Channel the goodness of nature to treat, rejuvenate and refresh your body with Ayurveda. Ayurveda is an ancient science of health and medicine. It is a holistic approach to health that is designed to help people live long, healthy, and well-balanced lives, and draws its resources completely from nature.
A combination of the Sanskrit words Ayus (meaning life) and Veda (meaning knowledge or science), Ayurveda literally translates to ‘the science of life’. The basic principle of Ayurveda is to prevent and treat illness by maintaining balance in the body, mind, and consciousness through proper diet and lifestyle, as well as herbal remedies.
Unlike modern medicine, Ayurveda is not merely a system to treat illnesses, but a complete lifestyle in itself, one that infuses emotional and physical well-being into an individual’s life. It goes to the root cause and not just cures physical ailments, but works towards total prevention of physical and mental setbacks.
Thanks to its holistic approach to the human body, Ayurveda has earned the acceptance and preference of people the world over. Instead of waiting for a disease to appear, Ayurveda offers a plethora of lifestyle solutions and therapies to ensure uncompromised health and happiness of an individual.
Ayurveda follows the principle that just like everyone has a unique fingerprint, each person has a distinct pattern of energy – a combination of physical, mental, and emotional characteristics. It identifies three basic energy types called the doshas;
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 one or two of them are dominant in each person. The energy balance can be broken by several things, like stress, poor diet, weather, or strained family relationships. These disturbances show up as disease.
There are several treatments prescribed to bring the doshas back into balance. From a Western medical perspective, stress relief seems to be one of the ways Ayurveda works to help fight illness. For example, studies have found that transcendental meditation, a component of Maharishi Ayurveda, lowers anxiety. Studies have also pointed out that Ayurveda lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, slows the aging process, and speeds recovery from illness. Many herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine have antioxidant effects, which means they may help protect against long-term illnesses like heart disease and arthritis. Many Ayurvedic practitioners also recommend a vegetarian diet, which is believed to be better for your heart than diets containing red meat.
It’s all about putting the doshas in balance. 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 treatments, but the most commonly prescribed include:
Pranayama Breathing exercises. Practicing pranayama calms your body.
Abhyanga Massaging the skin with herbal oils to increase blood circulation and draw toxins out.
Rasayana Using mantras (repeated words or phrases) during meditation, combined with certain herbs, to rejuvenate a person.
Yoga A combination of pranayama, movement and meditation. Yoga has been shown to improve circulation and digestion, and to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol levels, anxiety and chronic pain.
Panchakarma Cleansing the body to purify it and reduce cholesterol. Practitioners use methods that cause the person to sweat, have bowel movements and even vomit, to cleanse the body of toxins.
Herbal medicines Prescribing herbs to restore dosha balance.