Ayurvedic Medicine, native to the Indian subcontinent, dates back to the 6th century BC.
Sacred texts from the 3rd and 4th century AD are attributed to be the foundation of Ayurvedic philosophy that is practiced today as an alternative or complementary healing modality.
The fundamental aspect of Ayurveda is a holistic approach to health and well being with an emphasis on restoring balance to one’s life through, diet, exercise and meditation.
Understanding ayurvedic medicine
When seeking a consultation with a practitioner, they not only try to determine what is causing the imbalance or illness but look at the constitution of that person, such as:
- the color of the skin
- body type
- condition of hair
- your nails, etc.
There are three aspects of an Ayurvedic diagnosis – observation of the body, touch or palpation of various areas of the body and questioning the patient about diet, exercise and emotional wellbeing. Using this information the practitioner will determine what type of Dosha the patient is.
The Dosha is one of three energies that govern the body and physiological activity.
The Doshas are:
Vata-type people are generally thin and find it hard to gain weight.
Because of this Vatas have very little energy reserve, can tire easily and get themselves out of balance. Vatas need to get sufficient rest and not overdo things, stay warm, and keep a regular lifestyle routine. Treatment for Vata-types stress diets of warm foods with moderately heavy textures.
Foods should include salty, sour, and sweet tastes.
Pitta-type people are generally of medium size and well proportioned.
They have a medium amount of physical energy and stamina. They also tend to be intelligent and have a sharp wit and a good ability to concentrate.
Fire is a characteristic of Pitta, whether it shows up as fiery red hair or a short temper. Since Pittas’ body temperature is generally warm, Pitta types can go out of balance with overexposure to the Sun. Their eyes are sensitive to light. They are ambitious by nature and also can be demanding.
The ideal Pitta diet would consist of cool or warm, rather than hot, foods with moderately heavy textures.
Foods should include bitter, sweet, and astringent tastes.
Kapha-type people tend to have sturdy, heavy frames, providing a good reserve of physical strength and stamina. This strength gives Kaphas a natural resistance to disease and a generally positive outlook about life.
This Kapha type is slow, and Kapha types tend to be slow eaters with slow digestion.
They also speak slowly and learn slowly with a methodical approach, but also retain information well with a good understanding of it. They are calm and affectionate but, when out of balance, can become stubborn and lazy. Since Kapha-type digestion is slower and heavier. Kaphas should favor warm, light food.
Food should be as dry as possible, cooked without much water. Tastes should be pungent, bitter, and astringent.
Kaphas prefer spicy food, which promotes better digestion for them.
Most people are combination of one dominant characteristic and another.
This means that different diets and wellness regimes are recommended for each Dosha in order to keep them in balance.
In addition to diet, massage, and self massage Panchkarma is also used. This detoxification and rejuvenation therapy is a five-fold approach to wellness and includes:
- a variety of detoxifying routines
- herbal formulas
which are all integral to the program.
Ayurvedic philosophy emphasizes that the power of mind creates balance and healing.