Therapeutic Principles of Ayurvedic Medicine
Chances are you’ve heard the term “ayurvedic” during a visit to your spa or in an advertisement, but you may not know what it means.
Ayurvedic medicine began in India and combines the Sanskrit words ayur (life) and veda (science or knowledge), which literally means “the science of life.” Many Ayurvedic therapies predate written records and were handed down by word of mouth. Practiced throughout Asia for thousands of years, Ayurveda has recently become more popular in Western culture.
The basic principle of Ayurvedic medicine is to prevent and treat illness—rather than respond to indicators of disease—by maintaining balance in and harmony between your body, mind and environment. This is done through a personally tailored combination of healthy nutrition, daily movement, aromatherapy and herbal remedies.
Ayurveda supports the revitalizing and empowering idea that we have the ability to heal ourselves. Once you realize your own potential imbalances, you can take control of your own health and start incorporating Ayurvedic therapies to feel healthier, improve your fitness and become happier and rejuvenated.
Today, integrative medicine is evolving as practitioners of the many healing approaches around the world are seeking to collaborate. There are growing opportunities to blend and complement more mainstream health approaches with Ayurveda and other healing therapies. You can integrate Ayurveda into your wellness routine by seeing a doctor who practices its techniques or by visiting a spa that offers such services.
Understanding the Doshas
Ayurvedic treatment is tailored to each person’s unique constitution (prakriti) and life forces (dosha), so your experience may not be the same as that of a friend.
In Ayurvedic terms, every person is made up of one predominant life force, or dosha, and consists of a unique combination of all three forces: vata, pitta and kapha. Determining your dosha is a complex process that explores your personal imbalances and takes many things into consideration to help you achieve optimum health. The mission of the practice over a lifetime is to balance all three:
Vata (Ether and Air)
Frame: thin and lanky
Skin: dry, cool, maybe rough
Sleep: has a hard time falling and/or staying asleep
Temperament: enthusiastic, nervous and/or jumpy
Pitta (Fire and Water)
Frame: average build, apple shape
Skin: warm, smooth and/or oily
Sleep: prefers coolness; is a deep sleeper
Temperament: assertive, outgoing and/or bossy
Kapha (Water and Earth)
Frame: stocky; is either very tall or very short
Skin: pale, moist and/or cold
Sleep: pleasant, but has difficulty waking up
Temperament: accommodating, pleasant but cautious