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What Are The Principles Of Ayurvedic Medicine?

What Are The Principles Of Ayurvedic Medicine?

The most important thing a person has is their health. In recent years, people have been prioritizing their health more than ever before, using a variety of different methods and approaches to stay healthy. This has a lot to do with the sharing of health/medicinal knowledge, a newfound appreciation for good food and exercise, and rising rates of chronic disease.

There are many different types of medicine practiced across the world. Traditional forms of medicine use science as a driver to develop new technologies and medications that can treat ailments developed due to genetics or poor lifestyle choices. Naturopathic medicine takes an alternative approach, relying heavily on natural therapies designed to help restore wellness. Another branch of medicine, known as Ayurvedic medicine, is also practiced widely across the world. But what is Ayurvedic medicine, exactly? And what are the principles of Ayurvedic medicine you should know? Let’s find out.

What is Ayurvedic medicine?

Ayurvedic medicine originated in India over 3,000 years ago. Its name is derived from two Sanskrit words ayur, meaning “life”, and veda, meaning “science” or “knowledge”. Its approach operates under the idea that an imbalance or stress within a person's consciousness is what leads to disease.

In the United States, there is no national standard or training for Ayurvedic medicine, and Ayurvedic practitioners are not licensed to provide medical care. There are, however, various Ayurvedic schools in some states.

According to this type of medicine, the five elements (fire, water, earth, air, and ether/space) are all present within the body as three different components referred to as Vatta, Pitta, and Kapha. These components are called doshas. Ayurvedic practitioners believe that these doshas relate to both specific functions in the body and basic elements of nature.

What is involved in Ayurvedic medicine?

This type of medicine covers a wide range of areas, taking a combination approach to health care. When using Ayurveda to improve health, patients are encouraged to practice lifestyle changes and natural therapies so that their body, mind, spirit, and environment become balanced. Ayurvedic medicine uses an internal purification process to “jump-start” the healing journey. The purification process is followed by massage therapy, meditation, yoga, a special diet, and herbal remedies.


Image by Dingzeyu Li on Unsplash: Meditation is one of the main activities promoted in Ayurvedic medicine.


What are the components of Ayurveda?

The components of care in Ayurvedic medicine revolve heavily around the three doshas. Vatta is meant to represent the elements of air and ether/space, which are thought to control joint and muscle movement as well as breathing and heartbeat. Vatta is also thought to play a factor in nervous system functions as well as feelings of fear, pain, and anxiety.

Pitta represents the elements of fire and water and is related to digestion, metabolism, and intelligence. The emotional aspect of Pitta is thought to be in control of anger, jealousy, and hate. The third dosha, Kapha, represents earth and water and is thought to be connected to the physical structure of the body as well as the immune system. Kapha is also thought to control emotions such as forgiveness, love, greed, and calmness.

What are the aims and objectives of Ayurveda?

The main aims and objectives of Ayurvedic medicine are to restore wellness and health through a variety of lifestyle practices. Instead of looking at one ailment, those who practice this type of medicine do so from an interconnected approach. They look at the body and the mind as a whole and believe that both need to be well for any ailments to be taken care of properly.

To form a treatment plan, patients are assigned a specific dosha. Their dosha is thought to decide both their health status and the development of their personality. Those who practice this type of medicine are thought to have better success if they focus their care on their respective dosha.

What can Ayurveda treat?

Ayurveda is used to treat a person as opposed to a specific ailment. This means that although many practices within this type of medicine can be directed towards overall health, it may not be an effective way to treat a particular health disorder. The diet aspect of Ayurvedic medicine can be utilized in conjunction with other types of treatment to help with obesity, digestive disorders, and other disorders related to malnutrition.

This type of medicine also utilizes mindfulness and interconnectedness as a way to encourage wellness, so the aspects of meditation and yoga may be helpful in reducing stress levels or symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. Ayurvedic medicine also incorporates exercise into its treatment plan. Exercise is well-known to help increase overall levels of health and decrease the chances of developing chronic disease.

There is limited research available on specific conditions that have been helped through this branch of medicine; however, in some people, the practices done within Ayurveda have been shown to improve overall wellness.


Image by Kike Vega on Unsplash: Yoga is used in Ayurvedic medicine as part of mindfulness.


Is Ayurvedic medicine safe?

Many key practices such as exercising, eating healthy foods, and practicing mindfulness exercises have all been shown to improve health and help people on their journey to wellness. These practices have been deemed safe and can be used as part of a well-rounded approach to care. Herbal medicines commonly used in Ayurveda, however, have not all been proven safe and could harbor some unwanted side effects. Some may also have levels of heavy metals that may be harmful to the body.

Prior to beginning any sort of new health regimen, it's important that you speak with your doctor. Although some practices of Ayurvedic medicine have been proven to be helpful, remember that they are not regulated or confirmed to the point of being a replacement for traditional medical care.


Featured image by Nikoli Afina on Unsplash

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