Ayurveda – The Science of Life and the Art of Living
Ayurveda is the knowledge that indicates the appropriate and inappropriate, happy and sorrowful conditions of living, what is auspicious or inauspicious for longevity as well as the measure of life itself. (Charaka Samhita)
‘Ayurveda,’ literally means the science of life or the science of longevity, which promotes positive health, prevents diseases, and helps achieving long life .It is a form of alternative medicine based on the principles that disease is caused by an imbalance of the life forces or the humors (viz. vatha, pitta and kapha). It is believed to be the oldest and the most complete system of medicine on earth, dating back over 5000 years, and is the part of the great Vedic Tradition.
Even though ayurvedic medicine is originated in the East, it is perfectly suited for our Western society where fast paced lifestyles have seen an increase in stress related conditions which conventional medicine has been unable to remedy.
Ayurveda being a complete system of healing, it offers physical treatments and detoxification programs as well as counseling for harmonious living and good relationships in addition to herbal medication. It is truly holistic and highly individualized in approach. However, it is not only the system of medicine in the conventional sense of curing the disease but also a way of life that teaches us how to maintain and protect our health .It describes the diet ,medicines and behavior that are beneficial and harmful to life.
The aim of Ayurvedic medicine is to integrate and balance the body, mind, and spirit. In Ayurvedic philosophy people, their health, and the universe are all thought to be related. It is believed that health problems can result when these relationships are out of balance.
Ayurveda is not just about treating the patient, but about healing the patient through a holistic way balancing the humors and neutralizing the disease process.
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Basic Principles of Ayurveda
Ayurvedic medicine considers a person as a unique individual made up of five primary elements. The elements are ether (space), air, fire, water, and earth. Just as in nature, we too have these five elements in us. When any of these elements are present in the environment, they will in turn have an influence on us. The foods we eat and the weather are just two examples of the presence of these elements. While we are a composite of these five primary elements, certain elements are seen to have an ability to combine to create various physiological functions.
Ether and air combine to form what is known in Ayurveda as the vatadosha. Vata governs the principle of movement and therefore can be seen as the force which directs nerve impulses, circulation, respiration, and elimination.
Fire and water are the elements that combine to form the pittadosha. The Pitta dosha is the process of transformation or metabolism. The transformation of foods into nutrients that our bodies can assimilate is an example of a pitta function. Pitta is also responsible for metabolism in the organ and tissue systems as well as cellular metabolism.
Finally, it is predominantly the water and earth elements which combine to form the kaphadosha. Kapha is what is responsible for growth, adding structure unit by unit. Another function of the Kapha dosha is to offer protection. Cerebral-spinal fluid protects the brain and spinal column and is a type of Kapha found in the body. Also, the mucosal lining of the stomach is another example of the Kapha dosha protecting the tissues.
We are all made up of unique proportions of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These ratios of the doshas vary in each individual; and because of this, Ayurveda sees each person as a special mixture that accounts for our diversity.
Ayurveda gives us a model to look at each individual as a unique makeup of the three doshas and to thereby design treatment protocols that specifically address a persons health challenges. When any of the doshas (Vata, Pitta or Kapha) become accumulated, Ayurvedic medicine will suggest specific lifestyle and nutritional guidelines to assist the individual in reducing the dosha that has become excessive. We may also suggest certain herbal supplements to hasten the healing process. If toxins in the body are abundant, then a cleansing process known as panchakarma is recommended to eliminate these unwanted toxins.
This spiritual science offers numerous unique benefits:
- It looks at people as individuals, not as a generic group.
- It heals from the root-cause of an illness, not merely treating the symptoms.
- Only natural therapies are offered.
- No side effects develop from the therapies.
- Therapies are inexpensive and effective.
- Rare chance recurrence of the disease.
- Diet regime is part of the treatment and it is always being advised according to the personal body constitution of the patient
- It is life style , rather than a treatment and this life style protects human beings from getting diseased
- Ayurvedic medicine is a complete system of healing which offers treatment for almost all the known diseases, through it’s preventive, curative, palliative and detoxification measures
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