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Ayurveda, meaning “The Science of Life'', is a holistic form of medical care. It places great emphasis on the maintenance of health through close attention to balance in one’s life, the use of herbal medicines, and lifestyle practices such as massage, meditation, yoga and dietary changes. Ayurveda is based on the five elements of nature (space, air, fire, water, earth) which combine in the body as doshas (life forces). There are three doshas, known as vata, pitta, and kapha. It is thought that a balance of these doshas is required for optimal health, and an imbalance would result in illness. Vata controls muscle and joint movement, breathing, heartbeat and other functions of the nervous system. Pitta controls functions such as digestion, metabolism, and intelligence. Kapha controls emotional responses and the immune system. Ayurveda helps to reduce stress, improve flexibility and strength, and improve conditions such as asthma, high blood pressure and arthritis. Preventative care and treatment of disease falls under Ayurveda’s eight branches, which are: (1) Kaayachikitsa – Internal Medicine, (2) Baalachikitsa – Pediatrics, (3) Bhuta Vidya – Psychiatry, (4) Shalakya Tantra – Ear, Nose and Throat Treatment, (5) Shalya Tantra – Surgery (not practiced in the United States currently), (6) Vishagara Vairodh Tantra – Toxicology, (7) Jarachikitsa/Rasayana Geriatrics and Rejuvenation, (8) Vajikarana — Aphrodisiac Therapy, Fertility, and Conception. Additionally, Ayurveda offers a very comprehensive cleansing protocol, known as panchakarma. This ancient practice uses five primary therapies to release and eliminate accumulated toxins from deep within the tissues and returns the doshas to their appropriate site in the body.