Ayurveda is based on the premise that the universe is made up of five elements: air, fire, water, earth and ether. These elements are represented in humans by three "doshas", or energies: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. When any of the doshas accumulate in the body beyond the desirable limit, the body loses its balance. Every individual has a distinct balance, and our health and well-being depend on getting a right balance of the three doshas ("tridoshas"). Ayurveda suggests specific lifestyle and nutritional guidelines to help individuals reduce the excess dosha.
It draws heavily from the doctrines developed in the Charaka-Samahita. The main quality that Ayurveda has borrowed from Charaka is its aim of removing the cause of illness and not just curing the disease itself. Ayurveda is based solely on herbs and herbal compounds. The herbs used in ayurvedic remedies do not operate against the body's metabolism, their effect is registered gradually resulting in minimum side- effects.
Ayurveda in Sanskrit means "the science of Life". It is an ancient, unfailing system of treatment based on medicines prepared from herbal plants found in abundance in India. Ayurveda is an integral part of the people of India. In the recent years this ancient knowledge system of medicine has gained global acceptance especially for alternative ways of preventive, curative and rejuvenative processes making life a more pleasurable experience. We can find historical evidence of Ayurveda in the ancient books of wisdom known as the Vedas. In the Rig Veda, over 60 preparation were mentioned that could be used to assist an individual in overcoming various ailments. The Rig Veda was written over 6,000 years ago, but really Ayurveda has been around even longer than that.
According to Charaka, a noted practitioner of Ayurveda in ancient India, "A physician who fails to enter the body of a patient with the lamp of knowledge and understanding can never treat diseases. He should first study all factors, including environment which influences a patient's diseases and then prescribe treatment. It is more important to prevent the occurance of disease than to seek a cure."
Ayurvedic colleges, Hospitals, Health farms & Resorts and Nature cure Federations provide Ayurvedic treatments and recreational holidays all over India. In addition Beauty parlours, at all major hotels, once catered exclusively to women, now have men’s section offering hair cuts and shaves. Today, there is a comprehensive range of skin and hair treatments for both men and women – hair massages with herbal oil, herbal face packs, manicures and pedicures. Herbal cosmetic products, tonics and oils are widely used in India and a massage with herbal oils after a hectic day of activity is marvelously relaxing. Many of these are now available in department stores in the West. We are all part and parcel of nature. Just as the animals and plants live in harmony with nature and utilize the Laws of Nature to create health and balance within their beings, we, too, adhere to these very same principles. In essence Ayurveda has been in existence since the beginning of time because we have always been governed by nature's laws. Ayurveda is made up of two Sanskrit words: Ayu which means life and Veda which means the knowledge of To know about life is Ayurveda. However, to fully comprehend the vast scope of Ayurveda let us first define "Ayu" or life. According to the ancient Ayurvedic scholar Charaka, "ayu" is comprised of four essential parts. The combination of mind, body, senses and the soul.
Mind, Body and Senses We tend to identify most with our physical bodies; yet, in actuality, there is more to us then what meets the eye. We can see that underlying our physical structure is the mind, which not only controls our thought processes but helps assist us in carrying out day-to-day activities such as respiration, circulation, digestion and elimination. The mind and the body work in conjunction with one another to regulate our physiology. In order for the mind to act appropriately to assist the physical body, we must use our senses as information gatherers. We can think of the mind as a computer and the senses as the data which gets entered into the computer. Smell and taste are two important senses that aid in the digestive process. When the mind registers that a particular food is entering the gastrointestinal tract, it directs the body to act accordingly by releasing various digestive enzymes. However, if we overindulge the taste buds with too much of a certain taste, such as sweet, we may find that the ability of the mind to perceive the sweet taste is impaired; and thereby the body becomes challenged in its ability to process sweet foods. Maintaining the clarity of our senses is an essential part in allowing the mind and body to integrate their functions and help in keeping us healthy and happy individuals.
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