What is Ayurveda? Is it an exotic massage with oils and herbs? Is it the ‘lit’ thing to do when you holiday at resorts in Kerala? Just something to help you relax and unwind when floating in the backwaters, surrounded by lush greenery?
If you answered ‘Yes!’ to any of the above, we’re sorry to say, you’ve bought into a very commercialized idea, which barely scratches the surface of all that Ayurveda is.
The Knowledge of Life
A combination of the Sanskrit words ayur, meaning “life” and veda, meaning “wisdom” or “knowledge”, Ayurveda literally means “the knowledge of life”. A system of medicine practised in India for millennia, the science of Ayurveda seeks to promote health rather than cure illness, by balancing wellness of body, mind and spirit.
With its lush landscape providing a treasure trove of medicinal plants, Ayurvedic healing and medicine has been ingrained in Kerala’s culture. This is largely due to the legendary Ashtavaidya tradition prevalent in Kerala – that of scholar physicians well versed in all eight branches of Ayurvedic medicine, with their accumulated knowledge passed down from father to son, for centuries.
Ayurveda’s Perfect Setting – Kerala
Kerala’s equable climate, naturally abundant forests and the long, cool monsoons are perfect for healing, the natural medicines working at full potency in these ideal conditions. The innumerable medicinal plants produced every year, across every season, also ensure the continuity and consistency of the Ayurvedic medicines essential for effective treatment.
The Individual is the Key
Ayurveda is a highly individual-centric form of healing, with the physicians needing to closely analyse the patient’s constitution, their lifestyle, diet and surroundings. More than anything, Ayurveda seeks to help you build a lifestyle aimed at keeping you healthy and invulnerable to disease, by offering a unique, custom-made diagnosis. With the patient an active participant in the treatment, Ayurveda heals and helps them make the necessary changes in their way of life to maintain that subtle balance of body, mind and consciousness.