Ayurveda comes from two conjoined Sanskrit words "Ayuh" (life) and "Veda" (science or knowledge). It is a science of healthy living, and has two aims, to preserve health and to cure a body afflicted by disease.
This holistic form of therapy utilizes the diet, herbs, oils, animal products, yoga and meditation to heal and rejuvenate both the body and mind. Ayurveda believes the life forces, or doshas, of an individual must be balanced for good health.
What can Ayurveda do?
Ayurvedic practitioners study the patient with the object of restoring balance, getting to the root of the problem and treating that. Local folk have been known to say that while western medicine classifies germs and attempts to destroy them, Ayurveda classifies human beings and attempts to save them.
Although Ayurveda can be enjoyed casually for its toning massages and herbal baths, it has a series of intense treatments that take over a period of weeks or even months and produce remarkable results. Ayurveda makes use of the island's natural resources like herbs, leaves, flowers, barks, roots and berries and uses them to cleanse the blood and the body of impurities.
It is claimed that many conditions can be alleviated or cured by Ayurveda, including arthritis, migraine, exhaustion, high blood pressure, depression, cystitis, asthma, nicotine and heroin addiction.
There are several methods of treatment used. Head to toe massages are said to remove impurities, relax the nerves and invigorate the lymphatic and immune systems. Dripping warm oil on the forehead is said to reduce tension and cure insomnia, while various herbal steam baths open the pores to dispose of toxins for inner harmony. This all-natural experience is truly serene and rejuvenating for both the mind and the body.
On the physical level, yoga postures, called asanas, are designed to tone, strengthen, and align the body. These postures are performed to make the spine supple and healthy and to promote blood flow to all the organs, glands, and tissues, keeping all the body systems healthy. On a mental level, yoga uses breathing techniques and meditation to quiet, clarify, and discipline the mind.
Yoga is a vital part of long-term Ayurvedic treatments.