Last updated on March 25th, 2019 at 11:26 am
Unlike allopathic medicine which focuses on healing specific parts of the body and tends to use synthetic methods, Ayurveda, an ancient form of medicine that originated in India, uses all-natural methods to heal the entire body. Although Ayurveda came from the East, many doctors in North America have set themselves up as Ayurvedic practitioners. One of these is Dr. Nancy Lonsdorf, author of A Woman’s Best Medicine and The Ageless Woman, and Ayurvedic practitioner based in Iowa.
The specific type of Ayurvedic medicine Dr. Lonsdorf practices is Maharishi Ayurveda. Maharishi Ayurveda was developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, whom Dr. Lonsdorf actually had the chance to study with in India in 1986. While other Ayurvedic medical practices have a physical focus, concentrating on herbs, diet, lifestyle, and the cleansing of the body, Maharishi Ayurveda restored the importance of consciousness and the connection between the mind and body, which was endorsed in ancient Ayurvedic texts.
According to Dr. Lonsdorf, consciousness contains the blueprint for human physiology, and therefore represents the deepest level of a human being’s existence. So to truly heal someone, this level needs to be accessed. In his book, The Power to Heal, Ayurvedic practitioner Dr. Paul Dugliss says that the potential for sickness is actually created when access to consciousness is blocked. One of the ways to re-establish consciousness, and therefore heal oneself, is through transcendental meditation, a practice developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. People can also access their consciousness by having certain Vedic vibrations administered to them through breath or touch by trained practitioners.
Dr. Lonsdorf says that ancient Ayurvedic texts stated that “transcending is the best of all medicines,” but somehow, Ayurvedic practitioners (before Maharishi) lost track of this principle over the years. Dr. Lonsdorf describes transcending the natural world as “bringing the mind out of the stressful thinking phase to a more relaxed, settled, quiet place within.” This practice of transcending allows one to connect with the source of consciousness, wherein exists, as mentioned, a blueprint-like model for the proper and healthy functioning of the human body and mind; once the blueprint is accessed, the body and mind are able to heal themselves more effectively. Dr. Lonsdorf believes that human bodies are meant to be healthy, not sick, but sometimes people need to perform certain procedures in order to assist their bodies in preventing the degeneration of health. Regarding disease prevention, she states that if everyone lived a true Ayurvedic lifestyle, “we’d probably eliminate 80 percent of diseases right off.” She refers to the expectation of regular sickness as an “abnormal norm” we’ve come to accept within Western society.
Despite her support for the use of Ayurvedic procedures, Dr. Lonsdorf has no strong prejudices against allopathic medicine. She believes that anything that can help a patient become healthy is something that they should partake in. She calls allopathic medicine and Ayurveda, when working together in tandem, a “powerful combination.” Western medicine can focus on specific parts of the human body, killing the bad cells which bring disease, while Ayurveda can restore health within the body by supporting the body’s natural healing response to disease—something Lonsdorf believes the treatments involved in allopathic medicine do not always effectively do.
One of Lonsdorf’s past patients was able to beat cancer by combining the treatments of allopathic and Ayurvedic medicine. While some oncologists discourage the use of herbs during chemotherapy, Lonsdorf’s patient continued to use them, under her guidance, while undergoing the chemotherapy process. She ended up only having to complete four of six chemotherapy sessions, until her oncologist said the combination of chemotherapy and herbs had basically cured her.
Another one of her patients suffered from polycystic ovary syndrome and had to go to the hospital due to ruptured cysts every four to six months, but she managed to control her disease by taking herbs and undergoing panchakarma. Panchakarma is one of the most powerful Ayurvedic treatments, during which a patient undergoes a full-body cleanse that includes oil massages, enemas and herbal baths. Although Ayurvedic doctors suggest that everyone should give themselves an oil massage every day (olive or sesame oil work well for this), it’s not recommended undergoing the entire procedure of panchakarma without the supervision and guidance of an Ayurvedic practitioner.
Ayurvedic medicine considers diet, sleep and stress reduction the three pillars of health. To reduce stress, one must raise their sattva, or self-actualization. Dr. Lonsdorf describes a person’s sattva as “their purity… the positive energy within them that they are creating with their thinking patterns.”
By accessing one’s consciousness and restoring the connection between mind and body through meditation and/or the administration of Vedic vibrations, while following an Ayurvedic practitioner’s recommendations regarding diet and sleep, one is able to ensure that their sattva is raised to its optimum level and that they’re as physically and mentally healthy as possible.
Want to learn more about Ayurveda? Read AYURVEDA: Mother of all medicines
image: marketing deluxe (Creative Commons BY-NC-SA)