This documentary film casts a light on the peculiarities of Ayurvedic medicine. One should note that it is a set of techniques which have been practiced in India for more than two millenniums. In turn, the movie explores the experiences of a journalist who wants to undergo this form of treatment.
I heard about Ayurvedic medicine before, but I did not attach much importance to it because I have always believed that medicine has to be based on evidence derived from experimental studies with a clear methodology. Furthermore, other scholars should be able to replicate this research. In contrast, alternative forms of medicine are not supported with the help of such evidence.
Additionally, I think that alternative forms of medicine are mostly based on the placebo effect. In other words, a patient may feel relief if he/she believes that the physician offers a valid form of treatment. The main issue is that this medicine does not eliminate the underlying causes of pain or discomfort.
Moreover, it does not change the physiological state of a person. These are some of the assumptions that I made prior to watching this film. To some degree, this movie has confirmed some of my beliefs. In particular, Ayurvedic medicine also involves the use of placebo effect. This is one of the reasons why a patient is asked to take part in religious rituals.
Moreover, the practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine do not believe that their method is the best solution to every possible illness. In many cases, they state that a person should refer to a conventional doctor. They can do so if a person has an acute health problem (Palfreman Film Group & Reid, 2010).
To some degree, this openness prompted me to adopt a more positive attitude towards this technique. The problem is that in many cases, the advocates of alternative medicine do not admit that their techniques have limitations. In contrast, the practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine take a more responsible approach to such cases.
Yet, this film shows that Ayurvedic medicine does not enable patients to make informed decisions. In particular, they do not know if there are different treatment options available to them. In many cases, patients simply do not know what a physician is doing (Palfreman Film Group & Reid, 2010). In my opinion, it is the duty of a medical worker to discuss the peculiarities of treatment with a patient. This is another limitation of Ayurvedic medicine.
Overall, modern scholars are rather skeptical about Ayurvedic medicine, even though it incorporates techniques that are commonly accepted. For instance, much attention is paid to the use of massage which is widely adopted in various fields of medicine (Douillard, 2012, p. 3).
Nevertheless, scholars do not recognize the validity of herbal therapy which is an important part of Ayurvedic medicine (Carroll, 2011, p. 47). These practices can produce the placebo effect at best. Moreover, it is possible that they give rise to complications. These are the main details that can be singled out.
This film has been very informative because it enables viewers to take a critical and unbiased view on alternative forms of medicine. The movie is not aimed at showing that Ayurvedic practices are useless or dangerous. Instead, people should keep in mind that the perceived improvements brought by this method can be based on the placebo effect.
Moreover, viewers should remember that this approach is completely inappropriate if a patient has to struggle with an acute health problem. Nevertheless, it is important to conduct experimental studies that can determine if this treatment has any therapeutic impacts. These are the main details that should be identified.
Carroll, R. (2011). The Skeptic’s Dictionary: A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Douillard, J. (2012). The Encyclopedia of Ayurvedic Massage. New York, NY: North Atlantic Books.
Palfreman Film Group (Producer), & Reid, T. (Director). (2010). Second Opinion with T. R. Reid: Inside Ayurvedic Medicine [Motion Picture]. New York, NY: Palfreman Film Group. Web.