Fundamentally, the Ayurvedic medicine approach recognises that each of us is unique and must find our own way towards a life of balance, peace and unity with ourselves and the entirety of the universe; from the macrocosm to the microcosm. This gives us the responsibility for our own health. (To digress, my guru always used to say that a teacher should practise what he preaches, just so I feel an Ayurvedic practitioner should also practice what they preach. This is why I am so magnetised to the Ayurvedic way of living, for it makes the most sense to me.)
Being the oldest system of medicine in the world (1500BC), the basis of Ayurveda states that we are whole beings, not separate, and our bodies function as a whole and dynamic system. With this in mind (or at heart), Ayurveda encompasses a “bioenergetic and/or biospiritial system.” This means that its strengths are based on “the meticulous observation skills of the ancients.” A recording from the ‘rishis’ with their relationship between themselves and their environment.
From a technical viewpoint, ‘Ayur’ means knowledge and ‘Veda’ meaning life. Thus Ayurveda is translated as “the science of life” or living. If broken down, Ayurveda teaches us how to live according to the environment, both internal and external. Ayurveda is an alternative scientific method of ‘health’ that focuses on individuals as being ‘unique’. This approach to health understands that individuals are born with a certain combination of principles that determine individuality (constitution). With this in mind, constitutional medicine can be defined as Ayurveda (The Knowledge of Life). It takes into account the effect lifestyle, genetics and various other factors, has on the mind (mental) and emotions (emotional) of the individual, not only in a physical context.
An Ayurvedic practitioner can diagnose patterns of imbalance with an individual based on varying factors such as genetic predisposition and external lifestyle factors to gain knowledge about the individual’s strengths and weaknesses. This is the basis for health. There is no such thing as suppressing symptoms, but rather, curing the cause of the disease. By eliminating imbalances in the principles, quality of health is achieved. In addition, Ayurveda views medication as secondary to nutrition and lifestyle. As diet, food preparation, pranayama (breath work), and dharana (concentration) along with herbal formulations can also be applied. Ayurveda acknowledges that re-balancing an individuals constitution may take longer than merely popping a pill, but works out better as it is permanent and will eliminate other symptoms or un-related diseases.
I leave you with an ancient Ayurvedic proverb...
"When Diet is Wrong Medicine is of No Use, When Diet is Correct, Medicine is of no Need."