What is Ayurvedic Medicine?
Ayurvedic healing is thought to be the oldest known system of medicine, known as “The Science of Life” and “The Mother of Healing” in Sanskrit. It originated over 5,000 years ago in India and was taught in the Vedic culture for thousands of years. Western allopathic medicine considers Ayurvedic medicine to be a complementary health approach, with naturopathic medicine, homeopathy, and polarity therapy having roots in Ayurveda. The main focus of Ayurvedic healing is on the patient’s individual constitution, or personal energy in regards to overall health.This is determined by one’s mental, physical, and spiritual energy dynamic.
How is a patient evaluated in Ayurvedic Healing?
In Ayurvedic theory, every human is composed of the five elements: air, fire, water, earth, and space. When combined, these five elements form three energies, or life forces, called doshas— vata, pitta, and kapha. In every person, one dosha will be more dominant than the other two. This can cause an imbalance of energy and—as is theorized in Ayurvedic medicine—disease happens when you’re out of balance. This disruption of vital energy flow, or “prana”, as it is known in Sanskrit.
- Vata is the energy of movement, which is composed of space and air. It has control over breathing, blinking, muscle and tissue movement, and pulsation of the heart.
- Pitta is connected to the body’s metabolic system, made up of fire and water. It is the dosha associated with digestion, absorption, nutrition, assimilation, metabolism, and temperature.
- Kapha is the structural dosha, having to do with the bones, muscles and tendons. Formed from earth and water, kapha lubricates joints, moisturizes the skin and provides immunity.
Diet, lifestyle choices, and stress are all factors that can cause a disorder or health imbalance to take place inside your mind and body.
What is a typical treatment plan in Ayurvedic healing?
The actual health assessment with your Ayurvedic practitioner can last anywhere from an hour to longer. Since it is an individual tickets treatment approach, the assessment will usually involve multiple detailed diet, lifestyle, and health questions. They will most likely listen to 12 different pulse points on your wrist. Then, they will take a look at your tongue for signs of which specific areas in the body that could be out of whack. They might also check your hair, skin,and nails for the same reason. Finally, the practitioner will determine your unique dosha and constitution, or “prakut”.
Treatment plans are, of course, personalized to the patient, but tend to have a plan including yoga, meditation, exercise, massages, an alteration in diet, consumption of herbs, and more. The individualized treatment plan will be based on that patient’s particular dosha imbalance. For example, a patient who has an overabundance of vata dosha will be given a list of foods that are thought to lower the vata energy. Patients can choose to continue the treatment plan until they feel back in balance or completely change their lifestyle to adopt the Ayurvedic principles as their regular health routine.