Ayurveda is a comprehensive system of medical knowledge integrating the information on disease prevention and management, human temperaments and physiology, as well as healthy lifestyles. The given school of medicine has existed in India for over several thousand years and influenced the development of many other traditional healthcare schools, namely, Tibetan, Chinese, Russian, and Ancient Greek medicines (Ragozin, 2016). Moreover, Ayurveda can be regarded as one of the major sources of many modern types of naturotherapy and healing.
The video “Second Opinion with T. R. Reid: Inside Ayurvedic Medicine” demonstrates that Ayurvedic medicine is characterized by an individualized and holistic approach to every person (Films Media Group, 2008). When developing a treatment plan, Ayurvedic healers take into account such objective and subjective patient data as the body constitution and psychophysiological parameters. What is more important, it incorporates a spiritual aspect into the process of healing and attributes great value to it because it is considered that all the diseases primarily start in the human psyche. In this way, Hindu doctors direct such vital energy as faith to transform patients’ minds and make them believe in the possibility of a good outcome. Other Ayurvedic treatment procedures and practices may also include astrology; the use of medicinal plants, herbs, foods, spices, minerals and, metals; different types of massages, and so on. It is worth noticing that since all these remedies are natural, they rarely have adverse side effects. Nevertheless, before commencing treatment, it is still essential to ensure that a Hindu doctor/healer and a therapist are highly competent in what he or she does and understands the physiology of the human body very well.
Personal and Common Opinions about Ayurveda
Today, one may locate large volumes of controversial information about Ayurvedic medicine. It is possible to say that from the point of view of a typical westerner, this approach to healthcare rather seems bizarre, inefficient, and unreliable because it deals with subtle and intangible aspects of the disease, works with energies, and employs a number of other unscientific measures to cure patients. Additionally, as the experience of T. R. Reid shows, Ayurvedic treatment has a slow effect on health as it aims to eradicate the very core of the issue and balance all body systems (Films Media Group, 2008).
It is valid to say that the modern western medicine often pursues the goal of alleviating the symptoms as quickly as possible or maintaining the organ function through the use of highly toxic medications and invasive procedures without trying to remove the actual causes of the disorder. Although such an approach may seem efficient at first, the “Second Opinion” makes a viewer question the adequacy of modern western medicine. It does not mean that one should immediately drop all the research evidence collected in recent years and only prescribe herbs to patients. It suggests that a shift towards a more systemic and holistic approach to patients, as well as a steadfast focus on environmental, social, spiritual, and lifestyle factors of human health, may provide significant benefits in the prevention and long-term treatment of any disorder.
Many of the US healthcare practitioners can be extremely skeptical about Ayurveda. Nevertheless, this ancient medical system may provide some opportunities to expand and revive the western knowledge about patient care, origins of disease, and ways of treatment. While holistic therapy has been an ideal in the US healthcare for a significant time, it is very difficult to implement it across all settings and in all situations nowadays. The referral to Ayurveda and further research of its ancient healing principles may provide sufficient evidence needed to support the practice of holistic care.
Films Media Group. (2008). Second opinion with T. R. Reid: Inside Ayurvedic medicine [Video file]. Web.
Ragozin, B. V. (2016). The history of the development of Ayurvedic medicine in Russia. Ancient Science of Life, 35(3), 143–149.