What is Ayurveda?

1. Ayurvedic and Herbal Medicine
Ayurveda, a natural system of medicine, originated in India more than 3,000 years ago. The term Ayurveda is derived from the Sanskrit words ayur (life) and veda (science or knowledge). Thus, Ayurveda translates to knowledge of life. Based on the idea that disease is due to an imbalance or stress in a person’s consciousness, Ayurveda encourages certain lifestyle interventions and natural therapies to regain a balance between the body, mind, spirit, and the environment.

Ayurveda treatment starts with an internal purification process, followed by a special diet, herbal remedies, massage therapy, yoga, and meditation.

The concepts of universal interconnectedness, the body’s constitution (prakriti), and life forces (doshas) are the primary basis of ayurvedic medicine. Goals of treatment aid the person by eliminating impurities, reducing symptoms, increasing resistance to disease, reducing worry, and increasing harmony in life. Herbs and other plants, including oils and common spices, are used extensively in Ayurvedic treatment.

In India, Ayurveda is considered a form of medical care, equal to conventional Western medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, naturopathic medicine, and homeopathic medicine. Practitioners of Ayurveda in India undergo state-recognized, institutionalized training. Currently, Ayurvedic practitioners are not licensed in the United States, and there is no national standard for Ayurvedic training or certification. However, Ayurvedic schools have gained approval as educational institutions in some states.

It’s important to discuss any Ayurvedic treatments that you use with your doctor. Women who are pregnant or nursing, or people who are thinking of using Ayurvedic therapy to treat a child, should consult their healthcare provider. It is important to make sure that any diagnosis of a disease or condition has been made by a healthcare provider who has substantial conventional medical training and experience with managing that disease or condition. While Ayurveda can have positive effects when used as a complementary therapy in combination with standard, conventional medical care, it should not replace standard, conventional medical care, especially when treating serious conditions.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

According to Ayurvedic beliefs, just as everyone has a unique fingerprint, each person has a distinct pattern of energy, a specific combination of physical, mental, and emotional characteristics. Ayurvedic practitioners also believe there are three basic energy types called doshas, present in every person:

Vata

Energy that controls bodily functions associated with motion, including blood circulation, breathing, blinking, and heartbeat. When vata energy is balanced, there is creativity and vitality. Out of balance, vata produces fear and anxiety.

Pitta

Energy that controls the body’s metabolic systems, including digestion, absorption, nutrition, and temperature. In balance, pitta leads to contentment and intelligence. Out of balance, pitta can cause ulcers and arouse anger.

Kapha

Energy that controls growth in the body. It supplies water to all body parts, moisturizes the skin, and maintains the immune system. In balance, kapha is expressed as love and forgiveness. Out of balance, kapha leads to insecurity and envy.