Rasayana Ayurveda Hospital: A Tranquil Space for Ayurvedic Healing
“Ayurveda is a vast science and the general man’s perception of it is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Founder and Chief Physician, Rasayana Ayurveda Hospital
Tucked away in the peaceful and quiet paradise that is the ‘green village’ of Ezhakkaranad, Rasayana Ayurveda Hospital is set in the heart of a plantation as a tranquil space for Ayurvedic healing. Located just 20 kilometres away from Vytilla hub in the heart of Cochin city, is this idyllic village that plays host to Dr V Madhavachandran’s dream project.
A favourite among patients seeking Ayurvedic care arriving from across India and the world, Rasayana Ayurveda Centre has set a new benchmark for treatment and hospitality in Kerala. The focus is on providing authentic Ayurveda treatment in a safe, clean and peaceful environment, serving food prepared in-house using locally sourced ingredients. With 12 villas and 16 AC and non-AC suites on the property, you’re assured a comfortable and hygienic stay. At the same time, you get personalised Ayurvedic treatments as recommended by a specialist doctor after a series of consultations.
While Rasayana Ayurveda Hospital deals with holistic care ranging from weight reduction therapies to anti-stress treatments and rejuvenation programmes, their speciality lies in geriatric care and post-cancer rehabilitation (where both physical and mental exhaustion of a gruelling anti-cancer treatment is looked after). They also have a program in collaboration with cardiologists from modern medicine practices called ‘Preventive Cardiology in Ayurveda’— this is a mostly untapped field in Ayurveda practice that Rasayana looks into. They also specialise in the management and treatment of various serious neurological conditions, including dystrophy and strokes (provided the patient approaches the doctor not long after the onset). Rasayana Ayurveda Hospital is proficient in the treatment of autoimmune conditions like psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, generating favourable results in the patient on completion of treatment.
Unlike modern medicine, Ayurveda believes that treatments are not for the disease, but should be tailored to the patient with the ailment. One prescription will not be effective on another individual of another body constituency suffering from the same disease, unlike what modern medicine has dictated so far. However, with strides in the newer field of pharmacogenomics research, it has become apparent that this is true for allopathic medication as well.
Rasayana is more than just a name— it is one of the Ashtanga Ayurveda (eight specialisations in the field of Ayurveda) and one of the lesser-known and practised forms of this ancient science. Often misunderstood for an urban legend, Rasayana chikitsa (treatment) is a specialisation of Ayurveda which is focused on lengthening one’s lifespan and addresses geriatric problems.
While chronological ageing is still a well-understood concept, cell ageing (also referred to as biological ageing) is something too prevalent in this day and age amongst younger individuals owing to a sedentary lifestyle, increased exposure to radiation and the modern diet. People nowadays are undergoing biological ageing at rates higher than ever before. While Rasayana treatments formerly targeted only older individuals, currently much younger people with signs of advanced biological ageing fall under this umbrella too as it can also slow the speed of ageing.
Geriatric treatments conventionally target people of advanced age. With the advancements in modern medicine, the average life expectancy of a modern middle-class individual has approached 90. It is apparent that there are a lot more older people around than maybe five decades ago, and this means that there are newer age-related diseases which we may not have seen back then.
Dr V Madhavachandran elaborates that though the hospital may be reasonably new, the idea of it stemmed ages ago when he was a young physician in training when the concept of Rasayana chikitsa fascinated him. A bulk of Dr V Madhavachandran’s career was dedicated to research. During this time, his interest in preparations targeting ageing and its related issues increased four-fold. He intended to revive this old treatment methodology, and this led to the eventual conception of Rasayana Ayurveda Hospital, set in a location apt for Rasayana chikitsa.
Dr V Madhavachandran: The Researcher & Practitioner
Dr Madhavachandran didn’t always intend on becoming an Ayurvedic researcher and practitioner. As a young man in the late 80s, he moved to the Soviet Union for a short period, during the period of Perestroika, to pursue his degree.
He reflects it as a time that taught him a lot of life lessons. He believes that this exposure transformed his outlook. During his time there, he remembers interacting with a pool of students from over 40 countries, all of which lent to his sensitivity towards other cultures. He also developed his Russian language skills, something that today makes Rasayana Ayurveda Hospital a favourite amongst Russian-speaking people!
On his return to India, post an entrance exam, he enrolled himself in the Trivandrum Ayurveda College for his degree in Ayurveda.
During the later years of his course, post-college hours, he began shadowing a famous practitioner Dr C P R Nair, who also had experience in both modern medicine and Ayurveda. This training in a busy clinic gave him a sense of clarity and confidence when it came to the nuances of Ayurvedic clinical practice- right from the examination, diagnosis up to treatment. He has immense gratitude for Dr Nair imbibing a vision in him.
Soon after he graduated, he took up a job at the Tropical Botanical Garden & Research Institute in Pallode, Thiruvananthapuram. Their expertise in pharmacological research is what drew him into their Ethnomedicine and Ethnopharmacology unit as a junior scientist. His time there led him to interact with some leading researchers and opened up his eyes into the fascinating world of research- both in modern medicine as well as Ayurveda. It was here that Dr Madhavachandra’s study was first published in Elsevier’s Journal of Ethnopharmacology— and that was only just the beginning.
After three and a half fruitful years at TBGRI, Dr Madhavachandran went on to work at a leading Ayurvedic manufacturing unit in Kerala- with half his time dedicated to clinical practice and the rest devoted to R&D. He spearheaded many new product developments during his time there. The process and protocols involved in the creation of a new medicine were borrowed from modern medicine and adapted to Ayurveda, which led to the development of up to 30 innovations under his watchful eye. These medications were so varied in their applications- some treated rheumatism, some healed third-degree piles. In contrast, others offered relief for painful menstruation or reduced high BP levels without affecting cardiac myocytes as conventional anti-hypertensives would. During his 12-year stint at the helm of the R&D unit, he oversaw the setup of their Pharmacology lab, Microbiology lab and Experimental Clinical Research wing. Soon after, for a period of up to 7 years, he honed his clinical skills by moving into the same company’s clinical division, with a little more focus on in-patient care than he was exposed to before. He then intermediately began a venture called Mahaoushadhi where Dr Madhavachandran was independently dealing with Ayurveda treatments in the Kayaloram Resort. He gained a few more years of clinical exposure by working in an Ayurveda Hospital chain as its Vice President before switching to setting up his own Ayurveda Hospital.
Dr V Madhavachandran is an ardent researcher with over 19 international publications to his name which have made their way into high impact international research journals. His research interests extend to (but are not limited to) geriatrics, infertility, malignancy, neuro-muscular diseases and cardiology and is a well-known name in the field of drug development too.
Despite being an Ayurvedic doctor, he never looks down at the marvels of modern sciences. He believes it is responsible for curing so many diseases, thereby raising the average lifespan of generations of people. Complex surgical procedures, combatting fetal mortality and treatments for many infectious diseases are only a reality of modern medical sciences.
He is fascinated by how effective cures were created back in the day when empirical research methodologies were not in place. The protocols were vastly different from what is practised today, even in the field of Ayurveda. Modern medical science is based on quantitative research and not as much on qualitative research. We lag in integrating the qualitative aspect, but back in the day, Ayurveda believed in qualitative research too as can be seen from ancient texts. Ancient texts also hold proof of origins of surgical sciences set in the heart of Ayurvedic practice, while in this day and age, Ayurveda does not infringe the surgical field.
The doctor has hopes of Ayurveda reaching similar heights in the future with surgical implications along with a better understanding of modern-day research methodologies to boot, all of which will be written in the vocabulary of integrated medical sciences. He also believes that, at present, there is a gap in the understanding of the chemical implication of toxins which needs to be looked into in the next frontier of Ayurvedic research.
Dr V Madhavachandran’s most cherished mission is to conduct multidisciplinary research in the field of Rasayana and to revive a lost science to assure humankind’s healthy living in the future.
Rasayana Ayurveda was a manifestation of years of Dr V Madhavachandran’s yearning to heal patients in an idyllic Ayurveda hospital setup— and the rest, as they say, is history.