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Oncologists Should Tap Wisdom of Ayurveda

In Health
December 04, 2023

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:
Traditional wisdom and modern science can exist together and the benefits of Ayurveda should be utilised to develop an integrated treatment protocol for cancer patients, said Dr Jun Mao of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York at the Global Ayurveda Festival in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.

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.

“I am impressed by the powerful techniques in the therapies,” he said, adding that he was convinced that this could be beneficial to cancer patients who suffer from side effects of treatments like radiation and chemotherapy.

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.”

Dr. Mao said his research center 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.

Dr. 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 said.