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What is Ayurvedic Healing?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2016
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Ayurvedic healing, or Ayurveda, is an ancient healing system that originated in India thousands of years ago. Western medicine generally considers Ayurveda a complimentary, alternative healing system. Ayurveda is an holistic system that seeks to balance and integrate the body, mind, and soul to promote well being. Herbs, nutrition, yoga, and massage are among the many techniques often used to facilitate Ayurvedic healing. Most practitioners earn their qualifications in India, where it can take five years or more to become a qualified Ayurvedic healer.

The founding texts of Ayurvedic medicine are the Caraka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita. These texts that are more than 2,000 years old, making Ayurvedic healing one of the world's oldest medical disciplines. These texts describe eight fields of Ayurvedic healing: surgery, psychology, toxicology, psychiatry, gynecology and pediatrics, head and neck disease, geriatric care, sexual health and internal medicine. Ayurvedic healing is generally considered a valid medical practice in modern India, and remains widely used.

Ayurvedic healing is based on the idea that all things are interconnected and interdependent. Ayurvedic healers generally believe that the human body contains all the elements found in nature. When people enjoy balance and harmony between the mind and body, and in their interactions with the world, good health occurs. When people suffer spiritual, emotional or physical disruptions, bad health occurs.

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Each person has a basic, unchangeable constitution known as prakriti, accordidng to Ayurvedic teaching. Ayurvedic healers typically believe that the prakriti is composed of three doshas, or life forces, known as the vata dosha, the pitta dosha, and the kapha dosha. These doshas are associated with the natural elements. The vata dosha is said to represent ether and air; the pitta dosha is said to represent water and fire; the kapha dosha is said to represent water and earth. Health problems are said to occur when imbalances arise between a person's doshas.

Ayurvedic treatments are usually tailored to each individual's needs. Ayurvedic practitioners typically consider diet, lifestyle, recent illness, and a number of other factors when tailoring a treatment plan. Successful Ayurvedic healing generally requires the full participation of the patient, because lifestyle changes are often needed.

Treatment plans generally involve detoxifying the body, relieving symptoms, boosting immunity, and reducing stress. Enemas, massage, yoga, and breathing exercises are some of the techniques Ayurvedic healers might use. Additional techniques include administering herbs, vitamins, minerals, and specific nutrients to strengthen the body and boost immunity. Spiritual practices are also generally recommended as a means of stress relief.

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