Ayurveda is a Sanskrit term, made up of two words "ayu" and "veda". Ayu means life and Veda means science or knowledge. It is translated as the Science of Life.
Ayurveda is one of the most ancient and comprehensive traditional medical sciences of the world and is an integral part of the theories and practices of Oriental medicine. Ayurveda is a holistic and natural medicine that emphasizes balance and harmony with the help of a variety of therapies and lifestyle practices.
Ayurveda treats mind, body and spirit, placing emphasis on the prevention of disease with the help of diet, daily exercises and seasonal cleanses to help detoxify and revitalize the body on every level. It also deals with the with dis-ease utilizing a variety of diagnostic techniques very similar to Chinese Medicine. Treatments are often focused on purification and rejuvenation to help support patients in achieving optimal health and wellness versus simply the suppression of symptoms.
Ayurveda believes that the universe is made up of five elements: air, fire, water, earth and ether. These are the building blocks for the universe as well as humans. From the combination of these elements, three "doshas" (energies) are originated: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each person presents with a unique constitution that depends on the balance of these three doshas. The doshas are similar to the pattern differentiation that is made in Traditional Chinese Medicine. TCM pattern discrimination can be identified clearly into a dosha.
Ayurveda suggests specific lifestyle and dietary changes to help individuals in balancing the doshas and vital energy, prana. Additionally, there are specific therapies that are performed by a practitioner that help encourage the proper flow of vital energy in the body, such as Siravedhana along with ayurvedic herbal formulas.