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Ayurveda: The Science of Self-Healing

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For the first time a book is available which clearly explains the principles and practical applications of Ayurveda, the oldest healing system in the world. This beautifully illustrated text thoroughly explains history & philosophy, basic principles, diagnostic techniques, treatment, diet, medicinal usage of kitchen herbs & spices, first aid, food aid, food antidotes and much more.

175 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1984

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About the author

Vasant Dattatray Lad

34 books105 followers
An Indo-American Ayurvedic Physician, Vasant Lad brought a wealth of classroom and practical experience in Ayurveda to the United States. A native of India, he served for three years as Medical Director of the Ayurveda Hospital in Pune, India. He was Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Pune University College of Ayurvedic Medicine for 15 years. He holds a Bachelor’s of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAM&S) degree from the University of Pune and a Master’s of Ayurvedic Science (MASc) degree from Tilak Ayurved Mahavidyalaya. Vasant Lad’s academic and practical training include the study of Allopathy (Western medicine) and surgery as well as traditional Ayurveda.

Beginning in 1979, he has traveled throughout the United States sharing his knowledge of Ayurveda. In 1984 he came to Albuquerque as Director, principal instructor and founder of the Ayurvedic Institute. Vasant Lad is the author of numerous books and respected throughout the world for his knowledge of Ayurveda. Vasant Lad is the author of 11 books on Ayurveda as well as hundreds of articles and other writings. With almost 500,000 copies of his books in print in the US, his work has been translated into more than 20 languages.

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5 stars
761 (39%)
4 stars
693 (35%)
3 stars
350 (18%)
2 stars
92 (4%)
1 star
33 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 109 reviews
Profile Image for Laura Zurowski.
58 reviews4 followers
February 17, 2013
I would recommend this text only after gaining some introductory knowledge or experience with Ayurveda.

A few months back, after consulting with an Ayurvedic doctor in my city for dietary advice to combat seasonal affective disorder, I read Eat-Taste-Heal: An Ayurvedic Cookbook for Modern Living by Thomas Yarema, Daniel Rhoda, and Johnny Brannigan. That book, combined with information provided by the doctor, helped set the stage for getting the most out of this text and moving my understanding of Ayurveda forward.

It's not that The Science of Self-Healing is an advanced-level medical book, but for those of us only familiar with western-style medicine, some of the concepts and practices may seem alien, confusing, and vague. However, it's worth the effort to work through the material and develop an understanding as this 4,000 year old science can provide great assistance in preserving your physical health and quality of life.

One note: if you are truly interested in incorporating Ayurveda practices into your diet and lifestyle, it is essential (IMO) that you consult with an experienced and credentialed Ayurveda doctor to properly determine your dosha. Answering questionnaires on-line or in books isn't very accurate - and in my experience was 100% incorrect! By consulting with an experienced doctor who investigates beyond what your physical body currently looks like and general personality traits, you will gain a greater understanding of what you need to sustain well-being through your dietary choices.
Profile Image for Gina.
Author 5 books22 followers
April 27, 2018
It's tempting to just write "hogwash" and be done with it, but I don't want to be that disrespectful either to another culture or to someone who based on his acknowledgments seems like a really nice guy.

That being said, I started having concerns early on with the different body types when there seemed to be so much preference given to one type. Usually they all have their strengths and weaknesses, but this felt lop-sided and maybe a little racist. Other things didn't sit right, but then the next big alarm was therapeutic vomiting.

After that, when I questions onions alleviating severe epileptic seizures, zodiac influence on organs, and the curative properties of gemstones, then it didn't mean that much anymore - I was already checked out. I was never going to support something that encourages a life free of attachment anyway.

That being said, I was amused to read that garlic is sexually stimulating and should be avoided by celibate people. Perhaps that is what gives Italians their reputation.
Profile Image for Sara Alaee.
167 reviews175 followers
December 3, 2014
Ayurveda illuminates the basic laws governing life on earth. To understand it is to understand the forces that engender our well-being. It is an ancient system of wisdom that encompasses the vast horizon where human consciousness merges into Cosmic Consciousness. This brief introductory book attempts to introduce readers to the life science in an understandable manner. However, with many raised questions still unanswered I hope for a more comprehensive book. (Any recommendations would be appreciated!)
Profile Image for David.
258 reviews7 followers
December 26, 2008
This was such a quick and enaging book that gives an overview of ayurveda and practical tips for improving health and consciousness. It has wonderful charts and clear explanations of ayurvedic health techniques, like nasal massage, diet recommendations, finding your own constitution, and simple yoga postures. All of this with a basic explanation of the philosophy behind ayurveda ("The Science of Daily Life").

If you are at all curious to BEGIN learning about ayurveda I found this to be so enriching, at 175 pages (many being charts and pictures) how could you turn it down?
Profile Image for Jule.
84 reviews6 followers
October 4, 2011
This is a great introduction in case you want to learn about ayurveda without prior experience. It is a concise read that outlines the major concepts and principles of vedic science. When i get sick, have some kind of health issue or am looking for advice on lifestyle more generally i like to search the index and table of contents and start from there. I always find this book very insightful and have it at hand.
Profile Image for Jewel Pearce.
36 reviews
November 23, 2020
TW//Eating Disorders

I'm not rating this because I never rate Non-Fiction books but I cannot express how much you should not read this book if you have TW: any kind of eating disorder. I had to read this for class and as someone who decided to go into the nutrition field to help others who struggle with eating disorders in the same way I do (among many other reasons but for the sake of this review)

I'm sure this book has its merits but I simply cannot look past the idea of "Therapeutic Vomiting" as well as the laxative therapies that go along side it. I want to give this text the benefit of the doubt and assume I am just looking at this from a very Westernized point of view but my opinion and stance still stand. Suffering from eating disorders is not healthy point blank but its very, very real, I feel like perpetuating the idea that vomiting can be a form of therapy rubs me in entirely the wrong way.

So, with that being said, if you are able to read about things like forced vomiting and bowel movements, I think this text is super interesting and it's always nice to learn how people in other cultures do things, then I would say go for it and give this book a read. but, if you're in recovery please just skip this one, and to every one, please for the love of god, do your research before starting anything any text tells you to do, don't just jump right into it because one book told you to.
Profile Image for Jason Prasad.
14 reviews6 followers
July 16, 2018
I've been practicing yoga's sister ayurveda for a few months now and am absolutely loving it! Finding out that I'm kapha dominant has made a massive difference to my energy levels, digestion, yoga. It's been great to know that many of the things I've learned to do intuitively has already been laid out in ayurveda, and it's as if someone's already understood and done the rest of my homework for me! I've been learning through sharing articles and guidance by friends. Read this book this week, it was a great introduction. Easy read and great to have handy for easy reference.
Profile Image for Rupesh Koirala.
17 reviews4 followers
November 29, 2019
Dr. Vasant Lad has clearly explained the Ayurveda concepts of doshas - vatha, pitta, kapha, and how it affects the person. Moreover, the author has touched the basic of everything form the ayurvedic side. Ayurveda is a plant science found my rishi Dhanwantari which dates prehistory.
I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning about Ayruveda, doshas, panchakarma, meditation etc.
Profile Image for Shala.
60 reviews2 followers
January 8, 2013
For me it was a quick read. i gobbled up all the information and I'm looking forward to knowing more. i think the author did a great job outlining the major parts of Ayurveda medicine. His methods of delivery was very clear. i think this is a great beginner book.
Profile Image for Natalia.
2 reviews
August 26, 2013
I definitely recommend it to someone that's looking for an introduction of Ayurveda. It was really interesting to me. Very complete.
December 12, 2021
Lucidly covers the concepts of ayurveda, disease and healing. The language is succinct and with plenty of examples of self examination. However, it is not detailed.
It’s not an introductory book but of an intermediate level. Delve in only after you have a preliminary idea of the subject.
23 reviews
December 13, 2020
I’ve been enjoying this book for years for so many reasons. Ayurveda is probably the oldest complete holistic system of health on the planet. When I say complete I mean that it starts with a cosmology and then ties in health factors based on this cosmology. In fact if all one focused on from this book was the beginning in which Lad delves into the cosmology, it would be immensely enriching.
It is a very deep book that will not be absorbed in one listen but, if you like deep reads, listening again and again over years will give great understanding of how things work in our bodies and on the planet. The only thing less than great about the reading ( I actually listened to the audio version) of this book may be Lads accent which may take some getting used to. I had no problem with it but some may.
I can’t say enough good things about this book. Just get it.
Profile Image for Debra Brunk.
111 reviews2 followers
January 26, 2013
This is the first I've read on Ayurveda and the topic/field is very interesting. However, I felt like this book 'dumped' a bunch of terms and I was left floundering trying to put all the information together in a logical way. If you're just getting started in this area, I would try to find another book that takes the time to go into some of the history and details.
Profile Image for Andrew.
26 reviews8 followers
June 10, 2008
Excellent, goes well beyond the simple lists of balancing foods for each dosha, but explains the theory behind them. Branches out into appropriate asanas, waking practices, eating patterns and delves somewhat into more advanced learning. (gunas, etc.)
4 reviews
August 5, 2008
Informative intro to the subject. Esp liked the section that addresses understanding from a western perspective. Gave me lots of ideas of practical stuff to incorporate into my daily life.
Profile Image for Chanti.
148 reviews
February 6, 2011
Good text, but I like Lad's other book (Complete Home Remedies) more. Still, one can never have too many Ayruvedic texts :)
Profile Image for Aurore Henze.
Author 5 books7 followers
April 24, 2012
A very simple Ayurvedic book- too simple in my opinion, but it gives a very good understanding about the meridians and diagnostics such as urine, tongue and pulse diagnosis.
Profile Image for Alex.
103 reviews2 followers
August 4, 2019
A good introduction for anyone interested in learning about Ayurveda for the first time.
Profile Image for JD.
220 reviews3 followers
April 16, 2019
Am I a doctor now? That’s how this book made me feel. Enjoyed learning about my pulse being like a swan.
Profile Image for Sara.
110 reviews4 followers
June 21, 2020
In the attempt to read as many books on ayurveda as I can, this seemed like the place to start with. Comprehensive, readable, and enjoyable. I found it inspiring as well.
Profile Image for Catalina Jimenez G.
48 reviews1 follower
September 11, 2022
Short and to the point, Dr. Vasant Lad gives a detailed yet enticing overview of Ayurveda, ultimately giving what feels as the secret to a good life. While some concepts are difficult to make sense out of, some others click immediately and are not even worthy of questioning; after all, he does claim Ayurveda is the science of truth as expressed in life.

Lad takes us through a journey of basic concepts, techniques of diagnosis and treatment, and suggestions for a happier, healthier, and more fulfilled life. His writing is perfect for Western minds trying to learn about this Eastern philosophy, even explaining how astrology and crystals are indeed connected to our actions and emotions.

It did have several typos, but from what I've seen this tends to happen when doctors publish books.

Favorite quotes:
- Order is inherent in disorder, thus a return to health is possible
- Do not repress the natural urges of the body
- Everything in existence is endowed with the energy of universal consciousness
- Worry weakens the heart
51 reviews8 followers
February 4, 2018
This book conveys what I see as a very classical version of the Ayurvedic science. While I am sure that the practices outlined in the book have been helpful to people over the centuries, I think some of them would be hard to transfer to the lives of most Americans. There is definitely some wisdom to the Ayurvedic system, but our fast paced American life and the practices of our culture would make it hard to faithfully adhere to the Ayurvedic practices. It would mean a complete shift in lifestyle. I think the overall message is “Pay close attention to your own body and learn from it. We are all different and therefore a generalized prescription of how to take care our YOUR body may not be effective.” That being said, I did find so many of the characteristics attributed to my dosha eerily accurate. It is almost like reading my horoscope and saying “Yes, yes, that IS me.”
Profile Image for DinosaursAtWork.
224 reviews1 follower
January 25, 2019
Wow. This was like a fantasy info-dump. I love how people keep calling Ayurveda and Yoga sciences without knowing (or attempting to define!) what science actually means. I also love how toxins keep coming up and that I now know dozens of ways to get rid of them without ever learning what they are. I love the physiognomy etc. that is continuously proven wrong with easy black-swan examples and which is only slightly racist.
Don't get me wrong, Ayuveda was a world view that at some point might have explained the world as good as people could. But I cannot stand that books are still written as if everything people came up with to explain their experiences 500 years ago still holds true.
5 reviews
September 13, 2020
I have been wanting to read on Ayurveda for a couple of months now. After a lot of reasearch, this is the book which popped up multiple times for an Indian author and I decided to pick it up. I would say this as a beginner's guide to Ayurveda. It also includes chapters taking about how to diagnose but I would suggest to consult a certified ayurvedic doctor for this. Otherwise the book provides a good overview of the basic concepts of Ayurveda and some suggestions to lead a good and healthy lifestyle. If it's your first time in reading in Ayurveda then I would suggest this book. It's a short book of 175 pages but take your time to read it to absorb the information.
October 10, 2022
Loved this book so much that I bought one of Vasants other books on Yoga & Herbs as well. I found it to be very informative, although, if you need lightness with your information - this might not be for you.

It was direct and to the point. Though, it was loaded with valuable information. It made the constitutions of the body easy to understand (something I've been struggling with) and I can honestly say I'll be reaching for this one again for reference.

This is one you'll want to mark up with notes to make it easy to go back to.
February 28, 2023
Great Book and explain very good about Indian medical system of Ayurveda. And how this treat chronic disease Like IBS, and Other digestive system problem from root. We at Dr. Sharda Ayurveda treat all disease with the same ancient way using Ayurveda. If you want ayurvedic treatment for IBS or ayurvedic treatment for acidity. Click the link below to connect and get online consultation.
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