What is Ayurveda Anyway?

आयुर्वेद

 

The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.  ~Thomas Edison

Ayurveda is a system of natural healing that has been evolving for over 5,000 years. It has a rich history that has influenced Early Greek, Western, and Traditional Chinese Medicine, and in a world dominated by Western convention, Ayurveda provides us with something more than a system of solely treating symptoms and illness. Ayurveda not only translates to “science of life,” but is a body of ancient knowledge finely crafted to keep one’s mind, body, and spirit vital, healthy, and balanced in the midst of our environment by analyzing the integration of one’s daily life routines, seasons, diet, and behavioral characteristics.

We are apart of nature.

In Ayurveda there are three fundamental forces (or doshas) that regulate our internal and external environments: in Sanskrit they are Vata (wind), Pitta (fire), and Kapha (earth). Every person has a unique ratio of these energies that dictate and shape our health and behavioral nature.

For instance, those with a dominant Vata dosha tend to be slender, energetic, and creative. Those with a predominant Pitta nature are intellectually sharp, determined, and have a zest for experiencing life. While Kapha personalities are nurturing, analytical, and carefree. Now, you may be thinking to yourself that you have many of the characteristics from each of these constitutions or doshas, but after a thorough constitutional analysis most people have only one (and occasionally two) dominate doshas.

So great, the balanced descriptions of these doshas sound wonderful, and if balanced sound like we could all live happily ever after! However, the goal of Ayurveda is to identify, treat, and sustain the imbalanced expression of these constitutions via a holistic intervention of diet, Abhyanga massage, herbs, aromatherapy, music, yoga, breathing, and meditation.

When Isaac Newton was laying down the foundations for classical mechanics and stated, “to every action there is always opposed an equal reaction” he was really borrowing from the ancient Ayurvedic principles of balance and imbalance.

For each element, there is a balanced and imbalanced expression.

When Vata is in flux, a person is likely to experience nervous system imbalances characterized by anxiety, trouble sleeping, dry skin, constipation, and difficulty focusing. Pitta imbalances are described by compulsive behavior, inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome, and digestive complications. While Kapha instability is noted by weight gain, congestion, and lethargy.

By utilizing the principles of Ayurveda and becoming educated about your particular dosha, you can begin to identify and make the most nourishing choices for your life.

At The Dragontree, our approach to Ayurvedic health fuses the ancient knowledge of Ayurveda with a current understanding of holistic health in order to pave the way for transformative wellbeing and healing to take place.

For instance, aside from full body Ayurvedic treatments and counseling, we offer incredibly powerful treatments like Ayurvedic therapeutic foot baths and scalp massages which incorporate the practice of oil pulling. Typically oil pulling has been used to treat systemic diseases like diabetes mellitus and oral plaque, but recent studies have shown this practice also stimulates vital nerve centers throughout the body, improves blood and cerebral spinal fluid flow around the brain, which in turn improves lymphatic drainage from the head and neck, and increases tissue oxygen uptake.See here to know more on foot spa.

I will admit, while there are very few acknowledged clinical studies of Ayurveda’s efficacy, it’s worth noting that there are now trials being conducted to determine Ayurveda’s ability to prevent, treat, and cure disease. A few noteworthy current clinical trials surrounding the use of Ayurvedic herbs have shown evidence that Salvia officinalis (Common Sage) may improve symptoms in Alzheimer’s patients; Neem has been shown to have effective pharmacological characteristics; and the use of Turmeric and Cumin have displayed potency in preventing cancer in vitro, as well as alleviating digestive disorders and arthritis. There was also a rheumatoid arthritis clinical trial, funded by the National Institute of Health, back in 2011 that compared the effectiveness of the conventional drug, methotrexate, to that of an Ayurvedic treatment consisting of 40 herbal compounds and found the Ayurvedic treatment to be similar, if not more effective, than the popular conventional drug treatment.

So, with all of this in mind, try something new. Let us determine your dosha and potential imbalances so that we can begin to integrate and increase balance and vibrancy into your life!

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