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Swami S. Tirtha

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The Ayurveda Primer
by Swami S. Tirtha   

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· Ayurveda Encyclopedia
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Publisher:  Ayurveda Holistic Center Press ISBN-10:  0965804216 Type: 


Copyright:  Aug 1 2000

Ayurveda Holistic Center

Introduction to Ayurveda with case studies, scientific research; Interactive meditation videos; links to website (free articles & more); resource guide

What is Ayurvedic Medicine?
Ayurveda (pronounced I-your-vay-da) is the first or oldest healing science, dating back more than 5,000 years. All forms of natural and modern medicine can trace their roots to Ayurveda. Nutrition, herbology, surgery, gynecology, artificial limb replacement, acupuncture, massage, yoga, aromatherapy, meditation, etc. all were written about by the ancient Ayurvedic doctors.
Yet the most important aspect of Ayurveda has been retained only in this system of healing—the personalization of treatment. It recognizes that people have different constitutions that need to be considered when applying therapies.
Ayurveda offers therapies to heal disorders that are presently considered incurable by modern Western medicine, such as arthritis, asthma, cancer, and some forms of diabetes.
Therapies include herbology, nutrition, yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, exercise, music therapy, color therapy, lifestyle and spiritual counseling.
To summarize, Ayurveda offers a unique alternative medicine approach for four main reasons
1) It looks at the fundamental or root cause of illness; it does not merely treat symptoms.
2) It offers personalized or tailor-made therapy suggestions.
3) The results are gentle, effective healing with no side effects.
4) Ayurveda takes a holistic view of the client, looking at mental and physical health, career, relationships, possible environmental causes and spiritual life.
An awareness in America is emerging. People are dissatisfied with medical care as we know it. Costs are too high, medicines cause side effects, and doctors have no answers for many diseases. Simultaneously, people are discovering inexpensive, effective holistic or natural therapies to heal simple, chronic, and serious diseases. People are finding they are able to take more control of their lives and their health.

What is Alternative or Holistic Medicine?
Alternative medicines are natural therapies that offer an alternative to modern Western or allopathic medicine. Holistic has several meanings. First it means viewing the whole life of a person. Each area of life affects the other areas (i.e., mind, body, career, relationships, exercise and spirituality). For example stress at work may be causing headaches or high blood pressure. So in addition to treating the symptoms with natural therapies, the holistic approach would look to help reduce the stress at work through lifestyle changes.
All sectors of life are viewed as different areas of the same web of life. If one area is shaken, the whole web shakes. When considering the symptoms of a disease, the holistic practitioner looks at the root causes of the disorder. Is the person getting enough rest and proper nutrition?
Are they exercising? How is their social or family life? Are they happy in their career? Are they spending some time pursuing their spirituality (however each person defines spirituality)?
So holistic means looking at the whole person. It also means considering spirituality as the foundation of all areas of life. The holistic viewpoint often finds that when a spiritual crisis or emptiness exists, all areas of life suffer, including one's health.
Actually alternative or holistic medicine may be properly called complimentary medicine as it compliments modern Western medicine. Western medicine, in many cases, offers superior diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. However it has become clear to the public as well as the medical profession that allopathic medicine does not have all the answers. Further, doctors have not been trained in preventative care—the foundations of holistic medicine.

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