Lifestyle diseases characterize those disorders whose occurrence is primarily based on the way of living and occupational habits of people – they are preventable. These diseases are ailments of slow progression and long duration; their onset is insidious, they take years to develop and once encountered, they are not easily cured. The main factors contributing to the lifestyle (chronic) diseases include bad food habits, physical inactivity, wrong body posture, and disturbed biological clock – the resultant chronic ailments are: obesity, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, chronic backache, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, nephritis/CRF, and stroke. It is most important to combat these diseases with properly balanced diet, physical activity and by connecting to nature – for health, happiness and wellbeing.
Western allopathic medicine tends to focus on symptomatology and disease. The conventional medical system with its structural approach is somehow unable to check the occurrence and prevalence of the lifestyle diseases. There is a definite need for an alternate approach to prevent and treat these diseases.
Ayurveda (knowledge of life and longevity) is a 5,000-year-old system of natural healing that has its origins in the Vedic culture of India. In recent years Ayurveda has been enjoying a major resurgence in both: India, its land of origin and throughout the world. Ayurveda is recognized as the principal life science, which effectively describes ways to prevent and manage lifestyle disorders; therefore, the world is being attracted towards its holistic approach. Ayurveda provides a better solution in the forms of proper dietary management, healthy lifestyle approaches, detoxification and rejuvenation.
The aim of Ayurveda is to attain Ayus (Long life/Longevity) and Arogya (Disease-free) by balancing energy forces (Tridoshas) according to the individual constitution, lifestyle and nature. Ayurveda treats the patient as a whole, interventions are targeted toward complete physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being; this holistic approach including Panchakarma-like detoxification and bio-purification procedures and rejuvenation herbal therapies makes this science a preferred and perfect option for management of lifestyle disorders.
In the management of lifestyle diseases, Ayurveda has two objectives: (i) preservation of the health in the healthy and (ii) treatment of disorders in the diseased. The multidimensional role of Ayurveda is clearly the need of modern times. In the present times over stress and bad (fast) food habits or unhealthy lifestyle reduces a person’s happiness and makes him/her susceptible to many lifestyle diseases.
It is very impressive and a matter of great pride for us; that, an ancient health care system of India, Ayurveda is an emerging choice in accordance to the changing demand and awareness among people worldwide these days.
Ayurveda offers various regimens for the management of lifestyle diseases, including: Dinacharya (daily regimen), Ritucharya (seasonal regimen), Panchakarma (five detoxification and bio-purification therapies) and Rasayana (rejuvenation) therapies.
Furthermore, as mentioned in the ancient medical treatise, Charaka Samhita, ‘Aachara Rasayana’, the rejuvenating behavioural therapy for calm mind and long life and ‘Sadvritta’, the defined Ayurvedic code of conduct relieves mental stress and prevents lifestyle ailments; these therapies are very important to maintain a healthy, happy long life.
The therapeutic usage of organ-specific ‘Rasayana herbs’ in Ayurvedic practice is an effective modality for prevention and cure of disease, and also for the promotion of health.
Ayurveda advocates prevention and encourages the maintenance of health through close attention to balance in one’s life, right thinking, good, balanced diet, healthy lifestyle and the use of herbs. Knowledge of Ayurveda enables us to understand how to create this balance of body, mind and consciousness according to our constitution, or ‘prakruti’, or our current state of health, or ‘vikriti’ to manage lifestyle diseases and bring about and maintain this balance – Because, balance is the natural health order; imbalance is disorder or disease.
Ayurveda identifies three basic types of energy or functional principles; Vata Pitta & Kapha, the Tridoshas, the three bio-elemental substances found throughout the human body which maintain the human health when in equilibrium and their derangement leads to a diseased state of life.
In summary, all the regimens of Ayurveda aim to achieve balance, homeostasis and not just counter the specific symptoms of the disease. Therefore, when it comes to tackling the disturbed balance of Doshas in the body and multi-dimensional disorders like Lifestyle Diseases, Ayurveda addresses all aspects of life — the body, mind and spirit to maintain balance and health; thus, it outscores the conventional medicines.