Friday, October 16th, 2009

High on Wellness



‘Get more out of life.’ This can be easily dubbed as the long-term policy for the people like us, who have hands full during the weekdays and are busier on weekends. With children attending hobby classes and so do parents and an unending to-do-list that has to accommodate concerns, needs and demands of friends, family, relatives, lives of our generation has been hectic to say the least. Add to it the crazy city-commute and the concoction is mind boggling. Thus begins the hunt for wellness products and even in this global liquidity crunch the market for over-the-counter products, which includes Ayurvedic preparations, wellness supplements, aroma oils and therapeutic body care products are booming and for good reasons.

Makeover time for Ayurveda

Ayurveda had always been in vogue. But, never had it grabbed so much of shelf space. This ancient form of healing was confined to grandma’s kitchen or to the bitter tasting concoctions and powders of the Ayurveda doctors. Whereas in the past medicines belonging to this genre were supposed to be relegated to the corners of health food stores and would be dusted before presented to a customer, in case there happened to be one the scenario has changed now and Ayurvedic preparations are hogging more of shelf space, with every retailer worth his salt acknowledging them and giving it its due. It takes two to tango and Ayurveda also has resurrected itself and lures the modern buyers with the convenience of easy to use capsules, tablets and liquids. Ask us, we are in the trade. The most popular items moving off the shelf are AloeVera juices, preparations for joint pain relief, constipation and food supplements, like spirulina.

Dr Preeti Chhabra, consultant Ayurveda at Ganga Ram says, “ I’ve been practising Ayurveda for the last 17 years, but recently, I’ve witnessed that the system has gained much fanfare owing to its efficacy and long term stable results; without any untoward ill effects. It has been realized by the masses that this natural system of herbal medicine is constitution friendly. Also its judicial use is safe, non-toxic and deals with day to day ailments efficiently.”

Even the conventional Ayurveda institute like Arya Vaidya Shala has been touched by the winds of modernism. Some of the conventional dosage forms prescribed at this Ayurveda institute has been converted to more user compliant forms:

a) Bitter tasting liquid kashayam into the more convenient form of tablet.
b) Incinerated Bhasmam into more reliable and accurate dosage form of capsule.
c) Messy and greasy tailam into more convenient and less greasy form of gel.

Food for thought

Estimates by Health Foods and Dietary Supplements Association, a non-profit organisation, say the nutraceuticals market in India is expected to reach Rs 2, 700 crore by 2009 end, from Rs. 1, 875 crore in 2007. If you analyse we are witnessing something strange happening in India. Lifestyle diseases have supplanted the contagious diseases as killer diseases and the increasing evidences about the nutritional gaps are influencing the buying decisions of the consumer. No wonder there is increased demands for nutraceuticals—multivitamins and supplements for age-related health problems.

How nutraceuticals and functional foods differ?

Nutraceuticals, conventionally mean food or food ingredient, which can provide health benefits including the prevention and treatment of the disease. On the other hand, functional food provides the body with the required amount of vitamins, fats, proteins, carbohydrates, etc, needed for its healthy survival. “When functional food aids in the prevention and/or treatment of disease and/or disorder other than anaemia, it is called a nutraceutical,” elaborates Honey Khanna, senior dietician at Max Hospitals.

Thus, a functional food for one consumer can act as a nutraceutical for another consumer. Examples of nutraceuticals include fortified dairy products and probiotic yoghurt.

But, wellness is not limited to the realm of bottles. It moves to arena of health devices and smells that are tailor made to pamper you and take the stress away from your life. Nothing soothes stress more than a massage and now with the option of massagers: handheld, foot and eye, you can recharge yourself simultaneously with your cell phone. While doctors give a go ahead on foot massagers, you need to avoid them if you suffer from deep vein thrombosis or are pregnant.

The science of smell has always been around, but more vigorously these days. “Actually, the belief in holistic healing is gaining ground,” says 50-year-old Minu Dave who has taken refuge in aromatherapy to subdue her nasty migraines. “The frequency of my attacks has come down,” avers she. Aromatherapists recommend essential oil like lavender to keep stress at bay. “There are aroma oils for menstrual irregularities. Thyme regulates periods; Lavender is calming. Sage is excellent if periods are heavy. Parsley and rose are recommended if periods are delayed,” says Anita Kalsi Bhartiya, cosmetologist at Amatrra Spa.

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Category: Lifestyle
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