The sanskrit term Āyurveda translates to “knowledge of life” or “science of life.” Āyurveda is now the world's oldest system of medicine originating over 5K yrs ago in the ancient Vedic tradition of India. It is the a complete form of healing as it focuses on balancing the body, mind, and soul.
While western medicine is powerful to focus on the immediate body, AKA - diagnose and treat disease or pain based on symptoms, Āyurveda does so while considering the individual's body, mind, essence, and how they relate to each other.
Āyurveda not only takes into account one’s current state but also looks at one’s entire life from birth. In some cases, Āyurveda will dive into pre-birth situations and to those whom it resonates, past lives as well.
In other words, Western Medicine = treat symptoms, Eastern Medicine = find the root cause and prevent disease. While Western Medicine has been revolutionary in the longevity of living and getting us through chronic disease, incorporating Eastern modalities into preparatory protocols and recovery process works to re-enhance the quality of life so we not only live longer, but live long and vital.
Some goals of Āyurveda is to:
- Prevent illness and injury from happening (maintain the health of a healthy person).
- Cure disease.
- Increase vitality and strength so that old age is experienced with independence rather than dependence (such as needing pills, tubes, or other specialized care).
Some methods of achieving these goals:
- Eliminate Impurities - Cleansing the body of toxins that are interfering with the functional body.
- Lower Symptoms - Through modalities such as 1. physical movement, stretching, breathing, meditation, thought work, massage, time in nature, self-care rituals including hygiene, recipes, nutrition/ diet, and in some cases, herbs.
- Strengthen Resistance to Disease - improve digestion, gut microbiome, hormonal balancing, appetite, and immunity for longevity.
- Improve perception of stress - Reduce worry and increase harmony with self + world around you through mental nutrition, spiritual healing, self-care rituals, thought work, and meditation. (Note - meditation comes in many forms, not just sitting in silence. Though this modality is scientifically proven to work).
Now, it is important to recall the fact that Ayurveda sees everyone as uniquely individual. Also,
Āyurveda takes nature into account so that processes and Modalities honor critical Circumstances through the year, season, and Inherit measurements that align with these transitions.
Thus, while the above serves as an outline of what Āyurveda embodies, the healing process for one person will look different by individual. For example, how to safely usher out toxins, how long such a protocol will last, what and when movement practices are to take place, what and how much food to consume, even what temperature to consume, is all taken to account based on where an individual is at the moment of an Āyurveda consultation.
Every element is customized to help bring the person back into what homeostasis is for them. This brings us to a very popular elements of this science, Āyurveda recognizes we are made up of all of natural elements in varying proportions. In other words,
Āyurveda takes the laws and patterns of nature and applies them to the human body as well as the human experience through substance called doshas.
These doshas can either regulate and fuel that which supports our vitality and essence, or, these doshas accumulate into metabolic waste and cause mayhem throughout the body and mind.
WE ARE MADE UP OF ALL 3 DOSHAS… However, the quantities of each vary from person to person and throughout each individual’s life based on surroundings, nutrition and other factors. One person can be more vata in nature but have a pitta in-balance. Someone else could be more kapha + vata in nature but have an vata in-balance.
I believe we can all agree on the fact that no two people are the same. Even identical twins who grow up in the same household end up with different wants and needs than one another. Yes, humans require genuine nourishment to ALL basic needs as illustrated below. However, what lights us up, energizes, nourishes us, eases us, how we achieve these basic needs and how we perceive it, all differ in some way. It is what makes us all so special!
WE ALL HAVE THESE NEEDS… however, the way we attains and experience each differs and can be explained by what doshas are more or less aggravated in our bodies and minds at the time.
Differences are beautiful, necessary, and powerful. No dosha is better than the other. However, when imbalanced, we are unable to best satisfy our needs. When balanced, we can satisfy our needs with more clarity.
Thus, in Āyurveda, the way we measure imbalances and differences would be to use the natural tools that make up this world (fire, water, earth, air, ether/space). In other words, someone with high proportions of fire or heat may react to excessive work differently than someone with a high percentage of earth. By noticing how we relate to these elements we can see how gracefully we can assimilate in this life. In the same vain, recognizing how we move, think, rest, and eat allows us to live in a cohesive and sustainable way.
THE SECRET TO HEALTH IS MERGING INTUITIVE ANCIENT WISDOM OF HUMANS AND NATURE WITH MODERN SCIENCE, AS THEY CAN BOTH COME DOWN TO MIND-BODY CONNECTION.
If we look at many facets of Āyurveda, modern science has already started to prove a lot of the practices such as:
Eliminating Harmful Toxins - Results of Toxic Build-up in the Body
Eating Whole Foods - Benefits of Healthy Whole Foods
Sleep - Harvard Medical School Sleep and Health Studies
Meditation - 12 Science Based Benefits
Physical Movement - CDC Benefits for Physical Activity Every Day
The 5 elements - Through the Correlation of Physiological Principles in Quantum Physics
The mutual interrelationship of us and the universe - as well as disease being a disturbance of this correlation. Explained through quantum logic.
The Doshas - As explained through qualities of different tissues in which vibrate at specific frequencies. Thus, imbalances results in a change of their state and cellular reactions become diseased.
Āyurveda is a complex science in itself so for it to support conventional medicine requires serious participation from that who wishes to heal. Now the question was, why Āyurveda? Especially if I as the client would need to change the way I live my life?
Well, because if one is not happy with where they are at in this moment, then one needs to move in a different way to achieve different results. Āyurveda recognizes that a band aid approach while doing the same activity that created the injury in the first place, will just lead to more problems down the line. So instead, the approach is to go to the root - why would one even choose to move in a way that would lead to such an injory in the first place?
Plus, there is no such thing as one size fits all! Nobody has YOUR body. No one has YOUR perspective. Thus, no one has YOUR unique needs to experiencing homeostasis in your body.
AYURVEDA IS SCIENCE + PSYCHOLOGY + PHILOSOPHY + PHILOSOPHY AND SEES EACH PERSON AS A MICROCOSM OF THE UNIVERSE.
While this may seem complex, it is important to remember science is intricate, art is intricate, the way the world and universe works is intricate, the human body and brain are intricate. So why would it make sense that a single one size fits all approach like taking a pill when your stomach hurts is it? You are worth knowing what works for you.
Āyurveda always comes back to the fact that our internal bodies, physical bodies, and all living (or not living) beings are intricately woven by a chaotic yet beautiful web of life - AKA, everything is connected! This unique emphasis on wellness from a holistic standpoint sees this process of harmonization as an art and science. THUS, if you believe health can be achieved through a balance of mind, body, spirit, and energy, then Āyurvedic Medicine may very well be for you.