Ayurveda is a 5000 year old holistic (whole-body) healing systems that originated in Vedic India.
It is based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit. The primary focus of Ayurvedic medicine is to promote good health by eliminating the root cause, changing diet & having an active lifestyle, rather than fight disease. But treatments may be recommended for specific health problems.
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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 universe. A disruption of this harmony can lead to poor health and sickness. Anything that affects your physical, spiritual, or emotional well-being can cause you to be out of balance with the universe. Some things that can cause a disruption include: genetic or birth, defects, injuries, climate and seasonal changes,age,emotions.
How your body works to keep you healthy and your unique physical and psychological characteristics combine to form your body's constitution, or prakriti. Your prakriti is believed to stay the same for your entire life. However, how you digest food and eliminate waste can influence it. Every person is made of a combination of five basic elements found in the universe: space, 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 (water and earth)
Everyone inherits a unique mix of the three doshas. One dosha is usually more dominant. Each dosha controls a different body function. It is believed that your chances of getting sick are linked to the balance of your doshas.
Vata dosha (space and air) is thought to be the most powerful of all three doshas. It controls very basic body functions, such as how cells divide. It also controls your: mind, breathing, blood flow,heart function,
ability to get rid of body waste through the intestines.
Things that can disrupt this dosha are: eating dry fruit, eating too soon after a previous meal, fear, grief, staying up too late.
If vata dosha is your main life force, you may experience: anxiety, asthma, heart disease, nervous system disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, skin problems
The pitta dosha (fire and water) controls: digestion, ability to break down foods (metabolism), certain hormones linked to appetite.
Things that can disrupt this dosha are: eating sour foods, eating spicy foods,fatigue, spending too much time in the sun.
If pitta dosha is your main life force, you are more likely to develop: anger and negative emotions,Crohn's disease, heart disease,heartburn a few hours after eating, high blood pressure,infections.
The kapha dosha (water and earth) controls: muscle growth, body strength and stability, weight, immune system.
Things that can disrupt this dosha are: daytime sleeping, eating after your stomach is full, eating or drinking items that have too much salt or water, eating too many sweet foods, greed.
If kapha dosha is your main life force, you are more likely to develop: asthma and other breathing disorders,cancer,diabetes,nausea after eating,obesity.
In India, Ayurvedic training can take five or more years. Graduates receive either a Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) or Doctor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (DEMS) degree.
At your first visit, the practitioner will examine you and try to determine your primary dosha and the balance among the others. The exam will include:
checking your weight
examination of urine and stools
feeling your pulse (each dosha theoretically creates a unique pulse)
listening to your speech and voice
looking at your eyes, teeth, tongue, and skin
You will be asked questions about your: ability to recover from an illness, behaviors, diet, lifestyle, medical history, including recent illnesses.
Treatment depends on your unique prakriti, your primary dosha, and the balance between all three of them.
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 reduce any symptoms and reestablish harmony and balance.
Panchakarma may include:
blood purification (either by removing blood from the body or with special teas)
medical oils given through the nose
methods to make you vomit
use of enemas, laxatives, or purgatives to cleanse your intestines
Other treatments may also be recommended to: restore balance, improve spiritual healing, boost your immunity, reduce symptoms
The treatments may include:
herbs, vitamins, minerals, and metals
plant-based oils and spices
Some research has shown that meditation works very well in relieving stress and reducing the risk for heart disease risk factors. Other studies are looking into the ability of Ayurvedic herbs to treat cancer.
Recently, scientists have reported that Ayurveda may be a valuable tool in managing obesity and diabetes.
*** Always tell all your doctors about the medicines you take, including herbs, supplements, minerals, spices, and other products. They can sometimes interact with each other, increasing your risk for serious health problems. ***