Ayurveda, the World's Oldest Known Natural Medicine System
There must be a reason it has survived for thousands of years
Happy Monday! So, I was thinking, isn’t it funny how certain things in our lives feel so normal to us, but we forget how unusual it might be to someone else? Like in Curious Adventure on Friday, I mentioned Ayurveda which is something I’m very familiar with. But I’ll forget most people I talk to haven’t even heard the word. So, guess what today’s newsletter is going to be about!
You might actually already be familiar with the term or some aspects of Ayurveda with, or without realizing it — like yoga, doshas, or the seven chakra energy centers. Ayurveda has become a bit of a niche word within the Wellness industry over the last few years, at least where I am. Though I’ve found very few people in the West who actually know what Ayurveda is. But I wish more people did because it’s far more interesting than any trendy product with the word Ayurveda on the label.
What the Heck is Ayurveda?
In a broad sense, Ayurveda is an intricate natural system of medicine based on the theory that disease is caused by an imbalance between a person’s environment, spirit, body, and mind. The treatments focus on the patient’s lifestyle encompassing several aspects of health and wellness, including personalized diets, massage therapy, herbal remedies, meditation, and yoga.
Ayurveda is the primary medical system in India — more than 90 percent (hundreds of millions) of people in India use Ayurveda in some form — and they considered it equal to any other recognized form of medicine. However, there has been little to no scientific research about its practices or texts despite its widespread use and ancient history. Within the Western world, Ayurveda is classified under the alternative medicine umbrella.
Though elaborate, Ayurveda is a well-organized system focused on preventive and curative treatments. In 1971, the Indian government created the Indian Medical Council to establish standards and regularity for under and post-graduate degrees.
A Little History
The word Ayurveda comes from the Sanskrit words Ayur (life) and Veda (science or knowledge) and translates into the knowledge of life. It’s a system of natural medicine originating in India that dates back more than 5,000 years ago — the age of the oldest known written text — making it thousands of years older than the known origin of Western or traditional Chinese Medicine.