Ayurveda is much more than an ancient and alternative form of medicine. The word itself means “Knowledge of Life”. It is the science that suggests to you the ideal way to live, to have not only a lengthy but healthy existence. Ayurveda includes all that is needed for a man to be healthy and happy including study of the right conduct and the discussion on philosophical aspects of life. It is in fact a holistic system that considers health in a multidimensional perspective.
One of the most important things in maintaining health is observation of systematic daily routine, especially in food habits and sleep. The key is to have food intake at regular and fixed intervals and a minimum of seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. Ayurveda details this under the head Dinacharya.
Ayurveda asks us to live life in accordance with seasons. Eat foods that suit the seasons and do therapies that are more effective in that particular climate. In fact Ayurveda says that nature provides in abundance food that is generally ideal for that time period and that specific locality.
We should also have a well planned schedule of diet and exercise. It is not enough to have healthy food but also sufficient exercise. Personal hygiene is a must for good health. But Ayurveda goes beyond that and says social and civic hygiene are equally important. As we know to our cost garbage accumulated in the streets is a grave threat to our health any time and especially in the rainy season.
Long before modern science understood the power of the mind in the treatment and cure of diseases, Ayurveda studied the phenomenon in detail. To have a healthy body you need a healthy mind. For that strict mental discipline and adherence to moral values are a must. Ethics in social life gives you a clear guideline and prevents unnecessary confusion and strain in decision making. It also helps to maintain good relations and thereby peace of mind.
Most of the Ayurvedic medicines and therapies are aimed at boosting the human immune system. For it believes that the innate strength of the human body is capable of warding off most of the diseases. All that is needed is to give it the necessary support and right nourishment. Periodic purification treatments like Kizhi, Pizhichil, Vasti and Dhara which cleanses, rejuvenates and relaxes the body and mind are also part of the methods to ensure good health.
The second dimension of Ayurveda is palliative care or treatment of diseases with medicines. The approach for this is also unique because Ayurveda researches the cause and treats the person rather than studying the symptoms and treating the illness. The cure is in empowering the body than destroying the external organisms.