Ayurveda is the oldest surviving complete medical system in the world. Ayurveda,
a word originated from Sanskrit consists of basically two words. Ayus, which
means life and veda which means knowledge. The art of Ayurveda had spread around
in the 6th century BC to Tibet, China, Mongolia, Korea and Sri Lanka, carried
over by the Buddhist monks travelling to those lands. Although not much of it
survives in original form, its effects can be seen in the various new age
concepts that have originated from there.
Vedas have been acknowledged as the oldest written records in the history of civilizations. But more than a written record it is a compendium of the knowledge systems that were in vogue at that particular age in India. Ayurveda is known as a branch of the Atharvaveda,the fourth veda.
Ayurveda is known for the introduction of the concept of holism into the medical systems. It introduces a very radical concept that no man is an island, no man stands apart from the flow of the universe, but is an integral part of the system. Whatever rules apply to the universe, applies to him also. Thus it not only is concerned with treating of a disease but bringing about a whole change in the person that he begins to feel harmony with the universe. After a stint with the science you not only gain freedom from the ailments but in turn gain a new attitude towards life itself.
In India, Kerala is the only place where ayurveda is practised in the same previous way. The ayurvedic doctors here, unlike the rest of India, are fairly well aware of the Sanskrit language. This enables them to understand the ancient system of treatment much better than others (since the early ayurvedic books were written in Sanskrit). Moreover, the salubrious climate of Kerala and abundance of herbs and medicinal plants add to the effective treatment.
Today, the popularity of ayurvedic treatment has gained such popularity that tourists from far off come to Kerala just to cure their disease. Some even have an ayurvedic treatment for pleasure - sukh chikitsa - endorsing the very basic of ayurvedic principles.