The two oldest extant and expounded systems of traditional medicine are East Indian Traditional Medicine, known as A – yurveda and dating back five to ten thousand years, and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) whose history arguably is known to extend as much as 5000 years into antiquity. While Western medicine owes its origins to the Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Arabic cultures, it has been hopelessly fragmented several times over the last 2000 years due to the disintegration of the Roman Empire, then the early suppression by the church of any physical healing methods, and more recently, the development of pharmaceutical drugs.
It has been argued that A – yurveda is the basis for traditional Tibetan medicine, TCM and later Greek, Roman and Arabic (or Unani) medicines. All these traditional healing methods share a common unified body-mind-spirit orientation, meaning that disease and health are the result of the interaction of all three aspects of being. As well, all of them are energetic medicines based on their heating and cooling energies, for instance, of food, herbs, diseases and constitutions.
Just as there is a close relationship between Chinese martial arts and related physical disciplines and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there is also a healing relationship between the disciplines of yoga and A – yurveda. Today yoga continues to grow in popularity as it is increasingly accepted into the mainstream of the West. During the 1970s some of these same spiritual Indian teachers bringing yoga to the West were also responsible for introducing A – yurveda. Because A – yurveda was first introduced by spiritual teachers along with other intended moral practices such as vegetarianism, it is seen by many as a harmonious system of medical support for vegetarianism rather than the distinct holistic healing system that it truly is