Health and wellbeing in Indian local health traditions

Payyappallimana, Unnikrishnan, "Health and wellbeing in Indian local health traditions" in An integrated view of health and well-being: bridging Indian and western knowledge (Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, 2013), 99-112.

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  • Author Payyappallimana, Unnikrishnan
    Chapter Title Health and wellbeing in Indian local health traditions
    Book Title An integrated view of health and well-being: bridging Indian and western knowledge
    Publication Date 2013
    Place of Publication Dordrecht
    Publisher Springer Netherlands
    Start page 99
    End page 112
    Abstract Diversity and plurality are two keywords that represent Indian identity. This relates to varied ecosystems, landscapes, cultural systems, philosophical traditions and practices which make the subcontinent a highly eclectic society. Such a composite culture has given rise to a range of forms and levels of sophistication among knowledge traditions. Various codified knowledge systems have long coexisted with oral knowledge traditions for over last four to five millennia in diverse fields of sciences, technologies, arts, crafts and so on. This has been the case of health-related knowledge traditions as well. Whereas codified systems such as Āyurveda, Siddha, Unani and Gso-wa Rig pa (Tibetan) have been institutionalized in the last 100 years, there still exists a vibrant folk knowledge tradition which has also formed the basis of health and wellbeing of communities in the subcontinent. This chapter focuses on these informal knowledge traditions and their perceptions and practices of health and wellbeing while also reflecting on their linkages with the codified forms. Whereas there is a pan Indian understanding of health and wellbeing in the codified traditional medical knowledge and whereas certain broad principles of nature-human relationships are shared by various communities across the country, any generalization of health and wellbeing perceptions in the local health traditions across the country will be an overstatement. The chapter only seeks to draw attention to some shared elements of health and wellbeing across communities based on field experiences mainly in Southern India. In this context, it is also argued here that effective policy interventions are needed to sustain and strengthen these informal knowledge traditions and to achieve self-reliance in health and wellbeing.Diversity and plurality are two keywords that represent Indian identity. This relates to varied ecosystems, landscapes, cultural systems, philosophical traditions and practices which make the subcontinent a highly eclectic society. Such a composite culture has given rise to a range of forms and levels of sophistication among knowledge traditions. Various codified knowledge systems have long coexisted with oral knowledge traditions for over last four to five millennia in diverse fields of sciences, technologies, arts, crafts and so on. This has been the case of health-related knowledge traditions as well. Whereas codified systems such as Āyurveda, Siddha, Unani and Gso-wa Rig pa (Tibetan) have been institutionalized in the last 100 years, there still exists a vibrant folk knowledge tradition which has also formed the basis of health and wellbeing of communities in the subcontinent. This chapter focuses on these informal knowledge traditions and their perceptions and practices of health and wellbeing while also reflecting on their linkages with the codified forms. Whereas there is a pan Indian understanding of health and wellbeing in the codified traditional medical knowledge and whereas certain broad principles of nature-human relationships are shared by various communities across the country, any generalization of health and wellbeing perceptions in the local health traditions across the country will be an overstatement. The chapter only seeks to draw attention to some shared elements of health and wellbeing across communities based on field experiences mainly in Southern India. In this context, it is also argued here that effective policy interventions are needed to sustain and strengthen these informal knowledge traditions and to achieve self-reliance in health and wellbeing.
    Copyright Holder Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
    Copyright Year 2013
    Copyright type All rights reserved
    ISBN 9789400766884
    DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-6689-1_7
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    Created: Mon, 14 Apr 2014, 15:22:18 JST