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Under a timeless South Asian sky, fingers expertly probe flesh, bones and hands. Healer Brahmanand Swamigal is practicing Ayurveda, the "science of life", one of the oldest holistic medical systems in the world. Originating in India more than 5000 years ago, and spreading to Tibet, China and Japan, this uncanny intersection of science, medicine and magic is only now receiving serious study in the West. Shot over three years on three continents, Pan Nalin's AYURVEDA: THE ART OF BEING is both a breathless globe trotting travelogue that's "fascinating to watch" (Variety) and a deeply spiritual testament to the power of Ayurvedic medicine.
Founded on the belief that human disease is cured by restoring an imbalance of individual life energies, Ayurveda supports diverse forms of treatment. Scenes of dreamlike resonance, where “the camera itself seems to be smiling beatifically” (New York Times), demonstrate both the power of Ayurveda and the commitment of its acolytes. Intuitively manipulating nerves that can either cure or kill, a healer displays amazingly intimate pressure point mastery. One wizened practitioner grinds precious stones into priceless medicinal powders while another shrugs off payment and brusquely dispenses treatment like a crusty country doctor.
Whether documenting the catastrophic loss of potentially cancer curing herbs or detailing the mounting scientific evidence supporting Ayurveda's efficay, AYURVEDA: THE ART OF BEING retains an affecting sense of wonder. In the end, the film simply and persuasively observes that "Hope is nature's way of enabling us to survive so that we can discover nature itself."