Thursday, November 17, 2011

Would Ayurveda Work For You

How could something so old be so new?  Ayurveda is a 5,000 year old health modality which is used world-wide although its therapeutic techniques differ slightly geographically.  Ayurveda, which has gained popularity in Asia, is also slowly gaining steam Western society as a branch in the newly popular Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).  According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, which included a comprehensive survey of CAM use by Americans, more than 200,000 U.S. adults used Ayurvedic medicine in the previous year (

I never hear of it, are you sure it is effective? Since it is relatively new, not many studies have been extensively conducted, and unfortunately modern science often has trouble translating this 5,000 year old modality into today's scientific analysis.  Since researchers also point out that the emphasis of Ayurveda is on providing different kinds of treatments for different people having the same disease; the ability to draw generalizeable conclusions is often very limited.   However, with the advancement of technology and as the popularity of Ayurveda spreads, new methods in research will be developed to study Ayurvedic extensively, and bring it to the forefront of Western medicine.  

What is the difference between Ayurvedic medicine and the medicine my doctor prescribes?   The practice of Ayurveda involves the use of medications that typically contain herbs, metals, minerals, or other materials.  While other countries have taken steps to address some of the concerns about these medications, such safeguards in America has not been actively implemented yet.  Efforts are required to improve the standards of Ayurvedic medications.  

What does the science say about this?  Ayurveda has shown to be successfull in treating asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and ischemic heart disease.  Yoga and meditation has been known to help with insomnia and other sleep disorders.  Best of all, the Ayurveda diet has been shown to slim the waistline.

How can I get more information?  While there is a lot of information out on the internet, it is important to get the correct information.  I recommend the following website:
To find a practitioner near you, visit:


National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.  Accessed November 11, 2011
Patwardhan B, Warude D, Pushpangadan P, Bhatt N. Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine: A comparative overview.  eCAM. 2005;2(4):465-473.
Manjunath NK, Telles S. Influence of yoga & Ayurveda on self-rated sleep in a geriatric population. Indian J Med Res. 2005;121:683-690.
Rastogi S. Building bridges between Ayurveda and modern science. In J Ayurveda Res. 2010;1(1):41-46.
Furst D, Venkatraman MM et al. Well controlled, double blind, placebo controlled trials of classical ayurvedic treatment are possible in rheumatoid arthritis. Ann Rheum Dis 2011; 70: 392-393
Prakash V, Prakash S et al. Sustainable effect of ayurvedic formulations in the treatment of nutritional anemia in adolescent students. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2010; 16(2): 205-211
Falkenback A, Oberguggenberger R. Ayurveda in ankylosing spondylitis and low back pain. Ann Rheum Dis. 2003;62:276-277.
Singh, RH. Exploring larger evidence-base for contemporary Ayurveda. Int J Ayurveda Res. 2010;1(2): 65-66.
Walash, H. The efficacy paradox in randomized controlled trials of CAM and the placebo trap. Journal of alternative & complementary medicine. 2001;7(3):213-218.
Miller FG, Emanuel EJ, Rosenstein DL, Straus SE. Ethical issues concerning research in Complementary and Alternative Medicine. JAMA. 2004;291:599-604.

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