My name is Atreya Smith and I was born in Santa Monica, California in 1956, and currently live in Switzerland near Lake Geneva. I have had an interest in Indian philosophy since 1975. I began to study the Upanishads, classical philosophical texts, at the age of 17 and joined the Vedanta Society of America to further my studies in 1976. I moved to India in 1987 to study on a more profound level. While in India chronic health problems eventually led me to study traditional Indian medicine, or Ayurveda.
At 15 years-old I was diagnosed with a hereditary form of compound scoliosis (idiopathic kyphoscoliosis) and wore a back brace until the age of 18. As a young adult, I started trying out different systems of health care because I had done the full treatment available for my problem with modern medicine – short of surgery to put a steel bar in my spine. Being in California and Oregon in the 1970’s allowed me to experience many different forms of treatments such as massage, acupuncture, naturopathy and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Many of the therapies that I tried in my 20’s helped me, however, none of them really lasted very long or helped in the long-term management of my problem.
This kind of disorder limits a bit some physical movements, more importantly it just causes dull to sharp pain depending on the health of the intervertebral disks, connective tissues and if nerves become implicated. By my mid-thirties I had osteoarthrosis and the pain levels had increased. Essentially, I began to study and use Ayurvedic medicine for myself and never imagined that it would become my life. I have described my discoveries and the processes I went through in my books. Basically, what happened is that I found Ayurveda, and to a lesser extent Hatha Yoga, gave me the tools to manage my degenerating spine and pain associated with that. I began by learning and practicing ‘energetic’ methods, then external methods such as oil massage and then gradually studied the whole system with a specialization in herbal pharmacology. I became well known in the field for my work on adapting food / diet and Western herbs to the Ayurvedic system.
1 am one of the few Westerners who has the unique qualification to have lived and studied Ayurveda in India from 1987 to 1994. In 1992, I was awarded the name ‘Atreya’, an honorific name that means “the son of Atri” – one of India’s great immortal Rishis by my teacher in Lucknow. In 2005, I was awarded the title of ‘Vaidya’ from my teacher of pharmacology in Varanasi, India which translates as ‘a knower of classical medical texts’; commonly used instead of the term ‘doctor’ for traditional practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine in India. I finished my BSc in biology through correspondence in 2003 as I was missing the last year and half of university; I had left for India without finishing school. I have been a professional health care provider of traditional Indian healing methods since 1987 and am a member of the American Herbalist Guild, USA. I have studied with several eminent professors of Ayurvedic pharmacology and have specialized in the application of traditional pharmacological methods to European and North American botanical resources.
All this leads us to Ayur-Vidya and why I invested years of my time to create this system and website. The real problem today is that there is so much wrong information, or ‘fad’ information, on the web that it is hard to know what is real or not. Even medical experts in allopathic (modern) medicine do not agree with each other, so how can the normal person sort this out and remain healthy? Of course, not to mention, how to afford the treatments, either chemical or ‘natural’.
This system, via the website, offers a time proven system – adapted to modern times and foods – for the normal person, or the professional, to diagnosis and treat themselves. Ayurveda works or it would not still be around and regardless if you think it is 1500 or 5000 years old, it is still not a passing fad. It is a real medical system that is based more on functions than structure and strives to treat the person, not the symptoms. If you use this website you will find enough basic information to take care of yourself and avoid getting sick; or if you are having problems this system can help you recover your health. It certainly has worked for me, even though my problem is not curable I am able to manage it and live a normal life thanks to Ayurveda. I hope that everyone can benefit from the information on this website and the herbal combinations I have developed over the last 23 years that when used with a correct diet and lifestyle will, in most cases, restore health.
Thanks for your time in reading this,
Vaidya Atreya Smith is the author of 15 books on Indian healing methods and Ayurveda. His textbooks are used by a number of Ayurvedic schools in Europe, North America and South America. His books are published in 10 different languages and distributed throughout the world. Atreya is on the teaching staff of three schools. He is the director of the European Institute of Vedic Studies that is based in Switzerland. He started the European Institute in 1998 to promote the knowledge of Ayurveda, Jyotish, and traditional methods of healing from India. Having a background as a clinical practitioner since 1987 he is able to present Ayurveda to the Western culture in a simple and concrete manner. With over twenty years of teaching experience and over thirty years of clinical experience Vaidya Atreya Smith is a highly sought-after teacher in Europe.