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AYURVEDA

History & Meaning

Ayurveda is considered by most medical historians to be the world’s oldest system of Natural medicine, originating many thousands of years ago in Ancient India. Many of the other systems of Natural medicine such as Egyptian, Chinese, Persian and Greek are believed to have their roots in Ayurveda. It is a complete science of healthy, balanced living, a genuinely holistic outlook encompassing the whole range of life, inner and outer.

The healing tradition of Ayurveda is strongly rooted in the culture of the Indian subcontinent. There are 4 main types of Vedas – Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva. Ayurveda is a derivative of mainly Atharva Veda, though many Ayurvedic principles are referred to even in the Rig Veda.

“Ayur” means Life and “Veda” means Knowledge or Science. Therefore Ayurveda means Knowledge or Science of Life. This ancient science of holistic healing was practiced by the great sages or seers of ancient India many thousands of years ago.

 

Originally, the principles of Ayurveda were taught orally by the “Guru” (master) to his disciples (followers). Only around 1000 B.C., a famous sage and Ayurvedic physician by the name of “Charaka” compiled the principles of Ayurveda and recorded them in a written form in his book entitled “Charaka Samhita”, in the form of poetical verses called “sutras” in Sanskrit. Sanskrit is further believed to be the origin of all languages.

Similarly there were other Ayurvedic physicians who also compiled the teachings of Ayurveda in their books such as “Sushruta” who wrote the “Sushruta Samhita”; Sharangdhara who wrote the “Sharangdhara Samhita and there were several others in their lineage.

At present many of the Ayurvedic physicians use Ashtanga Hrdayam which is a concise form of the earlier texts, developed over 1000 years ago.

 

 

Principles of Health Assessment

According to Ayurveda, an individual’s health problems are to be treated by considering the individual as a whole. Ayurveda treats individuals as whole units, and the different body parts and organs as fragmental parts of the individuals. On a larger scale, even individuals are also considered as fragmental parts of the whole universal creation.

For example, when an individual experiences indigestion, an astute Ayurvedic practitioner will not only consider his physical abdominal ailment, but will also examine his emotional, psychological, mental and spiritual attitudes and behaviour. Further, the diagnosis will include how the weather, environment, seasons etc. are affecting that individual.

Tools of Diagnosis

Broadly speaking, Ayurvedic principles dictate that an individual’s good health is sustained by three main pillars i.e. Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These three pillars are in turn made up of five elements – Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. To enjoy good health, it is imperative to maintain a balance amongst these five elements. Any disturbance to the delicate harmony of these five elements is the primary cause of ill-health and disease.
By taking advantage of the ancient Indian practice of pulse diagnosis and having the pulse checked by an experienced practitioner, one can identify one’s primary bodily constitution i.e. whether it is predominantly Vata, Pitta or Kapha.
Then one can work on pacifying the aggravated elements and boosting the weak elements in the body, simply by following the right diet for one’s body type. Many diseases can be prevented and even cured in this way, without the use of medication


NATUROPATHY

The 3 principles of Naturopathy are :
1. Toxins – cause of disease
2. Disease – a vital process
3. Healing – from within

In a healthy individual, waste matter is expelled from the body in the form of faeces, urine, sweat etc. However, the unnatural lifestyle of modern man, combined with the consumption of over-refined foods, lack of exercise and a polluted environment, affect the efficiency of the excretory system within the body. As a result, waste matter & toxins accumulate in the body, and the result is disease.

Disease is Nature’s way of correcting what is wrong within the body. For example, when we catch a cold or cough, the body is trying to cleanse the respiratory system. Similarly, when excessive wastes have accumulated, the body uses extra energy to throw them out. This often causes the body heat to increase, resulting in a fever.

We are blessed by Mother Nature with tremendous self healing and self constructing powers. If maintained well, the body is powerful enough to cure and preserve itself. If disease does occur, naturopathy simply assists the body in dispelling the toxins and healing itself. Naturopathy aids the body to cure itself by nature cure treatments like fasting, water therapies, diet, exercise, yoga and other alternative methods.