Ayurvedic medicine is one of the world’s oldest medical practices. It is also called Ayurveda and means “the science of life” (Cherry and Jacob, pp239, para 5). This practice originated in India and is now world known. Ayurveda’s goal is to “integrate and balance the body, mind, and spirit” (Ayurvedic Medicine, para 2). This practice is uses a variety of products and techniques such as herbal remedies, massage, meditation, breathing exercises and special foods to help cleanse the body and attempt to restore balance. This is believed to prevent illness and maintain wellness. Before using this therapy, you must first consult your healthcare provider because certain herbs have various side effects and may counteract with certain medications. Some view these practices as holistic medicine, however in the United States, it is viewed as a CAM and a whole medical system.
It is believed that a person’s chances of developing certain diseases depends on the way doshas, which are “distinct metabolic body types” (Cherry and Jacob, pp 240, para 1), are balanced, their mental and physical wellbeing and lifestyles. There are three types of doshas. 1. Vata, which are unpredictable, hyperactive, impulsive, slender, prone to insomnia, have fluctuating energy levels, cramps, and constipation. 2. Pitta, which are predictable, efficient, perfectionist, passionate, short-tempered, prone to heavy perspiration, medium build, have acne, ulcers, and stomach problems. 3. Kapha, which are relaxed, affectionate, forgiving, sleeps long and deeply, have a tendency toward procrastination, obese, have high cholesterol, allergies and sinusitis (Cherry and Jacob, pp 240, table 11-1).
The treatment process depends on the body type a patient possesses and may include using any of the following techniques: cleansing, detoxification, palliation, rejuvenation through special herbs and minerals, mental hygiene and spiritual healing (Cherry and Jacob, pp 240 para 2). Another goal to Ayurveda is to promote spiritual healing and remove oneself from negative situations to aid in mental nurturing. Some therapies that are currently approved for Ayurveda usage include a herbal remedy curcuminoid from turmeric used in cardiovascular conditions, cowhedge plant compounds used to lessen the side effects of Parkinson’s disease drugs, ginger, turmeric and boswellia used in inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, and the herb gotu kola to treat Alzheimer’s disease (NCCAM-Funded Research, para 1) .
There is no process for certifying or licensing Ayurvedic practitioners currently (Cherry and Jacob, pp 240, para 3). However, many practitioners study in India where training may take up to 5 years to complete. After graduating, these practitioners may choose to provide care in the United States. Although there are no national standard for training in the US for Ayurveda, a few states have approved these schools as educational institutions (Practioner Training and Education, para 1). To locate qualified practitioners, you may visit the website www.ayurveda.com or http://ayurvedanama.org/find-practitioner/. Or for general information on Ayurvedic medical practice, you may visit www. nccam.nih.gov.
Ayurvedic Medicine: An Introduction, 2009 July, retrieved from http://nccam.nih.gov/health/ayurveda/introduction.htm, on August 4 2012. Cherry, B., & Jacob, S. R. (2011). Contemporary nursing: Issues, trends, and management. (5th ed.). St. Louis: Mosby, Chapter 11, pp 239-240.
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