Ayurveda and salutogenesis - resources for health

Prof. Dr. Martin Mittwede

Ayurveda can be understood not only as a traditional medical system, but also as a health system that wants to help people not to get sick at all. The Sanskrit term for health is "svasthya", literally translated it means "resting in the self". In this sense, health is a functioning self-reference, a situation in which man is in harmony with himself. This includes a knowledge of one's own constitution, with its strengths and weaknesses, and the affirmation of the inherent individual qualities.

To use health resources in everyday life is an important criterion for the maintenance of health from ayurvedic point of view. At the center of ayurvedic health education is the conscious perception, the sensitivity to the various influences which promote or disturb the balance of life. For this purpose, no general rules can be set up, since new combinations of influences are always present. The basis for a conscious perception is the development of self-knowledge and openness for external and internal processes. Many approaches have been developed that can be used in everyday life. These are discussed in the lecture.

All activities of life should have the right measure, which is defined by the Ayurvedic physicians again not generally, but always with regard to the individual person and their current situation. So when eating, the right amount is the one you can consume without feeling heavy and loaded. This can change in a single person within a few hours, e.g. can be drastically reduced due to stress and tension or by emotional changes.

The salutogenesis according to Aaron Antonovsky analyzes how health can be preserved. At the center of this model is the feeling of coherence, which captures the resistance resources of a person. Salutogenesis is a scientific approach in medicine that looks for resources how to maintain or restore health in a human being, as opposed to the dominant physical-pathological approach. For this, man must be viewed as a whole - and not reduced to purely physical processes. Health is an ongoing process in the context of salutogenesis and also of Ayurveda, which is influenced by dynamic interactions.

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