Ayurveda: What is Ayurvedic Medicine?

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is based on the harmony between body and mind, this practice offers many benefits such as stress reduction, elimination of toxins, and improved circulation … If the treatments are often very specific massage techniques, Ayurveda also offers to readapt your lifestyle in order to be in better harmony and health.

Ayurveda is the sister science of yoga that is dedicated to balancing the mind versus the body. Several thousand years ago, in India, Ayurveda was developed to diagnose imbalances in the body and mind that eventually manifest as diseases, discomforts, and other symptoms.

It is thus a question of bringing back balance in the body thanks to a lifestyle adapted to the person, the use of plant formulas, and other adapted natural remedies.

Ayurveda is above all a holistic and preventive system of medicine.

Its role is to bring targeted knowledge and practices so that the body and mind can be in harmony and in great shape.

Ayurveda teaches us that to be healthy we need good bodily functioning, but we need to combine physical health with mental and emotional health. This involves understanding the lifestyle that works best for us by adapting our diet, sleep, communication, interactions, and much more.

Ayurveda is one of the traditional medicines recognized and listed by the WHO as a natural, traditional, and integrative health system.

The main principles

  • Ayurveda is based on the theory of the 5 elements.
  • Ether (Akasha) – subtle space
  • The Air (Vayu)
  • Fire (Agni)
  • The Earth (Prithivi)
  • Water (Jala)

These elements make up the universe (macrocosm) and create the human body (microcosm). So we have all the elements inside us and we are the reflection of the universe.

Who is it for?

To all, whatever the age, whether we are in full health looking for what is most suitable for us, in deep or slight imbalance. Ayurveda accompanies well-being and reconnection to the body and its own essence. Self-realization is the ultimate state of healing.

Focus on Ayurvedic massage

In Ayurvedic medicine, massages are therapeutic tools in their own right. In India from childhood, the practice of massage is integrated into everyday life. Massage is a body therapy as well as a daily lifestyle. These are massages that of course do a lot of good (wellness massages) but they are also therapeutic.

These are individualized massages, there are different Ayurvedic massages, it all depends on the imbalance and underlying need of the person observed at the time of the consultation as well as his birth constitution.

There are 10 treatments or massages:

  • Abhyanga: treatment with a warm Ayurvedic oil
  • udvartana: rubbing care with plant powders
  • Garshan: friction care
  • Pizhichil : oil care + heat / sweating
  • Vishesh: muscle tonic care
  • Svedana: sweating
  • Marmas: care of energy points
  • Shirodhara, Takardrara: relaxing treatments on the forehead
  • Pindasvedana: massages with pouches
  • EXTERNAL BASTI: local external care
  • Care for pregnant women, infants, and children
  • Massages suitable for athletes

The doshas, based on the Ayurvedic constitution

The 5 elements combine to give rise to 3 biological humors, 3 great vital forces that create the body, make it work, and destroy it: The Doshas

Vata, the wind, is a combination between the elements air and ether. It is the dosha that characterizes the movement, the driving force. Vata is mainly found in the colon, nervous system, skin, ears, and bones. It manages all the movements of the body such as the heartbeat and breathing. It is a rather cold and dry energy. In balance, it is expressed by fluidity, creativity, and alertness of mind. When out of balance, it creates fear, anxiety, and irregularity.

Pitta, fire, is a combination of the elements of fire and water. It is the dosha that characterizes the transformation, the metabolism. This humor is mainly found in the liver, small intestine, blood, and eyes. It is a hot and humid energy.

It manages digestion, absorption, assimilation, and body temperature. In balance, it is expressed by tenacity, intelligence, and acuity. When out of balance, it creates anger, frustration, hatred, and inflammatory states.

Kapha, water, is a combination of water and land. It is the dosha that connects and sustains, the structuring force. It is mainly lodged in the stomach, lungs, tongue, and plasma. It is a cold and wet energy. It manages the lubrication of the body, hydration, and the immune system. In balance, it is an energy that creates love, gentleness, and forgiveness. Out of balance, it generates attachment, possession, greed, and congestion in the body.

The Ayurvedic constitution of each person is characterized by a specific combination of these 3 doshas that is unique to us. Depending on the doshas or doshas that dominate, one can determine the physical and psychological type to which the patient belongs (Prakriti).

When the doshas become unbalanced, dysfunctions and diseases appear. Ayurveda restores the balance that is unique to each individual and maintains the optimal state of health of the body.

The benefits of Ayurveda

  • Calms the nervous system, and soothes the body and mind, especially the imbalance of the Wind (the Vata dosha) which is high in the 21st century given the rhythm of activities of each.
  • Improves blood and lymphatic circulation.
  • Facilitates the removal of toxins from the body
  • Revitalizes the body and mind: Promotes the body’s natural and regenerative defense abilities
  • Free flow of energy

Ayurveda in practice

The branches of Ayurveda

This ancestral health system initially consists of 8 branches:

  • Internal Medicine (Kaya Chikitsa)
  • Head and neck disease (Shalakya Tantra)
  • Surgery (Shalya)
  • Treatment of poisoning / Science of antidotes (Agadatantra)
  • Pediatrics (Kaumara Bhritya)
  • Rejuvenation / Science of Elixirs (Rasayana)
  • Use of aphrodisiacs / Sexual potency and fertility (Vajikarana)
  • Psychology/ Science of evil minds (Bhutavidya)

Today in India, Ayurveda remains the reference medicine for the bone system, ophthalmology, dentistry, and obstetric medicine.

However, even if there are branches and areas of expertise, Ayurveda always takes into account the being as a whole and the concept of “specialties” found in our Western health systems does not apply. Diagnostics and treatments in Ayurvedic medicine

Diagnostics and treatments in Ayurvedic medicine

During the first consultation, the practitioner gets to know the patient and establishes an Ayurvedic assessment.

Among his tools, we find the taking of pulses, the observation of the tongue, the interrogation on evacuations (stool, urine, sweat), eating and lifestyle habits, digestion, skin, nails, sleep, the patient’s liabilities, etc.

This assessment allows you to define your constitution and set up a tailor-made program according to who you are, your personal history, your dysfunctions, and your needs.

Many techniques will be used to restore balance such as rehabilitation towards an optimal lifestyle (eg daily and seasonal routine), diet (flavors, association, and balanced diet), medicinal plants, meditation, breathing (pranayama), yoga, mantras, massages, gems, etc. We can also consider “Panchakarma” which are deep purification cures under medical supervision (eg enemas, therapeutic purgations, etc.)

Follow-up consultations allow you to take stock of your balance by readjusting, modifying, or deepening the proposed methods.

The specialist in Ayurvedic medicine

The “consultant advisor” has the ability to:

  • determine the constitution of his client (Prakriti) as well as his imbalances (vikriti)
  • to establish a complete Ayurvedic assessment
  • to advise and guide his client regarding food, lifestyle, and Ayurvedic care.

Body therapist in Ayurvedic care

The Ayurvedic Body Therapist can establish a specific Ayurvedic constitutional diagnosis (Prakrit) and thus adapt his or her specific treatments (massages or other treatments) according to their diagnosis.

Image Credit: Image by KamranAydinov on Freepik

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