Research Paper: Ayurveda as a Complement to Conventional Western Medicine

In this paper I am going to reveal my research findings regarding the implementation of Ayurveda as a complementary mean to treating different diseases to the Western medicine. The purpose of my research is to prove that ancient medical Indian tradition, and Ayurveda as the science of life in particular, is said to have the positive impact on the person’s health, even though it is concentrated on the energetic body structure.

I have had a significant interest in spiritual practices since I can remember myself. I do believe that the person cannot trust anything he had not tried himself and became convinced in its efficiency. Indian historical heritage, yoga practices, breathing practices had always attracted my attention and I also checked on practice their positive influence on my emotional and physical state.

Ayurveda is referred to as the ancient traditional system of the medicine that appeared about 6000 years ago. It honors the role of intuition in the healing process and tends to view the human organism as a whole. Ayurveda uses spiritual, physical and psychological therapies to facilitate the better life of the patient. Being a holistic and comprehensive paradigm, Ayurveda has much to propose to Western medical practices, and from year to year it is gaining more recognition in Western scientific circles due to increasing number of performed trials.

Ayurveda as a science is constituted of eight major integral parts: Kaya Chikista (medical therapeutics), Shalakya Tantra (treatment of neck and head diseases), Shalya Tantra (surgery), Kaumarabhritya (pediatrics), Agada Tantra (toxicology), Bhutavidya (psychology and psychiatry), Rasayana (rejuvenation science) and the last one Vajikarana (aphrodisiacs science) (Matthews, 2003, p.16).

Ayurvedic doctors had been struggling for respect even since the began to professionalize, well before 1000 B.C. (Svoboda, 1992, p.6). The struggle between traditional medicine and untraditional approaches has a very long history as well. The matter is that Ayurveda is not rejecting the postulates of the traditional medicine, but has another traditionally stipulated approach to healing people and keeping them healthy. On the other hand Western medicine treated Ayurvedic practices with suspicion, but to my opinion it was due to lack of knowledge, research and trials of this non-traditional medical philosophy. Ayurvedic medical treatment knowledge and practices are based upon four main principles: dharma, artha, kama and morsha (Lad, 1985, p.15). Dharma is generally referred to as the way the person undertakes to reveal his or her full potential and fulfill his or her genuine tasks in life. It is very promising, as I personally know many people that are confused with their lives, are not satisfied with their occupations, are subjected to dramatic social pressure, and are not happy in relationships with their love partners and friends. Dharma brings person the satisfaction on the inner deep level and can be successful used as a complement to psychiatric and psychotherapeutic practices. It allows the person to understand the uniqueness of each human-being and exist not just as consumers, but as creative creatures that came to this world to fulfill their own predestinations. Though dharma practices can be not very pleasant and convenient to do to common people with Western way of thing and perceiving things, it will create the spiritual basis for a happy life, where problems can be easily resolved and there is no room for dissatisfaction, but just for constructive creativity.

Artha refers to material side of life in pursue of security. It is tightly connected with power, wealth and fame. These are also psychological issues. Kama is said to the part that is responsible for pleasure, when people are able to enjoy in full extent the blue morning sky, classical piece of music, smiling to another people, playing with children. And the last goal in life, according to Ayurveda is moksha, which concerns aspects of spiritual liberation and finding the right path in life, thinking about life after death and the overall meaning of our presence on this Earth and being who we are.

The understanding of the human nature and human body by Ayurvedic tradition is quite different form that of the Western one. Ayurveda understands the relationship between the microcosm of the human ‘bodymind’ and the macrocosm of the external world through the Law of Like and Unlike. A substance is seen as a carrier of a number of qualities, called gunas. The law looks at the gunas of a thing in order to see how it will influence the microcosm of the human ‘bodymind’. (Matthews, 2003, p. 21).

The approach to treatment differs as well. Ayurveda emphasizes on usage of herbs for treatment of different diseases instead of antibiotics. Even though Ayurvedic practices cannot completely substitute Western medicine, it at least can propose healthier solutions for different pills. Nowadays many researches are being held on this regard, and herbs are gaining more and more popularity. It has been noted, that microbes are becoming more resistant to conventional antibiotics, and this require constant improvements. Herbal antibiotics cannot be alternative to conventional antibiotics, but definitely can complement them. As complementary mean, herbal antibiotics can be used to improve the compliance of various drugs, when having a long-term treatment process, improve and strengthen immune system, prevent upper respiratory tract recurrent infections and what is the most important- to assists patients to recover faster after the treatment process was finished.

In the conclusion I would like to summarize that Ayurveda is the science of healing and the philosophy of life. It covers all main aspects not just of the human-beings’ health, but also of their spiritual enlightenment and development. It is the mean to live a happy life, full of love, health, wealth and bright colors.

Various researches and investigation reveal that Ayurvedic herbal drugs can be successful used as the complement to traditional Western medicine. I am sure that it is not the end, but the beginning of integration of Ayurveda and Eastern philosophy of life to the Western world, and I am sure that further integration process will be only beneficial to the well-being and health of people from all over the world.

Bibliography:

  • Matthews, S. (2003). 1 Ayurveda. In An Introduction to Complementary Medicine, Robson, T. (Ed.) (pp. 15-32). Crows Nest, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin.
  • Lad, V. (1985). Ayurveda: The Science of Self-healing. Wisconsin: Lotus Press.
  • Svoboda, R. (1992). Ayurveda: Life Health and Longevity. London: Arkana.