Ayurved ("the science of life"), the traditional medicine of India, is not a science artificially imposed upon living beings. Its basis is not in dead or organic chemical substances, or in a mechanistic and materialistic view of the human body. Ayurved is based upon a deep communion with the spirit of life itself and a profound understanding of the movement of the life- force and its different manifestations within our entire psychological system. As such, it presents a helpful alternative to the technical and mechanical model of modern medicine, the limitation of which are gradually becoming evident through time. It is a truly holistic medicine whose wealth we have just begun to explore in the Western world.
Ayurved is not merely a kind of antiquated folk medicine. It is a science in its own right. Yet it is a science based upon the observation of living being and their actual reaction to their environment. In this way, it classifies not only individuals but also foods, herbs, emotions, climates, and lifestyles in an energetic language that reflects the entire living world around us.
Ayurved possesses perhaps the longest clinical experience of any system of medicine, with a history of Ayurvedic hospitals and colleges going back for over three thousand years. It has a science of anatomy and physiology that follows a ritualistic model based upon the biological humors. It has an extensive herbal and mineral industry, including what is probably the greatest variety of herbal and pharmaceutical preparation in the world. These include herbal wines, jellies, confections, resins, balsams, pills, and an extensive system of mineral preparation. It has special clinical methods, including the use of steam therapy, oil massage, and Pancha Karma purification and rejuvenation. Perhaps most importantly, it also has a whole science of self-care, including an entire methodology of right living for optimum health and the promotion of greater awareness and creativity. All of this follows a constitutional model that considers the unique nature of the individual of the primary factor in health, not disease as an entity in itself.
While western medicine has focused upon pathogens and how to control disease from the outside, Ayurved concentrates on the individual and how to control disease through balancing the life-force within the individual, As the limitation of antibiotics are becoming evident, such regimes for strengthening our own internal or immune system may be crucial for our health as a species through the coming century
THE EIGHT BRANCHES OF AYURVED (ASHTANGA AYURVED)
- Internal Medicine (Kayachikitsa)
- Surgery (Shalyatantra)
- ENT & Ophthalmology (Shalakya Tantra)
- Pediatrics (Kaumarabhritya)
- Toxicology (Agadatantra)
- Psychiatry (Bhutavidya)
- The science of Rejuvenation (Rasayana)
- The science of Aphrodisiacs (Vajikarana)