What is Ayurveda
|February 19, 2012||Posted by Bill under General Ayurveda Information||
A•yur•ve•da n. Ancient Sanskrit word meaning “the science of life.”
Ayurveda is a traditional healing system from India that focuses on using the natural capabilities of the human body, in conjunction with food, diet, and medicines, to treat and prevent illness. Ayurveda originated from Vedic Sciences that sought to provide a comprehensive understanding of the entire universe, including matter, mind, and consciousness. Vedic Sciences also incorporated yoga, meditation, and mantra, and Ayurveda is a special branch dedicated to healing both the mind and body. Ayurveda jobs began with the earliest health practitioners that sought to balance the body and mind using natural techniques. As stated by Frawley and Ranade (2001:37), the three-fold goal of Ayurveda is:
- To achieve positive individual health;
- To aid in uplifting society; and
- To facilitate the liberation of the human spirit.
Ancient Sanskrit documents indicate Ayurveda was practiced as early as 4,000 B.C. and this science was considered a healing gift. Over the years, Ayurveda has been accepted and used by doctors throughout Europe and Asia. It is the basis for Greek and Buddhist medicine and greatly influenced Chinese medicine. Today, Ayurveda is undergoing another stage of development as it is being incorporated into medicine throughout the western world as a number of westerners are realizing the weaknesses inherent in modern medicine (Frawley 2000:67).
Ayurvedic healing is based around the idea that human beings are most healthy when their bodies and minds are in balance. This medicinal science recognizes that life is basically a constantly changing play between matter and energy, just like modern physicists are constantly telling us. Ayurveda states that the energy of life, or Prana in Sanskrit, is constantly interacting with the Five Great Elements Ether (space), air, fire, water, and earth. The five elements interact with the three principal forces in the external world that govern all processes in nature on Earth the Sun, Moon, and Wind. These three forces also relate to three biological humors (called doshas in Sanskrit) that are present in the human body Vata (Wind), Pitta (Sun), and Kapha (Moon).
|Basic Relationship between the Five Elements and the Three Principal Energies on Earth|
|Wind||Air and Ether||Movement/Space|
|Moon||Earth and Water||Cohesion/Preservation|
|From Frawley and Ranade 2001:43|
The goal of Ayurveda is to maintain the proper balance of doshas in the human body. Each human being is made up of a unique blend of all five elements and the three principal forces in nature. Optimal health is maintained by keeping the doshas in balance, which Ayurvedic healers do by recommending the proper diet, issuing medicines, providing therapeutic massages, and suggesting meditation techniques. Jobs in Ayurveda seek to cure and prevent illness by returning balance to the body, which allows each person to heal themselves. Ayurvedic health practitioners believe that food and lifestyle can be used as medicine to prevent and cure illnesses. This special type of doctor uses natural substances like oils, plants, spices, and minerals to restore balance to the body whenever necessary.
Frawley, Dr. David
2000 Ayurvedic Healing: A Comprehensive Guide. Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin.
Frawley, Dr. David and Dr. Subhash Ranade
2001 Ayurveda: Nature’s Medicine. Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin.