This treatment modality is thought to promote wellness and optimize overall health. Ayurveda should be used with, not in place of, standard cancer therapy.
What is Ayurveda and what does it involve?
Ayurveda is an ancient traditional medicine, lifestyle and philosophy of India. Ayurvedic medicine, similar to traditional Chinese medicine, is based on a life force and the pursuit of balance between the body, mind and nature. Illness is believed to be the absence of physical, emotional and spiritual harmony. Its emphasis is on preventing disease and maintaining good health. Ayurvedic practitioners use diagnostic techniques, such as examination of the pulse, tongue, face, lips, nails and eyes, to monitor the disease process. Treatment programs usually include an individualized diet, body detoxification through the use of fasting and enemas, meditation, yoga, counseling and spiritual therapy.
How is Ayurveda thought to promote wellness and optimize overall health?
Ayurvedic practitioners' goal is to bring about well-being, prevent disease and ensure harmony of body and mind by aligning patients' lifestyles with their personal characteristics and medical histories. Certain aspects of this healing system, such as meditation, massage and yoga, have been shown to enhance quality of life, reduce stress and tension and improve general well-being. Ayurvedic medicine's emphasis on self-care and prevention is consistent with many health maintenance programs designed to promote wellness and optimize health. Many of Ayurvedic medicine's principles can easily be used in conjunction with allopathic medicine.
What has been proven about the benefit of Ayurveda?
While Ayurveda is not recognized in the United States as a licensed treatment therapy much research is underway to study its efficacy. According to a report by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one clinical study showed that in 79% of cases, the health of patients with various chronic diseases improved measurably after Ayurvedic treatment. Laboratory and clinical studies have suggested that some Ayurvedic herbal preparations may have the potential to prevent and treat certain cancers, including breast, lung and colon cancers. However, randomized clinical trials in humans are needed to make conclusions about the role of Ayurveda in cancer prevention and treatment. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has added several Ayurvedic herbal compounds to its list of potential anticancer agents and has funded a series of laboratory studies to evaluate two Ayurvedic herbal remedies (called MAK-4 and MAK-5). Their decision was based on preliminary laboratory studies indicating that the two medicines significantly inhibited growth of cancer cells from human and rat tumors. However, until there is documented evidence from carefully controlled studies of the efficacy of Ayurvedic herbal remedies, the American Cancer Society urges cancer patients to treat their disease with proven methods of treatment. Ayurvedic health maintenance principles, such as yoga, meditation and counseling, can be used in conjunction with conventional cancer care safely.
What is the potential risk or harm of Ayurveda?
Some elements of Ayurveda, such as blood-letting, bowel purging and induced vomiting, have not been shown to have any benefit and can lead to serious medical complications. Fasting and purging can speed up degenerative processes in cancer patients. There is very little known about Ayurvedic herbal medicines. Check with a pharmacist or medical doctor before taking any medications.
How much does Ayurvedic medicine cost?
Costs will vary with the practitioner.
For additional information:
The Ayurvedic Institute
11311 Menaul NE
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87112
Telephone: (505) 291-9698
Web site: www.ayurveda.com
Ageless Body, Timeless Mind. Deepak Chopra, M.D. New York, NY: Harmony Books, 1993.
Ayurveda: The Science of Self-Healing. Vasant Lad. Wilmont, WI: Lotus Press, 1984.
Perfect Health: The Complete Mind/Body Guide. Deepak Chopra, M.D. New York, NY: Harmony Books, 1991
Note: Information about therapies is intended to help you make informed choices, not to endorse any particular therapy. The information is courtesy of "Integrating Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Cancer Patients," a handbook written as an independent study project by Heather Morein. For more information, see the full text of the handbook (PDF), including all references and appendices.