Recognized by some as the world’s oldest holistic or whole-body healing practice, originating in India over 3,000 years ago, this form of alternative medicine remains one of India’s traditional health care systems.
Ayurveda is founded on the belief that your mind, body and spirit are intimately connected. You can’t hurt or heal one area of your life without negatively or positively influencing your entire physical, mental and spiritual makeup.
Therefore, this practice promotes overall health and well-being, rather than focusing on fighting a specific or singular disease or illness.
When you achieve a perfect balance between your spiritual, mental and physical states of being, you naturally repel infection, sickness and disease, and heal quickly from physical injuries.
Ayurvedic Medicine – Five Basic Elements
Ayurvedic medicine is founded on the idea that every human being is made up of 5 basic elements – earth, water, fire, air, and space.
These elements go on to make up different combinations known as doshas, which are energy profiles that influence each individual. These energy types can change frequently, and they perform certain functions in the body on a physiological level.
Three Main Doshas
Your unique combination and ratio of these elements creates 1 of 3 main doshas, and one or more sub-doshas.
Your dosha can change frequently. Understanding your specific dosha is required before an Ayurvedic healer can prescribe certain practices, lifestyle changes and dietary recommendations to bring your mind, spirit and body back in balance.
There are 3 main types of doshas:
- The Vata dosha (the airy element) controls bodily functions such as movement, blood circulation, breathing, blinking, and the beating of your heart.
- The Pitta dosha (fiery element) controls the body’s metabolic systems. These include digestion, absorption, nutrition, and even the body’s temperature.
- The Kapha dosha (watery element) controls the overall growth of the body. This energy provides water to certain parts of the body, moisturizes the skin, and helps keep the immune system healthy.
When the Vata Dosha is in balance, creativity and vitality reign supreme. However, when it is out of balance, emotions such as fear and anxiety are produced.
Contentment and intelligence often appear when the Pitta Dosha is in balance, but anger and ulcers are caused when it isn’t.
When the Kapha Dosha is out of balance, insecurity and envy take control from love and forgiveness, emotions that occur when the Kapha Dosha is balanced and healthy.
Each person has all of these doshas, but one or two usually dominate.
These dosha ratios often determine one’s personality traits, such as likes and dislikes, and physiological traits. For example, a person with a strong Vata dosha would prefer hot weather to cold weather, while a person with a strong Kapha dosha enjoys spicy foods over sweet treats.
Ayurveda – Perfect Balance
Ayurveda practitioners prescribe treatments tailored to the individual person, rather than using one type of cure or remedy for everyone that suffers from some type of condition.
Ayurveda medicine is complete with herbal compounds, special diets and exercise regimens, and lifestyle recommendations. Ayurveda teaches that when a perfect balance is achieved between one’s spiritual, physical, and mental states of being, one can naturally repel infections, other forms of sickness and illness, and be able to heal quickly from physical injuries.
Examples of Healing Herbs
Research has shown evidence that the herb turmeric, which Ayurvedic practitioners use to treat inflammatory conditions and other related disorders, can be also used to treat digestive problems and arthritis.
Boswellia, also known as frankincense, is another Ayurvedic medicine, one which produces a resin that helps with inflammation and strengthening the immune system.
These are just a couple of many natural herbs and spices Ayurveda uses to heal the body.