By Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya
Ayurveda is a legally recognized system of medicine in India, one of 8 approaches based on practice-based evidence of indigenous, tested knowledge over thousands of years. The fact that it is recognized in several countries but not all is not really about evidence, as thousands of years of evidence exist; in addition, the countries requiring scientific proof themselves do not have a proof for most of their clinical protocols. Only about 13 percent of treatments used in mainstream medicine in the USA are evidence-based, according to numerous studies done by epidemiologists studying patterns of the practice of medicine.
Ayurveda has a deep understanding of functional physiology and anatomy, which is still evolving in modern science. Recently, scientists discovered the interstitium, which was destroyed by the artifact of tissue preparation for the microscope. The interstitium is a highway under the skin and over the fascia of the muscles that allow oils and herbal compounds to enter the body and move into the nerves, blood vessels, and lymph.
This is one of the ways that oil-based massages of Ayurveda heal deeply-difficult to treat diseases. Ayurveda also understands the direct connection of the scalp to the inner brain, which was only “discovered” by scientists last year. There are tiny vessels that connect from the hair follicle through the scalp, the brain coverings called meninges, and into the thick of the brain, down into the spinal fluid. They can be accessed using oil-based media, as 60% of the brain is fat and “lipophilic.” So when ayurvedic treatments such as Shirodhara massage the head and scalp, they are directly altering the brain’s chemistry and physiology. Many such examples are there, waiting to be translated from modern science into clinical medicine, as Ayurveda has done for thousands of years.
While other systems of medicine use changing evidence found in laboratory animals or modern science-based truths, they cover their ignorance by stating that science is always evolving as we discover new truths. These systems make mistakes but advocate for paths of treatment that do not consider 360 degrees of implications of that path of treatment.
Very few experts discuss the cautions of the pathways they advocate, whether supplements, homeopathy, pilates, yoga, chiropractic, or aromatherapy. The texts of Ayurveda usually begin a prescription of medicine by describing what happens to a patient who takes it wrongly, describing heaviness, gut problems, mental derangement, and illness in detail, as a warning to reckless practitioners. The mistakes in implementing Ayurveda are due to the practitioners making incomplete interpretations, and not on the science of Ayurveda.
Ayurveda has one of the most developed systems for understanding mental health and treating mind and brain diseases. It uses philosophies from the vedas, including yoga and the subtle energy sciences, which are astonishingly effective for diseases that scourge modern society.
Ayurveda reminds us that we must keep the teachings clear and distinct in order to keep focus, clarity, and sharpness of its ability to rebalance the imbalanced. It describes the language of dhatu, dosha, srotas, and agni as the basis for understanding the body, which is offered in no other system. Translating these concepts dilutes them and the power of understanding the nature of the body and how to heal it.
The most unique strength of Ayurveda is its resistance to modern marketing. The best ayurvedic physicians are rarely known to the public eye. They do their work in joy, nestled in their native place in nature, as nature provides their pharmacy. Modern medicine calls anything they do not understand “magic.” The ayurvedic physicians that heal serious diseases use algorithms that are uncaptured by modern science; thus they achieve what is called impossible.
Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya