Ayurveda – A Holistic Approach To Well-Being

Shantha Kalia

Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest medical systems of natural healing, which originated in India thousands of years ago.  Ayurvedic medicine is not only a system of treating illnesses, but also a science of life.  The word Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word, Ayur is life, and Veda is science.  Ayurveda is based on the principle that health is the balanced and dynamic integration between our environment, body, mind, and spirit.

Ayurvedic medicine follows a holistic approach to health and well-balanced life.  Its basic principle is preventing and treating illness by maintaining balance in the body, mind, and spirit by a modified lifestyle and using herbal remedies and special diets.  It has become a popular form of medicinal practice in Western cultures.

How Does Ayurveda Work?

Ayurveda functions on the principle that each person has a specific energy pattern that is a combination of physical, mental, and emotional characteristics.  Ayurveda recognizes three main energy patterns in each person called doshas.

  • Vata – body functions associated with motion such as blood circulation, breathing, blinking of the eye, and heartbeat is controlled by vata.  Creativity and vitality results from balanced vata, and an imbalance of vata can cause anxiety and fear.
  • Pitta – our body’s metabolic functions such as digestion, absorption, nutrition, and temperature are controlled by pitta.  Balanced pitta brings about contentment and intelligence, while pitta imbalance can cause ulcers and arouse anger.
  • Kapha – growth in our body is controlled by kapha.  Water is supplied to all the parts of the body, the skin is moisturized, and our immune system is maintained by kapha.  Love and forgiveness are expressed with balanced kapha, where as out of balance kapha leads to insecurity and anxiety.

One or two of the above energies are dominant in each person.  Imbalances can result from poor diet, the weather, toxic relationships, and stress resulting in diseases.

Ayurvedic Treatment

Ayurvedic practitioners treat you to restore balance of your doshas.  Commonly prescribed treatment types are:

  • Pranayama are breathing exercises to bring about calmness
  • Abhyanga is massaging the body with herbal oils that promotes healthy circulation and getting rid of toxins in the body
  • Rasayana uses mantras during meditation along with herbs used to rejuvenate the person
  • Yoga combines pranayama, movement (asanas), and meditation.  It improves digestion, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, chronic pain, and anxiety.
  • Panchakarma cleanses the body by methods that increase sweating, bowel movements, etc.
  • Herbal medicines are prescribed to restore dosha balance in the body

Benefits of Ayurveda

Ayurveda maintains health and well being and also treats and heals illnesses.  Ayurveda encompasses diet and nutrition, lifestyle, exercise, rest, relaxation, meditation, breathing exercises, and cleansing using medicinal herbs.

It is recommended that you always consult with your physician before embarking on Ayurvedic treatment.

Sources for this article include:

  • ayurvedawellness.org/ayurveda-health/benefits-of-ayurveda
  • www.chopra.com/our-services/ayurveda
  • umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/treatment/ayurveda
  • www.webmd.com/balance/guide/ayurvedic-treatments
  • www.naturalhealthmag.com.au/content/ayurveda-medicine
About the Author: Shantha Kalia is a health care professional at a New York City hospital. She completed her masters in Public Health, and has worked in various capacities in health care for over 15 years. She is a freelancer and contributes articles to various websites on various medical and health-related topics. Her interests include health and wellness, diet and nutrition, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. To read more articles by Shantha, please visit HolisticCarePros.com.
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