Ayurveda: Introduction to Ayurvedic Medicine.
Ayurvedic Medicine as alternative medicine for holistic health. Introduction to Ayurveda.
Complementary Medicine for Holistic Health
Introduction to Ayurveda
In Sanskrit, Ayurveda means The Science of Life. The oldest healing art on the planet, Ayurveda has been practiced in India for the past five thousand years. It is rooted in India’s most cherished scriptures known as the Vedas. Ayurveda encompasses our entire life, the body, mind and spirit. Ayurvedic Medicine is a comprehensive system of medicine combining natural therapies with a highly personalized approach to the treatment of disease. Yet it is not only the ancient Indian science of preventative health and healing, it is also a philosophy of living. This ancient science is health, not disease, specific and that is why it takes into account the patient’s entire personality – body, mind and spirit. Ayurvedic Medicine rarely treats the symptoms. Rather it cures by removing the cause of the disease. Ayurvedic practitioners often say, "One should be more interested in what kind of patient has the symptoms than in what kind of symptoms the patient has." Placing equal emphasis on body, mind, and spirit (AKA physical, astral, and causal), Ayurveda endeavors to restore the innate harmony of the individual with the primary goals ofprevention and longevity.
According to Ayurvedic medicine, each person has a particular pattern of energy—an individual combination of physical, mental and emotional characteristics—which comprises his/her own constitution. This constitution is determined at conception by a number of factors and remains the same throughout one’s life.
Ayurveda identifies three basic types of energy or functional principles that are present in everyone by the original Sanskrit words vata, pitta, and kapha, called doshas.
Vata, pitta and kapha are distinctly present in every individual but express in each human being differently according to the predominance of the different doshas.
According to Dr. Vasant Lad of The Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico the doshas have the following qualities:
- Vata is dry, light, cold, mobile, active, clear, astringent, and has dispersing qualities.
- Pitta is hot, sharp, light, liquid, sour, oily and has spreading qualities.
- Kapha is heavy, slow, cool, oily, liquid, dense, thick, static and has cloudy qualities.
Dr Lad writes, "Individual constitution is determined at conception by the particular combination of the three doshas: vata, pitta and kapha. Every human being is a unique entity with its own individual constitution. The constitution, the psycho-somatic temperament of a person, is primarily genetic in origin."
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Within the body there is a constant interaction between order and disorder but by understanding the nature and structure of disorder, one can re-establish order and health. Balance and health are the natural order; imbalance and disease are disorder.
Ayurvada teaches that transgressions against the laws of nature or against our own inner wisdom cause all diseases.
The Ayurvedic doctor diagnoses the disease process through:
- Inquiring about the past, present and family history
- Observation and inspection
- Tactile experience or palpation
- Listening to the heart, lungs and intestines
- Interpretation of the pulse, tongue, eyes and nails in the clinical examination
- A specific examination of functional systems separately.
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