I was practicing Chiropractic when Ayurveda fortunately found me.
I have seen people whose lives have changed thanks to Ayurveda.
They are joined by thousands of other people all over the world who are living proof that this holistic, integrated health system is as effective as it was when it originated in India nearly six thousand years ago.
Today the ancient beauty and wisdom of Ayurveda is spreading to the Western world, thanks in part to the success of the best-selling books and videotapes of Dr.
Deepak Chopra, who was one of my teachers.
The message of Ayurveda is falling on eager ears for good reason: Although modern mainstream medicine has achieved enormous success in some areas, particularly traumatic injury, acute infections, and certain types of cancers, the track record is not so impressive for treating chronic diseases such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and most types of cancer.
Nor is conventional medicine known for its warm, caring, individualized treatment, or its ability to prevent disease in the first place.
Complementary, alternative, or unconventional therapies such as Ayurveda have stepped in to fill the gap, so much so that they are being called "the hidden mainstream.
" This phenomenon was recently documented in the New England Journal of Medicine when it published a survey that found that one out of three people used at least one unconventional therapy in 1990.
That number is even higher in 2007.
The revolution has occurred, it just is not being televised.
Based on the survey results, the authors estimated that people actually make more visits to unconventional-therapy practitioners than to mainstream primary-care physicians, and are spending approximately the same total amount of money out-of-pocket ($10 billion) for unconventional therapies as for hospitalizations.
Ayurveda, a Sanskrit word that means "knowledge of life and longevity," is based on principles and rhythms found in nature.
It makes use of daily and seasonal lifestyle practices (including diet, yoga, and meditation), healing herbs, purification therapies, and a life-affirming mental attitude.
Although at first glance some Ayurvedic practices may seem exotic, foreign, or downright old-fashioned, they are in actuality universal, timeless, and as useful now as they were thousands of years ago.
In my practice I have found that Ayurveda is more relevant than ever, since it seeks to restore harmony and balance in a world that is growing increasingly out of kilter, with pollution, stress, junk food, accelerating schedules, sedentary occupations, and passive pastimes.
When I came to Ayurveda in 1987, I had been a chiropractor for five years.
In chiropractic I had a very specific tool, one that realigned the spine and opened up the circulation to enhance the healing wisdom of the body.
Although this was helpful for my patients, for many people relief was temporary and they suffered from stubborn, recurring musculoskeletal pain.
This troubled me as a professional and I looked for a complementary alternative medicine that supported chiropractic adjustment.
I had a personal interest too: Although I had been meditating for many years, and was able to keep up a busy practice while raising a family, I had to admit I was frequently exhausted.
When I discovered Ayurveda, I saw that this holistic approach could be the answer.
I was easily able to combine chiropractic with Ayurveda, since Ayurveda had a tradition of spinal manipulation as part of a larger, more comprehensive model of health care.
As a result I fell in love with the ancient science and enjoy practicing it and getting the great benefits personally and seeing so many people happy and healthy.
Copyright © Dr.
Helen Thomas 2007.
All rights reserved.