What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is the traditional health science of India. The World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges Ayurveda as the world’s oldest scientific and holistic health system. In Sanskrit, the word Ayurveda means ‘the science of life’ (ayur means ‘long life’ or ‘life’ and veda means ‘science’ or ‘knowledge’).
The wisdom of Ayurveda was passed on orally until it was put down in writing more than 5000 years ago. The oldest known texts about Ayurveda are the Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and the Ashtanga Hrudaya. The texts describe in detail the effects of the five elements in the cosmic system – earth, water, fire, air and ether – on our individual system and explain the need to keep these elements balanced for a healthy and happy life. The power of good health lies in this balance that is achieved through means and principles from nature.
Relevance for today
We live in a modern and dynamic society, in which changes and innovations succeed one another rapidly. This can cause the natural rhythm of life to become disturbed and out of balance. The physical manifestation of this disturbance we call disease. While regular medical science is generally concerned with the treatment of the disease, Ayurveda gives us the knowledge on how to prevent it and to remove the cause of a disease when it has manifested itself.
Ayurveda gives individual rather than general criteria for health. Some people need a warm environment while for others, cool surroundings are better. Every human being is unique. That is why, for an Ayurveda doctor, healthcare is always about the person, rather than the disease.
"Ayur means ‘life’ and veda is ‘knowledge’"