Alternative medicine

Ayurveda: what alternative medicine originated in India and does it work?

Ayurveda states that the five elements of earth, water, fire, air and space are present in everything including the human body

It is not uncommon for people to turn to herbal remedies or alternative medicine if they feel unwell or are in pain or pain.

But Ayurveda, which is one of the oldest health practices in the world and originated in India, now has global influences, with many people following the ancient form as a means of pain relief and healing. promote healing.

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‘Ayur’ means ‘Life’ and ‘Veda’ means ‘wisdom/journey/enlightenment’ – and it focuses on these key pillars:

  • everyday routine
  • diet
  • yoga and meditation
  • manual therapies
  • herbal supplements

By combining specific and tailored parts of these pillars, it is believed that the practitioner will live a long and healthy life.

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda states that the five elements of earth, water, fire, air and space are present in everything including the human body.

These forces – each with their own characteristics and tendencies – are believed to combine to create a unique pattern for each individual.

Your Dosha is your unique pattern, with the three main Doshas being Vata (space and air), Pitta (fire and water) and Kapha (water and earth).

It is believed that any of these can go out of balance depending on the individual’s lifestyle, season, location and diet, and is said to cause an imbalance which, in its turn, leads to sickness and disease.

Scarlett Woodford, 33, is a Ayurvedic practitioner from London that says trainers will gently observe you and ask questions in order to determine your current Dosha type.

They will then tailor an appropriate therapy plan that “aims to bring you back to optimal health and align you with nature,” Scarlett added.

The practitioner said Ayurveda takes everything into account and believes that nothing works in isolation, with all organs, tissues, systems, channels and mental activities in the body being connected.

This is echoed by Karolina Raczynska, secretary of the Association of Ayurvedic Professionals, who says people should find a practitioner “who can assess the health of the patient and formulate advice that is always individual for each patient”.

Does Ayurveda work?

In an Ayurvedic clinic, a coach can treat someone for conditions such as anxiety, diabetes, psoriasis, arthritis, depression, polycystic ovary syndrome, and asthma.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health adds, “A few studies suggest that Ayurvedic preparations may reduce pain and increase function in people with osteoarthritis and help manage symptoms in people with type 2 diabetes, but most of these trials are small or poorly designed.

“There is little scientific evidence on the value of Ayurveda for other health conditions. People should never replace proven conventional treatments or therapies with unproven alternatives.

When it comes to Ayurveda and cancer, Scarlet said that with more serious conditions like this, it’s more about managing the symptoms than reversing the disease, with many people “going beyond areas of traditional medicine in the face of such a diagnosis”.

She added that the practices involved in Ayurveda, including meditation, the use of oils and manual therapies, have been “proven to have a soothing and calming effect on the mind and body”.

Martin Ledwick, chief information nurse at Cancer Research UK, said: “There is no scientific evidence that Ayurvedic medicine is effective in treating cancer, alone or alongside conventional treatment. We do not recommend using it in place of conventional evidence-based medicine.

“Some people may choose to use it to gain a sense of well-being alongside their conventional treatment, but we always advise that you consult your doctor before taking any alternative or complementary treatment such as Ayurveda to ensure that it There are no known interactions with any of the conventional medicines or treatments you are receiving.

“You can do anything, just by making small, seemingly minor changes to your daily routine”

Addressing the question of whether Ayurveda is as effective as more traditional and modern medicines, Scarlett said “it’s too hard to say”.

She said different practitioners will offer different opinions, but in her personal experience, “the two can be used together.”

“My Ayurvedic teacher is a GP as well as an Ayurvedic coach so the teachings I have are very unique,” Scarlett added.

“A point to make is that Ayurveda can largely work as a preventative treatment, offering 360-degree holistic suggestions that tackle mind, body and spirit, whereas traditional medicine tends to address the physical symptom exhibited by a client at that time.”

For those looking to use Ayurveda alongside more modern medicine, Scarlett said every case is different and in the past she has advised clients who were already taking prescribed medication to continue taking it.

She said: “It’s not necessarily a good idea to totally think about extremes, especially for those who have been on a certain medication for a long time.”

“That’s the great thing about Ayurveda, you can do anything from making small, seemingly minor changes to your daily routine, to undergoing routine-changing seasonal cleansing,” Scarlett added.

Ayurveda and modern medicine “can be extremely helpful depending on the complaint, and can even complement each other,” Scarlett said.