Jain community members don’t eat after sunset, refrain from meat, fish and poultry or roots (potato, onion, etc). Ritualistic fasting is ingrained in Jain practices. What impact has such a lifestyle made on the community’s well-being? Can such a lifestyle be healthy?
These are some of the questions that have driven a team of French-speaking doctors from France and Switzerland on a study tour to Gujarat. The organisation usually studies local medicines and healing cultures across the world, but this is the first time that they have chosen to study lifestyle practices of a specific religion.
Dr Patrick Ouvrard from SFTG told TOI that the organization had earlier taken various medical practitioners to countries in Africa and even to some parts of India such as Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Sikkim to understand local cultures of healing and traditional medicines.
Dr Sophia Chatelard from IUMF added that in globalized world, it is better to get exposed to diverse cultures and practices. “Many a times, a patient wants to consult us whether it is good to also go for alternative therapy while the treatment is on. For me, it would be a peek into Indian practices and its health implications,” she said.