Ayurveda or Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient Indian medical system that dates back some 5,000 years. Ayurveda means ‘science of life’. It is comprehensive form of medicine that combines natural therapy and is highly personalised approach to treat the disease. It places an equal emphasis on body, mind and spirit to restore the inner harmony of the individual.
According to Ayurveda, the five elements that make up every thing in the universe are ether, air, fire, water and earth. Each element is represented in the human body. For instance, ether is the space found between matter represented best by vibration or sound, oxygen is air, the metabolism is fire, blood and lymph are water and bones are earth. These five elements pair-up to form three forces or ‘doshas’ within the body.
Vata is made up of air and ether. It is responsible for functions such as the heart beat, locomotion and the working of the nervous system. Too much vata can leads to symptoms such as high blood pressure, while too little can cause constipation.
Pitta is made up of fire and water. It is responsible for functions such as digestion and body temperature. Too much pitta can result in symptoms such as ulcers and acne, while too little can end up in indigestion.
Kapha is made up of water and earth. It is responsible for immunity. Too much kapha can cause running nose or productive cough while too little can causes poor concentration.
A balance among the tridosha is necessary for health and wellbeing. Together, the tridosha governs all metabolic activities. When their actions in our mind & body constitution are balanced, we experience psychological and physiological wellness. When they are unbalanced, we may feel uneasy and sick.
An Ayurvedic practitioner aims to balance the patient doshas in order to increase their life energy or ‘prana’. We take up prana from the food we eat and air we breathe. Food can affect a person’s dosha levels because food is also made up of the five basic elements.
An Ayurvedic practioner uses a range of therapy from Ayurveda to balance the dosha and increase the energy (prana) level. Such as herbs, therapeutic (Ayurvedic) massage, Marma therapy, diet, yoga and Pranayam (breathing exercise).