Understanding the beginnings of Wellness: Ayurveda

The concept of Ayurveda dates back to 3000 BC, which is contemporaneous to the era when four Vedas, namely Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda, came into existence. Ayurveda is an inseparable part of wellness tourism. Etymologically speaking, Ayurveda combines Ayur (life) and Veda (knowledge), which further means the science of life or the science of healing that enhances longevity.

traditional indian ayurvedic oil massage

Ayurveda is divided into eight subsections or branches, which are internal medicine, surgery, organic medicine, rejuvenating remedy, spiritual healing, pediatrics, aphrodisiac remedies and toxicology. All these sections come together to qualify as the ancient science of healing, Astanga Ayurveda. The most famous ayurvedic texts include Charak Samhita, Sushrut Samhita, and the AshtanghaHridaya Samhita. Charaka and Sushruta wrote the first two texts respectively; however, the third one is a combined version that includes detailed information culled from both the texts.

If we further delve into manuscripts that laid the very foundation of Ayurveda, we cannot afford to underestimate or sideline the importance of the Bower Manuscript since it further inspires the healing methods prevalent in Central Asian Buddhism. Ayurveda saw its growth and fruition during the Gupta Empire, which is quite evident in the narrative of Chinese pilgrim Fa Hsien. The Chinese thinker, traveler and philosopher described how Ayurveda played a pivotal role in inspiring the health care system of Gupta Empire and instilled an institutional approach into Indian medicine.

Woman having massage with pouch of rice.

Taking their cue from Indian Ayurveda, several writers – physicians rather – translated Sushrut Samhita and Charak Samhita into Arabic language in the 8th century. These Arabic texts further hit the European shores eventually. Considering the influence that the surgical techniques of Sushruta had on the Branca family of Sicily and GaspareTagliacozzi (Bologna), we can say that renaissance owes its medicinal or healing effectiveness in part to Indian Ayurveda.

In relatively not-so-recent times, British physicians went on to publish detailed reports on Indian rhinoplasty in the Gentleman’s Magazine in 1794. Moreover, Ayurveda has a considerable influence on various other traditional healing methods like Greek, Tibetan, and Chinese medicine.

Since Ayurveda seeks to combine lifestyle with dietary modifications, it stimulates or pacifies the constitution of our body to hit the right balance, which could further allow individuals to perceive and learn the essential tenets of self-care and self-healing.

Dr Prem Jagyasi (c)

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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