Ayurveda’s Concept of Healthspan: Adding Life To Years and Years to Life

Imagine that instead of the word aging, we used successful healthspan healthspanwhen helping patients stay healthy as they get older? It’s a word that conveys long-term health not dread and illness. As the authors of this study note: “Unlike the modern medicine approach of seeking pills and supplements or replacing body parts to extend the healthspan of the individual, Ayurveda relies on a comprehensive program that includes dietary, lifestyle, behavioral and psychological intervention for extension of healthspan.”

In this study, published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, the authors explain the nuances of healthspan and how it applies to Ayurveda. The researchers suggest a “whole-therapeutic system,” or a combinatorial approach, which incorporates the best of modern medicine and Ayurvedic principles to ensure adding life to years and years to life.

ABSTRACT / Since time immemorial, humanity has been concerned with developing and preserving youthful vigor, and extending longevity by stopping or delaying the aging process. By 2030, one in five of the world population will be over 65 years old. Longevity and old age are accompanied with a variety of health challenges and population studies indicate that the elderly will use between three to five times more healthcare services compared to the younger population.

Modern medicine has made a great deal of progress in understanding the aging process and in controlling age-associated health issues including heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, cancer, senility, and arthritis. Thus, every individual is now looking forward to a youthful, productive lifespan of 100 or more years filled with unlimited health and opportunity.

Research by aging experts is focused on ways to go against the natural order of the aging process in order to delay it. Interventions include among other things anti-aging pills, restricted food consumption and cloning body parts to stay young and delay biological aging.

Ayurveda, one of the world’s most authoritative mind-body-spirit medicinal systems, offers various concepts of the aging process. This system of medicine includes therapies for healthy aging so as to create an optimal health and lengthen an individual’s healthspan by living in harmony with nature. This review will explore various aspects of aging and longevity by comparing the science of aging as defined by modern medicine with the Ayurvedic treatise of Jara and Vriddhavastha.

Humans in general consider aging and age- associated diseases as unnatural even though our choices and ac- tions are responsible for the rapid biological aging. Misusing the five senses (pancha tanmatras) and bringing in disharmonious im- pressions through the five sense organs (pancha jnanendriyas), making incorrect choices that promote unhealthy transformation of the body and mind (Parinama), all trigger the disease process resulting in mental and physical suffering

While there are various steps to manage the aging process, the modern medicine approach is different from the Ayurvedic approach. While neither approach is superior or inferior, the paramount difference lies in how both these sciences address the aging process.

Ayurveda considers aging as a natural and inevitable process and offers time-tested therapies for healthy aging. Ayurveda professes the principles of harmonious living and being in tune with nature, universal consciousness, environment, and individual constitution. Healthy aging would therefore require for the individual to bring in harmonious impressions, incorporate healthy lifestyle practices and routines that promote good health and well- being, and encourage healthy transformation of the body and mind through harmonious choices and actions.

What you will learn in this study:

  1. Ayurveda and the Science of Aging: Kala Parinama (time and transformation); Prakruti (biological constitution); Doshas or biological energy systems; Ahara (diet); Achara (routines); Jatharagni (digestive fire).
  2. Ayurvedic Recommendations for Successful Healthspan: diet and conscious eating, sleep, detoxification, massage, yoga, mindfulness, reasoning,

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