What is Ayurveda? Purpose/Characteristics and Differences from Western Medicine
Ayurvedic wisdom is effective not only for the prevention and treatment of diseases, but also as a practical method for living a long and healthy life. This is because Ayurveda employs whole-body medicine that comprehensively considers nature and the human body, and is advantageous for health management practices that require an overall understanding of life phenomena.
In order to live a comfortable life in an aging society, the use of Ayurveda is inevitable. This time, we will explain traditional Ayurveda, which is often talked about in old-fashioned terms, using modern scientific language, and introduce its basic concepts.
What is Ayurveda?
First, we will introduce the basic contents of Ayurveda.
meaning of words
Ayurveda is a word made up of the words `` Ayur '' and `` Veda .'' Each has the following meaning in Sanskrit:
- Ayur : of life, of longevity
- Veda : knowledge, science
In other words, Ayurveda means "the science of life" and "the science of longevity."
It is believed that indigenous medicine was added to the ancient civilization of India over 8,000 years ago, and the current system of Ayurveda was formed about 3,000 years ago. The most popular theory is that it originated in northwest India, but since it is formed from several elements, it cannot be pinpointed to a specific location.
By the time the Aryans invaded India, Ayurveda had developed independently in northeastern and southern India. Northeastern India was a flourishing place for Buddhism, and Ayurveda was studied along with Buddhist theory in its magnificent Buddhist universities.
Ayurveda is considered one of the world's three major traditional medicines, along with Yunani medicine (Greek + Arabic medicine) and Chinese medicine.
Traditional medicine other than modern Western medicine has inherited the influence of Ayurveda's characteristic tri-dosha theory and commonly utilizes botanical preparations.
whole body medicine
One of the characteristics of Ayurveda is systemic medicine based on `` holism .'' The idea is to prioritize consideration of the whole body, rather than just looking at the body parts.
Holism believes that the whole has a unique function and that biological phenomena cannot be explained by a collection of parts. Ayurveda is based on this holistic philosophy, which believes that maintaining health requires the harmony of all elements such as mind and body, lifestyle, and environment.
Purpose of Ayurveda
As the name suggests, the ultimate goal of Ayurveda is "eternal youth and longevity." It is a comprehensive lifestyle guide that goes beyond just preventing and treating diseases, to maintaining and promoting health, and even rejuvenating you, and pursuing a happier and better life.
We offer numerous herbal preparations, dietary methods, purification methods, lifestyle manuals, etc. for a long and healthy life. Here, we will explain the purpose of Ayurveda.
Disease prevention and treatment
Ayurveda believes that prevention of disease is better than cure. To prevent illness, it is necessary to maintain a good balance of mind and body.
Disease treatment includes relaxation methods and purification treatments that balance the three "doshas" that will be introduced later. In reality, treatment of specific diseases using herbal preparations is mainstream.
Building ideal body tissue
In order to create a body that does not get sick, it is effective to use relaxation methods, dietary methods, correct lifestyle habits, herbal preparations, and yoga. Psychological and mental stability is also important.
These measures will strengthen your immune function and self-healing power, making it possible to build a body that is resistant to pathogens and diseases.
All Ayurvedic treatments take into account your constitution (prakriti). Your constitution is determined by the strength of the three doshas.
Since your personality and disease susceptibility are determined by your constitution, it is recommended that you manage your health by eating foods, exercise, and lifestyle habits that suit your constitution.
Improving mental quality
When discussing mental stability, the Triguna theory of Samkhya thought is used.
Triguna refers to 'Sattva', 'Rajas' and 'Tamas', the three fundamental elements behind all natural phenomena. They define "mental stability," "instability," and "apathy," respectively.
It is important to take actions to calm down ``rajas'' (instability) and ``tamas (lethargy)'' through yoga, social contribution, positive thinking, etc.
What is dosha?
Dosha is a Sanskrit word meaning "impurity, failure, defect" and is the cause of disease. It is believed that excess, deficiency, or imbalance of the three doshas called Vata, Pitta , and Kapha cause diseases. This is called the tri-dosha theory, and it is a disease theory that is universal in Eastern medicine such as Ayurveda.
type of dosha
There are three types of dosha: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each corresponds to "motor function," "reaction function," and "moisture function."
Vata controls motor performance, has the properties of space and wind, and controls the physical flow within the body.
Vata - dominant people are thin, nervous, fickle, and prone to diarrhea. My hair is dry and gray, but I'm not bald.
An increase or worsening of Vata can lead to respiratory, nervous, and circulatory disorders.
Pitta controls transformations and reactions, and also has the properties of fire and water, controlling chemical reactions in the body.
Pitta-dominant people are of medium build, passionate, critical, and have great digestion. My hair is thin, brownish, and prone to baldness.
As Pitta increases or worsens, body heat problems, digestive disorders, and dermatitis are more likely to occur.
Kapha controls the moisturizing function, has the properties of water and earth, and controls mucus synthesis and secretion in the body, as well as polymer synthesis.
People with Kapha predominance have strong physiques, gentleness, tenacity, and a strong appetite. My hair is thick and black and I will never go bald.
Increased or worsened Kapha can lead to bronchial diseases, obesity, arthritis, etc.
Mammals have three body types: vata, pitta, and kapha, which I introduced earlier. We believe that the reason for this is due to the ratio in which the three homologous genes related to body plan are expressed.
The ideal type expresses 1/3 of each, but in many people, one or two of these are predominant. The expression pattern is determined mostly by the mother's in-utero environment, but it also varies depending on acquired factors such as the external environment, lifestyle, and time of day. Extremely Vata-dominant people express only one Vata gene.
Features of Ayurveda
Ayurveda has developed by incorporating various Indian philosophies, and it also heavily reflects some Eastern philosophies. In order to live a happy life, we scientifically pursue the maintenance or improvement of health and longevity from every angle.
In particular, we emphasize the idea of ``preventive medicine,'' which prioritizes prevention of illness rather than treatment after illness occurs.
Ayurvedic treatments can be broadly divided into ``preventive medicine (palliative therapy)'' and ``curative medicine (eight clinical departments)''.
Typical examples of palliative therapy include diet and purification using herbal oils. Yoga also belongs to palliative therapy. Five purifying therapies and herbal preparations called Panchakarma (nasal drops, emetics, laxatives, enemas, and bloodletting) are used to treat the disease.
In order to prevent harmful substances from accumulating in the body, it is recommended to always pay attention to the balance of the tri-doshas, have an appropriate diet, excrete waste products, and maintain lifestyle guidance to keep the sapta dhatu (seven tissues of the body) in good condition. Masu.
However, in real life, even if we take precautions to prevent diseases, the onset of diseases frequently occurs. For this reason, herbal preparations have been devised and widely used to treat most diseases.
Herbal preparations are high-performance medicines with no side effects, and all traditional medicine in the world utilizes them. Herbal preparations are the essence of Ayurveda and the crystallization of wisdom.
Ayurveda does not aim at curing only the affected part of the disease.
Illness occurs in special places. From there, it follows a specific route and develops in specific organs. Therefore, treatment is always aimed at correcting all of its origins, its routes and final symptoms.
Take bronchial asthma, for example.
Breathing disorders result from bronchial attacks. In modern medicine, the treatment is to administer anticonvulsants. Although these anticonvulsants have been shown to be effective in laboratory animals, they may not be effective for everyone.
On the other hand, in Ayurveda, bronchial asthma is diagnosed as originating from the stomach and small intestine. Ayurvedic doctors cleanse these organs by emetic techniques or intestinal cleansing and administer drugs including Haritaki ( Terminalia chebula ).
Ayurveda places more emphasis on the ``field'' than the ``seed.'' Just as a seed, no matter how good, cannot germinate in a barren field, no matter how powerful a pathogen, it cannot multiply in a healthy body.
Ayurveda uses herbal preparations, diet, and lifestyle to create an environment that does not allow the growth of pathogens.
Ayurveda eliminates side effects, so herbal preparations focus on optimizing tissues rather than killing invading pathogens. In this way, Ayurveda can cure diseases for sick people and prevent diseases for healthy people.
Differences from Western medicine
Western medicine is said to have originated with the Greek physician Hippocrates. All of Hippocrates' medical techniques incorporated Ayurveda.
It seems that Western medicine broke away from Oriental medicine after the Industrial Revolution. Oriental medicine has utilized herbal preparations from ancient times to modern times. This is because the fertile soil and diverse climate produced a variety of vegetation, and many medicinal herbs were available in abundance. This is a major difference between Eastern and Western medicine.
Ayurvedic systemic medicine also aims to eliminate the cause of disease. This is also a big difference between Ayurveda and Western medicine. In recent years, there has been an increasing need for integrative medicine that compensates for the strengths and weaknesses of both.
Eat foods that match your dosha type
Ayurveda recommends diet, lifestyle guidance, and treatments to maintain health. Here, we will introduce foods that are suitable for each of the three doshas.
For Vata (wind)
Consume foods that calm Vata.
- Sweets that increase digestion and basal body temperature
- something sour
- something salty
- warm and nutritious food
etc. are recommended. Avoid light, cold foods and raw vegetables, which are characteristic of Vata, and keep a regular diet.
For pitta (fire)
Consume foods that calm Pitta. suppress pitta
- Sweet stuff
- bitter thing
- something bitter
is recommended. Avoid hot, pungent, spicy, sour, and spices, which are characteristic of Pitta, and avoid drinking too much. Avoid irregular meals.
For Kapha (Water) people
Consume foods that calm Kapha.
- something light and exciting
- Spicy things
- bitter thing
- something bitter
is recommended. Spices such as ginger and chili pepper are also good. Limit cold foods, fried foods, dairy products, and meat, which are characteristic of Kapha, and avoid overeating or taking a nap after meals.
Although Ayurveda recommends dietary methods for maintaining health, it is difficult to implement them correctly. Therefore, by using herbal preparations, it is possible to easily control tridosha.
Our company ``Ichiban Life'' offers supplements and health drinks that can be taken by any dosha, so please check them out.
Over time, Ayurveda has developed an outstanding theory and practice of disease prevention and treatment, and has developed an excellent clinical track record.
In recent years, the effectiveness of Ayurveda has been demonstrated from various angles in Europe, the United States, and the Indian subcontinent. In Japan, scientific verification of Ayurvedic theory and herbal preparations is being carried out by Yokohama City University and other local universities.
Although yoga and Buddhism are well-established in Japan, the value of Ayurveda is still poorly understood under a medical system that relies solely on Western medicine.
Through joint research with Yokohama City University, our company ``Ichiban Life'' uses the latest theories and techniques of modern science to create Ayurvedic recipes that are perfect for beauty, health, and longevity.
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