Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Holistic Medicine: Ayurveda

Ayurveda is the oldest and most holistic medicine in the world. Its teachings and practices were documented over 5,000 years ago in India, despite having a history that spans longer than what was documented.

Ayurveda has been referred to a holistic medicine that deals with both body and the spirit. In fact, ayurveda is more like a lifestyle and covers all aspects of health including nutrition and amazingly, surgery.

The main aim of Ayurveda is prevention. Ancient text tells us that humans should be able to live to be about 100 years old and that one can live to a ripe old age in good health, both physically and mentally. Ayurveda does not accept that getting old equals a failing health and a poor quality of life. Although these texts have been written several thousand years ago, Ayurvedic principles remain very much applicable even in today's environment. It is possible for anyone to introduce Ayurvedic principles into their life. There are plenty of benefits that can be derived from doing so.

Ayurvedic practitioners will often strive to find health issues which may just be in their early stages and try to deal with them before they get more serious. In all, Ayurveda seeks to take a preventative stance when it comes to diseases, both physical and mental. Because the the philosophy behind Ayurveda holistic medicine can be quite complex, it can take practitioners several years to understand and master this form of holistic healing.

However, I will attempt to give a brief explanation here on basic Ayurvedic principles, as provided by a practitioner friend of mind.

Through the years, Ayurvedic healing came up with three classifications or "doshas" which are said to govern all bodily processes. The 3 main doshas are Vata (air), Pitta (fire), and Kapha (water). A person's constitution type is dependent on whichever dosha that appears to be dominant. Each constitution type has particular strengths and susceptibilities. Pita (fire) determines how you digest food, your metabolization of sensory perceptions and your emotions. Too much Pitta can lead to anger, criticism, acidity, ulcers, rashes and thinning hair. On the other hand, too much vata leads to worries, insomnia and constipation. Vata controls blood flow, waste elimination and your breathing. Someone with too much Kapha gains weight easily. Too much Kapah also leads to lethargy, congestion and allergies.

For an ayurvedic diagnosis, therefore, patients are classified by their body types which are determined by the proportions of the three doshas. When the doshas are not in balance, illness and disease results. Ayurvedic treatments are aimed at restoring harmony or balance to the mind-body system.

In Ayurveda, natural remedies are often used as treatments. For instance, herbal preparations may be prescribed. Often, an Ayurvedic doctor will advise a diet change as well. There is also a great focus on stress relaxation and Ayurveda can involve some deep relaxing massage techniques.

Today, there is rising interest in the area of Ayurveda holistic medicine by the western world. For instance, the neem plant which has been used for ayurvedic medicine for so many thousands of years, have been encapsulated after research and testing. Neem plant extracts are used for eczema, liver cleansing and other skin disease problems.

The rising interest by western doctors can only mean good news for us all. With more widespread awareness of ayurvedic herbs, people seeking treatment will find out that there are plenty of alternatives to conventional medicine. More choices and more analysis and information are privy to making informed health decisions for you and your family.

Evelyn Lim owns a health and wellness article directory site. Her site has a growing database of health articles on more than 100 topics such as alternative healing, disease and fitness. Check out Now!

Sunday, February 4, 2007

What Is The Purpose Of Ayurveda

“Life science” is what Ayurveda means in Sanskrit. It is derived from the two words ‘Ayu’ meaning life and ‘Veda’ meaning knowledge or science. Ayurveda is not just a preventive health care system; it is a way of life that found its origins in ancient India 5,000 years ago.

According to this system, health is determined by three biological principles, called ‘Doshas’. The three ‘Doshas’ are Vata, Pitta and Kapha, each controlling movement, metabolism and structure.

The body, mind and spirit is free of disease when the ‘Doshas’ are in equilibrium. Disease strikes when there is an imbalance or disequilibrium in even one of these ‘Doshas’. Balance is the key. Improper diet, pollution, unhealthy habits are just some of the reasons that lead to an imbalance.

Ayurveda emphasizes the use of mind, body and spirit to prevent and fight diseases. Thus it strives to restore the innate harmony of the individual. The main thrust of Ayurveda is to synchronize and coordinate the various bodily functions by identifying the imbalance in the body. The underlying principle is that if the roots are watered well, the plant will flourish. Sleep, diet, internal cleansing and lifestyle are given as much or perhaps more importance than herbs and potions.

Ayurveda places a lot of importance on learning. In this method, treatment is based on the physician’s awareness of the world. Insights are gained by seeing, smelling, tasting and listening. Ayurveda seeks to restore a person’s health by bringing him into equilibrium with his true self.
Thus the aims of Ayurveda are:

* To maintain the health of healthy people
* To cure diseases of ill people

Ayurveda is rightly enjoying widespread resurgence all over the world. With healthcare becoming exorbitant and fraught with risks, health-conscious individuals are taking more responsibility for their own health and well-being. People have started realizing that alternative holistic health systems like Ayurveda will help them lead a healthy life and prevent diseases even before they occur.

Ayurveda has offered an interesting theory of disease. Effective digestion is crucial to health, and any problems in the digestive system causes toxins to build up within the body and clog the channels in the body. This weakens the physiology and creates the right conditions for disease and infection. Rejuvenation is possible only through cleansing programs like Panchkarma. These programs are designed to flush toxins from the body.

Ayurveda depends a lot on herbs, roots, grass and other natural products. Ayurveda also pioneered the science of herbal combination – a happy blending of a variety of herbs to produce a medication that offers the dual benefits of synergy and balance. Sometimes, an Ayurvedic formulation may contain over twenty or more spices and herbs. The combination of primary herbs, balancing herbs and supporting herbs expedite the healing process.

The ayurvedic approach is rising in popularity because it is comprehensive and gentle. Instant cures through pill-popping are foreign to Ayurveda. Patience and persistence pays because Ayurveda seeks to correct the source of the problem. For those who can commit themselves to the effort Ayurveda offers effective, cumulative health benefits and can lead to a happy, healthy and joyful life. Visit