Ayurvedic medicine evolved in India, and is considered to be the world’s oldest healthcare system. It is named for the Sanskrit word Ayurveda, meaning the “science of life.”
Ayurveda is a holistic healing science which is made up of two words, Ayu and Veda. Ayu means life and Veda means knowledge or science. The literal meaning of the word Ayurveda is the science of life. It is a complete way of life as well as a science dealing with treatment of some diseases.
The origin of Ayurveda, an ancient Indian medical science, can be traced back to the Vedas, which are the oldest available classics of the world. India’s ancient books of knowledge, or science, are called Vedas. They contain scientific and practical information on various subjects that are beneficial to health, philosophy, engineering, astrology etc.
It is a combination of physical, psychological and spiritual therapeutic approach to health that has addressed itself to the fundamental principles of good health and longevity. It has developed a system of treatment and tradition of medicine based on the ability of the body to rejuvenate, to heal and to restore its natural balance.
This Indian system of medicine has laid down methods and principles of treatment for various diseases including chronic illnesses where there is no definite curative treatment, and symptomatic relief is the only existing treatment option.
Ayurvedic medicine is entirely holistic. Its adherents strive to create harmony between the body, mind, and spirit, maintaining that this balance prevents illness, treats acute conditions, and contributes to a long and healthy life.
It is India’s primary healthcare system. More than 90% of the continent’s population use some form of Ayurvedic therapy, including following its dietary principles, practicing traditional or “grandma’s medicine,” or seeking professional help from trained Ayurvedic practitioners.
It is not a “one-size-fits-all” system. Its regimens are tailored to each person’s unique prakriti (Ayurvedic constitution) taking into account his/her needs for exercise, nutrition, social interaction, personal hygiene, and other lifestyle elements.
Dincharya are daily routines, and ritucharya are seasonal regimens that are recommended. These individualized plans help Ayurveda users to attain robust physical health, as well as spiritual and mental harmony.
Ayurveda is considered a complementary healthcare option, with many Americans employing Ayurvedic elements such as massage, meditation, or cleansing therapies. It has been growing in popularity in North America for the last decade, partly due to the work of Deepak Chopra, M.D., a physician who combines western medicine with Ayurveda.