Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old system of natural healing that has its origins in the Vedic culture of India. Although suppressed during years of foreign occupation, Ayurveda has been enjoying a major resurgence in both its native land and throughout the world. Tibetan medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine both have their roots in Ayurveda. Early Greek medicine also embraced many concepts originally described in the classical Ayurveda medical texts dating back thousands of years.
More than a mere system of treating illness, Ayurveda is a science of life (Ayur = life,Veda = science or knowledge). It offers a body of wisdom designed to help people stay vital while realizing their full human potential. Providing guidelines on ideal daily and seasonal routines, diet, behavior and the proper use of our senses, Ayurveda reminds us that health is the balanced and dynamic integration between our environment, body, mind, and spirit.
The science and practice of Ayurveda are narrated in ancient texts, of which the CharakaSamhita is the principal resource. The CharakaSamhita refers to a large collection of Hindu sacred texts called the Vedas. Written in the Indus Valley area around 1000 BC in Sanskrit, the CharakaSamhita is a treatise on general medicine. This strongly suggests the probability that Ayurveda, though of pan Indo-European origins, had begun to evolve into a distinct entity within the Indian subcontinent by the first millennium BC.
Vedic philosophy believes that human beings are all a part of nature. Just as animals and plants are interdependent on each other to create balance within their beings, there is a concurrent and inherent connection between the universe and human beings. Unlike the animal kingdom, human beings live in a more complex, natural world where they are perpetually exposed to environmental changes. Changes in weather, society, economy, lifestyle, diet, work, financial status, emotions and relationships can easily tip the balance and negatively influence an individual’s state of mind, body and soul.
An important goal of Ayurveda is to identify a person’s ideal state of balance, determine where they are out of balance, and offer interventions using diet, herbs, aromatherapy, massage treatments, music, and meditation to reestablish balance.