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Basic Intro to Ayurvedic Medicine

What is Ayurveda Medicine?

Ayurvedic medicine is a science of life. It’s an Indian holistic healing system developed more than 5000 years ago. Its primary objective is to encourage good health rather than fight disease. It is based on the idea that wellness and health rely on an intricate balance between mind, body and spirit.

When mind, body and spirit are in balance with the universe one is considered to be in good health. It is the Ayurvedic principal that if one falls sick, it is because some factor (mind, body or spirit) has fallen out of rhythm from its natural state. Factors that influence one’s natural state vary from genetic predisposition, seasonal change, age and emotion.

Ayurvedic practitioners believe individuals are composed of the five elements of nature : space, air, fire, water and Earth. The elements come together to create three forces or energies the Ayurveda refer to as doshas.

What is a dosha? And what are their importance?

Doshas manage how your body works. There are three doshas Vata (space and air), Pitta (fire and water) and Kapha (water and Earth).

The five elements combine to make up the Ayurveda energy archetypes, known as doshas. Doshas are the organizing principles in nature and the primary life-energies in the body. These doshas control the creation, maintenance and destruction of bodily tissue and elimination of waste. In addition, doshas are responsible for physiological aspects, such as emotions, comprehension and love.

The Three Doshas Vata, Pitta and Kapha

Vata Dosha- Vata is composed of ether and air. It governs breath: your life force energy. Anxiety, insomnia and constipation are common symptoms of an imbalance of Vata dosha.

Pitta Dosha- Pitta is composed of fire and water. It governs digestions and breaks down food into a form that is usable to the tissues in the body. An imbalance of Pitta dosha most commonly leads to inflammation which manifests in the body as skin problems, heartburn and anger.

Kapha Dosha- Kapha dosha is composed of Earth and water. It means, “that which holds things together.”. Kapha dosha governs stomach, lymph, fat, respiratory system and pancreas. Common imbalances include depression, obesity and slow digestion.

How do Ayurvedic practitioner’s evaluate health?

An ayurvedic examination is divided into three parts: observation (Darshan), touch (Sparsha) and questions (Prashna). The practitioner evaluates your diet, digestion and elimination.

Darshan involves the practitioner looking at a patient’s general physical health through observation of his or her movements, body contour, skin and eye color, facial lines/ridges, and shape of nose as well as traits of hair.

Sparsha involves special attention to the patient’s pulse, tongue, and speech pattern.

Prashna is the part of the initial evaluation where the practitioner asks the patient if they are experiencing any symptoms. The practitioner will also want to know how long the patient has been experiencing symptomology and whether or not it has worsened. In addition, he or she will also ask about mental and psychological conditions.