AYURVEDA

Image by Katherine Hanlon

AYURVEDA, or ayurvedic medicine, is a healthy-lifestyle system that people in India have used for more than 5,000 years. Ayurveda emphasizes good health and prevention and treatment of illness through lifestyle practices (such as massage, meditation, yoga, and dietary changes) and the use of herbal remedies.

  Ayurvedic medicine is holistic, which means viewing the body and mind as a whole. Ayurveda not only treats a person's physical complaints, but it also changes lifestyle practices to help maintain or improve health.

  According to ayurveda, the five elements of nature (space, air, fire, water, earth) combine in the body as three components (doshas) known as Vatta, Pitta, and Kapha. These doshas relate closely to the basic elements of nature and to specific functions of the body. A balance of these doshas is thought to be required for optimal health.

  • Air and space represent Vatta. Vatta controls muscle and joint movement, breathing, and heartbeat. Also, Vatta controls anxiety, fear, pain, and other functions of the nervous system.

  • Fire and water represent Pitta, which is thought to control such bodily functions as digestion, metabolism, intelligence, and skin colour. Pitta governs the emotions of anger, hate, and jealousy.

  • Earth and water represent Kapha. The physical structure of the body and the immune system are governed by Kapha. Emotional responses thought to be controlled by Kapha include calmness, forgiveness, love, and greed.

 

  The doshas, which are determined at the time of conception, also relate to an individual's physical makeup and personality. A person with a Vatta makeup tends to have a small, thin build. The Pitta body style is more of a medium, muscular build. The Kapha appearance is usually bigger and well-developed. Most people are considered to have a combination of doshas, with one type usually being predominant.

  In ayurvedic medicine, it is thought that if an imbalance occurs in any of the three doshas, illness results. Ayurvedic medicine treats illness in many ways, including dietary changes, herbal remedies, and exercise. According to the ayurvedic philosophy, you can also use yoga, meditation, or counselling to treat disease.

  Leveraging these basic principles, Ayurveda customizes preventative wellness to the unique constitution of every individual. In addition, ancient Ayurvedic doctors produced detailed descriptions of acute and chronic conditions (complete with causes, signs, and symptoms), and developed extensive holistic treatment protocols. Preventative care and treatment of disease falls under Ayurveda’s eight branches, which include:

● Kaayachikitsa – Internal Medicine
● Baalachikitsa – Pediatrics
● Bhuta Vidya – Psychiatry
● Shalakya Tantra – Ear, Nose and Throat Treatment
● Shalya Tantra – Surgery (not practiced in the United States today)
● Vishagara Vairodh Tantra – Toxicology
● Jarachikitsa/Rasayana – Geriatrics and Rejuvenation
● Vajikarana — Aphrodisiac Therapy, Fertility, and Conception

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  In addition, Ayurveda offers one of the world’s most comprehensive cleansing protocols, known as panchakarma. This ancient practice uses five primary therapies to release and eliminate accumulated toxins from deep within the tissues, and return the doshas to their proper seats in the body.

  Ayurveda offers renewed access to our natural intelligence. As the original circadian medicine, Ayurveda holds the key to resolving dis-ease creating a disconnect. Thus, this ancient medicine offers the promise of a more harmonious future for the people and planet.

  Benefits of Ayurveda

  Ayurveda offers extensive therapies and remedies for the young, old, sick, healthy, and everyone in between.

  This 5,000 year old medicine system that originated in India has many life-altering benefits. Here are some of the primary benefits that one can achieve with consistent use of Ayurveda.

1. Weight Loss and Maintenance

  A healthy diet and modification in lifestyle habits through Ayurvedic treatments help shed excess body fat. In Ayurveda, weight is not a major concern but eating habits are. By allowing the body to detox through correct dietary restrictions, it is possible to achieve a toned body.

Consult a practitioner to determine the best diet that will suit your nutritional needs and work with your dosha type.


2. Healthy and Glowing Skin and Hair

  Need a perfect glow and shiny hair? Ayurveda claims that you can ditch the expensive clinical treatments and go for the organic and natural ways to achieve a glow without spending too much money. A balanced meal, toning exercises, and Ayurvedic supplements are enough to promote a healthy skin and scalp.

General dietary guidelines in Ayurveda focus on consumption of fresh food taking into account your dosha type, medical history, regional produce, customs, and traditions.

The focus is more on high-antioxidant foods, herbs, teas, vegetables, protein, and healthy fats.


3. Say Goodbye to Stress

  With a fast-paced lifestyle that leaves no scope for rejuvenation or relaxation, Ayurveda guarantees reduction in stress and anxiety. Regular practice of yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, massages, and herbal treatments allow the body to calm down, detoxify, and rejuvenate.

Yoga improves the autonomic nervous system making your mind alert, so you can focus well and stay energized throughout the day.

Breathing exercises keep infections at bay and allow abundant oxygen supply to the cells to create a sense of awareness. Depression and anxiety can be treated with Shirodhara, Abhyangam, Shiroabhyangam, and Padabhyangam.


4. Reduce Inflammation

  Lack of proper diet, unhealthy eating routines, insufficient sleep, irregular sleep patterns, and bad digestion can lead to inflammation. The root cause of neurological diseases, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular problems, pulmonary diseases, arthritis, and many others starts with inflammation.

As you begin to eat according to your dosha type, the digestive system begins to strengthen. Consumption of certain foods at the right times reduces toxins in the blood and digestive tract. A consequent result of this is increased vitality, high energy, and an overall decrease in lethargy and mood swings.

Ayurvedic treatments are greatly known for cancer prevention as well. The best example of an herbal Ayurvedic formulation would be a combination of turmeric with black pepper.

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5. Cleanse the Body

  Panchakarma in Ayurveda is the practice of eliminating bodily toxins through enemas, oil massages, blood letting, purgation, and other oral administration.

By administering these components in the human body, this allows to the elimination of food and toxins that interfere with efficient bodily functions.

A cleansed body in turn aids for improved overall health. Suitable home remedies that are vastly used in Ayurvedic herbal medicines are cumin, cardamom, fennel, and ginger which cure indigestion in the body and prevent bloating.


6. Lower Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, and Symptoms of Illness and Diseases

  Researchers suggest that Ayurvedic diets and relaxation techniques help reduce plaque buildup. Plaque is a result of the formation of cholesterol and fats in the inner lining of the arteries. This condition is called atherosclerosis and is the root cause of heart attacks and strokes.

Ayurvedic medicine offers a multitude of herbs, vitamins, minerals, and proteins. These are mixed together at an appropriate dosage and administered at an optimal time to prevent and combat immunity related disorders.

Ayurvedic herbs and essential oils help increase blood flow, compliment blood circulation, and draws out toxins from the body through the skin.

“Abhyanga massage” with herbal oils is highly used for massages.

  Ayurveda Improves the Quality of Your Daily Life

  • Ayurveda is a choice of lifestyle, which when adopted in its entirety, brings a wave of general well-being to your daily life.

  • Exercising, having an active lifestyle, adequate sun exposure, appropriate treatments and emotional well-being help to cleanse the mind and spirit. This leaves you with a healthy mind and glowing skin.

  • Ayurveda works in perfect harmony with alternative medicine so it is practical for everyday use.

  • Ayurveda helps reclaim health with balanced dietary guidelines, effective sleep patterns, home remedies, daily and seasonal routines, yoga, and exercise patterns.

  • Heightened concentration levels through yoga, meditation, herbal intake, and adequate sleep helps re-calibrate mental and goal-based settings in your daily life.

  • Ayurvedic treatments improve digestion and increase appetite and immunity.

  • The basic principles of Ayurveda constitute the following disciplines – don’t skip breakfast, eat a light dinner, avoid sleeping and waking up late, drink water, eat organic produce, avoid smoking and drinking, and maintain an active lifestyle.