is not only a form of medication – it is a total way of life know to generations of Sri Lankan for over 3000 years. It is a gentle method of treating the root causes of illness in both mind and body.
The health conscious today are searching for effective alternatives to the spiraling costs and side effects that at times result from the use of modern medicine. In Sri Lanka, we have had for the last couple of millennia a “user-friendly “ traditional medicine – Ayurveda” which over 75% of the island’s population depend on because of its reliance on natural plants, herbs and oils. Nature’s way to good health, the efficacy of “Ayurveda” has been proved by 3,000 years of successful caring and curing… What is Ayurveda? It is an ancient system of medicine developed in our part of the world, long before the “father of medicine”, Hippocrates, was even born. The name comes from two conjoined Sanskrit words “Ayuh” (life) and “Veda” (science or knowledge). Basically a science of healthy living, Ayurveda has two aims – to preserve health and to cure a body afflicted by disease. One of the fundamentals beliefs of Ayurveda is the doctrine of “Tri Dosha” or the Three Vital Forces – Vayu, Pita and Kapha. Generally translated into Wind, Bile and Phlegm, a more accurate interpretation of Vayu is the transmission of energy within the body; in modern medical terms, nerve impulses, muscle contraction and hormonal activity.
Pita may not be confined to bile but signifies the whole scope of metabolism and internal heat production while Kapha means mucus, often described as “The Protective Fluid”. The modern concept of mucus as an antibody containing liquid which coats and protects internal linings of the body, seems to fit in with Ayurvedic thinking. When the three, “Doshas” are balanced, the body is in good health. When this equilibrium is disturbed and the balance of these complementary forces become unbalanced and upset, then illness results.
Ayurvedic practitioners study the patient as a whole with the object of restoring balance, getting to the root of the problem and treating it. Local folk have been known to say that while western medicine classifieds germs and attempts to destroy them, Ayurveda classifies human beings and attempts to save them.
The dive-pronged evacuative therapy – “Pancha Karma” is designed to rid the body of toxins and is achieved by special diets and herbal decoctions. The five elements of medical herbs: leaves, flowers, barks, roots and berries are used to cleanse the blood and the body of impurities. The preparation of Ayurvedic medications is usually a long process with ingredients being ground in a pestle for a prescribed period of time. Juices and extracts of plants are simmered until they are reduced to a fraction of their original volume. Besides decoctions, wines, pills and powders for internal use, Ayurveda also uses poultices, pastes, ointments and oils for external application. Massage with herbal oils, steam baths and bathing in herbal waters are said to be particularly beneficial to patients with migraine, insomnia and arthritis. Methods of treatment vary – while one might have herbal oil dripping from a suspended clay pot onto a patient’s head, another would place the patient in a steam bath like an ancient wooden chest with perforations, in which he or she lies relaxed, benefiting from the vapours of various steamed herbs wafting up from underneath. Herbal teas are now available and gaining in popularity worldwide. Their ingredients vary. While some might invigorate and energize, others would relax and calm both mind and body. The preventative aspects of Ayurveda recommend codes for healthy living which include dietary and social-cultural norms. Certain foods are considered good while partaking of others such as red meat is discouraged. Vegetarianism and the consumption of dairy products such as milk and curd are smiled upon while drinking alcohol and smoking are frowned on.
“Ayurveda” is a cure for a lifetime and a way of life; after all, generations of Sri Lankan have been using these age-old remedies, and obtaining relief from their illness, living to a ripe old age in excellent physical condition. It is a gentle and relaxed treatment for both mind and body, one that leaves you feeling light, tranquil, yet filled with the zest and energy that our ancestors experienced and benefited from.
“Ayurveda” is nature’s way of caring and curing for a lifetime… Ayurveda Sri Lanka
is a excellent resource for Ayurveda treatments in Sri Lanka