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What is ayurvedic medicine?

Ayurvedic medicine or Ayurveda is an ancient holistic health practice developed in India many thousands of years ago. The premise is that there is a deep connection between mind, body, and spirit. 

The basic tenet of this form of “complementary and alternative medicine”, as specified in the U.S., is that a person´s health is determined by maintaining a balance with the universe. If this balance is broken, the results are poor health and disease. Disruptions may be caused by emotions, weather changes, age, and climate, among others.

Everyone has a unique body constitution, a combination physical and physiological characteristics with how your body keeps itself healthy. This unique constitution is known as prakriti. 

There are five elements in the universe that combined to constitute your body: space, air, water, fire and earth.  Three life forces or energies form from the combination of these five called doshas.  These are:

  • Kapha dosha (water and earth)
  • Vata dosha (space and air)
  • Pitta dosha (fire and water)

One of the doshas is more dominant over the other two, depending on each individual´s constitution. It is thought that Vata dosha is the most powerful.

When you have a first visit to a practitioner, he will try to determine your dominant dosha and the balance between the other two.  They might test:

  • Weight
  • Urine and stool
  • Eye, teeth, tongue, and skin observation
  • Your pulse

The interview includes questions about your diet, lifestyle, behavior, medical history, and your ability to recover from an illness.  Your prakriti will determine what your treatment will be.

According to this practice, undigested food, known as ama, should be removed from the body.  This is a major goal of Ayruvedic medicine.  The process of cleansing is known as Panchakarma and may include massage, medical oils, enemas, laxatives, or methods to make you vomit.

Other treatments include aromatherapy, diet changes, breathing exercises, stretching, and meditating.  It is important to note that this practices seeks to promote good health more than heal a sickness. 

 

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