LifeStyle & Wellness and Ayurveda in Ojai & Santa Barbara
- Carol P. Prentice
and Overview of Ayurveda
(Devanagari: the 'science of life') is a system of traditional medicine
native to India, and practiced in other parts of the world as a
form of alternative medicine. In Sanskrit, the word Ayurveda comprises
the words ayus, meaning 'life' and veda, meaning 'science'. Evolving
throughout its history, Ayurveda remains an influential system of
medicine in South Asia. The earliest literature of Ayurveda appeared
during the Vedic period in India. The Sushruta Samhita and the Charaka
Samhita were influential works on traditional medicine during this
era. Ayurvedic practitioners also identified a number of medicinal
preparations and surgical procedures for curing various ailments
has become an alternative form of medicine in the western world,
where patents for its medicine have been passed, and the intellectual
property rights contested by Western and Indian institutions. Ayurveda
is considered to be a form of complementary and alternative medicine
(CAM) within the United States of America, where several of its
methods—such as herbs, massage,
and Yoga as exercise or alternative medicine—are
applied on their own as a form of CAM treatment.
believes in 'five great elements' (Devanagari: earth, water, fire,
air and space) forming the universe, including the human body. Blood,
flesh, fat, bone, marrow, chyle, and semen are believed to be the
seven primary constituent elements (Devanagari) of the body. Ayurveda
stresses a balance of three substances: wind/spirit/air, phlegm,
and bile, each representing divine forces. According to Ayurvedic
beliefs, the doctrine of these three Doshas (Devanagari)—vata
(wind/spirit/air), pitta (bile) and kapha (phlegm)—is important.
Traditional beliefs hold that humans possess a unique constellation
of Doshas. In Ayurveda, the human body has 20 Guna (Devanagari:
meaning quality). Surgery and surgical instruments are employed.
It is believed that building a healthy metabolic system, attaining
good digestion, and proper excretion leads to vitality. Ayurveda
also focuses on exercise, yoga, meditation, and massage.
concept of Panchakarma (Devanagari) is believed to eliminate toxic
elements from the body. Eight disciplines of Ayurveda treatment,
called Ashtanga (Devanagari), are given below:
of diseases above the clavicle (Salakyam).
possession (Bhuta vidya): Ayurveda believes in demonic intervention
and—as a form of traditional medicine—identifies
a number of ways to counter the supposed effect of these interferences.
Bhuta vidya has been called psychiatry.
and building immunity (rasayanam).