A frail looking Mini Shaji sits on a bed in the corner of the general ward of AyurVaid’s hospital in Bengaluru. Wearing a brick red nightgown, Shaji’s painfully thin frame looks devoid of all energy, but there is a glimmer of hope in her eyes. Six months back, the 36-year-old Shaji, who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, could not move without the help of a walking stick. A friend directed her to the AyurVaid centre at Ramamurthy Nagar. After 10 days of in-patient treatment, Shaji can now walk slowly without a stick.
Though still weak, she’s now hopeful that the weight she lost because of her ailment will be regained too. Her doctor, Rashmi Johnson, says she suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, joint pain, swelling and deformity of joints. The doctors at AyurVaid have treated Shaji in the traditional ayurvedic way and she has discontinued her allopathic treatment of two years. The good news is that the pain has gone. Johnson says Shaji will need to repeat this treatment for 15 days every six months till she is cured. “She has started walking but we cannot cure the deformity once it is formed,” she says.
AyurVaid uses traditional methods of ayurveda, which translates into “life-knowledge”, to treat patients at its three hospitals in South India. It’s the first Ayurvedic hospital to get the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH) certification, usually given to allopathic hospitals for conforming to prescribed standards of hygiene and operating processes. Interestingly, AyurVaid’s treatment methodology is a blend of ayurveda and allopathy. While it relies on classical ayurveda for treatment, its hospitals also use modern tools such as lab tests and scans, and sometimes refer cases to allopathy doctors, whenever required.
Its founder Rajiv Vasudevan, 50, stumbled onto ayurveda by chance. A BTech in mechanical engineering from NIT Calicut, he began his career with ISRO, before proceeding to do an MBA from IIM Calcutta. Vasudevan worked in the corporate sector briefly before joining the Kerala government as CEO of Technopark, Thiruvananthapuram, where he was responsible for the formulation of Kerala’s IT policy.
In 2003, Vasudevan was appointed specia