What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is the world’s oldest healthcare system, originating in India 3,500 years ago. Ayurveda translates as ‘the science of life’. Ayurveda offers an integrated approach to the prevention of disease and the rejuvenation of the body through natural therapies and lifestyle choices.
In Ayurveda, perfect health is defined as "a balance between body, mind, spirit and social wellbeing."
Ayurveda’s basic philosophy is that all areas of life can have implications on your health e.g. from the climate in your home city to the people with whom you interact and socialise. Ayurveda is not just about treating illnesses, but rather a lifestyle choice. It seeks to identify one’s ideal state of dynamic balance and offers guidance to re-establish harmony.
Ayurveda gives more importance to prevention than cure. In addition to following a specific diet, it advocates making changes to lifestyle habits, which in turn will improve overall health and wellbeing.
Who can benefit from Ayurveda?
Everyone can benefit from Ayurveda. Ayurveda is extremely accessible to all as it involves a programme that is customised for each individual. Widely practised in modern India, Ayurveda has gained popularity and credibility in the West where people are increasingly seeking complementary and holistic forms of medicine. Ayurveda directs responsibility to the individual, empowering them to make the best health choices through knowledge and awareness. By incorporating a proper diet, suitable purification techniques, herbal and mineral remedies as well as yoga and meditation, Ayurveda inspires each individual to become their own ‘healer’ and harness their own natural healing ability.
How does it work?
Ayurveda does not follow a standard ‘one size fits all’ programme. Instead, it is tailored to each person's unique body constitution (prakriti). When devising a programme, an Ayurvedic doctor will take into account an individual’s place of birth/residence, nutritional requirements, exercise, personal hygiene and social interactions. A personalised programme is then developed based on these and other lifestyle elements. Ayurveda recognisesthat as no two people are identical, individuals should be treated with a different regimen or diet for the same illness.
Why is Ayurveda increasingly important in the modern world?
Compared with former times, modern society sees many of us living sedentary lifestyles with little to no exercise, which means we often don’t breathe to our optimum capacity. We increasingly resort to quick, easy meals and fast food that we eat in haste. Modern techniques of farming decrease the true nutritional values of food, while many of us don’t sleep or rest enough. When combined with a poor diet and insufficient exercise, all these factors can take a toll on the body and lead to ill health. To make matters worse, our bodies are burdened with environmental toxins that accumulate in our fatty tissues and cause additional health problems. Ayurveda tackles these problems and more by advocating balance in all areas of life. Good health is the balanced integration between environment, body, mind and spirit and Ayurveda strives to help individuals balance their lifestyle in order to maintain this equilibrium.
Does it really work?
The fact that Ayurvedic medicine is used by more than 80% of the population in India is testament to its efficacy. Like Western medicine, Ayurveda incorporates multiple specialties, including general medicine, surgery, paediatrics, psychology and toxicology. Many countries’ healthcare systems have their origins in Ayurveda and many of Ayurveda’s principles and practices are now used in conventional medical settings. For example, Ayurvedic doctors have long since pointed to the psychological and physical impact of the changing of seasons on humans and this has now been formally recognised all over the world as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). According to Ayurveda, illnesses are caused by an imbalance. Determining where the imbalance lies and then identifying the root cause of a disease requires precise training. Ayurvedic doctors study for up to five years to master their skills. The World Health Organization recognises Ayurveda as a traditional system of medicine and even adapted its formal definition of health from Ayurvedic teachings. There is also international recognition of the health benefits of Ayurvedic practices, such as yoga, massage and meditation. Of course, as with any lifestyle change, for you to maximise the full benefits, you need to want to be healthy. With Ayurveda, health is a choice. The principles provide you with the knowledge to make informed decisions and to choose behaviours in each major area of daily living that will help you to develop the highest possible state of health now and in the future.
Why Ayurveda in the Maldives?
Whilst Ayurveda is the most widely followed medical system in southern India and Sri Lanka, the Maldivian population has similarly, over generations, borrowed from its practice of using herbs and herbal supplements for optimum wellbeing. Traditional massages incorporate coconut oil, coral, sand and seawater, while herbal pastes and remedies have long drawn on common Ayurvedic herbs including aloe (Aloe vera), Castor (Ricinuscommunis), Crown flower (Calatropis gigantic), Drumstick tree (Moringaoleifera) and Breadfruit tree (Artocarpusaltilis). For its own unique reasons, the Maldives is considered an equally beneficial environment as many Indian destinations for the practice of Ayurveda. The islands’ fresh air cleans the lungs and allows more oxygen to enter the cells, providing increased energy and maximising the benefits of the treatments; the surrounding sea air is charged with healthy negative ions that increase the body’s ability to absorb oxygen, balance levels of serotonin and maximise the body’s ability to rest more soundly; and the ever-present sound of waves alters patterns in the brain, soothing and calming the mind.
In addition, the islands’ renowned hospitality, seclusion, sunshine, proximity to nature and absence of noise, light and industrial pollution bestows a private and intimate environment in which to explore Ayurveda, experience its health benefits and embark on an enriching wellness journey. Our dedicated team of physicians, yogis and therapists – many from the Ayurvedic heartland of nearby Kerala – bring a wealth of experience in natural and holistic health.
I’m not ill.
Will Ayurveda benefit me ?
Ayurveda provides many techniques that are easily incorporated into daily life, such as massage, meditation, and herbal therapies. Many people use Ayurveda simply to build and maintain greater overall physical, mental, and spiritual health. Others use it to complement or supplement conventional Western treatments. Some people find that Ayurvedic therapies minimise the side effects of chemotherapy, while others use rejuvenation regimens to ‘recharge’ during periods of illness. Some follow Ayurvedic diets with the goal of eating more nutritiously, gaining energy, and maintaining a healthy weight.