Ayurveda is a 5000 years old system of natural healing. It has originated in the Indian subcontinent and is now successfully practiced all over the world. The word ‘Ayurveda’, translated from Sanskrit, means ‘life knowledge’. In Ayurveda, there are three basic types of energy, universal principles known as the doshas. In many ways, the doshas – vata, pitta and kapha – are the building blocks of the material world. All of them can be found in everything and everyone, but in different proportions. They combine to create different species, different foods, different climates or different individuals. The particular ratio of the three doshas within each one of us has a significant influence on our individual mental, emotional and physical character traits. Any imbalance in those three energies can cause disease and illness.
The primary goal of Ayurvedic medicine is to help people live long, healthy and balanced lives without the need for antibiotics or other prescription drugs, without complicated surgeries or suffering through painful conditions. The University of Maryland Medical Center published a report claiming that Ayurvedic medicine can help treat many inflammatory, hormonal, digestive or autoimmune conditions, such as anxiety or depression, asthma, cancer, dementia, Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease. Many Ayurvedic herbs and practices, including yoga and meditation, have also proven to be helpful in treating chronic fatigue syndrome, acne, IBS, reducing pain or obesity risk.
How does Ayurvedic medicine work? Practitioners of this medicine use a well – balanced and healthy diet, stress relief, changes in the lifestyle and herbal remedies to heal all sorts of conditions by helping to bring the body back into balance. They use the three doshas to describe common traits of someone’s body type and personality (usually one or two of the doshas are more dominant in a particular person and that ultimately governs body type, energy levels, appetite, moods and tendencies). Ayurveda really takes into account individuality when prescribing holistic treatments.
Let’s have a look at the three doshas of Ayurvedic medicine:
Vata – Vata energy is often said to be like the wind, primarily in charge of mobility, circulation, motion, breathing and other important body functions.
Pitta – Pitta is the energy force that governs metabolic activity, such as digestion, absorption of the nutrients, body temperature.
Kapha – Kapha controls growth in the body and is considered the nourishing dosha. It supplies moisture to the cells and organs and helps keep a strong immune system.
By helping to balance all of the three doshas, meaning none of them becoming completely dominant or the other completely ignored, things such as following a healthy diet, handling stress, dealing with change are all expected to be easier.
Two things that are very important in Ayurveda when restoring balance are tuning in to the natural rhythms of your body and bringing your lifestyle into sync with nature and cyclical patterns. This includes lining up your food choice, activity or sleep with the time of the day, seasons, etc. Usually Ayurvedic practitioners study person’s medical history, check vital signs such as pulse or reflexes, examine the skin, look inside your mouth to check gums and teeth, and speak about your sleep and relationships. All of those factors are important and help practitioners determine your primary dosha and then figure out which aspects of the doshas might be out of balance.
One of the great benefits of Ayurveda and what makes it stand out from western medicine is that it takes into account patient’s bioindividuality and the entire mind – body – spirit connection. It doesn’t only treat symptoms with medications but aims to look at the root of the disease and how it’s related to a person’s thoughts, beliefs or a lifestyle. What is particularly interesting to those studying Ayurvedic medicine is the power of the mind and its connection to the body, and new health models are starting to focus more on including the mind and its interaction with the body as a primary lever of curing diseases.
Benefits of Ayurvedic Medicine:
1. Helps Lower Stress and Anxiety – the practitioner might call for a number of different techniques used to naturally treat depression and anxiety symptoms, lower cortisol, and rebalance body’s energy. This can include yoga, meditation, herbal treatments, breathing exercises or repeating inspirational mantras. All of those, to some extent and depending on a person, help significantly lower symptoms of anxiety, calm the nerves, improve sleep, energy levels and hormonal function. Yoga seems to be one of the most powerful tools to improve nervous functions.
2. Lowers Blood Pressure and Cholesterol – Ayurveda diets and relaxation techniques can help reduce plaque buildup, lower inflammation and blood pressure, or even reverse the thickening of artery walls.
3. Helps With Recovery From Injuries and Illnesses – by targeting inflammation, which is the root of many diseases, Ayurveda can help lower pain and swelling, improve blood flow and fight inflammatory conditions. It is especially helpful in detoxing the body using various teas, herbs, healthy foods and plenty of rest. Some practices also increase circulation and liver function.
4. Promotes Antioxidant – Rich Diet – Ayurvedic medicine promotes a mostly plant – based diet filled with a variety of real, whole foods. Ayurvedic diets for the three different doshas all include teas, fresh vegetables, spices, healthy fats, protein and high – antioxidant foods. General dietary guidelines emphasize consuming hot, fresh and easy to digest foods, while also taking into account several variations that depend on someone’s customs, traditions and ancestry, as well as social, geographic and climatic variables.
5. Lowers Inflammation – a combination of a poor diet, bad digestion, insufficient air or lack of sleep and rest can all cause oxidative stress and inflammation. This results in the imbalance in metabolism, or in the three doshas. The focus of Ayurvedic healing is on using various ways of reducing inflammation with hopes of regulating the heart, circulatory system and digestive tract, as well as elimination of wastes. By addressing many factors and including correct diet and treatment, many people really experience a great recovery, reduced inflammation and increased energy and healing. In most cases practitioners recommend a combination of plans and herbs for different inflammatory treatments, believing that only one herb or drug cannot alone cure the imbalance of doshas.
These are only few examples of a great variety of benefits the Ayurvedic Medicine has to offer. If you feel like you are tired of antibiotics and medications that can seriously harm your body, try more natural ways of healing. It might take longer, but the effects might also last much longer!