"It´s a matter of balance and harmony" : the Ayurvedic concept of health and illness

University essay from Röda Korsets Högskola/Röda Korsets Högskola

Author: Tina Ohlsén; [1996]

Keywords: Ayurveda; treatment; transcultural nursing;


This paper reviews selected work, published between 1944 and 1995, on the subject of Ayurveda. The aim of the review was to explore the ethnohistory of Ayurveda and the attached concept of health and illness, out of a transcultural perspective. Ayurveda is a medical tradition practiced throughout South Asia.  It is founded upon Sanskrit texts dating back more than two thousand years. Its ancient fundamental health ideas and practices still persists. Ayurveda offers not only a complete different way of understanding health and illness, but also different forms of treatment. The Ayurvedic view of health is synergistic and multifaceted concept of balance and harmony within the organism (mind, body and soul) as well as within the universal system the organism is a part. Disturbance of the harmony on a level, causes sickness. Ayurvedic doctrine emphasizes the importance of promotion of health and prevention of sickness. The key to good health is a regulated daily life. Factors like personal hygien and conduct, work, sleep, rest, diet and physical exercise has to be regulated and individually adjusted. South Asian countries, often has a pluralistic medical system, in which Ayurvedic health care is one option among many. The Ayurvedic medical system is an important provider of modern health care in South Asia.

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