Ayurveda is a medical practice that originated in India. Thought to be far superior than other forms of medicine, it promises treatment for various ailments that would not normally not be found in other systems of medicine. If you are looking to get treated by the Ayurveda system of medicine, here are 10 facts about the practice.
Fact 1: The principles are basic yet extremely effective
Ayurveda is based on the principle that the body is made up of 5 elements space, air, water, fire and earth. When all these elements work in congruence they make a healthy person. While all of us have all the five elements, they are in different proportions in our body making a person one of these three vata, kapha or pitta. An imbalance in any of these elements makes a person ill and a realignment of these humours can cure a disease.
According to Dr Ramesh, CMD of Aryavaidyasala, Kotakkal, 'Although all these five elements flow through the body at all times, each individual has certain elements which are more dominant than the others. For instance, a person having a vata constitution has more of air and space; pitta has more of fire and water, and kapha, water and earth. At the time of conception, each person's predominant constitution (prakriti) is created by the way in which the three doshas combine through the union of parents. Besides genetic, the prakriti is also affected by emotions, diet, lifestyle, and even environmental factors like climate and time of the day. Once a person recognises his prominent dosha, a lot can be done to take care of the diseases that one is most prone to.'
Fact 2: The three doshas make you who you are
Before you scoff at the idea, here is what Ayurvedic practitioners believe. A person who is of a particular dosha has unique characteristics. Due to the dominance of one of the doshas it affects a person's temperament, the diseases that can affect him and even governs how he react to stress. Apart from that it also dictates the type of body structure he has and the foods he is likely to love.
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Fact 3: The three doshas tell the practitioner what ailments you are most likely to suffer from:
Here are the characteristics of each dosha and what diseases people commonly suffer from;
Gains weight easily. Loses weight with difficulty
Short and stocky or tall and sturdy
Hair, neck are all 'thick'
Abundant strength and stamina
Weak digestion. Feels heavy after eating
Regular bowel movements
Oily skin. Smooth and pale
Sleeps easily and soundly
Catches cold easily
Prefers hot weather
Prefers slow, relaxed lifestyle
Not a very quick learner but excellent long term memory
Sentimental. Often thinks of past
Protective of self and family
Lets negative emotions build up rather than addressing them
Lets others take the lead
Natural listener who many people confide in.
Have fluid retention problems,
Commonly have head colds (congestion in the head),
Suffer from lung problems,
May experience depression and sadness
Gains and puts on weight easily.
Energy levels high
Regular bowel movements.
Occasional bouts of diarrhoea
Prefers cool weather.
May become irritable in hot weather
Good sense of humour
Strong intellect. Likes learning new things.
Natural ability to lead
Critical of self and others
Tends to become angry and irritable
Becomes irritable if meal skipped
They commonly experience inflammation of joints, tissues and organs.
Excess heat can cause problems in the liver, blood, gall bladder and intestine.
As heat rises they may experience migraines, neck and spinal stiffness, fevers and headaches.
Slender and does not put on weight easily
Height is taller or shorter than average
Hair, neck are all 'thin'
Energy fluctuates and comes in bursts
Appetite is variable
There is a tendency to become constipated
Skin frequently becomes dry
Cold hands and feet
Light sleeper and may even have difficulty falling asleep
Prefers warm, moist weather to cold weather
Creative and imaginative
Active and restless
Quick learner but forgets quickly
Becomes 'spaced out' quite easily
Tendency to feel anxious, nervous and insecure
Speaks quickly and uses hand gestures
Always on the go
Often has colourful dreams
They commonly experience stiffness, especially in joints, low back and spinal pain, sciatica.
Fact 4: Diagnosis is based on various factors
Ayurveda uses the system of 'Astavidha rogi pareeksha' or eight methods to examine a patient. This includes testing the following factors Naadi (Pulse), Mutra (Urine), Mala (stool), Shabda (voice),Jivha(tongue), Sparsha (skin), Drik (Eyes) and Aakriti (body build). After the doctor has understood the type of body you have and the problem you might be suffering from, he/she will try to understand which humour could be imbalanced and thereby prescribe medication.
Fact 5: Ayurveda looks at your body as a whole
In Ayurveda a disease is known as a disharmony (or imbalance of energy flow) between mind, body and soul. This means that your body, its organs, your mind and your mental makeup all play a role in diagnosis and treatment. This way it tries to treat the root of the problem rather than the organ or part of the body that is affected factoring in how the medicines will affect the person as a whole.
Fact 6: Your environment plays an important role in your health
What you eat, where you live, even the colours you are attracted to can be explained by Ayurveda. According to the principles, a person's dosha mitigates this and therefore being in an environment that is contrary to your dosha will elevate one particular humour in the body leading to an imbalance and disease. Ayurveda seeks to negate that effect and bring the balance back into equilibrium.
Fact 7: Ayurveda involves more than just herbs
Ayurvedic medicines contain not only herbs but also other substances like milk, ghee, butter, honey, molasses, gingelly oil, rock salts, minerals, ashes and self-fermented alcohol. While herbs are a major component of the medicines prescribed, other compounds are used as well. In some cases the other compounds are adjuvants or carriers (help the medicine perform better) and in others they form the medicine itself.
Fact 8: It cures the root of the problem not the symptoms alone
Ayurveda is based on the very compounds that make and run your body. During treatment, an Ayurvedic doctor finds the problem, then looks for the reason for it. Once the reason is found he/she will treat the factors that are hindering the entire recovery process. Once cleared he/she will take care of the disease itself. This way Ayurveda looks to root out the problem rather than simply treat the symptoms -- hopefully eradicating the problem entirely.
Fat 9: Ayurveda is a lifestyle
The word Ayurveda is derived from two words; 'Ayur' meaning life and longetivity and 'veda' means knowledge. The basic scripture of Ayurveda talks about living life the Ayurveda way, where every aspect is in line with keeping your body's humours in check. So if you have diabetes, and with Ayurveda your blood sugar levels have been brought under control, you will notice that along with the medication there are several lifestyle changes you will have to make. Therefore, if you follow those principles for as long as you live, your diabetes will stay under control.
Fact 10: It has many specialties
Ayurveda has many more principles than just prescribing medicines. It also has specialties like surgery (Shalya-chikitsa), diseases above the shoulder (Shalakya), internal medicine (Kaayachikitsa), psychiatry (Bhutavidya), pediatrics (Kaumarabhrutyam), toxicology (Agadatantram), rejuvenation (Rasayanam) and aphrodisiacs (Vajikaranam). All these can treat every complication encountered by the human body.
So, the next time you are looking for a comprehensive and effective treatment protocol for yourself, try using Ayurveda. It may take a little longer, but the end result is definitely worth all the effort.