Ayurveda for mental health and healing


Mental health is often the focus of pharmaceuticals, traditional therapies, and the occasional "alternative" debate over other options. In India, the Ayurveda healing system is 5,000 years old and combines traditional therapies with more modern single-dose drugs and treatments. It has often been used to treat anxiety, depression, insomnia, neurosis, and more. In fact, much of the DSM-5 can be found to have treatments in Ayurveda's practice.

Professor Satya Prasad of Ayurveda College in India says that traditional drugs used as part of an overall Ayurvedic regimen are known to strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation, rejuvenate tissues or cells damaged, and more. As a supplement to modern treatments, he says, it can greatly enhance quality of life and even speed recovery.

The debate in India comes as the government attempts to implement a comprehensive plan to treat mental illness in the country, which is on the rise. A lack of resources, not the least of which are qualified mental health practitioners, has lead many to point towards working alternatives as an option.

As the Science of Life, Ayurveda is often touted by its practitioners as a holistic approach to health and wellness. The balance of life is seen as coming in five parts, or elements, which combined into pairs form the "doshas" of the body-mind-spirit's constitution.

Mental health, says Aurveda's teachings, comes from a combined practice of learning, meditation, reflection and understanding. Good mental health is defined as being the owner of good memory, rightful food choices, awareness of responsibility, awareness of self, good hygiene, being enthusiastic, and having sharp intellect.

In western Ayurveda, focus is often on ojas - a substance said to be found in all cellular tissues, including the mind. These are the vital essence of many things, including the immune system, and nourishing them is a focus for good health.

Many who have suffered from mental illness or mental health issues have found solace in Ayurveda. It is becoming more accepted by western medicine, seeing experimentation in complementary practices, including research being done at the Veteran's Administration and National Institutes of Health.


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