The literal meaning of the word Āyurveda translates to “the science or knowledge of life.”
In specific terms, Āyurveda is a complex scientific body of knowledge based on constant natural laws and works with the unique make-up of the five elements (space, air, fire, water, and earth) as they show up in an individual’s body. It encompasses full instructions for holistic, personalized health care, disease management, regenerative treatment principles and health promotion with the goal to live the healthiest life possible in both quantity and quality.
Āyurveda is an advanced and well-developed holistic health care system. It has been practiced for thousands of years in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia and it is considered the longest, continuously practiced medical system known today.
Āyurveda is capable of operating as a primary health care system as is seen in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and several other countries today. Historical records bear out that its practices spanned a gamut of specialities, many of which are currently recognized in Western medical practice.
These include Internal Medicine, Surgery and Emergency Medicine, HEENT (Head, Ear, Eyes, Nose and Throat), Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Toxicology and Reproductive Medicine. Even some classical Āyurvedic specialities such as Rasāyana (Regenerative Medicine) are considered emerging fields in Western medicine now.
In the United States, Āyurveda can be successfully practiced as Integrative Medicine in conjunction with other health care systems, modalities and approaches. As the demand for effective, affordable and sustainable health care continues to rise, Āyurveda represents a unique tool for medical practitioners to provide reliable preventive care and management for a wide range of acute and chronic disorders, as well as integrate with surgery and emergency care to improve outcomes.