Ayurvedic medicine is a type of Alternative medicine that is used in the place of conventional medicine. According to NCCAM, Ayurvedic practices can be traced back to 5000 years ago in India (Snyder, 2007). Ayurvedic therapy uses dietary concepts, herbal compounds and aspect of spirituality in treatment.
Ayurvedic medicine is widely accepted and promoted in the Eastern wholesome health beliefs. For example, the Indian government together with many other oriental health institutes supports research and education on Ayurvedic medicine.
The Sanskrit, a classical Indian text defines Aryuveda as the science composed of “eight components” (Snyder, 2007). These components can be loosely translated to coincide with general medicine, surgery, pediatrics, ophthalmology and toxicology in modern western medicine. The other non-conventional components are demonology, aphrodisiacs and elixirs.
Ayurvedic medicine works around the classical elements of air, earth, fire and water. The therapy also identifies seven body tissues of blood, plasma, fat, muscles, marrow, bone and semen (Snyder, 2007). The basic principles are that a balance of just three of the elements is health while an imbalance causes disease or ill health. Additionally, the principles state that individuals have differing combinations of the classical elements leading to different human characteristics and temperaments.
Ayurvedic treatments recognize that all substances can be paired depending on the nature of the substances such as hot or cold, soft or hard, dull or sharp or smooth and rough. During treatment, the therapists use oils and massages to open up channels in the body that will absorb the treatment (Snyder, 2007). Aryuveda employs a wide variety of plant based medicines such as herbs, flowers and barks. The practice also uses animal products such as bones, milk and fat. Treatment is individualized and the therapist can recommend a range of treatments from dietary recommendations, exercises and lifestyle changes (Snyder, 2007).
Snyder, L. (2007). Complementary and alternative medicine: Ethics, the patient, and the physician. Totowa, N.J: Humana Press.