About Āyurveda

Āyurveda is the traditional medicine of India. “Āyu” in Sanskrit refers to life, and “veda” refers to knowledge or science. Therefore, Āyurveda is usually translated as “The Science of Life.” Āyurveda is a combination of traditions and practices from across the Indian subcontinent, including the use of medicinal plants, administration of cleansing and healing therapies, and the incorporation of proper diet and lifestyle.

What makes Āyurveda different from modern medicine?

I do not see Āyurveda as better or worse than modern medicine, nor do I see it as an alternative or substitute. Rather, it is a complement, offering tools that we can integrate into our lives to help promote good health alongside the support that we may also need from modern medicine.

  • Recommendations are tailored to you. In Āyurveda, each person has a unique constitution and situation. Thus what is good for you may not be appropriate for someone else, even if you both seem to be experiencing similar health concerns. The emphasis is on what makes you unique, and what is most suitable to you at this time and place to help you be in your best health.
  • Your experience is important. Health is not merely the absence of disease, and it is more than having lab results within normal range. If you are experiencing something that makes you feel unwell, there is almost always something that can be done to alleviate the illness or improve your quality of life.
  • The goal is to remove the cause of disease. Rather than simply removing symptoms, Āyurvedic practice emphasizes understanding their underlying cause and using the appropriate measures to address them.
  • Illness is understood on multiple levels. Āyurvedic practice recognizes that often an illness has multiple contributing factors, which can be at the physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual level. As such, it’s important to work on all of those levels together in order to achieve good health.
  • An emphasis on prevention and maintenance. Though Āyurvedic practices offer support for all stages of disease, the focus is on disease prevention and the maintenance of good health. Through the use of diet, lifestyle, and herbs, the idea is to promote wellness and prevent disease, not simply to try to remove it when it arises. For late-stage or chronic illnesses, Āyurveda also offers support for managing symptoms and improving quality of life.

For therapeutics, Āyurveda makes use of a number of medicinal plants and preparations to help alleviate illness. The adoption of proper nutrition and lifestyle, based on one’s own constitution and condition as well as one’s environment, is a fundamental part of achieving good health.