Deriving from India over 3,000 years ago, Ayurveda is one of the oldest holistic healing systems in the world. The primary goal of Ayurveda is to promote a healthy mind, body, and spirit rather than fighting disease.
The United States considers Ayurveda to be a form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). This CAM therapy promotes the idea that the mind, body, and spirit are all connected to the universe and that if something disrupts this balance, you will experience sickness. Those who practice Ayurveda believe that all people are made up of five basic elements; space, air, fire, water, and earth. Ayurveda practitioners rely on methods such as massage, laxatives, enemas, blood purification, and medical herbs or oils.
An Ayurveda practitioner will determine an exact plan of care to meet their client’s specific needs, but they can treat a wide variety of individuals. Generally, the practice of Ayurveda healing can be used for those looking for weight loss and management, healthy skin and hair, stress and inflammation management, lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, or symptoms of chronic diseases, and full body cleanses. And while Ayurveda centers around leading a healthy lifestyle rather than treating disease, it offers certain treatments geared towards specific conditions.
Among the many life-changing benefits of Ayurvedic healing, the practice also has a substantial positive impact on the environment when compared to traditional medical practices. According to the basic principles of Ayurveda, all farming for healing herbs should be responsible and ethical, with a large emphasis on ensuring the herbs are local.
The hospital and pharmaceutical waste involved with Ayurveda treatments are largely biodegradable. There is also a large focus on using natural elements, and with that, products are largely plastic free. For example, the neem plant is commonly used for tooth brushing rather than standard plastic toothbrushes. Ayurveda practitioners approach nature as a source of healing and often will suggest a healthy, more plant-based diet, which also is proven to benefit both the human body and the health of the planet.
The traditional healthcare industry has been shown to produce up to 10% of national greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Hospitals, by nature, are some of the most energy-intensive commercial buildings in the nation. Additionally, researchers assessed the public health toll of healthcare emissions and estimated health damages from the pollutants at 470,000 “disability-adjusted life years” in 2013.
Disability-adjusted life years, or DAYLs, are a measure of years lost due to ill health, disability, or early death. And beyond greenhouse gas emissions and smog formation, the healthcare industry is known for mass deforestation and the use of scarce water resources. While some level of pollution is to be expected from an industry as large as the healthcare industry, the scale at which it impacts the environment calls for a need for substantial change.
Healthcare is responsible for large-scale greenhouse gas emissions, particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, malaria risk, and even reactive nitrogen in water. Ayurveda has been a sustainable source of alternative healing for over 3,000 years. In an effort to combat climate change, Ayurveda is an ethical, sustainable solution.
There are Ayurveda practitioners available across the country who access their client’s individual needs and form a care plan. A normal consultation with an Ayurveda practitioner will generally include taking your pulse, checking your urine, stools, tongue, eyes, nails, and general appearance.
Your practitioner will then lay out very clear guidelines on practices involving lifestyle and diet changes. It is worth noting that the FDA does not review or approve Ayurveda products, and alternative medicine should always be discussed with your primary care provider.
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