What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda literally translates as “the science of life”. From the ancient Sanskrit language of India and pronounced “eye-your-veyda”, Ayur means “life” and Veda means “science or systematic knowledge”.

Ayurveda is a truly holistic approach to achieving and maintaining wellness based on thousands of years of scientific study. Originating in India, it is the original source of knowledge on surgery, anatomy, medicine, massage, yoga, meditation, astrology, psychology/psychiatry, detoxification, herbology, pharmacology, alchemy, color therapy, music therapy, energy and pranic healing, gemstones, acupuncture and much more.

An estimated 80% of the Indian population currently uses Ayurvedic Medicine as their primary form of health care. That’s approximately 976 Million people, about twice the entire population of North America or 30 times the population of Canada. Considering the fact that the earliest recorded practice of Ayurvedic Medicine dates back to around 800 BC – with over 2,000 years of proven practice (and about 5,000 years of oral history) there is no wonder this ancient science of living is still alive and strong!

While the science of Ayurveda spans an immense variety of subjects from evidence based, peer reviewed, case studied, physiological treatments of diseases to seemingly esoteric systems of healing using mantras, energy channels and astrology, there is no question that Ayurveda as a system of primary health care is a well established and credible institution worthy of the attention of even the most sceptical scientific minds.

In India and Nepal, Ayurveda is a government supported health care system complete with hospitals and universities dedicated to all branches of medicine and often complimented by the inclusion of modern allopathic medical methods, technology and medicines. Ayurveda is recognized as a primary medical care system in the following countries: India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Malaysia, Hungary and more.

Ayurveda in US and Canada

In 2007, a National Health Interview Survey included questions on Complimentary and Alternative Medicine use by Americans and determined that more than 200,000 U.S. adults had used Ayurvedic medicine in the previous year. It would likely be safe to assume that statistic reflects a similar percentage of people in Canada (perhaps more given the large and expanding Indian populations and Yoga practitioners in BC and Ontario among other provinces). Since Ayurveda is not a licensed medical practice in North America, many therapies and remedies are not performed in the West.

Also it is important to be sure your practitioner is a Registered Ayurvedic Practitioner (Spa level for performing basic therapies and remedies) or ideally a Registered Advanced Ayurvedic Practitioner (Clinical level for performing advanced therapies and remedies) in order to ensure quality and competency of services and products.

What does Ayurveda do?

The primary historically authoritative medical texts written on Ayurveda: the Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita are used as the basis for most Ayurvedic medicine practice. The texts describe eight main branches of Ayurvedic medicine:

1.Kayachikitsa: General medicine (treatment of the physical and subtle bodies).

2.Shalya Tantra: Surgery

3.Shalakya Tantra: Opthalmology (treatment of head and diseases)

4.Kaumarabhritya: Gynecology, Obstetrics,Pediatrics (treatment for women, pregnancy and children)

5.Agada Tantra, Toxicology (detoxification of poisonous substances)

6.Bhuta Vidya: Psychiatry/Psychology (mental health)

7.Rasayana: Geriatrics/Rejuvenation (care of the elderly, anti-aging)

8.Vajikarana: Fertility medicine and sexual rejuvenation

The pharmacopea of Ayurvedic medicines includes over 5000 known medicines. Most Ayurvedic practitioners and doctors use from a dozen to a few hundred medicines depending upon their education, experience and availability of ingredients.

Read more about the Theory of Ayurveda, Ayurvedic Cleansing

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