Vastu Shastra is a traditional Indian system of architecture and design that seeks to harmonize the built environment with nature and promote positive energy. While there is no strict blueprint for applying Vastu principles to hospitals, some common considerations include:
- Over the last few years, we have seen the gradual rise and awareness in the subject of Vastu not only in India but also in other parts of the globe.
- Let us see how the great science of Vastu helps in alleviating people’s sufferings by adapting the principles of Vastu to the construction of a hospital complex.
Surgery in Ancient India
- In ancient India, medicine had acquired the highest degree of proficiency.
- Indian medicine (Ayurveda) dealt with the subject in totality, as a whole.
- It described the structure of the body, its organs, its ligaments, muscles, vessels and tissues.
- Their Materia medica contained resourceful processes of preparation with detailed instructions for the management and categorization of medicines.
- A great deal of attention was devoted to cleanliness and sanitation, diet and regimen of the body.
- The main distinction of modern allopathic medicine is surgery. Ancient Hindus excelled in surgery too.
- The ancient medical men beginning from the great Dhanawantri (whose prescriptions were said to be infallible).
- Sushruta, Charaka and others down the line were bold and skilful in their surgery.
- They conducted amputations, arrested bleedings by pressure, bandage or boiling oil, performed operations in the abdomen and uterus, curved harnia, fistula and piles, set broken bones and dislocations and could deftly remove foreign substances from the body.
- The great surgeon Sushruta is said to have advised dissection of dead bodies to a student of surgery and stressed the importance of knowledge gained from experiment and observation.
- The ancient medical men of India were the first to establish hospitals and for the centuries, they were the only ones to maintain them.
- Speaking about a hospital in Pataliputra (of King Chandragupta II), a Chinese traveler Fa Hein tells us that all poor and helpless patients that came there were taken excellent care of.
- Food and medicine were provided according to their needs and a doctor was in constant attendance.
- Coming down to the modern age, why is a hospital needed? A hospital is needed to provide health care to the people, both preventive and curative.
- As it provides a very essential service, the hospital and its staff have to efficiently and consciously work to prevent disease, restore health and alleviate the malady.
- The hospital is a organization that has to function as a group of teams.
The teams can be broadly classified as:
- Patient care team consisting of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, medico-social workers and dieticians,
- Investigative team consisting of lab technicians, radiology technicians, nurses, pathologists, micro-biologists, bio-chemists and radiologists and
- Supportive team consisting of maintenance and house-keeping staff, transport staff, aides and helpers.
- Basically, each hospital has two departments — one for outpatients and the other, for inpatients.
- The outpatient department is defined as a regular part of the hospital with scheduled part of working with medical and other staff to provide care for patients who are not registered as inpatients.
- The outpatients services can be preventive.
- Promotive, curative, follow-up and rehabilitative.
- The OPD also includes family welfare services, health, medical, para-medical and nursing services.
- The inpatient department is defined as another part of the hospital, which allows the patients to stay in the hospital, which allows the patients to stay in the hospital for days together with medical and other staff providing total care for the patients.
- The operation theatres, major and minor, are important segments of a hospital. These have to be segregated from other departments. It is necessary to understand the concept of protective, dirt-free, aseptic and disposal zones.
- Other blocks consist of premature units (neo-natals and nursing new-borns) and pharmacy (for medicine providing).
- Apart from these, a hospital needs to have laboratories, which consist of clinical pathology, micro-biology, biochemistry, hematology and histo-pathology sections.
- Here, provision for waiting rooms and toilets have to be made.
- They also need radiology (X-ray rooms etc.) departments.
- Of course, due provision for a central Sterile Supply Department (CSSD), casualty, power stations (generator rooms), kitchen/canteen, stores, laundry, workshops, garages, mortuary, residential campus and community center can be made.
1) Application of Vastu
- The planning begins with locating a proper site.
- The basic considerations, of course, will be to select the site near main roads.
- This way, the accessibility to the hospital will be good.
- North-east sites are ideal for hospitals.
- But if corner sites are not available East and North-facing sites are recommended.
- Many a time, there are also not available and you may be forced to go in for a West or South facing site.
- A West-facing site may be preferred to South-facing one.
- Do not despair if you get a South-facing site.
- Vastu can be applied judiciously to get the sites the needed balance. Proper orientation to the cardinal directions is definitely recommended.
- A site that has all sites equal, would be ideal. In a square, all the primary elements of nature — udaka (water), gagana (space), pavana (air), dahana (agni) and prithvi (earth) are well balanced. If a rectangular site is selected, a length not more than twice the breadth may be chosen.
- Once the site is selected, the planning of the structure begins.
- Allow a minimum of one-ninth of the site free on all four sites.
- This can be used for movement of traffic, trolleys and stretchers.
- This one-ninth relates to the Paisacha or non-habitable zone of the site.
- Let us begin the assumption that the hospital has ground plus three floors with a basement.
- Manasara has spoken of different heights for different breadths.
- Different heights called variously as Santika (height=width), Paushtika (height = 1 1/4 times the width), Jayada (height = 1 1/2 times the width), Sarvakamika or Dhanada (height = 1 3/4 times the breadth) and Adbhuta (height = twice the breadth) are described. Different breadth measurements in terms of Hasta (cubits) are given based on which we can design a building.
- The basement can be for car and other vehicle parking.
- The ground floor (Figure 1) can consist of the chairman’s room, pharmacy, reception, the casualty (or emergency) department and the minor operation theatre, the ECG, audiometry, X-ray and physiotherapy rooms, the consultation rooms, the laundry, the kitchen/canteen, the clinical lab, the ultrasound room, the generator and plant room, the laundry, toilets and, of course, the staircase and elevators (lifts).
- The chairman’s and other director’s offices, the clinical lab and ultrasound can be in the nairutya (South – west), dakshina (South) and Pashchima (West) sectors.
- Canteens, kitchens, generator and plant rooms can be in the agneya (South – east) sector. The elevators/staircases, laundry and toilets can be in the vayuvya (North – west) sector of the structure.
- The central from the North to South and East to West corresponding to 1/9th of the length (or width) can be kept open for fast and free movement of stretchers, wheelchairs, trolleys, doctors and patients.
- As the casualty and the minor operation theatres are immediate necessities, these can be in the easanya (North – east) of the building for entry into them with ease.
- Coming into the first floor (Figure 2), the hospital can house the operation theatres (both major and minor), the intensive care unit, the post – operative ward and recovery room, the central Sterile Supplies Department (CSSD), the operation theatre store, changing rooms/toilets for men and women, washing/scrubbing area, the endoscopy and the minor OPD procedures.
- The intensive care units can be in the South – west and the South sectors, the CSSD and the changing rooms can be in the East and South – sectors.
- The major/minor operation theatres and the post – operative and recovery rooms can be in the North and North-east sectors, the endoscopy room and the minor OPD procedures, the men/women changing rooms and toilets can be in the West, North and North-west sectors.
- The scrubbing and washing areas, the pantry and linen cupboards and the CSSD can be in the South and South – east sectors.
- In the second floor (Figure 3), the hospital can house the patient’s single and double wards and the nurse’s dormitories.
- The chairman’s room and the double wards can be in the South, West and South-west sectors, the single wards can be in the North-east, the nurses’ dormitories in the North, canteens and kitchens in the South-east, and toilets and laundry in the North-west sector.
- The third floor can have the conference rooms having close circuit TV network for watching live operations in the North, East and North-east sectors and the incinerators used for disposing of waste and infected material can be in the South-west sector.
- The male and the female toilets can be in the North-west sector and the South-west, and the South sectors can be strengthened with a rock garden such that it slopes to the North/East.
- Importance of Sleeping Positions.
- The patients cots can be placed such that their heads are to the South.
- This way, the magnetic energies coming from the various sides and the polarity induced in the body vibe with each other to maintain a balanced blood circulation in the body, thereby strengthening the healing and curative properties of the body.
- Our ancients have found out scientifically that sleeping with the heads towards the South will enable one to go with nature and draw the maximum positive energies from the cosmos to keep one fit and healthy.
- That they were past masters in known and unknown physical and other sciences is clearly understood by the fact that the sleeping direction is correlated with the physical science of magnetism and electricity.
- The great sage Garga is said have said that one should lie with his head placed southward if he wanted to live long.
- Sage Markandeya says that one is strong and lives long by placing one’s head to the South.
- When the eastern part of the earth is heated, its western part remains cold. Consequently, the thermal electricity generated by the sun travels over the surface of the earth from East to West.
- The earth thereby becomes magnetized and its geographical North Pole, which is to the right-hand side of the direction of the current, becomes the magnetic North Pole and its geographical South Pole being on the left-hand side of the same current becomes the magnetic South Pole.
- The earth is a magnet, and this is evident by placing a compass needle that invariably points to the North and South Poles.
- It has also been proved by experiments that the human body is a magnetizable object and that it contains a large percentage of iron in the blood that circulates all through the body.
- As our feet are always in touch with the Northern Hemisphere of the earth, which exhibits the properties of north polarity, south polarity is induced in out feet and consequently north polarity is induced in the head.
- The body will have stable health if the head is placed to the south, thereby preserving the natural polarity of the body.
- On the other hand, when the head is placed to the north, there is repulsion between the two like poles of the body and the earth, blood circulation is affected and disease sets in.
- Our ancients who were men of great scientific and spiritual wisdom, have handled over treasures down the period.
- As intelligent people, we just need to make use of these gems and pearls that have come down to us on a platter and use it with grace and dignity for betterment of mankind at large.
2) Important points
- Operation-theatre should be in the West, While lying on the stretcher, patient’s head should be on the south side.
- The doctor should operate facing East or North or west side but never to south side.
- The slope of the flooring should be towards North, East or Northeast sides.
- The middle portion of the hospital should be open to the sky. In case of any roof the ventilated roof should be 2 ft. to 3 ft. higher than the top floor roof.
- It should face the East possibly and the entry should be in the East or Northeast.
- An emergency case, or serious case should never be kept in the South-West corner room. Patient should be kept in North-West.
- The racks for medical books and medicines should be in the South or West.
- Parking should be done on the East or North sides.
- Drinking water should be kept in the Northeast.
- Cleaning, changing rooms, toilets should be on the South or West sides.
- Bathrooms should be on the East or North sides.
- X-Ray room, Electrical equipment etc. should be in the South-East room.
- Cash counter should be in the South or West and should open towards the North or East.
- Nurse’s quarters should be in the South-East or North-West place to the Hospital.
- Examining patients should be done in the North room. While sitting, the doctor should face the East or North. Patient should lie down with head in the South or West or East.
- The patients rooms should be on the South and North-West.
- Inquiry counter should be in the South-East and waiting room on the South side
- The Staircase should be in the West, South-West, South-East or North-West.
It’s important to note that Vastu Shastra is not a science and its principles are not universally accepted. However, many people believe that following Vastu principles can promote positive energy and help create a more harmonious and healing environment for patients, staff, and visitors.