Health care is one of those key global challenges facing this generation. The holistic approach to wellness that has prevailed for centuries in Asia is being explored in a much broader scale with advanced Ai (artificial intelligence), data science, and other technology by the scientific communities in the U.S. and elsewhere that were not available to previous generations.

Another part of modern health care’s “sea change” may very well be uncovering the ancient medical approaches of Asian traditions. Before going into the role of gut microbiome in our health, I’ll point out a perhaps coincidental connection with India’s health care tradition, Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurvedic medicine is a 3,000 years old Indian holistic healing approach that depends on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit, to paraphrase WebMD.

Ayurveda proponents believe that your chances of getting sick — and the health issues you develop — are linked to the balance of your three doshas, each of which controls different body functions. The three doshas are Vata dosha (space and air); Pitta dosha (fire and water); and Kapha dosha (water and earth).

Where in principle Asian health care has fostered a holistic approach toward the mind and the body in this similar pattern, today’s modern science is making scientific connections and applications between them never before pursued, reinforcing that holistic approach. Not limited to Asia, western non-scientific traditions have also maintained some fascination on the periphery of mind-body science with dysbiosis, intestinal putrefaction, for example.

The inter-connectedness and interdependence of mind and body in modern health care is moving more mainstream. Today, we know that every major organ in the body from the heart to the stomach and liver combine to possess hundreds of millions of neurons with corresponding DNA, collectively referred to as the “enteric nervous system, all of which are constantly communicating with the brain”.

Ayurveda not only endorses the belief that the mind and body are intimately interconnected, it goes beyond mind and body to suggest we have interconnections with our environment and spirituality. According to Ayurveda, disease develops when we disconnect from nature and the five elements in nature and within our minds and bodies – earth, water, fire, air, and space. Likewise, Japanese health care evolving from the Shinto and Buddhist traditions seek to integrate our connection to nature with our physical and spiritual health, and recommend regular “Shinrinyoku”, or “bathing in the forest”. Ayurveda seeks to integrate the mind, body and spirit to promote health and wellness, as stated by the National Institute of Health. The Ayurvedic approach considers each individual’s unique needs for food and application, even lifestyle.

How does this apply to your own personal health? It supports the belief that the fundamentals of Hindu and Buddhist meditation are factors influencing our overall health, such as slowing down, being present, mindful, and practicing conscious breathing. It endorses the holistic approach to health and well being. It reinforces modern science’s increasing receptivity to the interconnection of mind and body, as research uncovers the gut and body microbiomes are in constant neurological communication with the brain.

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