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Ayurveda is entering in a health
care revolution in which lifestyle,
diet, exercise and meditation are
more important than drugs and
surgery, not only for health but also
for improving vitality.
It is helping us to
reclaim our health and our vitality so that we
can live the lives that we really want to live
and have the creativity and consciousness
to make our sojourn on this planet both
beautiful and benefcial, not only for
ourselves but for all creatures. It is returning
medicine to life and to our daily behavior,
rather than reducing it to diffcult hospital
procedures with numerous side effects.
and consciousness and how the physical
world connects with those more subtle.
For treatment purposes, Ayurveda has
created an extensive herbal and mineral
industry, offering what is probably
the greatest variety of herbal and
pharmaceutical preparations available
in the world. These include herbal
wines, herbal jellies, confections, resins,
balsams, various pills and powders,
and an extensive system of mineral and
alchemical preparations that are unique
in the entire world.
Ayurveda possesses a wealth of special
clinical procedures, including the use
of steam therapy, oil massage, and its
own purifcation or cleansing methods
known as Pancha Karma that include
everything from enemas to nasal
medications. It has special rejuvenation
techniques for body and mind that
strengthen immunity and retard aging,
employing natural methods of diet,
herbs, exercise, yoga and meditation.
Perhaps most signifcantly, Ayurveda
uses all these approaches in the
context of a greater science of self‑care,
including an entire methodology of
right living for optimum health and the
promotion of greater awareness and
creativity tailored to the needs of each
person. All of this follows a constitutional
model that considers the unique nature
of the individual as the primary factor
in health, not disease as an entity in
itself. Ayurveda is a humanistic and
person-centered medicine that shows us
how to fnd our own natural health and
unfold our deeper energy potentials for
the fullness of life, in which drugs and
hospitals can become peripheral not
While Western medicine focuses on
identifying external pathogens and
controlling disease from the outside,
Ayurveda concentrates on the living
individual and controlling disease
through balancing the life‑force within
the person. As the limitations of
antibiotic medicines are now evident
today, with weakening immune systems
and the return of contagious diseases
once thought to be eradicated, such
regimens for strengthening our internal
energy and immune system are crucial
for our health as a species and its
survival through future decades. We
can no longer simply try to change our
environment for health or happiness,
as if manipulating the outer will
make us feel better on an inner level.
We must learn how to develop and
improve ourselves and our own internal
resources, including not only how we eat
and exercise, but also how we breathe
and how we think. This Ayurveda shows
us how to do and provides us with the
knowledge and methods to facilitate the
As the traditional medicine of the
subcontinent of India, Ayurveda refects
the profound spiritual culture of the
region. It is an integral part of Vedic
sciences that includes Yoga, Vedanta
and Vedic Astrology. It brings us the
entire cultural, spiritual and natural
wisdom of the Himalayan region with
knowledge of how the great yogis
and seers cultivated their bodies and
minds, and interacted with their natural
environment, thus reaching the very
source of creation in the cosmic mind.
This ancient and oriental Ayurveda is
now spreading worldwide as one of the
most important and innovative systems
of mind-body medicine available
today. As part of the global age, it has
left its protective shell in India and is
now entering the global arena for the
beneft of all peoples. Soon Ayurveda
will become an integral part of a new
and more humane approach to health
care everywhere. In the last ten years,
interest in the subject has exploded,
with the publishing of many books on
Ayurveda and the opening of Ayurvedic
centers throughout the Western world,
indicating the beginning of a trend that
is likely to continue for years to come.
The current crisis in health care, brought
about by over reliance on chemical,
mechanical and artifcial treatment
modalities, now demands the return
of the natural, life and soul affrmative
systems such as Ayurveda, with their
lifestyle regimens for self-healing. Unless
we relearn the art of self-healing, we will
be drowned in drugs, medical testing
and chronic diseases that leave us
not only unhealthy but also fnancially
insecure. This new move to self-healing
is bound to be one of the most important
developments in culture and in health
care for the coming century.
Sep/Oct 2011 51