What is Ayurveda?

Mortar with fresh rosemary and dried spicesAyurveda is a holistic approach to health designed to help people live long, healthy, and well-balanced lives. The term Ayurveda comes from the Sanskrit words Ayus, meaning life or lifespan, and Veda, meaning knowledge. It has been practiced in the Himalayas and surrounding areas of the world for at least 5,000 years and has recently become popular in Western cultures. The basic principle of Ayurveda is to prevent illness by maintaining balance in the body, mind, and consciousness through proper lifestyle, including eating habits as well as herbal supplements and food-based concentrates.

Doshas

Just as everyone has a unique fingerprint, according to Ayurveda each person has a distinct pattern of energy — a specific combination of physical, mental, and emotional characteristics. There are three basic physiology types, called doshas, present in every person:

  • Vata – energy that controls bodily functions associated with motion, including blood circulation, breathing, blinking, and heartbeat. When Vata energy is balanced there is creativity and vitality. Out of balance, Vata produces fear and anxiety. In nature Vata is represented by space, air and wind. This dosha is cold, dry and hard so when Vata is out of balance the physiology can become too cold and dry.
  • Pitta – energy that controls the body’s metabolic systems, including digestion, absorption, nutrition, and temperature. In balance, Pitta leads to contentment and intelligence. Out of balance, Pitta can cause ulcers and arouse anger. In nature Pitta is represented by fire, or, in the physiology, by an excess of heat which can cause inflammation of both body and mind.
  • Kapha – energy that controls growth in the body. It supplies water to all body parts, moisturizes the skin, and maintains the immune system. In balance, Kapha is expressed as love and forgiveness. Out of balance, Kapha leads to insecurity and depression. In nature, Kapha is represented by water — oceans, seas, lakes and rivers. Excess of Kapha causes colds, congestion, edema and heavy weight.

Everyone has Vata, Pitta, and Kapha energy within their physiology, but usually 1 or 2 of the doshas are dominant within each individual. Many things such as stress, unhealthy food, the weather, overwork or strained relationships can disturb the balance of these energies. Initially, such imbalances can be detected through Ayurvedic assessment techniques. Ayurveda practitioners recommend gradual changes to bring the doshas back into balance.What is Ayurveda?. If not corrected, these imbalances can become worse and eventually show up in the form of various diseases.
From a Western medical perspective, stress relief seems to be one of the ways Ayurveda works to help prevent illness. Other studies have found that Ayurveda can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, slow the aging process, and speed recovery from illness.

What should I expect from an Ayurveda consultation and coaching?

Ayurveda is unlike standard Western medical treatment because it focuses on rebalancing the doshas. On your first visit, the practitioner will check your pulse and ask questions about your lifestyle history, general wellness, paying special attention to diet, habits, and surroundings. Having determined imbalances in the patient’s doshas, the practitioner will then recommend ways to restore the natural dosha balance. These frequently include changes in lifestyle. He/she can also recommend certain food choices and combinations, though it does not necessarily mean you will be dieting. If any other treatment is required, an Ayurveda consultant can recommend you to see holistic or traditional Western doctors as appropriate. However, balancing your physiology with the help of appropriate food, spices and lifestyle changes is often sufficient for wellness.

The best results are achieved if, the after initial consultation, you follow up with coaching sessions at least once a month, or every other week. Coaching is needed to provide patients with support and detailed information about lifestyle, food and supplements. Many details must be taken into consideration. All of them are gradually introduced during the coaching meetings, either in person or through phone or internet — emails, Facebook coaching groups  and Skype — connections.

What is Ayurveda good for?

Ayurveda is unique in that its primary goal is to prevent rather than cure diseases. Studies have suggested that Ayurveda may be effective at reducing the risk of heart disease. For example, one study found that Ayurveda helps reduce plaque and reverse the thickening of artery walls, known as atherosclerosis, in both healthy adults and those at high risk for heart disease. Ayurveda herbs have been studied as preventive remedies and even for the elimination of many imbalances that do not require medical treatment or surgery. There are many of clinical studies worldwide on the benefits of herbs and aromatherapy, showing them to be safe and efficient remedies for everyday aliments and even chronic conditions. For more information, please, see the section Research on Ayurveda on this website.

Ayurveda teaches that the prevention and correction of imbalances in our physiology is the best way to manage the daily stress of life. This is accomplished through lifestyle changes, with a view to living according to the laws of nature, along with many other integrative techniques such as meditation, relaxation and deep breathing. Through this approach we can balance mind and body and reduce the stress arising from illness such that our physiology gains the ability to heal itself. Health can be restored if all the mind/body systems are balanced.

Source: University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC)

Disclaimer

The information in the article should not be considered as medical advice. It is not meant to prevent, treat, diagnose or cure any ailment, or prescribe any medication or supplement. Always check with your physician before taking any products or following any advice you have read.

Posted by on August 25, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

 

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