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Ayurvedic Medicine: Ancient Approach to Balance Life, Health

Alternative MedicineMar 05, 08

Ayurvedic (i-yur-VA-dik) medicine, thought to be one of the world’s oldest systems of natural medicine, is said to be about balance in one’s life. It encompasses yoga, massage, meditation and much more.

The March issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter provides an overview of ayurvedic medicine, which originated in India more than 5,000 years ago and is still practiced there side by side with conventional Western medicine.

According to ayurvedic medicine, balance in life starts at birth. Every newborn possesses innate qualities that help to frame their physical and mental patterns. This state is called prakriti. At the other end of the spectrum is vikruti, a person’s present state.

Vikruti is prakriti combined with all that affects one’s life: work, diet, hobbies and friends, for example. In ayurvedic medicine, the closer one is to prakriti, the better. Conversely, discord in life—meaning too much divergence from the innate self—can lead to dosha imbalance. Dosha refers to energy patterns.

To identify diseases, practitioners of ayurvedic medicine must evaluate what dosha is the greatest influence in the patient and seek to understand if there’s discourse between the innate and current self.

Individuals can apply ayurvedic medicine to everyday situations, too. For example, dry skin may require more than lotion. One may need to look at emotions and consider how to heal emotional dryness.

In general, ayurvedic medicine practices appear to be safe and may be effective. But good quality studies on ayurvedic practices are limited, especially therapies that involve the use of herbs or metals. A doctor should supervise any use of ayurvedic supplements because some have the potential to be toxic.

Mayo Clinic Health Letter is an eight-page monthly newsletter of reliable, accurate and practical information on today’s health and medical news.

Source: Mayo Clinic

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