Not all medicine comes in pills or shots; doctors around the world have many philosophies about healing. While some people opt for Western medicine, others prefer naturopathic and holistic methods of healing or a combination of both.
Considered a form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in the United States, Ayurvedic healing is an age-old medicinal practice still in use today. Dating back to ancient India, this method approaches health and wellness by nourishing and balancing your mind, body, and spirit. Whether you are simply curious about this healing method or are interested in incorporating this practice into your lifestyle, here is an introduction to Ayurvedic healing.
What is Ayurvedic Healing?
Originating in India more than 3,000 years ago, the goal of Ayurvedic healing is to find balance and foster wellness within your mind, body, and spirit. This method takes a proactive approach to full body health; rather than being geared toward healing a specific condition or illness, many Ayurvedic principles are geared toward fostering health and wellness to avoid illness (though it can also be geared toward healing ailments). This type of healing is based upon two overarching ideas:
- The mind and body are interconnected
- The mind is the most powerful tool we have to heal and transform the body
This practice is based on the idea that every person has a unique mind-body connection that governs their body’s energy. When these energies are in balance, we feel happy and healthy. When these energies are out of whack, we experience mental and physical illness.
Ayurvedic Healing and the Three Doshas
Ayurvedic healing puts each person’s mind-body characteristics into one of three categories called doshas. Though all people have each of these energies in their mind-body connection, people typically have one dominant dosha. Your dominant dosha impacts the way you experience the world including the emotions you have, the way you feel physically, and even illnesses and ailments you are prone to.
Ayurvedic healers can work with you to rebalance doshas to foster wellness and cure illness. They can help you do this through helping make positive lifestyle changes, prescribing natural supplements, healing through massage, and other strategies. The three doshas are:
1. Vata Dosha
The vata dosha is based in the elements of air and space. Vata-dominant people tend to be energetic and favor movement and change. When in balance, vatas are creative, flexible, and thrive on human connection. When out of balance, they may feel anxious and have trouble sleeping.
According to Ayurvedic healing philosophy, vatas thrive when they follow a routine, eat in a peaceful environment, do gentle exercise, and meditate regularly. By the same token, these personalities may become unbalanced when they lack routine, go to bed late, and drink excessive amounts of alcohol and caffeine. They may also have sensitive digestive systems and are particularly prone to spikes of energy and fatigue based on what they eat during the day.
2. Pitta Dosha
Fire and water elements dominate the pitta dosha. Pittas love to move their bodies and are often strong and agile. Emotionally, they are typically confident, passionate people, who are known to be excellent leaders and managers. These personalities love to spend time outdoors and favor warmer temperatures and environments.
Pittas thrive when they listen to their bodies and spend time moving around and exploring. Because pittas have a competitive nature, when out of balance they may become argumentative or overly authoritative when interacting with others. In terms of their health, out-of-balance pittas may be prone to inflammation and ulcers.
3. Kapha Dosha
The third dosha, kapha, is rooted in water and earth elements. Within your body, kapha elements are responsible for keeping your body hydrated and stable. Personality wise, kapha-dominant individuals are typically warm, loving, and caring. When in good balance, kaphas will foster peace and love in their communities, bringing a stable and steadfast presence wherever they go.
Kaphas thrive when they have a routine to stick to, though they also enjoy being exposed to new sites, sounds, and experiences. They do well in aerobic exercise such as running, biking, and swimming. When out of balance, kaphas are prone to stubbornness, resistance, sinus-related illness, and weight gain.
Treatment Through Ayurvedic Healing
Now that you have an understanding of Ayurvedic healing, you may be interested in what it is like to visit an Ayurvedic healer. Though experiences vary, these professionals will typically take some time to learn about your routine and personality and evaluate your health accordingly. A visit to an Ayurvedic healer will typically include:
- Observation of your physical characteristics: This includes examining the outward appearance of your skin, hair, eyes, and movements.
- Touch: Practitioners may use touch to examine various areas of your body.
- Discussion: Ayurvedic healers will typically ask you questions about any discomfort you are having, how long you have been feeling unwell, questions about your diet and exercise routine, and more.
Ayurvedic healers evaluate not just an illness, but a patient as a whole. They will do an in-depth examination to both diagnose a disorder a person may have and also identify a healing strategy tailored to their unique needs. Because these practitioners focus on healing the whole person and not just specific symptoms, they will evaluate the energies your body needs to get back to a balanced state.
Healing through Ayurveda can be highly beneficial. However, it is important to note that as with any medical practitioner it is crucial to find someone who is experienced and qualified. Some Ayurvedic treatments may not be regulated the same way Western medicine is so ensuring your healer is knowledgeable and qualified is key!
At The Yoga WArrior, we believe in helping people foster healthy minds, bodies, and spirits. To learn more about Ayurvedic healing, check out these 4 Ayurvedic practices that will change your life!