Ayurveda is a holistic healing system that developed among the sages of ancient India approximately 6,000 years ago. This medical system has several aspects that distinguish it from other approaches to health care. The word “Ayurveda” is composed of the words āyus – “life” and veda – “knowledge” and translates as “science of life”.
Ayurveda represents the oldest holistic medical system about the principles of a healthy way of life. The origin of this teaching belongs to the ancient period of the Indian sacred scriptures (Vedas), which arose as a result of the inner knowledge of enlightened sages (Rishis).
Ayurveda represents a holistic and simple form of a treatment approach with the aim of better understanding yourself. It tries to penetrate to the core of the problem and reveal the real or root cause of the disease, whether its origin is in improper nutrition, lifestyle habits, hereditary burden, negative thinking or emotional or energy imbalance. The wisdom of Ayurveda thus offers us a look into the broader connections and contexts that shape and influence our psychological and physical state.
Ayurvedic practice primarily appeals to conscious prevention and a healthy lifestyle, because diseases are always easier to treat in their early stages than in advanced stages, when in most cases damage to body tissues already occurs. Seventy percent of the origin of most diseases is hidden in incorrect lifestyle. Therefore the success of Ayurvedic therapy depends mainly on the consumption of the correct diet and also on our willingness to change some existing habits and stereotypes in our daily life, which are often at the root of our health problems. The right attitude, strong will, and determination to solve your health problem are always the beginning of success.
The main principle of Ayurveda is to live in harmony with your constitution and the laws of nature. Ayurveda is a holistic science, it deals with the whole person. It does not focus on suppressing symptoms, but seeks and treats the root cause of diseases. It aims to maintain the balance of energy in the body, the most important condition of health. Ayurveda deals in detail not only with treatment, but also with disease prevention and longevity. According to the constitution, external and climatic conditions, an individually based diet, change in overall lifestyle, herbal preparations, procedures, yoga, etc. are recommended. Recognition of individual differences and an individual approach to treatment is one of the unique features of Ayurvedic medicine.
According to Ayurveda, a person is composed of five elements, three vital energies – principles, seven tissues and a number of channels. Of the five elements – air, space, fire, water and earth – always two elements form the basis of three energies. We call these energies (principles) according to the original Sanskrit words, Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata is the energy of movement, Pitta represents metabolism, and Kapha corresponds to the principle of matter and structure. These energies are found in each of us, just in a different ratio for each individual. Each of us has a unique energy structure and that is why each person is so unique. The combination of these three energies creates our constitution and metabolic type.
The basis of health is the balance of body and mind. Mind, body, and the whole world are connected vessels. How we think, what we eat or where we work affects the senses and affects the entire organism. According to Ayurveda, most diseases originate in the mind. If an imbalance occurs as a result of external (environment, unhealthy lifestyle) or internal (improper diet and lifestyle) factors, poor digestion, inability to absorb the necessary nutrients and low immunity are considered to be the main cause of the disease. As a result of poor digestion, ama or toxins are formed in the body, which travel through the body and settle in various organs, which they damage. In Ayurveda, there are treatment methods that remove these toxins from the body. The most effective way is to adjust the food menu and lifestyle according to the recommendations and also unique detoxification and rejuvenation, called Panchakarma.
Using these basic principles, Ayurveda tailors preventative wellness to everyone’s unique individual. Additionally, ancient Ayurvedic physicians created detailed descriptions of acute and chronic conditions (with complete causes, signs, and symptoms) and developed extensive holistic treatment protocols. Preventive care and treatment of diseases fall under the eight branches of Ayurveda, which include:
- Kaayachikitsa – internal medicine
- Baalachikitsa – Paediatrics
- Bhuta Vidya – Psychiatry
- Salakya Tantra – ear, nose, and throat treatment
- Shalya Tantra – Surgery (not practiced in the United States today)
- Vishagara Vairodh Tantra – Toxicology
- Jarachikitsa/Rasayana – geriatrics and rejuvenation
- Vajikarana – aphrodisiac therapy, fertility and conception