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Ayurveda’s approach to health and views of modern science

Absence of disease is not health. Maintaining health of a healthy person and treating dis-ease is the goal of Ayurveda.

Modern medicine primarily focuses on treating the disease and not on prevention, while Ayurveda goes to the heart of the problem treating the cause in order to remove or prevent the disease. When dealing with an illness or an imbalance, treating the symptoms and physical body alone will not cure the problem. The heart of the problem goes beyond the symptoms or results seen in a scientific lab test. Ayurveda effectively treats chronic conditions by removing the cause, which is often related to the habitual patterns of our diet and lifestyle.

This approach offers a solution to the crisis of unaffordable and unsustainable healthcare costs and unmanageable chronic diseases, such as obesity and overweight. “Closer examination of the epidemic of obesity and overweight in recent decades reveals that the change in our diet, the polluted environment, and lives lacking physical activity, love, and intimacy are the roots of this epidemic and high incidence of heart disease, cancer, and other chronic conditions that are consuming more than 75% of U.S. health dollars.

Recent investigations in healthy and long-living (100 years and beyond) societies of the world reveal that they have diet, lifestyle, and environment remaining essentially unchanged over a millennia and conducive to good health and lifespan” (Cox and Guyer 2004). According to the data from the Centers for Disease Control, U.S. life expectancy rose slightly from 78 years to 78.2 years between 2008 and 2009 <>.

The considerable deficiency in our knowledge with regard to psychosomatic and stress disorders, which are so prevalent, some of which have become the main “killers” in modern society, suggest an obvious need to study these disorders from a different angle–from both the preventive and curative points of view–by using an integrated approach as described in Ayurveda.

Ayurveda’s first line of defense in both prevention and cure was most simply stated as,“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” (Hippocrates). The world’s wisdom on health is captured by this prophetic pronouncement from the father of Western medicine, Hippocrates. The physical body is the product of diet and sensory inputs (i.e. lifestyle). Similarly, all ailments are the product of faulty diet and lifestyle and health is the result of right diet and lifestyle. This concept is the basis of health promotion and disease prevention.Àhaˉrasambhavam vastu rogaˉs’ caˉhaˉrasambhavaˉh, Hitaˉhitavis’ esaˉs’ ca vis’ esah sukhaduhkhayoh (Caraka Samhita Sutrasthana 28:45, Chapter 1; Susruta Samhita, Chapters 27–30).

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