Believed to be over 5,000 years old, Ayurveda is India's oldest health care tradition.

Considered a form of alternative medicine by contemporary healthcare practitioners, the word Ayurveda is Sanskrit for "knowledge of life".

In India, the practice of Ayurveda is so diversed, it is estimated that some 90% of the people in the country practice it in one way or another.

Here's why the practice is here to stay.

Based on Elemental Principles

According to the practice of Ayurveda, the body is made out of space, air, water, fire, and earth – the five elements. A healthy body is when all of these five elements are balanced and are working in tandem. It is believed that when an imbalance happens, an individual can fall sick.

The 3 Energies

With an emphasis in bodily energies, Ayurveda categorises the types into these three: Pitta, Vata and Kapha. Pita is to do with fire and digestion. Vata is associated with air and is to do with breathing and physical movement. Kapha is to do with earth and water and it is linked with growth and strength.

Research Into Ayurveda

Due to its practicality, many scientists have done their research on Ayurveda and have found that it is pretty effective. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine revealed that Ayurveda assisted in identifying Parkinson's disease in some patients.

Focus on Well Being

While contemporary medicine focuses on seeking a cure, the practice of Ayurveda on the other hand is mostly to do with prevention. Through dietary suggestions and meditation including yoga, Ayurvedic practice is good for people looking to stay healthy.

Safety Concerns

However, studies have shown that people who ingest Ayurvedic medicines have suffered from poisoning due to high content of lead and mercury in some substances. Despite this, practitioners of Ayurveda have hotly contested that if the practice was dangerous and poisonous, many would have already died over thousands of years due to poisoning.

If you're intending to make Ayurveda as part of your lifestyle, be sure to consult your healthcare provider first.

Source: Live Science, WEB MD
Photo Credit: Yoga Sattwa