Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient system of medicine that evolved among the Brahmin sages of ancient India. The root words of Ayurveda are “ayur” which means life and “veda” which means knowledge. Ancient Vedic texts indicate that the system was the oldest before 4000 BC, and some believe it is even 8000 years old. Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are very similar in that both are based on the common bipolar concept of nature, where matter and energy are one. Several aspects of this system of medicine distinguish it from other approaches to healthcare:
o Ayurveda focuses on integrating and balancing the body, mind and spirit rather than focusing on individual symptoms. This is thought to help prevent disease and promote health by balancing three subtle energies known as the Doshas – Vatha, Pitta and Kapha.
o Ayurvedic philosophy holds that people, their health and the universe are related. It is thought that when these relationships are out of balance, health problems can result.
o Ayurvedic, herbal, mineral, massage and other products and techniques are used to cleanse the body and restore balance. Some of these products can be harmful when used alone or with traditional medicines.
o Ayurveda recognizes the unique physical differences of all people and therefore recommends different regimens for different types of people. Two people with the same superficial symptoms may have vastly different energetic constitutions and therefore require different treatments.
o Ayurveda is a holistic medical system that acknowledges that ultimately all wisdom and wisdom comes from one Absolute Source (Paramatman). Health is manifested through the absolute grace of the Law of Nature (Prakriti). Ayurveda helps nature by promoting harmony between the individual and nature by living a balanced life according to her laws.
o Ayurveda describes three basic universal energies that regulate all natural processes on a macro and micro level. That is to say, the same energies that are at work in the various galaxies and star systems are operating on a human physiological level – on your own physiological level. These three universal energies are called Tridosha.
o The ancient Ayurveda doctors recognized the need to maintain a mind-body union and provided humans with the tools to remember and cultivate the subtler aspects of our humanity. Ayurveda seeks to heal the division and disruption of the mind-body complex and restore wholeness and harmony to all.
Unlike traditional Western medicine, Ayurvedic medicine is non-invasive and focuses on individual needs and prevention rather than a one-size-fits-all treatment of symptoms. Taking over-the-counter and prescription medications to treat symptoms that may not have the same source as someone else can make as much sense as buying a hat that fits someone else’s size.
o Is your liver getting the nutritional support it needs?
o Are you taking the right antioxidant in the right amount?
o Does your body metabolize protein efficiently or poorly?
o Does your body metabolize fat or carbohydrates efficiently or inefficiently?
o Can hidden food sensitivities or allergies make you sick?
Over the last century, Ayurvedic medicine has been reborn and continues to evolve its holistic approach to wellness according to today’s modern needs and scientific advances.
The National Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine (NIAM), founded in 1982 by Scott Gerson, MD, the only physician in the United States to hold degrees in both Ayurvedic and Allopathic medicine, is recognized as the largest and most authentic Ayurvedic institution Tuo information resources in the United States.
Ayurvedic medicine conceptualizes and practices eight major subspecialties of medicine, in addition to numerous ancillary specialties. The eight main subspecialties that continue to be taught today include:
1. Internal Medicine (Kayachikitsa)
2. General Surgery (Shalya Tantra)
3. Otolaryngology (Shalakia)
4. Pediatrics and Obstetrics (Kaumarabhrtya)
5. Psychiatry (Bhutavidya)
6. Toxicology (Agada Tantra)
7. Nourishment, Detoxification and Rejuvenation (Rasayana Tantra)
8. Fertility and Masculinity (Vajikarana)
For each disease, the following information is available: definition, etiology, prodrome, clinical symptoms, pathophysiology, prognosis, principles of treatment, drugs, diet, lifestyle advice, and even etymology. This approach is similar to modern Western medicine, even more comprehensive.
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