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Diary of an Ayurvedic Guinea Pig

By Amy Cook

Intro | Deranged? | Stick It | My Medicine | Fasting | Epilogue

Two years ago, I decided to see a doctor to get help devising a stress-management strategy. I felt frazzled, unfocused, and overwhelmed by my then-recent move from a sleepy town to a bustling city. Skeptical of Western medicine (and lacking health insurance!), I opted to see an ayurvedic physician recommended by a trusted yoga teacher.

I must confess that at the time, I knew next to nothing about ayurveda. I had read a little about it during my years of yoga practice, and understood it to be the application of yogic principles to create a healthy lifestyle. Since, I've come to realize that ayurveda, the “mother of medicine,” is the oldest-known system of healthcare. Its teachings are based on writings from the third millennium to the eighth century bc. Taken from the Sanskrit ayus , meaning “life,” and veda meaning “knowledge,” the word ayurveda translates most accurately to mean “the science of life.” It takes a decidedly holistic approach to health, encompassing over twenty formulations for perfect health including body care and diet, food supplements, aromatherapy, purification rites, music therapy, meditation, and breathing exercises.

Hopeful that all of this might transform me into a vision of health and vitality, I visited the home office of Cate, a highly professional yet friendly physician certified by the reputable California College of Ayurveda . As with any doctor, my first task was to complete a slew of forms answering questions on a range of topics: my sleeping habits, relationship status, diet, level of professional satisfaction, and more.

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