The Relevance of Ayurveda In The Modern World
Throughout the USA, there is increasing awareness of a crisis in both personal wellness and in healthcare to achieve and maintain wellness. Chronic diseases such as diabetes are on the rise, along with an epidemic of obesity and conditions such as cancer, hear disease, and chronic degenerative conditions. Add to this an increase in allergic reactions, and the rise of disease conditions that take advantage of weakened immunity, and we see that people throughout the country are increasingly experiencing pain and suffering and do not have the easy, healthy enjoyment of a long span of life. We see a vast increase as well in the cost of healthcare and a rise in the use of prescription drugs, including highly addictive opioids, which sap the vitality and the pocketbooks of many millions of Americans. And there appears to be no end in sight.
The healthcare system in USA, while showing some extraordinarily positive results in certain directions, such as advancements in surgery and emergency care such as dealing with broken bones, lacerations and burns, has struggled when it comes to dealing with the chronic conditions and longer-term degenerative processes. The Western health system has essentially failed people in these areas due to its focus on treatment of symptoms, rather than looking at the entire person and the disease pattern holistically, including the interaction between body, emotions and mind, dietary and lifestyle considerations, and the impacts of our more sedentary lives and the increasing impact of the technology that surrounds us on basic health.
It is in just these areas that Ayurveda, ("the science of life") can be most useful to help people understand the issues that they are facing, and provide simple, easily adapted solutions to live a longer, healthier and happier life. Ayurveda is a healing science that has a long history going back thousands of years in India. Originally based on detailed observation and experimentation, the science has been codified and refined for centuries. It remains one of the leading healthcare modalities in India even today, and in fact Patanjali Ayruvedic Products has taken the country of India by storm with their simple, effective and inexpensive remedies which are sold in every corner of the country today, after being popularized by the well-known yoga practitioner, Swami Ramdev and his Ayurvedic team, led by Acharya Balkrishna, who has written a well-organized book on the subject: A Practical Approach to the Science of Ayurveda.
Some of the core principle involve treating the whole person, adjusting the dietary regimen to adapt to the different needs, including differing constitutional types, of each individual, and using herbs, spices, and various forms of physical therapy, such as massage therapy where appropriate. In addition, Ayurveda looks at the underlying causative conditions such as stress, technological impact, work regimens, exercise, and general lifestyle considerations, as well as emotional considerations for their impact on health.
Ayurveda has advantages in that it does not involve expensive pharmaceuticals that must be taken for many years, does not involve potentially addictive opioids, and does not involve the kind of costs and therapies prevalent in the West that cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, and nevertheless have a negative impact on the quality of life of the individual undergoing these treatments. By looking at the whole person, and working to achieve a balance between the different factors of life, while taking into account individual constitutional types and circumstances, Ayurveda is uniquely situated to help people deal with stress and imbalances that eventually cause disease conditions, and is thereby able to provide assistance to people at a very low cost, with many recommendations that can be implemented by each person in their own lives. The result is higher quality of life, healthier existence and less cost required to be dedicated to health care.
There are some excellent introductory books on Ayurveda, including the all-time bestseller: Ayurveda: Science of Self-Healing by Dr. Vasant Lad as well as the aforementioned recent title with its extensive and organized explanations and recommendations: A Practical Approach to the Science of Ayurveda by Ancharya Balkrishna.
I began my own relationship with Ayurveda back in the 1970's, and have found it to be both practical and useful in helping me adjust my diet, lifestyle, exercise regimen, and thereby reduce stress levels, maintain balance in my life and live an active, healthy and energetic life. Besides the introductory books mentioned here, there are a number of books, such as cookbooks, herbal texts, etc, that can provide more specific and detailed support in specific areas. This is a subject that can have a real and meaningful benefit for people everywhere, and I encourage you to look into Ayurveda for its practical benefits in your life.
Santosh Krinsky, President
Institute for Wholistic Education