively integrated way a disease gets cured in the best possible way. Each Pada or limb has its own qualities. Each limb should be endowed with all the good qualities for a treatment process to go on in a smooth way and for a disease to be cured.
Related reading – Chikitsa Chatushpada
The compassionate caretakers –
Even in this context, Charaka has mentioned Preshya or Paricharaka (Upastha). The caretakers or attendants are very important in the healing process of a disease and diseased. It may be in the form of nursing staff in the hospital or clinic or in the form of compassionate family members or friends and relatives at home. These people selflessly work for the welfare of the patient.
Many diseases need prompt and timely attendance from the caretakers. In many conditions the patient himself or herself will not be able to get up and get going, especially those who are bedridden for many days or months being victims of chronic crippling or debilitating illnesses. Even in diseases which don’t look big and tough like common cold, fever, diarrhea, cough etc which looks self-limiting will need the interference of attendants.
Attendants and caretakers make life of patients easy, they make the recovery easier. They form that important ‘moral support’ factor to the patient. They can provide medicines and diet, help in moving to toilet and bathroom, clean their body and dress their wounds, give assurance and courage and provide all the needed help and assistance. In their absence, the patient is going to miss the important services. The recovery becomes slow and the disease may progress and attain a state of incurability.
The availability of tools –
Upakarana or tools include everything which is used in the treatment. The tools (ingredients, amenities, materials) include –
- Medicines (proximity of pharmacy, availability of wide range of medicines therein)
- Herbs needed for preparation of medicinal formulations
- Food grains, vegetables etc to prepare diet
- Materials needed for conduct of Panchakarma (5 cleansing treatments) like herbal oils, steaming chamber, dhara tables, massage tables, enema cans (vasti putaka), enema syringe
- Dressing materials for wounds
- Availability of surgical apparatus etc
If the essential tools for treatment and provision of diet are not available at proper time, the management of diseases becomes difficult. Timely unavailability of upakaranas causes progression of the disease, halts or slows down the recovery process and makes the curable disease attain a state of incurability.
Lack of courage on the part of the patient is always a factor which blocks the effectiveness of healing and cures and also will become responsible for failure of treatment.
According to the strength of mind, the patients are of 3 types –
- Pravara Satva – Strong minded
- Madhyama Satva – Neither too strong nor too weak minded
- Avara Satva – Weak or feeble minded
The weak or feeble minded people (patients) have less courage and tolerance. They cannot tolerate even a small disturbance in health. They present their problems in a magnified way. It is impossible to convince or counsel these people. They quickly surrender to their problems and start identifying themselves with their problems. They believe that their disease is a part of them. They do not follow instructions properly, do not take medicines or diet properly or at proper time. In these people, even a simple disease which is otherwise easily curable would progress, worsen, complicate and attain nature of incurability.
Read related: Classification of Vyadhi (diseases) according to Ayurveda
Inefficiency of physicians or errors committed by doctor can make the curable disease incurable.
Vaidhya or Bhishak (physician), as already said forms an important and primary limb of Chikitsa Chatushpada. He is the person who diagnoses the diseases, plans the treatment and diet protocols and executes them in treating the patients.
The below mentioned can be considered as Vaidya Dosha (defects in a physician) –
- Improper knowledge in medical science
- Inefficiency in terms of making proper diagnosis or planning proper treatment strategies
- Improper judgment and erroneous administration of medicines
- Improper choice of medicines or treatment options
In the presence of one or more of the above said defects, the physician could prove dangerous. He can make an otherwise easily treatable disease incurable.
Improper treatment also worsens the scenario of a disease manifestation.
Medicines also form an important limb of Chikitsa Chatushpada as discussed in the above passages. Medicines embedded with good quality and disease healing properties and properly planned treatment protocol helps in quick recovery of the patient. They help in aborting the pathogenesis and checking the progression of the disease.
Administration of improper treatment in terms of quality and quantity of medicines and time of giving the treatment and medicines will impair the treatment strategies and make the treatment to fail. When the treatment or medicines are improperly or untimely administered, they may worsen the disease process and aid its progression. This complicates the disease and makes a curable disease incurable.
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