Ayurveda, Holistic Or Wholesome, Body-Types (Doshas), and Naturopathy
- Ayurveda - Ayurveda means “Science of Life”, commonly referred to as “Mother of all sciences.” Practiced in India for more than five thousand years, Ayurveda is a comprehensive system of medicine that combines natural therapies with a highly personalized approach to the treatment of disease. Ayurveda’s source is rooted in the Vedic traditions, deeply spiritual, actual body-mind medicine, which provides healing at all levels. Ayurveda defines health as a balance between body, mind, and spirit. The work of Ayurveda is to eradicate diseases, which are stumbling blocks in the attainment of dharma, artha, kama and moksha. Ayurveda is for everyone who is seeking Absolute Health by maintaining their physical, mental and spiritual balance.
- Holistic Or Wholesome - Ayurveda emphasizes a preventive and “holistic” approach dealing with life in its totality. Holistic means pertaining to holism and it also means emphasizing the importance of whole. According to Ayurveda the body, mind and soul are the tripods which support the three-dimentional therapy of Ayurveda- the physical, mental and spiritual. This world is sustained by the combination of body, mind and spirit; they constitute the substratum for everything. This combination is Purusha; this is sentient and is the subject matter of Ayurveda. Ayurveda describes the life itself, its measurement; the advantageous and disadvantageous as well as happy and unhappy states of life, along with what is good and bad for life. Ayurveda is regarded as the most sacred science because it does good to mankind in respect to their present life as well as the life beyond. Moreover, being the life-giver, the Ayurveda is most sacred, as it is said,”No gift can surpass the gift of life.” Absolute health can only be achieved when body, mind and soul are in harmony with each other and with the cosmic surroundings. The first step in Ayurvedic medicine is to determine your body-type or constitution.
- Body-Types (Doshas) - We view a person as a unique individual. Everything in this universe is made up of five great elements (mahabhutas) i.e. Akasha (space or ether, in lack of exact translation), Vata (Air), Agni (Fire or Heat), Jala (Water) and, Prithvi (Earth). Different combination of these elements are present in the food we eat and the environment we live in. The combination of these elements constitute Doshas or body constitution e.g. Ether and Air combines to form Vata: which governs all the movements in the body e.g. nerve impulses, circulation, respiration, elimination etc. Fire and Water form Pitta: which controls the metabolism. Water and Earth combine to form Kapha dosha: which is responsible for growth and structural build up of the body. The body-type is determined at the time of conception, therefore we are made up of unique proportions of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The ratio of Doshas vary in each individual, therefore making everyone unique. This body-type is the foundation of health in Ayurveda. We must understand the concept of wholeness. This body is a complete unit, each organ is supporting the other(s), and the only way of providing nutrition to every system, organ, tissue and cell of this body is through the digestive system. This system must be given priority. That is why Panchakarma (Ayurvedic cleansing) is the most important part of Ayurvedic treatment. An Ayurvedic way of life style is a long-term management of one’s life. We know that we are not going to stay here for ever. Life is a passage between birth and death. We do not need Ayurveda to avoid death, we need an Ayurvedic way of life to make life pleasant, disease-free and long so we can attain dharma (to perform the obligations), artha (acquirement of wealth) kama ( gratification of desire) and moksha (emancipation). Use the available methods to be healthy and then do everything to maintain that state of health. “We are made of unique proportions of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha ... different combinations of these elements are present in the food we eat and the environment we live in.”
- Naturopathy - Naturopathic medicine focuses on the healing power of nature. Naturopathic medicine blends centuries-old natural, time-tested, non-toxic therapies with current advances in the study of health, covering every aspect of family health from prenatal to geriatric care. Naturopathic medicine concentrates on whole-patient wellness, attempts to find the underlying cause of the patient’s condition and emphasize prevention.