Ayurvedic way of living has been in practice for thousands of years as a holistic healing tradition that focuses on prevention and promotion of health rather than remedial action. As a form of Whole Medicine System (WMS), the goal of Ayurveda is to address the underlying cause of diseases early on.
Ayurvedic medicines are becoming increasingly popular in recent years due to their herbal composition and long-term health benefits. Read on to find more about this system of medicine and the various ways Ayurveda can help with healing.
Ayurveda focuses on the root cause
Unlike other forms of medicine, healing in Ayurveda is not all about treating the symptoms of a disease. It starts working on the root cause of the disease and attempts to make lifestyle adjustments accordingly. In the science of Ayurveda, all forms of diseases are viewed as an imbalance of some of the doshas.
Treating the symptoms of one disease will not help because it is just a manifestation of an underlying cause, that is, an imbalance of one or more doshas. Unless that dosha is pacified, an individual is still at risk because chances are pretty fair that she may face another disorder of that same dosha in the near future. Disorders are a result, not a cause.
So if you are facing constipation every now and then, it’s very likely that you may face or are already dealing with some other issues as well, such as dry skin, restlessness, muscle spasms, dizziness, anxiety issues, or your ability to think clearly has been affected. Likewise, irregular menstruation is often accompanied by painful and heavy periods, acid reflux, heartburn, acne, pimples, lost focus, difficulty in sleeping, or migraine headaches.
Ayurveda attempts to treat the imbalance of dosha to target the root cause of one disease and prevent future occurrence of other related diseases.
In modern medicine, we often believe that if there is one medicine, one treatment plan, one form of therapy for a disease, it will suit everyone diagnosed with that disease. This belief arises from a notion that views a person as a body made of flesh, bones, and blood. Ayurveda, on the other hand, believes a person as a sum total of four parts – body, mind, soul, and senses. While the contribution of modern medicine in saving lives cannot be questioned in the least, it is now an undeniable fact that this is not always the case.
This notion of one-size-fits-all is inapplicable in Ayurvedic healing. When you are diagnosed with a disease, an ayurvedic doctor takes two things into consideration before prescribing a treatment plan.
Everyone has a unique combination of doshas (learn more about doshas here), which is known as Prakriti of that person. Prakriti is defined at the time of birth and plays the central role in an individual’s quality of life, course of diseases, and response to treatments. The assessment of Prakriti includes both direct and indirect methods.
The direct method involves a physical examination of the body temperature, pulse rate, oiliness of the skin, whereas a thorough understanding is gained by indirect means. The indirect method involves a range of questions about appetite, sleep pattern, mental disposition, bowel routine, and other lifestyle-related questions that probe the general tendency of the person throughout her life.
Current dosha imbalance
An assessment of any current dosha imbalance a person might be facing is done by indirect means, that is, by asking indirect questions about recent changes in lifestyle. A range of questions that include sleep difficulties, appetite, skin problems, and emotional issues present a complete picture when combined with the Prakriti of an individual.
More than just medicines
Along with prescribing a medication for the current disease, Ayurveda also prescribes a personalized diet and lifestyle plan to complement the effects of the medicine, even after its course has ended. These other forms of therapies help in sustaining the benefits of medicine and reduce any risk of future health complications.
Apart from medicinal formulations, Ayurveda prescribes efficacious herbs and herbal combinations that boost immune function and support rejuvenation.
Dietary changes are suggested according to the dosha imbalance and current season. This can be especially useful when combating allergies, digestion, IBS or constipation issues.
Yoga and meditation
Personalized yoga poses are suggested to correct the imbalance of doshas, whereas meditation reduces stress and enhances the effects of the medicine. This can help with issues such as sleeping badly, digestion problems, and even back problems like sciatica and cramping. You can read about the best yoga books for beginners here.
Various forms of massages with herbal infused oils are performed to detoxify the body of accumulated toxins and support physical and mental healing. Ayurvedic forms of massage like Abhyanga and Shirodhara are believed to have wide-ranging effects on overall health.