Ayurveda-signAyurvedic medicine — also known as Ayurveda — is the world’s oldest holistic (whole-body) healing system. It was developed thousands of years ago in India.

It holds that health and wellness rely on a balance between the mind, body, and spirit.

The primary focus of Ayurvedic medicine is to promote good health, rather than fight disease. But there is effective treatment for specific health problems.

In the U.S., Ayurveda is considered a form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

Ayurvedic Concepts

According to Ayurvedic theory, everything in the universe — living or not — is connected. Good health is achieved when your mind, body, and spirit are in harmony with the rhythms of nature. A disruption of this harmony can lead to poor health and sickness.

For followers of Ayurveda, anything that affects your physical, spiritual, or emotional well-being can cause you to be balanced – or imbalanced. Some things that can cause poor health include:

  • Genetic or birth defects
  • Unhealthy lifestyle
  • Injuries
  • Climate and Seasonal Changes
  • Age
  • Unprocessed Emotions
  • Environmental toxins or disturbances
  • Karma
  • Disharmonious relationships

Your unique physical and psychological characteristics combine to form your body’s constitution, or prakriti. Your prakriti is believed to remain the same for your entire life. However, it can be distorted by a number of factors.

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Every person is made of a combination of five basic elements found in the universe:

  • Space/Ether
  • Air
  • Fire
  • Water
  • Earth

 

 

 

These elements combine in the human body to form three life forces, or energies, called doshas. They control how your body works. The three doshas are:

  • Vata dosha (space and air)
  • Pitta dosha (fire and water)
  • Kapha dosha (earth and water)

Everyone inherits a unique mix of the three doshas at time of conception. One dosha is usually more dominant in any given person, although all three are always present. Each dosha controls one of the three operating principles that govern the body: movement, metabolism and containment. The likelihood of getting sick is linked to the balance of your doshas.

  • Vata

    Vata Dosha

    Vata dosha (space and air) is thought to be the most powerful of all three doshas. It controls all movement in the body such as how cells divide. It also controls your:

    • Mind
    • Breathing
    • Blood Flow/Circulation
    • Heart Function
    • Ability to get rid of body waste through the intestines/Elimination
    • Nervous system

     

    Things that can disrupt this dosha are:

    • Eating dried foods
    • Chemicals
    • Eating too soon after a previous meal
    • Fear
    • Grief
    • Staying up too late
    • An erratic schedule
    • Too much stimulation
    • Cold

     

    If vata dosha is your main life force, you are more likely to develop:

    • Anxiety
    • Fatigue
    • Asthma
    • Heart Disease
    • Nervous system disorders
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Dry Skin
  • pitta

    Pitta Dosha

    Pitta (fire & water) governs all metabolic processes. It is the principle of heat at work, transforming what comes into the body into usable material &  information. Pitta controls:

    • Digestion and Metabolism
    • Hormone Balance
    • Functioning of the eyes.
    • Healthy glow of the skin.
    • Desire, drive, decisiveness, spirituality.
    • Healthy, toxin-free blood

     

    Things that can disrupt this dosha are:

    • Eating sour foods
    • Eating Spicy foods
    • Spending too much time in the sun
    • Stimulants
    • Competition
    • Heat
    • Alcohol
    • Overwork
    • Missing Meals

     

    If pitta dosha is your main life force, you are more likely to develop:

    • Anger and negative emotions
    • Crohn’s disease
    • Heart disease
    • Heartburn
    • Diarrhea
    • High Blood pressure
    • Infections
  • Vata-1

    Kapha Dosha

    The kapha dosha (water and earth) governs the principles of structure, liquidity and lubrication at work in the body. Kapha dosha controls the following:

    • Structure
    • Musculature
    • Body strength and stability
    • Immune system (lymph)
    • Moisture for nose, mouth, eyes and brain
    • Moisture of the stomach lining
    • Lubrication of the joints

     

    Things that can disrupt this dosha are:

    • Daytime Sleeping
    • Overeating
    • Sugar/Carbohydrates/Sweets
    • Too much salt
    • Greed
    • Not enough exercise
    • Cold and Damp Weather
    • Grief
    • Routine

     

    If kapha dosha is your main life force, you are more likely to develop:

    • Asthma and other respiratory disorders
    • Cancer
    • Diabetes
    • Obesity
    • Nausea after eating
    • Lethargy
    • Food Cravings

The Ayurvedic Visit

At your first visit, the practitioner will examine you to determine your primary dosha and the balance among the others. The exam will include:

Feeling your pulse (each dosha creates a unique pulse and reveals imbalance)

  • Listening to your speech and voice
  • Looking at your eyes, teeth, tongue and skin

You will be asked questions about your:

  • Medical history, including recent illnesses
  • Current medications
  • Behaviors
  • Diet
  • Lifestyle
  • Relationships
  • Emotional wellbeing

Treatment depends on your unique prakriti and the nature of your doshic imabalance.

A main goal of Ayurvedic medicine is to cleanse your body of undigested food, called Ama, which can stick to the inside of your body and make you sick. This cleansing process is called Panchakarma. It is used to go to the root of imbalance for healing and to reestablish harmony and balance. Cleansing is followed by rejuvenation, leaving the patient balanced and with a new foundational wellness.

Panchakarma may include:

  • Massage
  • Medicinal treatments
  • Herbs
  • Massage
  • Use of enemas, laxatives, or purgatives to cleanse your intestines
  • Medicinal Treatments
  • Rest and relaxation
  • Food as medicine

Other health promoting treatments may also be recommended to:

  • Reconnect with nature
  • Restore Balance
  • Establish or improve spiritual connection
  • Boost immunity

The treatments may include:

  • Aromatherapy
  • Colortherapy
  • Breathing exercises
  • Dietary changes
  • Herbs, vitamins & minerals
  • Plant-based oils and spices
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Meditation
  • Stretching
  • Yoga