An Overview of the World’s Oldest Holistic Healing System
What do you know about India? Take note of the following:
It’s the 2nd most populated country in the world.
It’s where Buddhism originated.
The Taj Mahal is found there, one of the world’s most magnificent man-made masterpieces.
And, it’s the birthplace of Ayurvedic Medicine.
Ayurvedic medicine (aka Ayurveda) is a 3,000-year old (some would even argue it’s 5,000 years old) medical healing discipline that started in India. Some practitioners of Ayurveda state that it’s the oldest system of whole-body healing. The word Ayurveda is Sanskrit for the science of life.
Here are some Ayurvedic teachings and philosophies:
Ayurvedic medicine states that all specific areas in your life can impact your health including your behaviour, spirituality, art, astrology, and yes, even politics and government. To achieve perfect health, you must have a balance between spirit, mind, body, and social well-being.
In Ayurveda, it’s believed that people are made up of prakruti (natural state or condition). It means that you’re born with a specific physical and psychological makeup. Throughout your life, your prakruti essentially remains the same, but it can be influenced by external and internal factors. Examples of external factors include diet, lifestyle, seasons, day and night, and many more. Internal factors focus on things happening inside your body and mind.
Ayurveda primarily promotes the prevention of illnesses. This is accomplished by daily and seasonal health practices to maintain balance.
There are three qualities (called doshas) that constitute your prakruti: kapha, vata, and pitta. These qualities all have a specific impact on your health. Each quality has at least one or more of the basic elements: earth, water, fire, space (ether), and air.
The table below shows the doshas and their associated elements including the specific body part or function they’re concerned with.
Water and earth
Space and air
Associated with lubrication and transport of nutrients through the arterial system; immunity; self-healing and repair. Its headquarters lies in your stomach.
Its main seat is in your colon. It’s regarded as the most powerful dosha and can influence the two other doshas. It’s linked to your breathing and blood circulation.
Pitta resides in your small intestine. It rules your digestion and is linked to heat generation. It also adds beauty to your eyes, skin, and hair.
Promotes positive emotions like understanding, loyalty, forgiveness, patience, compassion, and love.
It fires up your creativity and energy.
Helps you digest information from around you.
If your dosha is predominantly kapha, you should watch out for allergies, asthma, lethargy, weight gain, diabetes, gallbladder diseases, pulmonary problems, goitre, and excessive sleep.
A vata-dominant person should watch out for anxiety, constipation, flatulence, arthritis, and problems with the nervous system.
Pitta-dominant people should look out for inflammation, nausea and vomiting, bleeding disorders, ulcers, heartburn, and rashes.
Each person has a different prakruti and doshas. Only a qualified practitioner of Ayurvedic medicine can determine your prakruti and doshas. An imbalance between the doshas can lead to health problems. Like modern medicine, Ayurveda also has its own set of medicinal specialties.
Research on Ayurveda
Ayurvedic medicine is recognised by the World Health Organisation and is safely used by millions of people around the world. Numerous studies have documented the effectiveness and safety of some of its more common treatment regimens. Just make sure the Ayurvedic practitioner you consult is fully qualified and is aware of any medications or supplements you may already be taking.
These points highlight some of the positive results of well-conducted research studies behind certain Ayurvedic forms of treatment or practice:
A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2013 has successfully identified a risk factor for developing Parkinson’s Disease by determining a patient’s doshas.
In 2011, a double-blind, randomised, controlled research trial concluded that Ayurvedic medicine (turmeric) and methotrexate have equal efficacy in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
Ayurvedic medicine is basically all about maintaining the balance between your doshas and other important aspects of your life. An essential part of maintaining that balance may involve various herbal products and formulations. Most Ayurvedic forms of treatment are aimed at keeping you healthy and preventing you from developing chronic diseases. This is where the strength of Ayurvedic medicine lies.