One of the aspects of modern western medicine is that it targets therapy to a broad patient population with a “one drug fits all” approach. However, in earlier medical practice the importance of personalized medicine was well known and this term has been rising in usage in recent years.
Personalized medicine, or individualized medicine, is defined as medical care for each patient’s unique condition and has its roots in the understanding of diseases that date back to 1500 B.C. Ayurveda, the traditional system of Indian medicine, has a well-defined system of constitutional types used in prescribing medicine, bearing a resemblance to personalized medicine. A natural health care system, Ayurveda emphasizes the treatment of disease in a highly individualized manner, as it believes that every individual has a unique constitution. Ayurveda classifies all individuals into different prakriti types based on the theory of tridosha and each type has varying degree of predisposition to different diseases. The Sanskrit word prakriti refers to your individual constitution, at both physical and psychological levels. Tridosha theory is the central concept that health exists when there is a balance between the three fundamental bodily humors or doshas called Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
In the West, the tailoring of treatment to patients dates back at least to the time of Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, who once said “It is far more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has”. He evaluated factors like person’s constitution, age, and physique in deciding what treatment to prescribe. One interesting fact is that, upon the discovery of the molecular basis of hereditary diseases beginning in the early 20th century, modern version of an ancient tradition have been revived. In the 21st century, personalized medicine is back in vogue in the West, and Ayurveda is also generating increasing interest.
Ayurveda not only offers personalized treatment but also personalized nutrition and lifestyle advice suited to an individual’s prakriti, making it a holistic science. These attributes of Ayurveda can play a major role in disease prevention and promotion of health, leading towards longevity with a better quality of life.
If you are interested to learn the basis of Ayurveda, discern and put to practise some of the most appropriate and effective health and wellness strategies for yourself, consider attending the Ayurveda: From Theory to Daily Practise course. After completion, you will be equipped to understand more fully your unique constitution and, perhaps, even start helping the ones around you.