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Ayurveda (a Sanskrit word, roughly translated as “science of life”) is one of the oldest organized systems of health, originating in India over 3,000 years ago and still practiced widely today. Tailored to the individual, this holistic (whole-body) practice combines the use of herbal supplements, special diets, exercise, massage, yoga, and meditation.

According to fundamental Ayurvedic principles, all living and nonliving elements of the universe are connected, and three life forces (known as “doshas”) are part of an individual’s constitution (known as a “prakriti”). When those life forces are out of balance, a person can experience ill health. Ayurvedic medicine helps to prevent and treat these potential imbalances.

A practitioner of Ayurveda may use all five senses — sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch —when diagnosing a client. In order to determine whether a client’s life forces are in balance, a practitioner may measure the client’s weight; examine the client’s eyes and mouth; assess the client’s urine and stool; feel the client’s pulse; listen to the client’s voice and breathing patterns; or ask questions about recent medical history, diet, and exercise. Multiple sessions with an Ayurvedic practitioner will likely be necessary for the client to experience and maintain greatest therapeutic effect.

Ayurveda is a form of preventative care but also has been used to treat arthritis, diabetes, stress, anxiety, digestive disorders, cancer, and other conditions.