Understanding Ayurveda

Ayurveda is defined as the ‘science of life’. It is a holistic alternative science from India, and is more than 5000 years old. It is believed to be the oldest healing science in existence, forming the foundation of all others.

Ayurveda can be classified into 8 branches of medicine

  1. Internal Medicine (Kayachikitsa)
  2. Ear, Nose & Throat (Shalakya Tantra)
  3. Toxicology (Visha chikitsa)
  4. Pediatrics (Kaumara bhritya)
  5. Surgery (Shalya Tantra)
  6. Psychiatry (Bhuta Vidya)
  7. Aphrodisiacs (Vajikarana)
  8. Rejuvenation (Rasayana)

The main theme of Ayurveda is self-healing and self-realization where people can educate themselves to take control of their own health.This is achieved by monitoring and balancing one’s nutritional and lifestyle habits to heal, prevent illness, and develop longevity. Ayurveda teaches that people are their own best healers.

The ability to take control of one’s health inspires self-worth and self-empowerment. Faith in one’s intuitive abilities is further engendered when persons actually see the positive results from their efforts. Realizing one has the ability to take control of one’s own health is itself a key factor in healing.

Ayurveda defines 5 elements as the building blocks of life- ether, air, water, fire and earth. It is said that all of the creation, including humans, is made up of combinations of all five essential elements.

This is the level that Áyurvedic healing works on. Focusing on the cause of the grosser levels of life, the denser aspects will be taken care of since they are made up of these five elements. Just as a strong foundation supports a strong building, when the five elements (the foundation of all matter) are strong and balanced in a person, they will automatically balance the more material levels. A person diagnosed with a duodenal ulcer is an example of this balancing. Rather than create a name for a symptom, Ayurveda identifies the illness as an excess of the fire element. Acid is a byproduct of heat. Ayurveda will look to see in what part of the patient’s life overheating occurs. It may be due to eating excessive fiery foods and spices.

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