What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda, literally ‘the science of life’, is a complete healing science that has been in continuous practice for over 5000 years.
Having stood the test of time, this magnificent system of holistic medicine and living reveals knowledge about life and health. It has proven true from the time that early Indian sages shared their wisdom and knowledge.
Ayurvedic principles are based on the unchanging laws of nature. Ayurveda is the medicine of nature – the medicine of life.
Ayurveda recommends specific lifestyle routines, foods and diet, medicines and procedures based on your unique psycho-biological make-up (your body type, which was determined at birth). It uses the terms vata, pitta and kapha to explain your body type.
Ayurveda is a complete system, encompassing preventive health, health maintenance, health improvement and the treatment of disease.
There are three types of Ayurvedic therapists:
Ayurvedic lifestyle consultants are involved in preventive and health management aspects of Ayurveda. Consultants use herbs, nutrition, yoga, bodywork and meditation for the treatment of minor disorders. They also construct Ayurvedic programs for lifestyle balancing, rejuvenation, massage and diet, and beauty therapy regimes/treatments.
Ayurvedic practitioners assist in the management of health disorders/imbalances and devise specialist holistic programs to treat your problems. They may use herbal medicines, diet, advanced rejuvenation programs and special therapies.
Ayurvedic doctors provide Ayurvedic diagnosis (including pulse diagnosis at the level of prakruti assessment), treatment of more advanced/complex conditions, and design and application of panchakarma programs.
Visiting an Ayurvedic consultant
A visit usually takes 30 to 60 minutes. You will be asked questions regarding your past and present health, digestion, eating habits, bowel function, sleep, lifestyle habits and mental and emotional characteristics. These provide the therapist with information to assess imbalances (the state of vata, pitta and kapha), and to prescribe the correct program for you. Your therapist may perform a number of physical tests including urine, tongue, pulse and body diagnosis.
Ayurveda is holistic, and advocates whatever will restore health. Treatments aim to correct your digestion, remove toxins, restore balance and rejuvenate your body and mind.
They can include:
– food and herbs as medicines
– individualised and specific lifestyle routines
– techniques to enhance mental wellbeing
– personalised Ayurvedic yoga, relaxation and meditation
– rasayana, a system of rejuvenation
– panchakarma, a system of detoxification
– special therapies: nasya, shirodhara, basti
– herbal oil massage treatments
– subtle energy work
Ayurveda and conventional medicine
Ayurveda is a safe system of medicine, with an extensive history of traditional use. The World Health Organisation recognises Ayurveda as a holistic system of health care.
Ayurveda can be used while undergoing conventional medical treatments. It can help restore balance to your body, and may reduce the need for many conventional medicines. Your Ayurvedic practitioner and doctor can work together to maximise your treatment result.
Ayurveda works well with other treatments, and its specialty and strength lie in its individualised approach to your unique requirements.