Ayurveda, in its literal translation from Sanskrit, means ‘the knowledge of life’, and is one of the world’s most ancient approaches to medicine. The fact that the original Sanskrit term is still in use shows how old this traditional art really is. Ayurveda is also deeply rooted in Hindu spiritual beliefs, as the source of ayurvedic knowledge is said to be from Lord Brahma, the God of Creation. This type of treatment is now referred to as ‘systems medicine’, an approach where the various systems in the body are seen as complimentary to each other as parts of an integrated whole. Ayurvedic medicine typically relies on hygiene and plant-based medicines, with some treatments requiring animal products, fats and minerals.
In countries like Sri Lanka and India, especially in rural areas, the practice of Ayurveda still remains common, with many patients preferring to resort to herbal ayurvedic remedies over modern medicine. It is also slowly gaining popularity worldwide due to the lack of side-effects and complications that arise from modern drugs and medical treatments. One thing to note is that the ayurvedic practices of Sri Lanka and India are slightly different, particularly with respect to the herbs used in treatment. This is because Sri Lankan ayurvedic practices are derived from a combination of Sri Lankan traditional medicine, ayurveda, and a number of other traditional medical practices.
Ayurvedic treatment, as mentioned before, is very widespread in Sri Lanka, with approximately 20,000 practitioners around the country. The Sri Lankan government established the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine in 1980 to regulate the safe practice of ayurvedic treatment in the country. This was merely official recognition for the practice which had been common in the country for centuries. Several of the ancient kings of Sri Lanka were well-known as ayurvedic physicians; one King Buddhadasa authored a manuscript in approximately 350 BC that is still referred to by physicians today. Another interesting fact is that Mihintale, an ancient ayurveda hospital in Sri Lanka, is considered to be one of the world’s oldest medical institutions.
Whether you seek spiritual or physical healing, ayurveda can be an effective treatment for a variety of conditions. It is believed that through the healthy diet and lifestyle recommended by Ayurvedic physicians, you can relax, detoxify your body and keep your mind, body and soul in equilibrium. Especially in today’s world, where patients are required to swallow a multitude of pills and go through several exhausting treatments, the alternative treatment of Ayurveda is seen as much more appealing and effective.