Journal Banner

What is ayurvedic health care and how is it applicable to the Modern Day?

Ayurveda is the world?s oldest recorded system of health care and it is still being practiced today. It has influenced many other systems of medicine within and outside India, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, Siddha, Unani and various types of massage therapy. India, the birthplace of Ayurveda, is experiencing a renaissance of this ancient system of health promotion, disease prevention and treatment, partly as people outside of India show interest in the resurgence of indigenous knowledge that has transformative potential to heal mental and physical ailments. This paper seeks to understand the philosophical worldview of ayurvedic medicine and its relevance to health promotion and disease prevention with an aim to illustrate its depth of understanding of the human mind and body. Ayurveda is a Hindu system of medicine with its roots in India. It is 5000-6000 years old and is thought to have originated by rishis?wise, ancient people. Ayurvedic health care concentrates on the health and well-being of the individual as a whole, and as a member of society. Principles of health promotion and disease prevention are discussed in this paper. Part of the paper focuses on nutrition, a central aspect of Ayurveda. The kitchen is the pharmacy and the pharmacy is the kitchen?is a well-known tenet of Ayurveda and it is explained here. Overall, Ayurveda has great potential to be revived for modern applications all over the world, particularly if more research is done on it. Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word which literally translates as: ayus or ayur meaning life, and veda meaning science or knowledge, further, uncreated knowledge, knowing, super-sensuous wisdom, and secondarily it refers to the books called the Vedas. Knowledge has a two-fold meaning. "The first is derived from the sense-organs and corroborated by varied evidence based upon the experiences of the sense-organs". From this knowledge comes the physical sciences. The second type of knowledge is "transcendent and is realized through the mental and spiritual discipline of yoga". The latter is the subject of the Vedas. Ayurveda is thus a science of life, a system of health and medicine which aims to assist people in living a healthy life. It provides knowledge of how to live (naturally). Most distinct about ayurvedic medicine is its roots in peaceful, spiritual concepts which connect it to a larger philosophy and way of life. The history of ayurvedic medicine is quite different from the history of other systems of medicine, which are rooted in early capitalism and war. Ayurveda is considered to be 5000-6000 years old. Archaeological findings at Mohenjadaro in Sindh and at Harappa in Punjab (approximately 3000 years old) reveal a high level of social sanitation, hygiene and various therapeutic ayurvedic substances that were used by people in these areas.

Author(s): Farah M Shroff