Not Just a Tradition of the Ancient Past
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Ayurveda, the ancient Sanskrit word (Ayus/living and Veda/revealed wisdom) comes from the traditions of the ancient Indian sages, also known as Rishis. The word “denotes the enlightened knowledge of all aspects of optimal, healthy, everyday living, and longevity” and, its followers believe Ayurveda to be a “fortress of wisdom” (Ninivaggi 2008, xvi). Being that the medical practice of Ayurveda goes back as far as 6,000 years, 3,000 of those years recorded and verifiable, it is worth inquiring about why the seemingly successful methodologies and medical practices have not been adopted into the Western framework of scientific medicine. Although Ayurvedic methods and its practitioners are becoming more popular in the United States, with the increased interest by North American patients in preventative and holistic treatments, there appears to be a disconnect about these procedures as validated by providers within North America and our system of payers (i.e., the insurance agencies). As indicated by the Rocky Mountain Institute of Yoga and Ayurveda website, a Boulder, Colorado agency, it was learned that although reimbursements can be found, it often times requires a unique “system of billing and coding” to ensure payment. There are numerous reports and studies being done that show how Ayurvedic medicine is not just an ancient version of complementary and alternative medicine, but rather these studies demonstrate the validity for support of the treatments. One example of this would be in cancer treatment, there are herbal and traditional medicines that are being studied worldwide to validate their effect on cancer. Alternative and more natural approaches to curing and managing cancers are becoming more popular and common. With the existing regulatory policies and perceptions surrounding Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in the United States, it is my goal to show and provide statistics that will increase awareness and acceptance of the medical wisdom of Ancient Ayurveda. There will be an investigation and explanation showing how Eastern Indian healthcare treatments have been scientifically examined and how they can successfully be adopted into the U.S. healthcare model, via a more global perspective on illness, disease and the prevention of disease from a wellness and holistic approach.
Review of Literature
The following section summarizes the history of Ayurveda, describes major trends and holes found in the existing research, and explores the evidence both supporting and disproving Ayurveda as a viable and proven healthcare strategy. The History of Ayurveda
The concept of Ayurveda was developed sometime around 2500 and 500 BC in India. Ayurveda is rooted in Buddhist and Hindu traditions, but it has been said to connect with Asian medicine (Warrier 2011). Essentially, Ayurveda suggests that the body’s ability to heal itself “acts through three forces called doshas. These are vata (space and air), pitta (fire and water), and kapha (water and earth)” (Yeager 1998). In order to live a healthy life, these doshas must remain balanced. Typically, Ayurveda is most often used to prevent disease, and has proven beneficial in the treatment of high blood pressure, cholesterol and stress (Yeager 1998). Ayurveda is also helpful in everyday life.
Translated, Ayurveda means “science of life.” This definition is relevant because the ancient Indian system of health care focuses views of man and his illness evolving from the body and its external factors (Yeager 1998). In the present context, the Ayurvedic system of medicine is becoming more widely accepted. It is practiced in India and also in the more economically evolved countries such as Europe, the United States and Japan (Samy, Pushparaj and Gopalakrishnakone...
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