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Ayurveda

Ayurveda is often referred to as the mother of all healing and is one of the oldest alternative medicine systems in the world.

 

Introduction to Ayurveda

Ayurveda is life (Ayur) knowledge (Veda)

Ayurveda is often referred to as the mother of all healing and is one of the oldest alternative medicine systems in the world. Far more a lifestyle than a diet, a famous Ayurvedic saying is,

When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use”

The basis of Ayurvedic medicine is not to cure diseases, however, it is a user’s manual of how to get the most out of life, by balancing our body, mind, senses and spirit. With an emphasis on prevention and the maintenance of health through close attention to balance in one’s life.

 

The origins of Ayurveda

Ayurveda originated thousands of years ago in India when people were more dependent on their local environment and natural resources for healthcare. Although the Ayurvedic tradition has evolved over the years and is now integrated with other traditional practices like yoga, it has always been an integral part of the healthcare system in India, and it’s said to be used by more than 90% of the country’s population in one form or another.

Benefits of Ayurveda

How can Ayurveda benefit you?

Ayurveda guides you on how to achieve optimal wellbeing through simple principles tailored to your unique mind-body type. It teaches you to reconnect with your body and to listen to what it needs. It helps you to practice moderation and it guides you on healthy habits that you can stick to for a lifetime.

People use Ayurveda for the following benefits:

  • Support healthy bones
  • Diet and nutrition advice
  • Improve gut health
  • Body detox
  • Balance hormones
  • Manage stress
  • Increase energy and vitality
  • Find balance & harmony
  • Find relaxation and life longevity

 

A healthy diet plan prescribed by an Ayurvedic therapist can benefit you by detoxifying your body, removing excess fat from tissues and reducing cholesterol levels. Studies have also shown that the use of Ayurvedic herbs like Brahmi can improve cognitive skills and stimulate the mind to improve memory and concentration.

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Further reading / Ayurveda studies

The traditional medical system in India is based on Ayurveda and its use internationally is growing. Many clinical trials are being conducted to establish its use in western medicine.

 

Stress and anxiety
Ayurvedic herbs such as Ashwagandha and Centella Asiatica have traditionally been used to reduce stress and anxiety. A review of clinical trials found using Ashwagandha resulted in greater score improvements than placebos in outcomes on anxiety or stress scales. In addition, Yoga has an effective role in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression and can be considered as a complementary therapy to reduce the medical cost per treatment by reducing the use of drugs.

 

Indigestion
Ayurvedic medicine recognises that “most disease begins in the gut,” and many of its practices are aimed at balancing gut health. If you are dealing with indigestion, bloating, and other symptoms of poor digestion Ayurvedic treatments can help aid your symptoms.

 

Weight management
A small study into an Ayurvedic diet and yoga lifestyle found it to be a feasible approach to weight management. It found “Preliminary data analysis suggests that a whole-systems Ayurveda/yoga approach to obesity offers an acceptable, noninvasive, and low-risk treatment option for obesity, although a longer-term intervention is warranted.”

 

Sleep
Ayurveda stresses the importance of sleep for good health and suggests various remedies to cope with sleep disorders. Simple remedies like milk, head and foot massages, and Shirodhara seem promising in the effective management of a variety of sleep disorders and current evidence suggests it can be integrated with mainstream medicine.

 

Inflammation
Ayurvedic herbs and spices are thought to protect your body from disease and offer a variety of health benefits, including inflammation. Spices such as Cumin, Turmeric, Cardamom, Ashwagandha, Triphala and Boswellia contain anti-inflammatory properties that may help lower blood pressure, help heart health, improve digestion and help with treatments for chronic inflammatory diseases.

 

Skin conditions
Ayurveda includes treatments for skin conditions, but research supporting its use is limited. However, Ayurveda can make a helpful complement to medical treatment for a variety of skin conditions. One study found there is improvement in quality of life among patients with skin disease after undergoing Ayurveda purification therapies.

Ayurvedic doshas

What are the Doshas?

“There is something very humbling about Ayurveda: and accepting who we are. Our doshas are determined at the point of conception. And we can’t change that, we have to be true to ourselves”.

Ayurvedic philosophy stems from the idea that everything in the Universe is based on five core elements; ether, air, fire, water and earth. The elements are known as the five building blocks of life. We are all made up of these five building blocks and they help explain why food and herbs have an effect on us. Furthermore, the elements form the three life forces called the doshas. According to Ayurvedic medicine, the doshas control how your body works and we all inherit a unique mix of them.

The three doshas can be categorised into:

 

VATA – ether and air element:

Vata is the energy associated with movement. It governs breathing, tissue movement and pulsation of the heart. If in balance it can promote creativity and flexibility. When out of balance it can increase fearfulness, anxiety, insomnia and bloat in the stomach. A strong presence of Vata can typically be recognized by fast-talking, fast thinking and someone who is always on the go, with lots of movement and energy.

 

PITTA – fire and water:

Pitta is the energy associated with the body’s metabolic system. It governs digestion, nutrition, metabolism and body temperature. If in balance it can promote understanding and intelligence. If out of balance it can lead to anger, hatred and jealousy. A strong presence of Pitta can be described as a fiery, direct, enthusiastic and “passionate about life” personality. Also known to be over-achievers and competitive individuals.

 

KAPHA – water and earth:

Kapha is the energy associated with the body’s structure — bones, muscles, tendons. It supplies the water for all bodily parts and systems, lubricates joints, moisturizes the skin, and maintains immunity. In balance, Kapha is expressed as love, calmness and forgiveness. Out of balance, it can lead to attachment, greed and envy.

The principles of the Doshas can be related to the basic biology of the body, and it is believed that your chances of getting sick – and the health issues you develop in life – are linked to the balance of your doshas. Ayurvedic medicine is all about working to the best of our doshas, once we understand them and minimise potential imbalance.

Ayurvedic Doshas

Choosing the right Ayurvedic therapist for you

Whilst Ayurveda is unregulated in the UK, there are a number of professional bodies which self-regulate their members. Practitioners can register with the following associations:

Typically practitioners study for at least 3 years to become fully accredited ayurvedic practitioners. Some may already have a medical degree or they become a specialist in a particular area of Ayurveda. This may include ayurvedic massage, nutrition or wellness counsellor.

What to expect in your first Ayurvedic session

What to expect in your first Ayurvedic session

An Ayurvedic therapist will use various techniques for assessing your health, and carefully evaluate the signs and symptoms of illness, especially in relation to the origin and cause of an imbalance.

  • The therapist will evaluate your physical health by observing movements, body contour, the colour of your skin and eyes, facial lines and ridges, the shape of your nose, and the qualities of your lips, hair, and nails.
  • The therapist uses physical touch by pressing down on certain parts of your body, tapping and listening for sounds made by your internal organs. There is a special focus on your pulse, tongue, nails, and speech.
  • The therapist will then have a conversation with you about any symptoms or problems you may have, underlying mental and physical conditions as well as the duration of discomfort or issues.

After the assessment, the therapist will create a treatment plan specially designed for you. Taking into consideration all of the aspects listed above. Potential treatments can be one or a combination of herbs and herbal formulas, panchakarma, diet and nutrition, ayurvedic massage and Shirodhara.

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Medical concerns

Holistic disciplines can assist you in your wellbeing, though they are not a substitute for medical care. This information should be used as a guide only to help you explore which holistic disciplines may assist you. We recommend researching the discipline and speaking with a practitioner before choosing to book any service.

This information is not, nor is it intended to be used as a medical diagnosis. Any information provided must be considered as guidance only, and not a substitute for obtaining a diagnosis from a medical professional. Please see the full terms and conditions of use. Always consult your doctor for any medical concerns.

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