How Does it Work?
According to Ayurvedic beliefs, just as everyone has a unique fingerprint, each person has a distinct pattern of energy -- a specific combination of physical, mental, and emotional characteristics. Ayurvedic practitioners also believe there are three basic energy types called doshas, present in every person:
Vata -- Energy that controls bodily functions associated with motion, including blood circulation, breathing, blinking, and heartbeat. When Vata energy is balanced, there is creativity and vitality. Out of balance, Vata produces fear and anxiety.
Pitta -- Energy that controls the body's metabolic systems, including digestion, absorption, nutrition, and temperature. In balance, pitta leads to contentment and intelligence. Out of balance, pitta can cause ulcers and arouse anger.
Kapha -- Energy that controls growth in the body. It supplies water to all body parts, moisturizes the skin, and maintains the immune system. In balance, Kapha is expressed as love and forgiveness. Out of balance, Kapha leads to insecurity and envy.
Everyone has Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. But usually 1 or 2 are dominant in a particular person. Many things can disturb the energy balance, such as stress, an unhealthy diet, the weather, and strained family relationships. The disturbance shows up as disease. Ayurvedic practitioners prescribe treatments to bring the doshas back into balance.
What should I expect from an Ayurvedic treatment?
Ayurvedic treatment focuses on rebalancing the doshas. On your first visit, the practitioner will take a detailed medical history, check your pulse, feel your abdomen, examine your tongue, eyes, nails, and skin, and listen to the tone of your voice. The practitioner will also ask you questions about your general health, paying special attention to your lifestyle, diet, habits, and surroundings. The practitioner will then recommend ways to restore your natural dosha balance, which almost always includes changes in lifestyle, especially diet. Practitioners draw from more than 20 types of treatment.
What is Ayurvedic Medicine?
Ayurveda is a natural system of medicine that originated in India more than 5,000 years ago. The term Ayurveda is derived from the Sanskrit words ayur (life) and veda (science or knowledge). Thus, Ayurveda translates to knowledge of life. Based on the idea that disease is due to an imbalance or stress in a person's consciousness, Ayurveda encourages certain lifestyle interventions and natural therapies to regain a balance between the body, mind, and the environment. Ayurveda treatment begins with an internal purification process, followed by a special diet, herbal remedies, Kansa Wand therapy, yoga, and meditation. The concepts of universal interconnectedness, the body's constitution (prakriti), and life forces (doshas) are the primary basis of Ayurvedic Medicine. Goals of treatment aid the person by eliminating impurities, reducing symptoms, increasing resistance to disease, reducing worry, and increasing harmony in life. Herbs and other plants, including oils and common spices, are used extensively in Ayurvedic treatment.