Ayurveda is a word from Sanskrit - the ancient language of India - that translates as knowledge or science of life. Ayurveda originated some 5,000 years ago in the oral teachings of ancient rishis (pronounced ree-shees), or spiritual masters, who believed that all living things were based on underlying energies. They developed Ayurveda as a method for balancing these energies and thus promoting optimal health and longevity. Ayurvedic theory influenced Greek and Chinese medicine and evolved into a sophisticated system for preventing and treating disease.
The term "Ayurveda" literally means "the science of life". This ancient system of medicine, developed in India over a period of 5000 years, encompasses both Preventive & Prescriptive aspects. Ayurveda offers a great deal of excellent practical advice for the common man on every aspect of life and living. What is unique to Ayurveda is Ayurvedic practitioners teach patients to understand their unique bodily constitutions and show them how to use diet, massage, herbs, and lifestyle adjustments to harmonize body, mind, and spirit. Compared to other systems of medicine, this natural approach to health care caught appreciation of the world as safe and scientific.
Today, an estimated 300,000 ayurvedic physicians practice in India, often in close conjunction with doctors trained in Western, conventional medicine or in homeopathy. In recent years a more science-savvy take on Ayurveda has spread to distant parts of the world including the United States, where it has begun to flourish alongside other holistic, patient-oriented, natural, non-invasive medical systems such as traditional Chinese medicine.