Ayurveda

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is a system of preventive medicine and health care that developed in India more than 5,000 years ago. The word Ayurveda comes from two Sanskrit root words: Ayus, or "life," and Veda, meaning "knowledge" or "science." Ayurveda is therefore usually translated as "the science of life." However, a more precise translation would be "the knowledge of the lifespan." Ayurveda offers practical tools, insights, and information for living in balance and health, without interference from illness.


Is Ayurveda a form of holistic medicine?

Yes. Ayurveda is a healing system that treats the whole person - the integration of body, mind, and spirit - rather than simply treating individual symptoms. For instance, we know that ongoing stress damages our immune system, and when the immune system is weakened, we are more vulnerable to disease and illness. We also know that when our mind experiences pleasure, our brain releases healing chemicals to our entire body, creating feelings of happiness and well-being as well as promoting health.


Ayurveda takes holistic medicine a step further, treating people not as isolated individuals but as an inextricable part of the whole universe. In India's ancient Vedic tradition, there is an underlying intelligence that flows through and connects everyone and everything in the universe. Ayurveda sees life as the exchange of energy and information between individuals and their extended body - the environment. If our environment is nourishing, we thrive; if our environment is toxic; we may become sick. Therefore, learning how to eliminate toxicity and surround ourselves with a healing environment is the key to health.


How is Ayurveda different from conventional Western medicine?

In contrast with conventional medicine, which has devoted a lot of effort to isolating the differences among various diseases, Ayurveda focuses on the unique qualities of individuals, pointing out that diseases differ mainly because people are so different.


Ayurveda teaches that all health-related measures - whether an exercise program, dietary plan or herbal supplement - must be based on an understanding of an individual's unique mind-body constitution or dosha. By knowing a patient's dosha, an Ayurvedic doctor can tell which diet, physical activities, and medical therapies are most likely to help, and which might do no good or even cause harm. In addition, while Western medicine has tended to treat the symptoms of disease, Ayurveda seeks to eliminate illness by treating the underlying cause.

 

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