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The Essence of Ayurveda

Ayurveda is an ancient practice of medicine. "Ayus" means life and "Veda" means knowledge or science, giving "ayurveda" the meaning 'the knowledge or science of life'. Born in India, the goal of this alternative system of medicine is to prevent illnesses, to heal the sick and to ensure longevity. While Modern Medicine suppresses the symptoms of medical conditions, Ayurveda treats them from the root itself. Ayurveda, it is claimed, treats the individual and not the illness.

The Principle of Ayurveda

Ayurveda is based on the principle of Tridosha or the three homours. According to Ayurveda, health exists only when there is a desirable balance between three fundamental doshas called Vata (air), Pitta (bile) and Kapha (phlegm). When there is an accumulation of any of these Doshas beyond their limit, health is disturbed.

Ayurveda is a method of holistic healing which sees an individual to be healthy only if his Doshas are in balance and is mentally healthy and happy. It simply means that health of an individual does not mean the "absence of disease" but that all his natural urges of the body function properly and eats well with a good appetite.

The Ayurvedic Treatment

Ayurveda treats with herbal supplements and Panchakarma therapy. Panchakarma is the classical body purification programme that involves 5 procedures done under the supervision of an Ayurvedic practitioner. The 5 procedures are:

* Therapeutic vomiting or emesis (Vaman)
* Purgation (Virechan)
* Enema (Basti)
* Elimination of toxins through the nose (Nasya)
* Bloodletting or detoxification of the blood (Rakta moksha)

However, strict diets and lifestyle modification often accompany Ayurvedic treatment.

One of the effective ways of Ayurvedic diagnosis of disease called nadi pareeksha, or pulse diagnosis. By reading the pulse of a person, an Ayurvedic physician can diagnose the imbalance in the Tridoshas.

The Advantages of Ayurvedic Treatment

Even with advanced modern medical technology, the public opinion is leaning towards the natural and the organic. With ever gaining popularity, herbal supplements have conquered the hearts of both the sick and the healthy. It has turned out so because

* Medicinal drugs offer only symptomatic and temporary relief
* They not often without side effects
* Chronic ailments do not get relieved
* Modern Medicine is expensive
* Herbal alternatives are seen as natural and "our own", especially in countries like India
* They have less and negligible side effects on appropriate usage
* They are considered safer for children
* They are time tested and traditional

Ayurveda can treat certain ailments on its own, and in the treatment of some others it can compliment Modern Medicine.

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