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Ayurveda – An Introduction

Ayurveda is often described as the medicinal system from India dating back 5000 years. While that is true, ayurveda is a much more complex and holistic wellness foundation which includes herbal medicine, dietetics, body work, surgery, psychology and spirituality. At its core, Ayurvedic philosophy is focused on balance; any symptoms subtle or obvious, are an indication of imbalance.

While various western teachers boil down Ayurveda to its classification system of labeling an individual by their “type”, (Vatta, Pitta, Kappha); that is an oversimplification of a holistic system that studies lifestyle patterns, individual habits, characteristics, physical attributes and pathogens to determine how they influence and contribute to the health, wellness, and disease process for the unique individual. It is a highly personalized approach that brings the best results possible for the individual at that given time and environment.

Both Western medicine and Ayurveda are necessary and appropriate based on the circumstance, however it is important to understand the distinction between the two. Western medicine currently tends to focus on symptomatology and disease, and primarily uses drugs and surgery to rid the body of disease; while Ayurveda believes that life must be supported by energy in balance. It must be emphasized that Ayurveda is not a substitute for Western medicine as there are many instances when the disease process and acute conditions can best be treated with drugs or surgery. Ayurvedic philosophies can be used with Western medicine to embed a holistic and preventative approach to wellness and make an individual less likely to be afflicted with disease.

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