Ayurveda, or Ayurvedic medicine, is an ancient (over 5,000
year old) healthcare tradition that was practiced in India
and is now seeing a resurgence in popularity in the western
world. According to the University of Minnesota's Center for
Spirituality & Healing, over 90% of Indians, on the
Indian subcontinent, today, uses some form of Ayurvedic
The 3 Principles of Ayurveda
The premise of Ayurveda is that everyone has a unique constitution, or Prakuti, that defines your physiological and mental health. The components of this balance are three bodily energies, called doshas; Pitta, Vata and Kapha energies. It is the unique and individual balance of these doshas that defines each person's unique constitution.
People with high pitta energy are considered fiery in temperament, intelligent and fast-paced.
When pitta energy is out of balance, ulcers, inflammation, digestive problems, anger, heartburn and arthritis can result.
Vata energy is associated with people who are lively, creative, original thinkers.
When out-of-balance, vata types can endure joint pain, constipation, dry skin, anxiety and other ailments.
Kapha types are considered strong and solid in constitution, and generally calm in nature.
Out-of-balance Kapha is associated with obesity, diabetes, sinus problems, insecurity and gallbladder issues.
Research and Herbal Associations
The fundamental concept of Ayurveda is to maintain health, and not a study of the disease. It looks at the person and their vulnerability. Students of Ayurveda believe that understanding a prakruti, the unique balance of doshas, can help in determining the patients risk of developing health conditions. Disturbances in any of the three major doshas are addressable by a range of Ayurvedic treatments, including herbal remedies, dietary restrictions, yoga, massage, meditation and breathing exercises.
In the 1970s, a study by World Health Organization (WHO) to test the effectiveness of Ayurvedic treatments in patients with rheumatoid arthritis found that such treatments were both safe and effective, providing symptomatic relief of arthritis with no harmful side effects.
If you're considering an Ayurvedic treatment, or any other alternative therapies, be sure to speak with your primary care physician or other health care professional. Some Ayurvedic treatments may be dangerous when combined with prescription or over-the-counter medicines.
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