Ayurveda is not a religion, it is the oldest Indian medicinal system that views body, mind and the soul as not separate parts of human being but one integrated whole. Ayurveda in Sanskrit is derived from the roots 'Ayus' and 'Vid', respectively meaning 'life' and 'knowledge'. Ayus groups the body, the sense organs, the mind and the soul. The Vedas are ancient Hindu books of knowledge that are said to have been divinely revealed to the sages of India many thousand years ago. They contain within them the knowledge, the rhythm and the structure of the universe as well as the secrets of sickness and health. There are four Vedas Rig veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. Ayurveda is part of the fourth Veda, which includes detailed dissertations (often written in verse form in order to be memorized easily) on the treatment of the sick using mantras, herbs and potions.
Ayurveda is a combination of science and philosophy, which details many physical, mental, emotional and spiritual components necessary for holistic health. The sophistication of this system is apparent in the most famous of all ancient Ayurvedic texts, the Charaka Samhita.
This important document of internal medicine, which was written more than 2000 years before the microscope was invented, explains how the body is made up of cells, and it lists 20 different type of microscopic organisms that may cause disease in human body. The Sushruta Samhita, explains surgical methods, surgical equipment, suturing and the importance of hygiene during and after surgery.
Detailed medical information is combined with spiritual and philosophical advice on how to live a healthy and purposeful life. According to vedic philosophy, human lives will be filled with purpose when they strive to fulfil their full potential. This cannot be achieved without health on a basic level. All modern Ayurvedic practitioners work in accordance with traditions belief and practices.
The aim of Ayurveda
Ayurveda is an excellent guide for health and living in a good and moral way. Like many holistic therapies, the emphasis is on the mind, body and spirit - and in Ayurveda, the spirituality is intrinsic to good health and a noble way of life. It aims not only to cure diseases but also to create health and a sense of well being. Working in depth on prevention will keep you healthy and happy.
Ayurveda is simple and very complicated at the same time, as life is. The knowledge is so vast that goes from astrology to yoga, meditation and surgery. But the logic behind everything becomes very clear once the full context is understood. Everything in this world has its place, has a role to play, from the climate to the moment you are born, from the storm to the illness you contract.
Its impact and its process
Ayurvedic medicine is based on the principle that every individual has a unique constitution or prakruti, that is related to the energies within the body. A good, balanced constitution is the best defence against illness. You could compare this to the immune system in the allopathic approach. If your body is functioning at optimum level, there is no way for ill health to gain a strong hold. However, poorly balanced constitution makes one susceptible to illness, both physical and mental. Ayurveda aims at prevention of diseases by working with the constitution of the individual.
Our prakruti is determined by the balance of the three vital energies in the body, known as the three dosha. These are known by their Sanskrit names as vata, pitta and kapha. Each individual prakruti is controlled by its three dosha to different degrees. Usually there is one or two dominant dosha. It is not that easy to determine a constitution but a good practitioner will be able to do. This is mandatory before any treatment as the same ailment can be treated totally differently from one prakruti to another. There is never a standard procedure for a treatment, it all depends on the constitution and the aim is to bring the original constitution of the individual back into balance.