India is home to a wide variety of healing practices. Some originated here, while many were imported from other parts of the world. In time, they developed and flourished. Over the last century or so, the pervasive influence of the allopathic, or `western' system of medicine, questioned the curative ability of common plant and mineral extracts.
It also rejected the mental and physical disciplines advocated by traditional practitioners, dismissing their theories as unscientific. More recently, however, increasing awareness on the subject has triggered a global revival of popular interest in these non-conventional techniques. Furthermore, research studies in India and abroad have now validated many of their claims.
Today, these traditional healing systems are part of an international multi-million dollar industry embracing their practice, research and development, and manufacture. Our country alone has over ten lakh homoeopathic practitioners, while some 220 colleges turn out over 9,000 graduates in
traditional systems of medicine each year.
Moreover, the Indian Board of Alternative Medicine has been set up in Calcutta for the propagation, promotion and advancement of traditional medicine. The board is affiliated to the Open International University for Complementary Medicine, established under the aegis of the World Health Organization. This has certainly widened the scope for those who want to help others through the practice of any of these streams. Some traditional systems of alternative medicine currently being practiced in India are: