Ayurveda emphasizes prevention of disease,
rejuvenation of our body systems, and extension of life span. The profound premise and
promise of Ayurveda is that through certain practices, not only can we prevent heart
disease and make our headaches go away, but we can also better understand ourselves and
the world around us, live a long healthy life in balance and harmony, achieve our fullest
potential, and express our true inner nature on a daily basis.
Ayurveda provides an integrated approach to
preventing and treating illness through lifestyle interventions and natural therapies. It
is based on the view that the elements, forces, and principles that comprise all of nature
- and that holds it together and make it function - are also seen in human beings. In
Ayurveda, the mind (or consciousness) and the body (or physical mass) not only influence
each other - they are each other. Together they form the mind-body. The universal
consciousness is an intelligent, aware ocean of energy that gives rise to the physical
world we perceive through our five senses. Ayurvedic philosophy and practices link us to
every aspect of ourselves and remind us that we are in union with every aspect of nature,
each other, and the entire universe.
There can be no mental health without
physical health, and vice versa. In Ayurveda, symptoms and diseases that could be
categorized as mental thoughts or feelings are just as important as symptoms and diseases
of the physical body. Both are due to imbalances within a person, and both are treated by
restoring the natural balance mentally and physically. In Ayurveda your whole life and
lifestyle must be in harmony before you can enjoy true well being. Lifestyle interventions
are a major Ayurvedic preventive and therapeutic approach.
In India, Ayurvedic practitioners receive
state-recognized, institutionalized training in parallel to their physician counterparts.
The research base is growing concerning the physiological effects of meditative techniques
and yoga postures in Indian medical literature and Western psychological literature.
Published studies have documented reductions in cardiovascular disease risk factors,
including blood pressure, cholesterol, and reaction to stress, in individuals who practice
Laboratory and clinical studies on
Ayurvedic herbal preparations and other therapies have shown them to have a range of
potentially beneficial effects for preventing and treating certain cancers, treating
infectious disease, treating diabetes, promoting health, and treating aging. Mechanisms
underlying these effects may include free-radical scavenging effects, immune system
modulation, brain neurotransmitter modulation, and hormonal effects.
Next Topic: Basis for Ayurvedic Philosophy