The word Ayurvedic Medicine comes from Ayurveda which comes from two Sanskrit root words: Ayur meaning life and veda meaning knowledge or wisdom and translates as the Science of Life.Ayurvedic Medicine’s body of knowledge is among the oldest in human tradition. Based on the ancient Indian rishis’ understanding of creation, Ayurvedic Medicine deals with the nature, purpose and scope of life, specifically with the human condition concerning, in both the physical and metaphysical realms – health and disease, pain and pleasure, happiness and sorrow.
Ayurvedic Medicine is a medical system that originated in India over 5,000 years ago and like Chinese Medicine, deals with the five elements, the energetics of food and digestion. Eighty-five percent of Americans have some type of digestive disorder from gas and bloating, Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Colitis. In Ayurvedic Medicine, like Chinese Medicine, the root of good health lies in the digestive system. Without proper digestion, illness is imminent. Ayurvedic Medicine believes gas and bloating are the first signals from the body that you are eating something it cannot handle or does not like. In Ayurvedic Medicine there are no good and bad foods except for aspartames, nutrasweets, chemicals, pesticides and additives. Yet food energetics, or how foods work in your system, are key priorities to health.
Ayurvedic Medicine promotes positive, healthy relationships with food. It allows people to understand their bodies’ responses to stress, environment, weather, as well as specific foods. Food sensitivities play a big role in health problems, digestive disorders, inability to lose weight and many other imbalances. The goal of Ayurvedic Medicine is to work with the natural body rhythms and specific needs instead of against them.
The cornerstone of Ayurvedic diagnosis and treatment is dosha, a physical, mental and spiritual description of three groups of people:
- Kapha is primarily concerned with the structures of the body. This body type types tend to be built more on the solid, larger-boned side. Kapha is also associated with water and the earth.
- Pitta governs metabolism. The body type tends to medium frame with good genetics toward muscularity. Pitta is also associated with fire and water.
- Vata governs movement. The body type tends to be on the thin side with high metabolism. Vata is also associated with air and space.
Understanding your dosha allows you to make diet and lifestyle changes that can dramatically affect your health. The three doshas-Kapha, Pitta and Vata -are pervasive throughout the world, although their relative quantities may vary.
Also see Yoga
Sources: Jennifer Workman, MS, RD, Boulder CO; Peggy Verret, MA, CHTP, Slidell LA; and Patricia Hansen, MA, Denver CO.
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