Another approach to health / 健康へのもうひとつのアプローチ


Ayurvedic medicine, or Ayurveda, is a system of traditional medicine with 3,000 years of history native to the Himalayan area. Even today it is regarded as part of alternative medicine in such countries as India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Especially in Sri Lanka, it is protected and encouraged as one of the national industries by the Department of Ayurveda, the world’s only administrative ministry related to it.

There is a Sri-Lankan-style Ayurvedic clinic in Japan, which I’ve visited monthly for almost half a year. Sunil Nishimura, a Sri Lankan Ayurvedic practitioner, has been running this clinic since 1996 in Kawagoe, Saitama. He first came to Japan in 1994, and soon after that, he became ill because of his stressful life in Japan. He asked his family to send him Ayurvedic herbs. He took them imported from his home country and changed his eating habits into Sri Lankan ones. Then he recovered his health soon after he changed his life. That was why he opened a clinic based on Ayurveda for Japanese people who suffered from diseases of civilisation.

His treatment begins with consultation and pulse diagnosis, which are the basics of Ayurvedic diagnosis. At a glance, he said I might have some troubles in my heart and my liver. I was surprised at that because it was what medical checkup doctors told me of different hospitals for years. A cup of special herb tea was served. After drinking it, I was taken to the bed to lie on my stomach. The practitioner patted my back with hot oiled herb covered with a cotton cloth like a ball, and then he massaged the whole of my body, from head to legs. When the massage was complete, I was taken to a big wooden capsule and told to get inside. I did it, the capsule was closed, and herbs were boiled underneath so that the capsule was filled with hot herbal vapour to help me sweat and take out toxic body wastes with sweat. I went to the shower room, washed the sweat off, and then everything was over.

This treatment costs 13,000 Yen. It looks a little expensive, but every time I take this, I feel refreshed very much. A specially-made herbal curry and rice set is served upon request. Some kinds of good-for-health herb tea, liqueur, and suspicious-looking pills are sold in additional charges. I don’t know how they would be effective, but one thing I can say is that people say I look slimmer than I did half a year ago and that I’ve never caught a cold for this half a year, though coworkers around me often do.

This kind of alternative medicine is often opposed to modern Western medicine. I don’t intend to renounce Western medicine. It is very effective in the immediate treatment of acute symptoms. On the other hand, Ayurveda or other kinds of Eastern medicine is aimed to keep track of (or restore) your body status from an internal approach so that you can be in normal working conditions, while Western medicine cures diseases of an external approach. I believe that the use of some different kinds of medicine at the same time will help keep your health.

Buddha and Indian deities