Ayurveda, also known as ayurvedic medicine, is a system of traditional medicine developed in India. Ayurveda originates from the Vedic culture of ancient India, between 3,500 and 5,000 years ago, but it is widely practiced even today, as one of the means of complementary and alternative medicine. The name Ayurveda is derived from two Sanskrit words: āyus, meaning "longevity", and veda, meaning "knowledge" or "science". Translated, Ayurveda means the science of longevity. This discipline is also understood as a science of life, and it focuses on proper balance of senses, mind, body and soul. It doesn’t only focus on body, physical exercise, and treatment of the diseases, but also includes comprehensive guidelines for improving one's spiritual, mental and social health.
Practice of Ayurveda
Ayurveda includes different ways of improving the body’s condition by use of herbs, oils, massage techniques, etc. Ayurveda is based upon the theory of five essential elements, which are part of the human body and everything else that exists in the Universe: earth, water, fire, air and ether. However, these elements are not equally distributed in every human being. Ayurvedic theory is used to examine patients’ constitution and understand patients’ unique state. The treatment and general guidelines for wellbeing are based on the structure observed in each single patient, and recommendations are carefully tailored for each individual. Ayurveda offers different approaches for reaching a whole state of health, including lifestyle, diet, exercise and yoga, herbal therapy, and different spiritual practices. This way, Ayurveda deals with specific health concerns while explaining why one person is completely different from another.
Ayurvedic view on disease
According to the Ayurveda and its theory of disease, the disease may affect both body and mind, whenever they are subjected to discomfort, pain and injury. The health problems occur whenever there is an imbalance in three doshas – vata, pitta and kapha. A dosha is one of three bodily humors that make up one's constitution according to Ayurveda. Vāta is the impulse principle necessary to trigger the function of the nervous system. Pitta is the bilious humour, secreted between the stomach and bowels, affecting the liver, spleen, heart, eyes and skin. Kapha is the body fluid principle, which includes mucous, lubrication and carrying of the nutrients. When these three doshas are in the perfect harmony, a person is completely healthy. When there is a state of imbalance, the disease takes place. The imbalance normally occurs due to an increase or decrease in one, two or all three doshas.