Indologist and religious scholar
Prof. Dr. Martin Mittwede is head of the Master of Science in Ayurveda Medicine at the European Academy of Ayurveda. The indologist and religious scholar habilitated already in 1996 with a research project on Ayurveda and has many years of experience in further medical training. He also teaches at the University of Frankfurt/Main and has published numerous works on Ayurveda medicine.
Srotas and many question marks
Already for many decades there are again and again attempts to translate the Sanskrit technical terms of Ayurveda medicine with terms of modern medicine, and/or even interpret concepts the Ayurveda in the sense of the western medicine or equate with models of western medicine.
The motives for this are understandable, one would like to give more validity to Ayurveda medicine in view of the dominating western medicine, one would like to show that already in antiquity modern knowledge was anticipated. Unfortunately, these partly nonsensical attempts - doshas are identified with hormones, for example - lead to the fact that the special Ayurvedic thinking is not understood and it comes to serious misinterpretations.
Using the example of srotas, passages from the Caraka Samhita and the Sushruta Samhita are translated to show that behind this and related terms there are complex concepts of Ayurveda that have probably not been properly understood until today. It is important to approach the classical texts with a new openness, to doubt and question what is apparently certain and self-evident.
With an interdisciplinary view, it can be developed step by step in which direction the interpretation can go. It has to be kept in mind that the technical terms of Ayurveda are on the one hand unambiguously defined, but on the other hand they can have other meanings - extended or varied - in other contexts. Nevertheless, the working definitions must be taken very seriously and serve primarily as a first interpretative approach.
Thus, a first search for traces has been started for srotas, which is still very rudimentary. More questions than answers emerge. On the journey it is important that the view of Ayurveda on the human being is always characterized by looking at the dynamics of the metabolism. Anatomical facts are less interesting for the classical authors and are only briefly dealt with in the texts. However, the intention is to understand exactly how life processes work, i.e. how dynamic changes take place in time. For this the srotas are more important than thought.
Ayurveda and Salutogenesis - Using 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 in the first place. The Sanskrit term for health is "svasthya", literally translated this means "resting in the Self". In this sense, health is a functioning self-reference, a situation in which the person knows himself in harmony with himself. This includes a knowledge of one's own constitution with its strengths and weaknesses and the affirmation of this individual existence.
From an Ayurvedic point of view, using health resources in everyday life is an important criterion for maintaining health. In the centre of an ayurvedic health education is the conscious perception, the sensitivity for the various influences that promote or disturb the balance of life forces. No general rules can be set up for this, as there are always new combinations of influences. The basis of a conscious perception is the development of self-knowledge and openness for external and internal processes. For this purpose, many approaches have been developed which can be used in daily life. These will be discussed in the lecture.
All activities of life should have the right measure inherent, which in turn is not defined by Ayurvedic doctors in general, but always with regard to the individual person and his current situation. Thus, when eating, the right amount is that which one can consume without feeling heavy and burdened. This can change within a few hours for an individual person, e.g. due to stress and tension or emotional strain, the digestive capacity can be drastically reduced.
Salutogenesis according to Aaron Antonovsky analyses how health can be maintained. At the centre of this model is the sense of coherence, which captures the resistance resources of a person. Salutogenesis is a scientific approach to medicine that focuses on which resources can help a person maintain or even restore health - in contrast to the dominant physical-pathological approach. For this, the human being must be viewed as a whole - and not reduced to purely physical processes. In the context of Salutogenesis and also Ayurveda, health is a process that is influenced by dynamic interactions.