In order to truly understand health, we have to go back to its roots - And that takes us back thousands of years ago to ancient India, where medicine was first invented.
This deserves a comprehensive introduction because it’s something which most people have never heard of...
Ayurveda has only just begun to infiltrate the medical systems of the West in the past few decades. So what is it exactly? First, let’s break down the Sanskrit word itself, Ayur-veda, which translates to "the science of life" or "the science imparting the knowledge of life". Ayurveda has 8 main branches within it: internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, ENT, surgery, toxicology, geriatrics, and sexology!
Ayurveda is the oldest medicinal system in the world, dating back to over 6,000 years ago from ancient India. It incorporates diet, lifestyle, herbs, surgeries, yoga, meditation, and detox treatments as modalities of healing. Ayurveda is an essential understanding of life as we know it and our role in the cycles of life. It teaches how we can live in harmony with our own bodies, with nature, with the elements that run the Universe and run ourselves. Ayurveda treats every person as an individual, this means there is no "cure all" or treatment that applies to all people. For example, today if someone has diabetes, there will be set medication given to them that ALL diabetes patients follow. If that same patient went to an Ayurvedic doctor, they may be given a totally different healing regimen and herbs to take then the next patient who also has diabetes. This is because Ayurveda looks at what is imbalanced in the individual; it looks to address the cause of disease, not just treat the symptoms. And this varies from person to person. Only by evaluating the constitution of a patient's body (called prakriti) along with their current imbalance (vikriti), treatment can be properly given.
The aim of Ayurveda is to promote health and longevity of human beings and to completely eliminate disease and suffering. An essential understanding of the human being, is that we are a microcosm of the macrocosm; whatever exists in the larger Cosmos and the planet Earth, also exists inside of the human body. We are made out of the same elements that everything else in the Universe is derived from.
Ayurveda is an extremely logical science actually; it follows Cosmic principle. But, the one major difference between modern science and the Ayurvedic science is the acknowledgement of consciousness. Ayurveda understands the human as an amalgamation of body, mind, and consciousness, atman. This is a crucial factor in really establishing true health and harmony in the body; without acknowledging these 3 parts, we cannot achieve full health. Disease also manifests very powerfully from imbalances of mind and spirit.
We understand that disease always arises out of disharmony in the body. Anytime something is out of balance, disease or disorders manifest. Everything is about balance (the satvic state): about balancing our energies, the things that we put inside our bodies, the things that we do to our bodies, the things that we expose our bodies to, and having complete harmony within, so serious disease will not manifest. Only then will we experience perfect health, swasthya in Sanskrit.
Within Ayurveda, health is not just about alleviating pain but actually improving the quality of our life. What is the purpose of our life? What is the goal of our life? What are we living for? This is all part of the Ayurvedic science. We need to know our purpose, live our purpose, work for our purpose…that is what we call Dharma. The dharma chakra: it is the reason that we took this birth, the reason that we live, the purpose of our life. Finding your dharma is essential to experience a happy and healthy life in Ayurveda.
Using diet, lifestyle, herbs, and natural therapies, Ayurveda continues to powerfully heal and change lives. It is a science of living in harmony with all of life and finding your peace and purpose in this lifetime. It treats people naturally, holistically, and individually. It is not something we can afford to stay ignorant of any longer. There is a reason modern society is suffering from rampant disease and mental illness. We have severed our connection with spirit and fail to acknowledge the basic energies that exist within all living things. It is time to get back to the roots of holistic medicine and start to heal ourselves. And by healing ourselves, we will heal the world.