On old therapy, Ayurveda has been practiced for over five thousand years. It is an entire healing system aimed at the mind, body and spirit. Ayurveda comes from the Sanskrit for life and knowledge. It includes many different treatments and in order to become a full physician in Ayurveda, you need to study for at least four years.
Traditional methods of practice include oil and acupuncture massage, chanting, herbal therapy and steam treatment, yoga and philosophy. This philosophy is based on the idea that the body reflects the five basic elements of nature, namely air, earth, fire, space and water. These combine to give seven basic body types governed by the 'doshas' of air, fire and water. The mix of doshas is unique to each individual and this is why treatment is based on considering each person as a whole spiritual unit.
What are the benefits?
There are many different therapies used and they are generally divided by which of the senses they utilize. Touch is represented by different forms of body massage which vary in speed and pressure. For example shiro basti is particularly good for easing headaches or memory loss. Warm herbal oil is poured into a vessel placed on your head.
Vishesh is a form of massage that uses strong pressure to help remove deep seated toxins in the body while pinda abhyanga uses herbal milk and rice to enrich the skin. Smell is represented by aromatherapy which uses oils and essences to relieve a wide range of conditions. Taste is covered by nutritional advice and the use of herbs. Practitioners can advise you on diet and lifestyle issues. As an entire philosophy of treatment, this is all based on the idea that imbalances in the body create illness and pain so it seeks to address the underlying causes of problems.