Mother of All Healing—for 5,000 years in India, Ayurveda has been both a science and art of healing that has helped progress other forms of ancient medicine such as Tibetan medicine and traditional Chinese Medicine. It is considered by many scholars to be the oldest healing science. Many of the principles of natural healing systems now familiar in the West have their roots in Ayurveda, including homeopathy and Polarity Therapy.
Deriving its meaning from the Sanskrit words ayur (life) and veda (science or knowledge), Ayurveda means “the science of life.” Its wisdom reminds us that the entire web of life is intricately interwoven—not just the body, mind, and spirit but to its environment as well. With a unique emphasis on total wellness, the art, and science of Ayurveda work to harmonize our internal and external worlds.
Ayurvedic practice falls under any of its eight branches:
- Kaayachikitsa – Internal Medicine
- Baalachikitsa – Pediatrics
- Bhuta Vidya – Psychiatry
- Shalakya Tantra – Ear, Nose and Throat Treatment
- Shalya Tantra – Surgery
- Vishagara Vairodh Tantra – Toxicology
- Jarachikitsa/Rasayana – Geriatrics and Rejuvenation
- Vajikarana — Aphrodisiac Therapy, Fertility, and Conception
Ayurveda’s Strategy: Focus on Constitution; Work on Balance
Balance is the natural order; imbalance is disorder. Health is order; disease is disorder.
The Ayurvedic strategy banks on the concept of universal interconnectedness. And thus, on the dynamics and connectedness of the body’s constitution (prakriti), and the life forces (doshas) around it.
Following this concept, disease is understood to be due to an imbalance or stress in a person’s consciousness. And as such, the goals of treatment aid the person by eliminating impurities, reducing symptoms, increasing resistance to disease, reducing worry and stress, and increasing harmony in life. Its strategy is to encourage lifestyle interventions and habits to regain a balance between the body, mind, spirit, and the environment.
Like everyone’s unique fingerprint, each person has a particular pattern of energy—an individual combination of physical, mental, and emotional characteristics—which comprises the constitution. This constitution is determined at conception by a number of factors and remains the same throughout one’s life.
Ayurveda also centers on the senses. The five senses serve as the portals between the internal and external realms, as the five great elements of ether, air, fire, water, and earth move around and influence the dynamics and balance of our doshas. Ayurveda groups these five elements into three basic types of energy and functional principles that are present in everybody and everything—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
Balancing the Three Principal Energies
Vata, pitta, and kapha are combinations and permutations of the five elements that manifest as patterns present in all creation. In the physical body, vata is the subtle energy of movement, pitta the energy of digestion and metabolism, and kapha is the energy that forms the body’s structure.
Many factors, both internal and external, act upon us to disturb the balance of our doshas and are reflected as a change in one’s constitution from the balanced state. Examples include one’s emotional state, diet and food choices, seasons and weather, physical trauma, work, and family relationships. Understanding these factors is crucial and a precursor to taking appropriate actions to minimize its effects or eliminate the causes of imbalance and re-establish our original constitution.
Ayurveda, as a science and art of healing that focuses on lifestyle, have benefits that are unique to the practice. Here’s some the major benefits that you can immediately reap from adopting and practicing Ayurveda.
- Stress Buster
Ayurveda teaches several methods to release stress: yoga, dinacharya, or waking up early before the sun rises to give you peace of mind; meditation; drinking green tea which has stress properties such as L-theanine to keep you calm and to reduce anxiety.
- Aids in Weight Loss
Healthy weight loss comes naturally after detox and adopting a healthier diet.
- Balances Hormones
Detox also flush away toxins and fight the chemical imbalance in your body which usually messes up with your hormones!
- Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is usually caused by poor diet, lack of sleep, and stress. Ayurveda’s herbal treatments, yoga, and meditation promote conditions such as good sleep, a calmer mind, hence, controlling the excessive inflammation.
- Removes Toxins From the Body
Ayurveda consists of practices that cleanse the mind, body, and soul. A vital Ayurvedic intervention called ‘Panchakarma’ is used to get rid of toxins that interfere with the normal functioning of the body.
Ayurveda addresses all aspects of life by understanding the forces and elements that surround and influence everything. But it also recognizes that each of us is unique—responds differently to the many aspects of life, possesses different strengths and weaknesses.
It may be ancient wisdom and practice but it offers renewed access to our natural intelligence. And Ayurveda offers the promise of a more harmonious future for us, people, AND our planet.