Ayurvedic medicine has its origins in the ancient Vedic civilization of India. Ayurveda is the oldest existing health care system in the world. It is also a remarkably sophisticated system of health care. For example, ancient Ayurvedic texts distinguished between two types of diabetes and described the circulatory system- thousands of years before Western medicine developed the same understandings.
How Ayurvedic medicine differs from conventional, Western medicine
Ayurveda focuses on creating positive health as well as eliminating disorders. In Ayurveda, the approach to disorders is to eliminate the root cause of the illness rather than focusing on specific symptoms. Ayurveda judges every treatment approach in terms of its effect on the entire mind/body system.
During an Ayurvedic consultation, an expert first determines how far a person has fallen from their ideal state of health and then designs an integrated approach to move him or her back into healthy balance. Purification treatments, herbal preparations, diet and specific life-style recommendations are given to support the body's natural healing and self-purifying abilities.
Ayurveda also emphasizes the important role of consciousness, the lively intelligence that underlies the physiology, in maintaining and creating health.
Ayurvedic Medicine as Preventative Medicine
Ayurveda offers a preventive approach to health that is not offered by conventional medicine. The ideal goal of regular Ayurveda consultations and treatments is to detect and correct imbalances at subtle levels (the doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) before these imbalances give rise to specific symptoms or ill health.
Maharishi's Revival of Ayurveda
A great deal of Ayurvedic knowledge was lost during the long periods of foreign rule in India. During the centuries of colonial rule, Ayurvedic medical schools and institutions were actively suppressed and standards of Ayurvedic education and practice fell into disarray.
In the late 1970's, the Indian sage Maharishi Mahesh Yogi turned his attention to Ayurveda, with the goal to reviving the system in its comprehensive and integrated form. India's most renowned and experienced Ayurvedic physicians collaborated to revive the ancient knowledge of Ayurveda to its original wholeness. This revival of Ayurveda is called Maharishi Ayurveda.