Ayurvedic medicine is originated in India some five thousand years ago. Ayurveda is a holistic system of health promotion, disease prevention and treatment. Practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine view the body as microcosm of the universe.
The name Ayurveda comes from Sanskrit words, ayur, which means life or lifespan, and veda, which means knowledge or wholeness of knowledge. Like traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine is based on the concept of a life force. In Ayurveda it is known as prana.
What is Ayurvedic Medicine?
Practitioners believe that good health depends on the correct flow of prana through the body. This, in turn, relies on a proper balance between three basic forces, known as doshas, which control all physical and mental functions. These forces are pitta, vata and kapha.
Pitta, linked to the sun, is the source of energy that controls digestion and all the body’s biochemical processes. Vata, linked to the wind, controls the nervous system and movement. Kapha, linked to the moon, governs cell and tissue growth and bodily structures.
In Ayurvedic medicine, the universe consists of five elements: space or ether, air, fire, water and earth. The elements are related to the five senses, hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell, respectively. They also relate to the body’s organs and systems, with a disturbance in an element prompting a disorder in the corresponding body system.
Ayurveda practitioners take a detailed history of a person’s health before making a physical examination. Attention is also paid to lifestyles factors, such as diet, and the person’s emotional state.
Diet and digestion are of fundamental importance in Ayurvedic medicine and practitioners view problems in these areas as a major cause of disease. Foods are seen as providing intelligence, order and balance as well as physical nourishment, and different foods have different effects on the doshaes. Food is used to rebalance the doshas. Diets are designed for each individual. These take into account the type of doshas imbalance, the person’s symptoms, the weather and the changing of the year.
Controlling the diet in this manner, combined with fasting, and advice on breathing techniques, relaxation and meditation are often enough to relieve any symptoms. However, if the condition persists practitioners may introduce herbal remedies, massage, enemas, crystals and color therapy.
As an initial aid to detoxification, an Ayurvedic medicine practitioner may suggest a steam bath, or a massage using herbal oils. Herbal inhalation therapy may also be suggested in the Ayurvedic Medicine Process therapy.