Published: 03/15/2016 - Updated: 07/31/2021
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
Ayurvedic medicine or Ayurveda is one of the oldest existing medical systems in the world, which is perhaps why the World Health Organization included it in its list of traditional medicines. It was developed in India more than 5,000 years ago and is far from disappearing. In fact, more and more people are developing an interest in this science, both in its country of origin as well as in the Western world.
The objective of the Ayurveda (or “Science of Life”) is to naturally improve our health and in order to do that, it studies the person as a whole: Physically, emotionally and spiritually. Ayurveda suggests that everything which affects the mind, sooner or later will affect the body, and vice versa.
Your lifestyle, diet, exercise, tastes and preferences, your job, your environment, etc. All of these are especially important when making a diagnosis and giving personalised treatment. In addition, Ayurveda gradually teaches you how to take care of your health every day.
The three Doshas within Ayurveda
For our health, we need to know our “constitution” (prakruti), which is based on three basic energies called doshas or moods (vata, pitta and kapha). Each dosha is related to a basic element (air, earth, fire and water) and results in a type of skin, hair, character, appetite, type of digestion or predisposition to certain diseases.
Vata is said to be made of air and ether, which means that it has qualities similar to these elements.
Pitta is said to be made of fire and water elements.
Kapha has a predominance of water and earth elements.
We all have qualities of each dosha and only in some cases only one of them predominates. Getting to know and understand our prakruti is essential for finding out our tendencies to specific illnesses, allowing us to choose which ayurvedic foods and medicine/treatments are best for us in order to maintain or restore our balance.
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It is often said that to determine the prakruti , it is better to conduct the study during Summer, Winter or the rainy season, as the seasons also influence our constitution.
After identifying our constitution, we can begin treatment which can have either preventive or palliative aims. To carry out Ayurveda is based primarily on the use of natural resources and products that are accessible to all, such as medicinal plants, massage, detoxification techniques and changes in eating habits.
Food: Diet is the key to both prevention and treatment of any illness or disease. Depending on your constitution, your body will tell you which foods are the most suitable for you.
Massage: In Ayurveda, massage is as important as eating and sleeping, as it is essential to discharge waste materials from the body. Certain points are manipulated and massaged to improve blood circulation, hormones and lymphnodes if necessary.
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Plants: Ayurvedic plants are recommended to nourish and balance specific areas of our body.
Ayurveda seeks to restore the harmony between mind, body and spirit in order to heal a person. While it is true that this method can be used to treat many ailments, there are also many cases when modern medicine is necessary and so it is always advisable to employs the best of both worlds.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 07/31/2021
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