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Ayurvedic Medicine: Prevention Is The Key To Health

Ayurvedic Medicine is the main system of health care in India. In fact, itís one of the oldest medical systems in existence, having been practiced for thousands of years. Ayurveda comes from the Sanskrit words ayur, meaning life, and veda, meaning science or knowledge. Ayurveda means the science of life.

History of Ayurvedic Medicine

Ayurvedic medicine was developed by the great rishis (seers) and was passed on through oral traditions. Ayurveda is over five thousand years old; however, the earliest text we have on Ayurveda dates to 1000 BC.

Ayurvedic medicine is alive and well in modern India. Over two thirds of Indiaís population still relies on Ayurveda and plant medicines to cure their ailments and many of the major cities in India still have Ayurvedic colleges and hospitals.

A friend from Madras, India, would often tell me about the ayurvedic practitioner that would heal the people in the village where he was raised. Although he has been in western society for over fifteen years, he still incorporates a lot of the ayurvedic remedies into his personal lifestyle.

The national flower of India is the lotus flower. Iíve seen this flower displayed in much of the literature I have regarding India, and Iíve even seen it on some of the statues. Whatís significant about this beautiful flower is that it is also used in Ayurvedic medicine. Each one of its petals represents one of the eight Ayurvedic disciplines:

The Eight Ayurvedic Disciplines
  1. Internal medicine
  2. Surgery (treatment of ears, nose, throat, eyes, jaws, and teeth)
  3. Toxicology
  4. Psychiatry
  5. Gynecology
  6. Pediatrics
  7. Geriatrics
  8. Sexology
How Can Ayurveda Help Me?

Ayurvedic medicine places a huge emphasis on prevention. People are encouraged to maintain their health by paying close attention to their bodies, by using herbs, and by monitoring their thoughts, eating habits, and lifestyle choices.

As with other alternative therapies the purpose of Ayurveda is to connect the body, mind, and spirit. Itís believed that once this balance has been reached, it will encourage wellness and prevent illness. One of my friends was an Ayurvedic pharmacist in India. I truly enjoyed the conversations I had with her about the variety of herbs that were used to treat her patients.

How Does Ayurveda Work?

Ayurvedic medicine teaches that our bodies heal from within. Our bodies work with nature to maintain proper balances of doshas. Eliminating excess doshas will speed the removal of waste and strengthen our resistance to disease.

What are Doshas?

Doshas are three qualities that determine your body type: vata, pitta, or kapha.

Facts About Doshas
  1. Doshas consists of one or two of the basic elements: space, air, fire, water, and earth.
  2. Doshas can be upset for a variety of reasons and they have a particular relationship to body functions.
  3. Each person has all three doshas, although one is usually predominant.
  4. Doshas are ever-changing.
How Does An Ayurvedic Practitioner Know Your Dosha Balance?

An Ayurvedic practitioner will ask the patient a series of questions to determine the correct dosha balance for them. The questions are extremely thorough. I had my dosha balance determined around five years ago.

What Can You Expect During Your First Meeting With An Ayurvedic Practitioner?

Besides the questions your Ayurvedic practitioner will use, a physical examination will be given. Your Ayurvedic practitioner will also assess your diet, digestion, lifestyle, and your ability to recover from disappointments and illness. Based on your responses, the Ayurvedic practitioner will develop a treatment plan. There are times when the Ayurvedic practitioner will work with people who know the patient so they can assist.

How Can I Find An Ayurvedic Practitioner?

Those whoíve received their Ayurvedic training in the United States have a variety of training. Some are trained from a medical or nursing school, and others have been trained in naturopathic medicine.

In the U.S., there are a few states that have approved Ayurvedic schools; however, the U.S. doesnít have a national standard for certifying or training Ayurvedic practitioners. There are a few Ayurvedic organizations that have collaborated in order to develop standards for licensing requirements.

India is a different story. There are over 150 undergraduate colleges in India and more than more 30 postgraduate colleges for Ayurveda. Students who receive their degree in India can earn a bachelor or doctorate.

If youíre interested in seeing an Ayurvedic practitioner, do your research. Ask friends and family to see whether they can recommend a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner. Also check online. There is a lot of information available and organizations that can assist you in locating an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner. Once you have found someone, ask the practitioner about their experience.

Remember, just like other alternative therapies your initial appointment will be different from the standard doctor appointments you are used to. Your Ayurvedic practitioner will treat you as a whole person and will diagnose you accordingly.

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