Home Institution

University of Pennsylvania

Publication Date

Spring 2018

Program Name

India: Public Health, Gender, and Community Action


Scholars in western biomedicine describe the body as a physical entity distinct from mind and soul. However, the human body in Indian systems of medicine integrates the multiple natures of personhood and is both deeply physical and spiritual. This study demonstrates the unique view of personhood, being, health, and illness in Ayurveda through literature research and interviews with practitioners and patients. This study extends past a search for the ontology of personhood in Ayurveda and discusses the implications of this ontology on the way one views oneself and the world around him or her. Through this integrative approach, this study argues that the human body proposed in Ayurveda is fundamentally different from some other traditions of medicine, and because of this difference, the human body is treated differently and health is pursued in a unique manner.


Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Community-Based Research | Family, Life Course, and Society | Medicine and Health


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