All living beings are an extension of the environment whereby the constituents of nature can be understood as being represented in the body. Owing to this, changes in the external environment have an innate tendency to affect the internal milieu. These changes can be termed physiological when they remain within the limits and pathological when the limits are breached, and diseases are observed. This is the basic philosophy of Ayurveda, a millennia old system of healthcare prevalent since times immemorial in the Indian sub-continent.
Ayurveda is the Science of life. It provides a functional framework understood as tridosha (vata, pitta and kapha) that are ubiquitously involved in health and disease. This practical framework helps understand every phenomenon in the human body. Vata is the moving energy, pitta is the metabolizing energy and kapha is the structural integrity. All physiological and pathological happenings in the body are dependent on the equipoise state of these dosha and their interaction with the dhatu (structural entities) and mala (metabolic wastes). Ayurveda also gives a practical inventory of the physical universe that makes everything around us a potential medicine. These can include plant, animal and mineral sources. This understanding enhances the applicability of Ayurveda to all new diseases and in all parts of the world and has helped science to thrive vibrantly.
Ayurveda also provides a holistic definition of health and includes not just the physical health but also the mental, spiritual and social dimensions. The Ayurveda practitioner factors in all these in diagnosis and planning the management strategies. Diet and lifestyle majorly influence well-being and hence Ayurveda prescriptions dwell not just on medicines but also on personalizing the diet and lifestyle advice. Unique therapeutic procedures labelled as Panchakarma are the mainstay of Ayurveda treatments and help rejuvenate and cure the body. Panchakarma processes cleanse the micro-channels and improve tissue metabolism. Ayurveda is truly a P4 medicine system as it includes preventive, predictive, personalized and participatory strategies and can hence help improve the health status of the population.