Ayurveda is an Indian word - Ayur means life and Veda means knowledge. Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient Indian system of medicine which began about 5,000 years ago. It is not just one treatment. It is a way of diagnosing illness and using a wide range of treatments and techniques.
Ayurvedic medicine can include:
- Advice on diet and special diets
- Taking specific Ayurvedic medications
- Herbal medicine
- Breathing and relaxation techniques
Depending on your particular health problems, an Ayurvedic practitioner
may suggest any or all of these treatments.
Some therapists also recommend cleansing of the bowel (intestines) by putting liquid into the back passage (enemas). They may suggest taking medicines that make the bowel work more quickly (laxatives). These practices are supposed to get rid of toxins. Other ways of cleansing and detoxifying include forced vomiting and bloodletting (drawing blood from the body). These methods can be very harmful and most therapists don’t use them.
Some Ayurvedic methods, such as yoga, massage and relaxation, are generally helpful to people with cancer. But others, such as some herbal treatments, certain diets and cleansing the bowel can be harmful. You should be very cautious when using them and always check with your doctor first because they can have some serious side effects. You should also contact your doctor for advice if an Ayurvedic practitioner diagnosis you with any new medical condition.
How Ayurvedic medicines are supposed to work?
The main idea behind Ayurvedic medicine
is that health problems happen because your mind, body and spirit are out of balance. Practitioners aim to bring balance and harmony back into your body, which they think prevents or cures disease. They claim that certain combinations of Ayurvedic medicine will help to:
- Increase energy and well being
- Balance mind, body and spirit
- Decrease stress
- Possibly prevent and cure disease
Ayurvedic practitioners think we are all made up of 3 elements known as doshas. These are:
- Air and space (vata dosha), which allows movement
- Fire and water (pitta dosha), which allows change or transformation and is responsible for digestion and metabolism
- Water and earth (kapha dosha), which gives structure or cohesion
These 3 doshas allow all the organs of the body to work together in harmony. They also create your relationship with the environment and universe (cosmos). Ayurvedic practitioners believe we usually have strong features of one dosha, but the others also influence us. Our health is dependent on the correct balance of all 3.
What Ayurvedic medicine involves?
To decide on a plan of treatment your practitioner will take your medical history and assess your doshas. To do this they examine your tongue, lips, and nails. They look inside your eyes, ears, nostrils and mouth. They may also examine your back passage (rectum) and genital area. They listen to your lungs and heart, and take your pulse.
The practitioner will also take into account your emotions, your relationships with other people and even the season and time of the day. They hope to be able to balance all these factors in your life and restore or maintain your health and well being. They will then discuss which treatments will help you most.
Ayurvedic medicine is India's primary healthcare system. More than 90 percent 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. Therefore, it is better to consult these professionals before starting out with Ayurvedic medicines.