The word Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word that evolves from combination of two words, "Ayuh" meaning life and "veda" meaning knowledge. Ayurveda "Science of Life" or "wisdom of life" deals with nature and includes all aspects of life. Ayurveda is a 6000year old science that originated in India and the components and concept of Ayurveda is rooted in Vedas, the ancient book of knowledge that dates around 3000BC. The component of the science that deals with health and disease is known as Ayurvedic Medicine and came into existence around 1000BC.
Ayurvedic Medicine is the world's oldest comprehensive health care system and is indigenous to India where it is widely practiced. "This ancient art of healing asserts that the science, philosophy and spirituality are all necessary aspects of healthy living." Thus Ayurveda is not only a comprehensive medical system but also a way of living and the very concept of "mind, body and spirit" originates from Ayurveda.
It is now one of the most recognized and widely practiced disciplines of alternative medicine in the world. Some of the popular practices of Ayurveda are Meditation, Yoga, chanting, breathing exercises, Panchakarma and Herbs. For more information please visit www.ayurvedahealth.org.
Ayurveda is recognized by The National Health Institutes/Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NIH)/ NCCAM) as an Alternative Medicine, a complete medical system, website http://nccam.nih.gov.
Ayurvedic Definition of Health
Adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO)
Sam dosha, samagni, samdhatu malakriyah
Health is in balance when all three doshas (bioenergy) and agni (metabolic process) are in balance, and excretions are in proper order. When atman (soul), senses, manah (intellect) are in harmony with internal peace, the svastha (optimal health) is achieved.
Ayurvedic Classics: Are written in Sanskrit and are a major source of information.
Major Ayurvedic Classics (Brhattrayi)
Charak Samhita by Charaka
Sushruta Samhita by Sushruta
Ashtanga Sangraha and Ashtanga Hridaya by Vagbhata
Minor Ayurvedic Classics (Lghutrayi)
Sarangadhar Samhita by Sharngadhara
Bhav Prakash Nighantu by Bhavamisra
Madhava Nidan by Madhava Kara
Ayurvedic Approach to Health and Wellness
To maintain the health of a healthy person and cure the disease of a diseased.
Preventive Medicine Creates and maintains health and longevity of an individual by maintaining balance of a person's prakturi (or constitution) by creating daily and periodic regimens. These health routines focus on diet and exercise, herbals, massage, meditation, and social behavior and positive relationships.
Curative Medicine Treatments to cure the disease by one or combination of the following approaches:
Ayurvedic medicine features the following eight specialty branches. These trainings are achieved at accredited Ayurvedic medical Schools.
Safety and Efficacy of Ayurvedic Medicine
Ayurvedic Medicine is recognized by the WHO and is used safely by millions of people. However, like any other medical system, Ayurvedic therapies have contraindications and potential for adverse effects or side effects. This is of particular concern when therapies are prescribed by unqualified practitioners, are not used correctly and are abused by self prescription. Ayurveda does not propagate that herbs are safe. Panchakarma (detoxication) should be performed only by qualified Ayurvedic practitioners who are trained in this sub-specialty.
Consumers must bear responsibility when seeking Ayurvedic therapies to check the credentials, training, and experience of the practitioners. Consumers must also communicate, with their conventional and Ayurvedic practitioners and practice full disclosure about the therapies they are using.
It is important to note that the United States Food and Drug Administration does not regulate herbs or dietary supplements. The International Society for Ayurveda and Health (ISAH), a professional society of Ayurveda in the United States, recommends Ayurvedic therapeutic herbal use or detoxification only when prescribed, administered and properly supervised by a trained practitioner.
When seeking Ayurvedic practitioner, ISAH recommends partnering with a practitioner who holds a doctoral degree (e.g., M.D., Ph.D., or Phys.D.) and has completed training at a recognized Ayurvedic medical school.
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