Integrative medicine draws from a variety of medical modalities in its approach to helping patients. Some of these modalities—like diet and nutrition and bodywork—are familiar. But others—like the science of ayurveda—may be less familiar. One of the oldest medical sciences in the world is India’s ayurvedic medicine. It is rich with simple methods to restore your health. It may even sound a bit like your grandmother’s words of wisdom, and yet it is a powerful healing tool that is recognized by integrative medicine.
The Science of Life
So, what is ayurveda? The short answer: ayurveda is the medicine behind the practice of yoga. Yoga has become more mainstream these days, so it’s no surprise that its sister science is also becoming better known. Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word meaning “science of life” (ayur means “life or longevity” and veda means “knowledge, wisdom, or science”). Ayurveda is known as a “living science” because it incorporates modern developments and techniques into a body of ancient wisdom. Due to this adaptability, ayurveda has been useful for thousands of years.
Ayurveda is a holistic approach to health and is designed to help people live long, healthy, well-balanced lives. It focuses on creating sustainable daily practices that support the balance of an individual’s constitution—the physical body, mental body, and sense of purpose.
Professionals offering ayurvedic treatments include ayurvedic health counselors, ayurvedic practitioners, and ayurvedic doctors. Yoga teachers trained to offer ayurvedic lifestyle support are called ayurvedic yoga specialists. The initial visit will include an intake session to gather data on physical or mental health concerns. Ayurvedic treatments may include lifestyle and diet suggestions as well as information on breathing practices, exercise, and meditation. Treatments may also involve suggestions for herbal supplements as well as body oiling (abhyanga), seasonal cleansing, and rejuvenation programs.
Prevention As Medicine
Disease prevention is one of ayurveda’s primary goals. Studies suggest that ayurveda may be effective at reducing the risk of heart disease and many other medical conditions. For example, one study found that in healthy adults as well as those at high risk for heart disease, ayurveda helped reduce plaque and reverse the thickening of artery walls known as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a slow, complex disease in which cholesterol, fats, and other substances build up in the inner lining of an artery, forming plaque, which can lead to heart attack and stroke. Often clients find that an ayurvedic consultation is a perfect support for other medical treatments.
Ayurveda is a wonderful modality to try; it helps keep us in balance and more in tune to nature. What more can you want from the science of life?
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