Ayurveda, a Holistic Approach to Health

Ayurveda explains health as a state when all three components of life, the body, mind and soul, are in a normal state. Susruta gives the best definition of a healthy state, i.e. when the dosha are in a state of balance, the agni or digestive fire is working properly, the dhaatu are participating properly in the nutritive process initiated by the agni, and themala or impurities are eliminated naturally from the body.

The holism of this definition of health is mirrored by the inclusion of the pleasant states of mind and consciousness in the same verse. Ayurveda tests the state of equilibrium or harmony within and outside the physical body. These normal states of body, mind and consciousness occur together or separately to suit the definition of absolute health and well-being respectively.

Ayurveda’s holistic approach to health offers two benefits

• The immediate Ayurveda benefits - relief from disease or maintenance of health.

• The ultimate Ayurveda benefits - liberation from the cyclical afflictions of miseries.

Though this manner of classification of Ayurveda’s benefits has a philosophical basis, it proves the impact of the science on a human life.

As a system, Ayurvedic Medicine has two purposes –

i. Maintaining the health of a healthy person through Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle regimens.
ii. Curing the disease of a person mainly through medicines and treatments.

These purposes are achieved when Ayurvedic treatment is administered by taking into account the components of physical, mental and spiritual health care.

All classical texts dealing in Ayurvedic treatments begin with preventive aspects of the science. To prevent disease, Ayurveda advocates a life of balance. Making Ayurveda, a way of life involves adopting regimens that modify the lifestyle according to the natural diurnal, nocturnal and seasonal changes.