Ayurvedic Medicine

The Indian subcontinent has been the source of some of holistic medicine's greatest offerings and discoveries. For years India's natural approach to medicine has been praised the world over as it has been applied to the holistic lifestyle. One such form of medicine is Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional medicine practiced devoutly in India and other parts of the world as an alternative medicinal approach.
The word Ayurveda translates into "the science of longevity" and remains a leading series of medicinal practices in South Asia. Dating back to the Vedic period years, Ayurveda has a long and rich history and evolution. In Western medicine these methods are considered complementary and alternative medicine which would be used in addition to modern treatment rather than in place of it.
Grounded in the metaphysics of the "five great elements" which comprise the universe (air, earth, fire, water, and ether), Ayurveda deals with healthy living during a human's entire lifespan and stresses a distinct balance of the three elemental energies, or humors. These three humors translate into Ayurveda as "bile" (fire and water), "wind" (air and space), and "phlegm" (water and earth). When these three elements are in a balanced state the body is healthy, and it is when these elements are thrown out of balance that the body has a disease.
Ayurveda is broken down into eight disciplines, all of which match up to the basic medicines of Western culture, from peidiatrics to surgery. With its roots lying in nutrition and a balanced diet and lifestyle, it is easy to understand how Ayurveda is considered a holistic and natural route to health juxtaposed against Western medicine. Exchanging Western drugs and surgical practices for alternatives such as herbal remedies and nutritional balance, Ayurveda is a fairly simple and proven approach to a healthy lifestyle.
Despite Ayurveda's simple approach to health and its age-old history, its diagnotics are detailed and comparable to modern medicine. By examining a person's diet, measurements, fitness, age, as well as precursory symptoms, Ayurveda doctors are able to diagnose individuals with stunning accuracy. Observation throughout the course of treatment also allows doctors to examine the effectiveness of their methods and prescribe remedies and lifestyle changes accordingly.
Ayurveda is very unique in its crossing of physically powerful remedies such as herbs and natural minerals and spiritual/religious methods. For example, oils such as sesame and sunflower oil are found throughout Ayervedic practices, but oils are also often used for the anointing of the patient's body, a spiritually driven ritual. The chanting of mantras has also been a staple to Ayurvedic cures.
The goals of Ayurvedic medicine lie in the fundamentals of human life, including such basic ideas as the transportation of fluids within the body. With a concentration on circulation and digestion, we can see the preventative forethought of this ancient medicine go to work. This is not to say Ayurvedic medicine is afraid of surgical procedure - the physician Sushruta was said to have performed a cataract surgery in the first millenium BC with a specialized curved needle and a post-surgical soak with warm butter.
Other preventative procedures such as massage, facial masks, and steaming can be found prevalent throughout all of Indian medicine. Ayurveda's concentration in natural herbs and remedies is pure and refined and powerful in its simplicity and basic design.
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