Originating over 5000 years ago, Ayurveda is the traditional herbal healing system of India that has been perfected over centuries, and has still managed to survive despite the forceful invasion of modern medicine. A combination of two Sanskrit words, Ayu (Life) and Veda (Knowledge), this traditional healing method is a systematic collection of principles decoding the secret knowledge of life. These coherent principles were created with the birth of the universe and is a science that is believed to be eternal, which is not liable to change at any time or in any part of the world.
Ayurveda attempts to connect a person’s body and mind and everything that occurs in the mental, emotional and spiritual being of an individual. According to the principles of Ayurveda, at conception, humans are embedded with a unique ratio of three different doshas, which is governed and dictated by our DNA. Doshas are energies constantly present in the human body, having their own unique and specific quantity, quality and function. It is the balance and interaction of the three doshas that determine functions within the human body, and they display themselves in the form of physical expressions called Vatha, Pitta, Kapha. These three dosha types are collectively known as the ‘’Tridoshas.’’ All three doshas are made up of and interact with 5 primary elements of the Universe: Earth, Water, Wind, Fire and Space.
Normal functions and harmony within the human body, is achieved and maintained through interactions between energies of the three doshas that need to exist at an ideal ratio, which varies from person to person. Presence of variations (increases or decreseas) in the quantity, quality and function of the doshas, or abnormal ratios between the doshas, produce tendencies to vitiate the body tissue, ultimately being the Nirdhana (root cause) of various disorders, diseases and dysfunctions. Dosha imbalances can occur during a person’s lifetime and even during the course of a day, with ratio levels fluctuating from morning through night.
These ratio imbalances or fluctuations, are affected by a variety of factors like climatic and seasonal changes, personal lifestyle, dietary habits, personal experiences and mode of exercise, to name a few. Given the constant influence of various factors affecting our life and eventually the energies present within us, Ayurveda Vaidhyas work towards achieving the best possible ratio among individuals, via therapeutic massages, Ayurveda medicines and recommendations towards a more holistic way of life, including changes in diet and exercise. Correcting and achieving the best possible ratio among doshas eventually catalyses the treatment of various ailments, disorders and diseases, as Ayurveda focuses on curing the root cause rather than alleviating an individual from his/her symptoms.
|Type of Dosha||Properties in Living Beings|
|Vata||Dryness and roughness of skin, light in weight, coldness|
|Pitta||Slight unctuousness, heat producing, light in weight, foul odour, free flowing and liquidity|
|Kapha||Unctuousness, cold, heaviness, slow in action, smooth, slimy and stable|
|Type of Dosha||Main Seat in the Human Body|
|Type of Dosha||Normal Functions|
|Vata||Protects the body, bestows enthusiasm, inspiration and expiration, initiation of urges like urine and faces, maintaining body tissue, proper function of sense organs, respirations, circulation, elimination, locomotion, movement, speech, creativity, enthusiasm and entire nervous system|
|Pitta||Digestion, maintaining body temperature, vision, production of hunger, thirst, intelligence, courage, softness of the body, metabolism, vision, cheerfulness, intellection and discrimination.|
|Kapha||Produces stability, lubrication, compactness of joints, capacity to withstand and withhold emotions, strains, growth, fluid secretions, patience, compassion, understanding|
During a typical Ayurveda consultation, clients are examined by Darsana (observing), Sparsana (physical examination) and/or Prasna (verbal interaction). Presentation of diseases or disorders are then examined by the physicians through Nidana (causes/aetiology), Praagrupa (premonitory symptoms), Lakshna (specific signs and symptoms), Upasaya (diagnostic tests) and/or Samprapti (pathogenesis). Additional factors examined by physicians during consultation are via Dusyas (Vitiated tissue and waste products), Desa (Habitat of the client), Bala (Strength), Kala (Season), Anala (Digestive power), Prakruthi (Constitution), Vayas (Age), Satva (Mind), Satmya (Accustoms) and Ahara (Food and food habits).
In Ayurveda, there are two kinds of therapies, the Sodhana and Samana therapy. The Sodhana therapy purifies the body to attain a healthy balance between Vatha, Pitta and Kapha, by eliminating aggravated doshas forcefully out of the body and can be performed in the five following ways:
- Vamana – Vomitting
- Virechana – Purgation
- Basthi – Enema
- Nasyam – Pouring oil into the nostrils
- Raktamosham – Blood bleeding therapy by leeches
The Samana therapy aids in curing various ailments by decreasing aggravated doshas within the body, without elimination.