Ayurveda – the ‘science of life’


Ayurveda is the ancient systemherbal medicine and natural health care, which originated in the Vedic traditions of India. Although the first written rules appeared nearly 5000 years ago, it is believed to have existed in the oral traditions, many, many millennia before.

Did you know? : The Rig Veda, which was written over 6,000 years ago, contains a series of prescriptions that can help humans overcome various ailments.

Ayurveda is much more than just a medical system, predicting, preventing, controlling, containing and reversing the disease process as well as maintaining and promoting health. Ayurveda is a Sanskrit term that means “the science of life” or “life knowledge” (ayur-life and Veda -science or knowledge). It is in fact the ‘science of living’dealing not only with treatment of diseases but a complete way of life, teaching us how to live life to realise our full human potential.

Conscious lifestyle for optimum health

It considers four areas that constitute a conscious living –

  • Ahar – right food
  • Achar – right action
  • Vihar – right rest or recreation
  • Vichar – right thought

Thus in its purview it encompasses not just a system of medical treatment but also herbalism, mind and body specific balancing dietary regulations, balancedlifestyle suggestions, yoga and meditation, exercises and bodywork, sound, aroma, colour and gem therapy, detoxification,rejuvenation and psychological interventions. It’s focused on promoting the physical-vital-psychological- immune-spiritual status of health!!

According to Ayurveda, swasthya, or health denotes not just the absence of disease but an active state of wellness a constant feeling of being well, a state of pure Ananda/bliss. To this end Ayurvedic medicine aims to –

  • Cure disease
  • Prevent disease
  • Maintain health

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda or Ayurvedic medicine is the most complete, scientific, universal, time-tested, natural and personalized system of healthcare in the world.

• Complete- Beyond the wealth of medical knowledge, it provides sound guidelines on ideal daily and seasonal routines, diet, behaviour and the proper use of our senses, Ayurveda reminds us that health is the balanced and dynamic integration between our environment, body, mind, and spirit.

• Scientific – Ages ago without the technical equipment and infrastructure we enjoy now, the ancient seers of Ayurveda have laid out an elaborative pharmacopeia with thousands of herbs and their benefits, most of which have found validation by the modern scientific community and many we are still to research and validate. So deep and sound was this science that it was further divided into 8 branches–

      1. Kayachikitsa – internal medicine
      2. Shalyachikitsa – surgery
      3. Balachikitsa – pediatrics
      4. Graham chikitsa – psychiatry
      5. Urdhvangachikitsa – treatment of eyes, nose, throat and head (E.N.T.)
      6. Damshtrachikitsa – Toxicology
      7. Jarachikitsa – Gereatrics
      8. Vrishyachikitsa – Aphrodisiacs and Infertility

• Universal – this science of life, health and longevity is based on eternal laws, the laws of nature. It is a system of treatment that can benefit all.

• Time-tested – It is the oldest living healing science and its tenets, diagnosis and even treatments, have changed little over thousands of years. Its timeless wisdom is safe and has been tested by hundreds of generations; in ways more than any clinical study can ever be tested.

• Natural – It is a system of healing based on the laws of nature and treats with nature.

• Personalised – According to Ayurveda the path to optimum health is different for each person. Integral to the approach of Ayurveda is its consideration of an individual treatment as a whole in relation to the internal and external environment of the person based on the principle of five elements – Panchamahabhuta. All healing is based on the specific mind-body type of an individual (the three doshas). There is no ‘one fits all’ prescriptions in Ayurveda.

Image courtesy: deborahkingcenter

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