Ayurveda was developed in India more than 3,000 years ago and is one of the world’s oldest forms of alternative medicines. Its advocates believe wellness is dependent on a delicate balance of mind, body and spirit.
In recognition of the power of Ayurvedic medicine, VPS Burjeel Day Surgery Center on Al Reem Island has just opened a center devoted to this kind of personalised care.
The Vaidyashala Clinic (vaidya means physician, while shala means place) is home to a team of doctors who combine modern medicine with traditional Ayurveda techniques to combat ailments including arthritis, back pain, allergies and asthma, migraines and skin diseases. Patients can be referred for post-surgery treatment with herbals and there is even a doctor on-site specializing in Ayurvedic gynaecology.
The decision to launch the center was inspired by a recent announcement that the World Health Organisation was opening a Global Centre of Traditional Medicine in India to strengthen the evidence, research, training, and awareness of traditional and complementary medicine.
“In light of Covid-19, the export of Indian herbs has increased by almost 45 percent,” says Dr Shyam Vishwanathan, head of Vaidyashala, a surgeon in Ayurveda, and the first licenced ayurvedic practitioner in the UAE. “It shows how people are getting more interested in Ayurveda. In the UAE, it has been recognized as a system of medicine since 2002 and is now covered under most insurance companies in the country on a reimbursement basis, when it’s prescribed by a licenced Ayurvedic doctor.”
The clinic’s key service is a consultation with a doctor, who uses different methods including pulse diagnosis, laboratory investigations and imaging technologies to understand body type and pinpoint health issues. They can then recommend lifestyle modifications and prescribe the appropriate medicines and herbs.
There are 30 different traditional Ayurveda therapies, complemented by some 100 different oils, which are imported from Kerala.
“It is very important to choose the right treatment, the right oil for the patient, at the right stage,” adds Dr Shyam. “Everything from the diagnosis, selection of the oil and the selection of treatment, will always be customized according to the body type of the patient.”
The clinic offers a range of authentic experiences, with traditional equipment – including a wooden steam chamber – flown in from Kerala. Among the physical therapies on offer are abhyanga (traditional Ayurvedic body massage), thala pothichil (head massage), tharpanam (treatment for eyes), ayurvedic facials, and many other treatments for specific causes, using time-honoured Indian Ayurvedic tools.
If you’re looking to incorporate Ayurveda into your lifestyle, Vaidyashala will be offering health care programs for well-being, such as spinal care, skin care, anti-ageing treatments and pre- and post-natal care. The team consists of six therapists, plus four other members of staff, and each has a vested interest in alternative medicine. There are also membership programs if you want regular consultations, advice and continual alternatives to your medication. And it will be easy to get your meds, too, as they are dispensed in the main hospital pharmacy.
“Our customer service executive is also an Ayurveda doctor and I am a believer in improving the patient-practitioner relationship,” said Dr Shyam, “so one of our main strategies is to develop that relationship right from their first interaction with the clinic.”
Asha Sherwood owns Abu Dhabi Review, an online and social platform that gives you the scoop on everything happening in the capital.