Ayurveda, or Traditional Indian Medicine, is the oldest documented health care system in the world. The science has existed for over 5,000 years. Today, the source Ayurvedic texts have been translated from their original Sanskrit, giving rise to Ayurveda’s growing popularity across the globe.
The Common Sense Science
Ayur (life) – Veda (science) literally translates to “the science of life.” The health system offers overarching principles of matter, energy, and space as well as highly practical guidelines for preventing and managing health.
Ayurveda is a vast health system; however, its approach to wellness is simple and intuitive—so much so that we like to call it the “common sense science.” Its objective is to approach wellness through the balance of the mind and body through lifestyle practices, natural therapies, and herbal remedies.
The history and origins of Ayurveda
Ayurveda developed in the Indian subcontinent thousands of years ago and was originally practiced through oral tradition before the Vedic texts, commonly known as the Vedas, were composed. The Vedas are the oldest compilation of knowledge and wisdom imparted by the Rishis, the ancient population of modern day India. Of the four Vedas, Ayurveda originated from the Atharvaveda body of knowledge, which dates back to around 1,000 B.C. The most famous of these texts are the Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and Ashtanga Hridayam, which concentrate on internal medicine, surgery and all eight clinical branches of Ayurveda.
Knowledge of Ayurveda is essential in today’s world
Ayurveda aims at the preservation of health and prevention of disease by establishing balance and harmony through personalized, holistic lifestyle solutions. The World Health Organization recognizes Ayurveda as a complete, natural health care system.
Today’s population suffers from a growing tide of chronic illness, lack of personalization in medical attention, rising healthcare costs and alarming threats to the planet’s ability to support human, life. Ayurveda answers the increasing demand for holistic solutions to these problems.
Ayurveda’s benefits include:
- Personalization – customized solutions based on an individual’s unique needs
- Long lasting results – targeting the root cause of imbalance
- Cost-effectiveness – emphasis is on prevention of future imbalances
- Sustainability – natural, holistic approach to mind, body, and spirit
Ayurveda does not treat symptoms – it targets the root of illness
The emphasis of Ayurveda is on maintenance of balance in the system or disease prevention. The philosophy of Ayurveda is not just for human health but is a total scientific system encompassing all matter and energy in the universe. By recognizing the fundamental elements in our universe and understanding how to detect their qualities in our own lives – in our environment, bodies, and minds – Ayurvedic wisdom provides the key to maintaining and restoring balance.
For example, when there is too much of one element present in the human system, introducing counter elements can restore balance—completely naturally. This common sense approach enables us to target the elemental root of illness, restoring total mind, body and spirit wellness.
Ayurvedic healing intervention – how it “works”
Ayurvedic healing focuses on completely understanding the client’s physical, mental and emotional state. The ancient texts provide us clear guidelines for assessing the unique mind-body constitution of an individual and how to detect an imbalance.
Based on an individual’s state of health, lifestyle recommendations or healing interventions are recommended to address his or her unique needs. Additional factors of time such as age, the seasons and time of day also contribute to best practices for health.
Ayurvedic guidelines and healing interventions can include:
Supplement and herbal recommendations
Panchakarma (five-fold detoxification) and Rasayana (rejuvenation)
Yoga, Pranayama (breathwork) and meditation
Exercise and activity guidelines
Living environment and climate recommendations
Many simple lifestyle changes have a dramatic impact on well-being, but when an imbalance cannot be resolved through lifestyle changes alone, Ayurveda offers even deeper healing interventions in the forms of:
Herbal formulations: the Vedic texts outline in detail the recipes of herbal combinations for managing a variety of imbalances.
Panchakarma: a total system of detoxification, including bodywork, herbalized oil treatments and specialized diets over the course of several days.
To sum it up – what makes Ayurveda special:
- Oldest known documented health care system – 5,000 years
- Respects the uniqueness of the individual with personalized solutions
- Considers all the levels of the individual – body, mind, and spirit
- Natural and sustainable for us and our planet
- Emphasizes prevention
- Empowers everyone to take responsibility for their own well-being