Ayurveda literally means ‘Science of Life’. It is one of the oldest recorded medical traditions in the world. Scholars studying the history of medicine, across the globe have always referred to Ayurveda. When many other traditional medical systems disappeared from contemporary medical practice, Ayurveda has stood the test of time.
It has thrived with the help of available codified medical literature and oral traditions, and its strong footing from ancient Indian philosophies. This has eventually led to Ayurveda becoming a traditional system with a strong scientific framework capable of further research.
The unique principles in Ayurveda are scientifically sound and these days the health experts and researchers across the world are exploring it. Ayurveda, as a healthcare system, is a preventive, preservative, and curative at the application level.
Ayurveda that is preventive and that helps one to stay healthy (preservative), includes certain practices and procedures, most of which can become part of your regular lifestyle. A few preventive procedures need the assistance of well-trained physicians and therapists, but those are required occasionally. The response and modulation of these practices are personalized to a certain extent, based on the body constitution (prakṛti) of the person and need customization which can be perceived in consultation with an Ayurveda practitioner.
The curative aspect of Ayurveda is even more personalized, which means that the medications cannot be always generalized against certain conditions or diseases. The treatment is based on each person’s imbalances (called vikṛti) of the body and also the body constitution (prakṛti), both generally determined by the ‘Vāta’, ‘Pitta’ and ‘Kapha’ balances. The scientific basis of these variations has recently been found to be evident even at the genetic level. (Suggested reading: https://www.nature.com/articles/srep15786).
Ayurvedic principles are always being holistic and do not reduce themselves to the level of systems or organs and specializations. But Ayurveda can be broadly divided into 8 divisions. The broad divisions of Ayurveda include
Though none of these systems stand separately, the specializations paves way for more focused care and personalization while being holistic.
Personalization also depends on many macros and micro factors like; the stage of disease/disorder, age, climatic zone, the physical and mental strength of the patient, etc. For these reasons, the treatments in Ayurveda have to be always under continuous monitoring by Ayurveda ‘Vaidya’ (Physician) who have a thorough knowledge of these principles and have the skill to diagnose these personal variations. Well trained Ayurveda therapists and pharmacists are also an important part of any Ayurvedic treatment.