It is often said that a holistic approach to health and wellness is the most beneficial. By considering the body and mind as one, rather than treating them separately, the ancient Indian lifestyle practice of Ayurveda claims to be able to provide balance and emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.
The Ayurvedic Approach
Ayurvedic medicine works on the principle that the five main elements (space, air, water, fire, earth) exist within the body as three components (known as doshas): Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Your combination of these three doshas is supposed to be determined at conception, and it is an imbalance of these doshas that Ayurvedic practitioners claim leads to mental and physical illness.
What’s your dosha?
If you’re mostly Vata, then with balance you’re lively and creative, but imbalance can result in anxieties, insomnia and indigestion.
Pitta people tend to be friendly, smart and strong, but imbalances can lead them to be critical, aggressive and irritable.
A Kapha person is said to be sweet, loyal and serene. However, an imbalance can result in weight gain, congestion and resistance to change.
Working in harmony
Ayurvedic medicine combines herbal supplements with yoga, meditation, massage and a healthy diet to promote balanced doshas and a stress-free existence. Whilst that may seem a little far-fetched, Ayurvedic principles have been used successfully to assist with the treatment of asthma, high blood pressure and even arthritis. Ayurvedic massage Ayurvedic massage focuses on tapping, kneading, squeezing and traditional massage techniques to promote calm, relieve tension and balance chakras. An Ayurvedic massage will utilise essential oils specifically chosen to complement your dosha. Using these techniques, Ayurvedic massage is said to help eliminate toxins, relax and rejuvenate the body and mind, whilst acting as a spiritually cleansing experience. Practitioners focus on specific “marma points”, which are similar to the pressure points of acupuncture, reflexology and acupressure.
Finding out more
When considering adopting an Ayurvedic lifestyle, it’s important to make sure that you also continue to maintain links with mainstream medicine. You may find that your GP can offer some advice about successfully combining holistic and mainstream medicines, but if the term “Ayurveda” leaves your doctor with a blank expression, then there’s lots you can find out about the subject online or in books. A local alternative health bookshop may be able to help, or an online search for Ayurvedic practitioners in your local area may prove fruitful if you’re looking for guidance and advice.
A healthy balance
Maintaining a balanced life can be tricky. If you often feel tired, sluggish and achy then Ayurvedic medicine would suggest that your dosha is out of balance. Ailments such as IBS, diabetes, allergies, skin complaints, and joint inflammation can affect you as much psychologically as they can physically. A natural, good-quality supplement such as Aloe Vera can really help promote a healthy lifestyle and help you take your first steps on the path to a happier, healthier you.
As a complementary medicine, it is important to remember that Ayurvedic practices and herbal medicines are not a replacement for mainstream medical treatment.