Ayurveda is an ancient Vedic system of health care which was developed in India more than 5000 years ago. Ayurveda is a traditional system of alternative medicine in which helps a person maintain optimum health by taking into account the individual's body, mind soul and spirit in perfect balance with the nature.
The word Ayurveda has originated from the Sanskrit language. “Ayus” means life and “Veda” means knowledge or science. Hence Ayurveda means “knowledge of life”.
Ayurveda is not a merely an alternative medicine. Rather Ayurveda is considered as a sacred science of life which motivates individuals to live a happy, healthy life and puts emphasis on living in synchronization with the nature and environment.
Considered as the oldest and the most trusted science of healing in the world, Ayurveda evolved in India thousands of years ago. The fundamentals or teachings of Ayurveda were first recorded in Hindu ancient scriptures called the Vedas- the world's oldest existing literature that preach the philosophy of life.These Ayurvedic teachings were also passed on from teachers to students verbally. The Rig Veda, which was written more than 6,000 years ago, contains Ayurvedic teachings and its importance. Ayurveda is a holistic system of healing that integrates the mind, body and spirit and enhances longevity.
Ayurveda is based on the basic principle that the universe is made up of five elements (panch maha bhutas) namely- Space (Akasha), Air (Vayu), Fire (Tejas), Water (Aap) and Earth (Prithvi).Man is a part and parcel of this universe and can hardly be considered in isolation. These same elements are represented in humans as well by three "doshas" or energies called Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Whenever any of these doshas pile up in the body beyond the prescribed limits, the person falls ill. The well-being of an individual depends upon acquiring the harmonious balance of the three doshas. Ayurveda recommends eating a proper diet, rising before dawn, doing exercisises and living in tandem with the nature to reduce the excess dosha and living an enriching life.
The three doshas or the energies are Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
- Vata governs the activities of the nervous system, respiration, circulation, speech, and creativity. This dosha is made up of air and ether elements. Vata is considered the leader of the three Ayurvedic principles. To maintain a good health, you need to keep Vata in right balance.
- Pertaining to water and earth elements, Kapha is responsible for fluid secretions, potency, lubrication and growth.
Prakriti means your innate nature and basic constitution. The physical and emotional qualities that you inherit genetically. Prakriti is described by three main doshas i.e. Vata, Pitta and Kapha. In Ayurveda, doshas influence the well-being and physical constitution of a man, either positively or negatively. According to Ayurveda, there are seven dosha-predominant Prakritis namely–
- Vata-Pitta predominant
- Pitta-Kapha predominant
- Vata-Kapha predominant
- Vata-Pitta-Kapha predominant (in this Prakriti all three doshas are equally prominent).
Ayurveda is an ancient system of healing that integrates the mind, body and spirit to experience a healthy, happy life. According to Ayurveda, to live a happy life you should live in tandem with the nature, have a harmonious relationship with your fellow beings and follow a healthy lifestyle. A healthy individual makes for a healthy society and a body that is balanced holds a spirit that is free - free for spiritual advancement.
'Healthy' in Ayurveda is called as 'Swasthya' - one who stays in his 'sva' means self. In Ayurveda, this 'sva' or health involves the entire well-being of the individual that means his consciousness (atman), body (sharira) and mind (manas).
It is not restricted to ideal weight or ideal height -weight ratio or ideal blood counts. According to Ayurveda, every individual is unique. What may be normal for one, may be abnormal for another. Ayurveda recommends returning to nature and encourages people to make responsible choices which promote good physical and mental health.
No, there is no need to switch to vegetarian diet if you don’t want to. Ayurveda recommends the food that is easy to digest. Since animal protein has very low water content, it is difficult to digest. It is the reason Ayurveda prescribes vegetarian food and it is not a mandate.
There are cases when Ayurveda also prescribes meats of several animals, fishes and birds. Follow your Ayurvedic Physician advice when it comes to diet during the treatment.
Yoga and Ayurveda are two paths that are closely interrelated with each other. While Ayurveda – knowledge of life – is the ancient art and science that keeps the body and mind balanced and healthy, Yoga is the ancient art and science that prepares the body and mind for the eventual liberation and enlightenment of the soul.
Ayurveda considers mental health as a state of spiritual, intellectual, and mental well-being while in Western medicine; we as a material (body) create thoughts.Advantages of Ayurveda over other systems of medicine:
- Ayurveda works on a vast model involving the manipulation and understanding of the play of consciousness and not merely matter while western medicine treats only a part of the which is considered as being ill – the material part.
- The Ayurvedic approach treats the whole person – mentally, socially, physically, emotionally, and spiritually while in western medicine, after extensive diagnostics, often the disease or cluster of symptoms is isolated, and the disease becomes the sole area of attention of the traditional physicians.
- Since Ayurveda is a natural therapy, it has no or fewer side effects or almost no complications whereas other there may be lots of side effects and several complications in other systems of medicine.
No. That’s not really true about Ayurveda treatment. Ayurveda appears to take long time to heal ailments because it dissolves the deep rooted cause of the imbalance and hence provides you permanent relief from the same and rejuvenate yourself.On the other hand, allopathic medicine provides a quick fix and merely suppresses the symptoms. Ayurveda gets to the bottom of your imbalance and help you get rid of your sufferings completely. Though it does take time in complete healing, improvements start to appear in relatively shorter period. The healing of imbalance also depends on factors like age, type of disease, degree of imbalance or whether it is acute or chronic and how many doshas, tissues, organs and channels are involved in the disease process.
Yes, and very successfully. Obesity is caused mainly due to a disbalance in the Kapha dosha. When Ayurvedic wisdom is applied to the life of an 'obese person', they gain insight into why and how they created and hold on to their Kapha imbalance (manifesting as obesity). They now learn about how they can take back control of their increasing Kapha. They learn about Kapha balancing foods, specialized Kapha reducing exercises, essential oils, self massage, gentle detoxification, herbs and colors. The over-expressed Kapha can linger on due to certain 'heavy' thought patterns also. Hence a total shift in paradigm is gradually brought about in the living and thinking of an obese person. When the recommendations are followed sincerely, one can expect to lose weight.
It must be remembered that Ayurveda does not claim to 'cure' diseases, but to restore balance to the body, mind and spirit complex. Cancer is another such condition, a tridosha imbalance at the cellular level. Ayurveda recommends herbal, diet and divine (mantra, gem, etc) therapy in Cancer. It is recommended that cancer patients check with their physician or primary health care provider.
Yes, absolutely. Personalized herbs, specific diet modifications and also specialized oils and massages prove very effective in pain management without side effects or drug dependency. In various etiologies of arthritis, general conditions such as Fibromyalgia, or pain due to falls, traumas or repetitive stress - all such conditions are highly amenable to Ayurvedic therapies. We recommend that you start or stop all adjunct therapies by first checking in with your physician or primary health care provider.
Yes. While antidepressant and other drugs are both critical and often life saving; yet a person suffering from depression may or may not live life optimally and may drag through life - without experiencing daily abundance, joy and unbridled enthusiasm. Certain Ayurveda herbs, specialized massages and mind/body therapies (such as Pancha Karma, Shirodhara, meditation, Yoga, Gem therapy, mantra therapy, etc) are time-tested, gentle mind-balancing tools with no side effects. One can continue taking the antidepressants (and remain in touch with their MD regarding the drugs, dosage etc) but at the time, simultaneous work in the Ayurvedic field can be done. Ayurvedic therapy enhances and expedites recovery and people feel the 'joy of being alive' and not mere numbing of anxiety.
Please remember that Ayurveda does not claim to treat, prevent or cure diseases, but only to restore balance to the physiology. When balance is restored, many diseases and disorders are often automatically prevented or health is restored. This is the beauty of Ayurvedic lifestyle and food choices.
No. Ayurvedic principles are universal, and anybody can incorporate them into his or her daily life. There is no need to become religious in order to adopt the principles of Ayurveda. Ayurveda is not a religious Hindu text. Rather, Ayurveda is a rational science that celebrates universal principles. While deeply spiritual in subject (in the sense that matters of mind and spirit are addressed in Ayurveda), Ayurveda is not 'Hindu' as in the every day sense of 'Hinduism'. Ayurveda does not advocate a particular religion or a deity.
No not at all. Ayurveda recommends foods that are ideal for your body and mind and not as per any 'ism'. While Ayurveda sings praises of a healthy seasonal vegetarian diet; it similarly prescribes meats of several animals, fishes and birds. What you eat should / will depend on which food serves your health and energy needs best? And, what can you digest? Your Ayurvedic Physician will guide you with detail in this area.
Ayurvedic herbal supplements may help to improve one's overall health, however, it is extremely important that they be taken in their compatible and complementary combinations, and that one also follows the necessary dietary and daily and seasonal recommendations for his or her particular constitution and health concerns. In order to get results using Ayurvedic herbal supplements, it is best to consult a professional first.
Before altering the schedule of prescription medications you follow, or additionally taking Ayurvedic herbal supplements, always check with your physician or primary health care provider. Ayurveda can be used in conjunction with Western allopathic medicine. Drugs save lives, but because of their toxicity, sometimes they can also weaken or damage the body. Ayurveda can help protect and make the body stronger after or along with drugs or surgery.
Unless otherwise directed by your physician or primary health care provider, it is not necessary to take additional vitamin and mineral supplements. Ayurveda recommends getting vitamins and minerals directly from the intake of nutritious foods and herbs.
Ayurveda is a very effective system of health that is being more and more recognized in the West. It is one of the primary systems of health care in India, and has been used for thousands of years for all sorts of ailments and disorders. The Ayurvedic path has been much tread upon. Literally thousands of people have walked on it for thousands of years. Today Ayurveda is popular all over the world. Hospitals and clinics offer it, press reports it, researchers examine it, governments host it and people love it. Ayurveda has stood the test of time; and whether it was a favorable or unfavorable political or legal climate or not - people continued to practice it privately and openly, from little clinics in India to large Spas all over the world. The word is out today - 'Try Ayurveda, it works.'
Its full effectiveness will depend on various considerations, including the age and state of health of the individual, how much effort they are willing to put into making the necessary changes toward better health, and how compliant they are with taking their formulas and following the recommended guidelines. Since an Ayurvedic regimen is very individualized, its results will depend on individual factors as well, and on follow-up treatments, since adjustments and close supervision are absolutely necessary to obtain optimal results.