What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian system of healthcare. Ayurvedic doctors treat their patients by the using a wide array of methods such as herbal, animal and mineral medicines, purification and purging techniques, dietary prescriptions, yoga therapy, massage and spiritual advice.
Ayurvedic doctors practice holistic medicine. Not only do they prescribe the drugs and treatment methods, but they also take care to ensure that the diet of the patient, his lifestyle, body chemistry, psychological state etc. maximize the effect of the prescription.
Ayurveda has a complex, encompassing system of diagnosing disease and determining proper treatment methods. Such matters as physical constitution, diet, age, seasonal weather, domicile, lifestyle and others are factors in Ayurvedic diagnosis.
Ayurvedic medicine distinguishes 10 pairs of opposite natural qualities of the physical world (such as hot and cold, wet and dry etc.), known as gurvadi gunah. These qualities actively affect the patient and his unique constitution (prakrti) negatively or positively.
Very simply put, the Ayurvedic doctor prescribes medicines and activities having the gurvadi gunah qualities, which counteract the negative influence.
The patient’s constitution in diagnosed in terms of Tridosha – the three basic aspects of constitution: Vatta (Windy, Airy), Pitta (Fiery), Kapha (Watery/earthy). Each person has a Dosha, which prevails within him, but others are also present. The balance between Doshas is unique for every single human being.
Disease occurs, when the Doshas are out of balance. It is the Ayurvedic practitioner’s job to restore the balance of the doshas through holistic medical practice.
Ayurveda has been around for at least two thousand years. Its foundations are described in the Vedas, an ancient Hindu text on religion, philosophy, and science. This is not the only source of Ayurvedic knowledge as many works have been written over the ages to refine and enrich the original practice.
Originally, Ayurveda had eight branches: internal medicine, surgery, medicine of the eyes, ears, nose, and throat, pediatrics, toxicology, fertility, health and longevity. Now these branches have more or less fused together under the auspices of internal medicine.
Ayurveda has suffered decline under the British rule until its renaissance in the 1970-ies. Now Ayurvedic practices and hospitals flourish in India and Shri-Lanka under the oversight of the state.
People normally turn to Ayurveda because they are attracted to its holistic, individual, and preventive approach.
Ayurveda has been found by some to be most effective against chronic diseases and the conditions most responsive to treatment are reported to include: digestive problems, skin diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, allergies, colds, nasal problems, bronchitis, eye diseases, insomnia and emotional stress.
As an integral system of health care, Ayurveda provides a means of approaching most any health issue.
Of course there are cases when Ayurvedic medicine is used only as a complementary therapy. These conditions are: acute infections, conditions requiring emergency surgery and heart disease. In such cases, Ayurveda is usually used to help speed up recovery time.
Ayurvedic medicine is considered a potent system of healthcare when provided by a certified professional. Such a person will have qualified in India or Sri Lanka by passing a five-year course in Ayurveda and subssequently successfully passed a one-year internship at an Ayurvedic hospital.
It is also important to remember that, as with any system of healthcare, Ayurveda requires effort not only from the doctor, but also from the patient. Optimal healing and recovery happens when the patient cooperates with the Ayurveda practitioner in the combined observation of diets, exercise routines, and corrections in life style habits.