The word Ayurveda comes from two Sanskrit words – Ayur meaning life, and Veda meaning knowledge. This traditional Indian life science is the oldest form of medicine known to man; its guiding principles are said to have been handed down from the Hindu gods, and written texts date back 3500 years. Ayurveda still forms the basis of much medical practice today in India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, where Orthodox doctors work alongside ayurvedic physicians. Following an Ayurvedic diet is considered to be an important way of maintaining health and preventing illness and disease.
Ayurvedic medicine is a complete healthcare system and involves detoxification, diet, exercise, use of herbs and techniques to improve mental and emotional health.
Your individual constitution and how it relates to your energies is the key to understanding Ayurvedic medicine.
Ayurveda aims to prevent disease by working with your body rather than trying to change it.
Each of us has a unique constitution, determined by the balance of three vital energies in the body, known as the three doshas or ‘tridoshas’. The three doshas are known by their Sanskrit names of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Everyone’s constitution is governed by tile three doshas in varying degrees, but each of us is also controlled by one or possibly two dominant doshas, so that you are classed as either vata type, pitta type or kapha type or a vata/pitta, pitta/kapha etc.
You keep healthy when all the three doshas are in balance. Each one has its role to play in the body. For example, vata is the driving force; it relates mainly to the nervous system and the body’s energy. Pitta is fire; it relates to the metabolism, digestion, enzymes, acid and bile. Kapha is linked to water, mucous membranes, phlegm, moisture, fat and lymphatics.
In Ayurveda good digestion is considered tile key to good health. poor digestion produces ‘ama’ a toxic substance believed to cause illness. ‘Ama’ occurs when the metabolism is impaired due to an imbalance of ‘agni’. Agni is the fire which, when working normally maintains all functions. Imbalance agni is caused by irregularity in the doshas and such things as eating and drinking too much of the wrong food and repressing emotions. Agni affected by too much Kapha can slow the digestive process making you feel heavy and sluggish, while too much vata can cause wind, cramps and alternating constipation and diarrhoea.
Toxins which cause illness can be produced by emotional as well as physical factors. For example, fear and anxiety relate to vata and the large intestine, when held inside these emotions can cause bloating and intestinal pain.
Food allergies can also develop because of poor, emotional health. Failing to express your emotions can start cravings for foods likely to cause imbalance. Yoga and meditation can help you to understand and deal with negative emotions.
Ayurvedic consultation, Panchakarma, Marma Therapy, Ayurvedic preparations are safe as long as they are prescribed by the qualified registered practitioner. Most members of the Ayurvedic Medical Association have completed 5-6 years full time training in universities or colleges in India, Sri Lanka or Pakistan and some members have qualified from colleges approved by the Association. All practising members are covered by professional indemnity and public liability insurance and come under a strict code of ethics and a code of practice.
Ayurveda is a complete health care system. It has an explanation for all modern conditions or diseases, how the disease process started, what caused it and how much help or control you can get from Ayurveda. Generally the Ayurvedic physician can treat : Gastro-intestinal problems; disorders of the circulatory system; metabolic disorders and disorders of the nervous system and other symptoms like insomnia; headaches; tension, anxiety, high blood pressure; blood sugar problems and injuries etc. Ayurveda does not offer cures for cancers, Aids and some mechanical lesions and conditions requiring surgery. Ayurveda will benefit the day old infant to the very elderly person.
After an individual assessment, the Ayurvedic physician may prescribe a variety of treatment modalities according to the need of the patient. They may include Ayurvedic Herbal Preparations: all Ayurvedic preparations are herbal and mineral products. Most preparations prescribed in Europe are herbal products which are legally imported into the UK by well known government licenced producers in India. Ayurvedic preparations go through a very long manufacturing process that was set out 3000 years ago and prepared using modern technologically advanced techniques. Some preparations take up to one year to produce. These preparations are in the form of liquid, tablets, powders or paste. The practitioner may give or prescribe raw or powdered herbs that patients have to make a decoction each day. No chemicals are used in ayurvedic medications.
DIETARY ADVICE An individual diet may be prescribed to suit you and your problem.
LIFESTYLE The Ayurvedic physician may check on your life style and habits and advice will be given accordingly. YOGA – EXERCISE Yoga forms a part of Ayurvedic medicine. ‘Veda’ the book of knowledge explains the benefits of yoga positions in controlling medical conditions and as an aid to staying healthy and preventing illnesses.
MEDITATION This is a very important area in gaining self control, confidence, overcoming anxiety, tension, stress, insomnia etc. It is always advisable for everybody to practice meditation both at the beginning and the end of the day.
Your first visit may take from 30 minutes to one hour depending on each individual. Your physician will go through your past history: lifestyle, your family history and present health problems. This is mainly to identify your original constitution type (Prakriti) and a very important part in Ayurveda to check your dosha levels. A physical examination involves checking your skin, hair, nails, tongue, eyes and other areas according to the need of each individual. The number of visits will depend on your present condition. After the initial visit your practitioner will tell you how often to attend. Usually at the beginning the patient visits once a week or once a fortnight.