For millennia, Hindus in India have used Ayurvedic medicine as a philosophy that brings health to body, mind, and soul. "Ayurveda" translates, in Sanskrit, as "knowledge of life," and it is this view that informs a system of disease and cure as related to the overall health of a person. Ironically, this holistic school of thought doesn't use "medicine" at all, but relies on balancing diet, exercise, herbs, and spiritual fulfillment.
Although over 3,000 years old, Ayurvedic medicine is still meaningful to today's modern, hectic lifestyle. It relies on maintaining the balance of our three doshas, which are similar to the western medieval concepts of "humors," or energies. Doshas are elements that compose and control the self. Vata, meaning "breeze," relates to the nervous system, such as coordination. Pitta, roughly translated as "choler," involves the digestive system, like metabolism or food allergies. Kapha, or "phlegm," controls the lymphatic system, as well as body fat and asthma. People have a different ratio of each of these energies, so their amounts might mean you're susceptible to hay fever or predisposed to acid indigestion.
Treatment of common ailments under Ayurvedic medicine differs strongly from a Western doctor's. Ayurveda does not differentiate between symptoms, causes, or cures. It treats the entire body and spirit as one. Therefore, if you suffered both from a sore back and panic attacks, they would be addressed together, because they are interrelated. A trained Ayurvedic practitioner might rebalance your doshas by recommending acupressure, acupuncture, exercise such as yoga, meditation and breathing regimens, aromatherapy, massage, or dietary adjustments. Many believe Ayurvedic medicine is most successful as treating chronic conditions, such as depression, anxiety, pain, insomnia, skin or food allergies, and digestive irregularities that even Western doctors treat with a combination of lifestyle changes and medicine.
This is not a conventional system; therefore Ayurvedic medicine borrows from herbology, psychology, religion, nutrition, and faith to encourage our bodies to heal themselves using our inner strength. Ayurvedic practitioners believe that selective treatments of specific symptoms can ignore underlying problems and only provide temporary relief. Of course, Western doctors and scientists can create studies to test some of the tenets of Ayurvedic medicine. While they have not proven that this method would be better or equal at treating cancer or diabetes, for instance, they have found that some practices are helpful when used in conjunction with pharmaceuticals.