Oncologists call for collaboration of Ayurveda and modern medicine

Experts say alternative medicines like Ayurveda can help improve the quality of life for cancer patients. Representative image: Nila Newsom/Shutterstock

Thiruvananthapuram: Impressed by the powerful therapeutic qualities of Ayurveda and other traditional medicinal wisdom in India, experts from reputed international oncology institutes suggested tapping the benefits of an integrated treatment protocol for cancer patients.

Dr Jun Mao of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York said at the ongoing Global Ayurveda Festival said he was impressed by the powerful techniques in the therapies of Ayurveda and that he was convinced this could be beneficial to cancer patients who suffer from side effects of treatments like radiation and chemotherapy.

Mao, who is the head of the Integrative Medicine Service at the institution which is considered one of the most prominent oncology research centers globally, said he had the good fortune of undergoing the Ayurveda massage and shirodhara (oil libation) after landing here for the Ayurveda conclave.

The American oncologist said alternative medicines like Ayurveda can help in improving the quality of life for cancer patients. "Both traditional wisdom and modern medicine can coexist. You need both to balance and create harmony for the field to evolve."

Mao said his research centre has already incorporated elements of yoga, Chinese medicine, and acupuncture into the integrated treatment of cancer. "In India, there is so much wisdom and empirical experience of Ayurveda that the world can learn a lot about what has been practiced for centuries. Moreover, patients desire this kind of approach as they want a healthier life."

Dr Santhosshi Narayan, from the MD Anderson Cancer Center and also associate professor at the University of Texas, said research done by her team showed that both patients and oncologists treating them are looking for the same information -- diet, pain management, and a healthy lifestyle for cancer patients.

She said Ayurveda practitioners and oncologists should communicate with each other and develop a platform to share their knowledge to complement their treatments.

Narayan, who did her medical graduation in India before moving to the US for her post-graduation and research, said she hoped more Western medicine doctors attend conferences like the Global Ayurveda Festival.
"There is so much to learn from each other," she added.
(With inputs from IANS)

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