What is Ayurveda?

Chances are, you have heard the word Ayurveda before. It’s somehow, very slowly, having a comeback after a few hundred years. Yoga teachers use it to support some of their classes, there are Ayurvedic cookbooks on display in bookstores and here and there massage therapists might offer Ayurvedic massages. Most people know that it’s from India and that it has something to do with well-being. But in fact, Ayurveda is so much more.

herbs and oils being added to a mortar

There is this one standard sentence that probably every Ayurvedic practitioner has at the ready when being asked about it: “It’s one of the (if not the) oldest health sciences that are still practised in the world today”. Actually Ayurveda has been practised for more than 3000 years. It has strong roots in the east - especially in India and Sri Lanka.

To me, Ayurveda is the key to take your health in your own hands. And that is really the one thing that sets it apart from every other health science. Ayurveda gives you the power to understand how you can prevent disease, heal yourself and how you can maintain your health. If you understand the principles of Ayurveda and act accordingly, you will be able to deal with most of the health issues, life throws at you. No doctors needed, it’s all about living in balance.

The difference between Ayurveda and western medicine is that we are searching for the root, the cause of an illness and try to change what is making our patients sick instead of fighting the symptoms. Seems like common sense, doesn’t it? Yet still, the most heard recommendation that doctors give seems to be “take some Panodil”. That this doesn’t solve the issue in 99% of the cases should be clear.

Ayurveda has a unique way of looking at the imbalances in our body that cause illness and deteriorate our well-being. By taking a holistic approach (this means taking physical but also non-physical factors such as emotions, stress and worries into account), Ayurvedic practitioners can find out why patients feel unwell and recommend lifestyle and diet changes or treatments that can bring body and mind back into balance.

In my opinion our attitude towards health has to change fundamentally and Ayurveda can help with this. One of its main functions is prevention of disease - that means basically establishing a lifestyle that does not bring us out of balance, because imbalance is the breeding ground for ill health.

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