Ayurveda, India’s Ancient System of Herbal Medicine
A physician who fails to enter the body of a patient with the lamp of knowledge and understanding can never treat diseases. He should first study all the factors that influence a patient’s disease, including the environment, and then prescribe treatment. It is more important to prevent the occurrence of disease than to seek a cure.” –from the Charaka Samhita
Ayurveda is thought of by many scholars to be the oldest form of health care in the world. It originated in India over 5000 years ago, and was taught for thousands of years in an oral tradition from accomplished masters to their disciples. The purpose of Ayurveda is to heal, to maintain a high quality of life, and to increase the longevity of the individual. It is an art of daily living that has evolved from philosophical, spiritual and practical insight –from understanding the complexity of Creation to the daily individual needs of cooking food. Although used for thousands of years, Ayurvedic principles have never changed, since they derive from universal laws of nature that are eternally true. In Sanskrit, Ayurveda (Ayur-Veda) means the “Science of Life,” in the sense that life is the integration of body, mind and consciousness. Ayurveda places great emphasis on prevention and encourages the maintenance of health through diet and lifestyle, proper cooking methods, yoga and meditation practices, proper exercise, herbal nutrition with Ayurvedic herbs, as well as cleansing and rejuvenating Ayurvedic therapies (including abhyanga, shirodhara, nadi swedana, etc.) and Panchakarma, Ayurveda’s unique deep detox and rejuvenation program.
Ayurveda, a Science of Self-Understanding: the Individual Constitution (Prakruti)
Ayurveda states that by understanding your own unique nature or constitution you can begin to understand how you interact with the environment and therefore make choices that will lead you toward greater health and well being. In a nutshell, Ayurveda defines “disease” as the natural end result of living out of harmony with your original constitution. So the Ayurvedic approach is very individualized and holistic, as your path to optimal health is different than that of any other individual, depending upon your unique constitution, or prakruti, as well as factors such as your habits, your environment, your family medical history, and so on. The Ayurvedic system believes that your individual constitution (prakruti) is recorded at the time of conception and birth as a genetic code that can be expressed physically and mentally as disease proneness and emotional response. This constitution is determined by vata, pitta and kapha, which are the three doshas, or psycho-physiological dynamic principles that govern the individual response to the environment, both physically and emotionally, and promote the disease process when out of balance. Many factors, both internal and external, can disturb this balance and bring about changes in your original constitution that may lead to disorders and disease. Some of these factors can be emotional and physical stress, improper food combinations and choices, physical trauma, or seasonal and weather changes. Once you understand how these factors affect you on a constitutional level, you can take appropriate actions to nullify or minimize their effects and eliminate the causes of imbalance. In this sense, Ayurveda empowers you to understand and gain control over your own state of health.
Understanding the Interaction of Doshas and Qualities in Ayurveda
Ayurveda states that like increases like. For example, the summer has attributes similar to those of pitta dosha —hot, liquid, light, mobile, and penetrating. Therefore, in the summer pitta in the body tends to be increased. Vata is light, subtle, dry, mobile, rough, and cold. So in the fall, which also exhibits these attributes, vata will tend to be increased in the body. Kapha is liquid, heavy, cold, sticky, and cloudy. In the winter, when these characteristics predominate in the external environment, internal kapha tends to be increased. Your individual constitution is a dynamic entity, and vata, pitta, and kapha are dynamic energies that will affect and be affected by the environment and other factors in various ways. An Ayurvedic regime and lifestyle, along with healthy routines, known as dinacharya, will enable you to gain more awareness and control over how those factors can be diminished, so as to maintain your optimal health and well being and prevent disease.
Ayurveda, the Science of Longevity – Panchakarma for Cellular Rejuvenation
From the time of birth until death, the body is engaged in maintaining life. That is its sole purpose and mission, and each cell has the intelligence to do so. Yet in the modern, fast paced world, the levels of stress and environmental imbalance make it harder for your body to stay healthy and your mind to remain calm and positive, which in the long run affects you on a cellular level as well, as all this creates and accumulates toxins in your body. From an Ayurvedic point of view, the doshas (vata, pitta and kapha) play an important role in the maintenance of cellular health and longevity: Kapha maintains longevity on the cellular level; pitta governs digestion and nutrition; and vata, which is closely related to the life energy (or prana), governs all life functions. Ayurveda offers different therapies that may support your individual constitutional harmony while promoting cellular rejuvenation and overall vitality and immunity. The key to optimal health is to help your body eliminate toxins and reestablish the constitutional balance of the doshas. For such purpose, Ayurveda includes diet and lifestyle guidelines, Ayurvedic herbs and herbal preparations, Panchakarma, which is a gentle yet powerful program to help you detox and rejuvenate at a cellular level, and traditional herbal Ayurvedic therapies that can be done individually, in a series, or in combination, as in our Ayurvedic Day Spa packages, and tailored to your specific needs.