With roots in Hindu tradition, Ayurveda, the ancient science of health, has the propensity to holistically balance body, mind and soul, helping alleviate external stress and maintaining an optimum level of health. Bruno Fernandez reports.
True medicine, according to Ayurveda, is one which cures the disease without causing any side effects. Practiced for over 3 000 years, this ancient science of Aruyveda is inspired by nature and uniquely addresses the mind, body and soul simultaneously. Meaning “the knowledge of life”, this system becomes an holistic approach to health that not only works at curing disease, but also ensuring people live a fuller, more centered life.
The Universe, according to ancient Indian thinking is composed of five basic elements, the Panch Mahabootas, namely: Prithivi (earth), Apya (water), Teja (fire), Vayu (air) and Akash (space). As the human body is similarly constituted, there is a fundamental harmony between the universe and man, a healthy balance between the microcosm and macrocosm.
Ayurveda is the theory of Tridosha: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata is a combination of two elements of the universe, namely air and space, Pitta an amalgam of fire and water and Kapha the combination of earth and water. According to this theory, the Tridoshas remain in a balanced state in the human body and when this balance is disturbed it results in a disease.
Core to the Aruyvedic approach is the process of de-stressing, detoxifying and rejuvenating.
There are proven links between poor physical health and high stress levels, and Ayurvedic texts going back thousands of years recognise how taxing worry can be on the body and spirit.
Treatments for reducing or relieving stress include Aruyvedic tonics and activities for physical well-being, but an added emphasis for balancing mood and mental activity can include getting more spiritually in sync and becoming less materialistic.
Worry and stress can literally take the life out of people and lead away from a more balanced life centered in the spiritual and non-physical. The Bible talks about "being choked out by the concerns of this world," and Ayurvedic medicine has long held the same belief.
Breathing for breaths' sake is one way to stop the noise and re-center the mind and body, which is actually medicinal when used in harmony with other Ayurvedic practices. One way to start is to avoid or reduce time in situations known to be worry-triggers. Remember to nourish the mind instead of letting the mind eat or consume you.
Ayurveda purification procedure – (Cleansing the Body)
Many of the preparations and individual ingredients of Ayurveda aid in digestion and keeping the body in balance, and most of the diet principles complement the tonics or specific recommendations of practitioners. When a person is suffering from poor health or even poor happiness, Ayurvedic medicine also encourages a good cleansing of the insides for improved overall health.
Panchakama is the name of the process for getting rid of food and impurities that interfere with how the body should ideally work. Administering enemas, oils and massage therapy all help get the body moving from the tissue level to the intestinal level as impurities get released from the system. Breathing, digestion and thinking are also thought to improve the cleansing system.
Achieving balance through cleansing should be done carefully and with the go-ahead of your physician or a reputable Ayurvedic practitioner. Overdoing it can lead to deficiencies of vitamins and minerals as well as some of the body's healthy bacteria, which are also needed for digestion and balance
It has now been scientifically shown by Ayurveda that a natural purification treatment can successfully eliminate environmentally toxic substances such as polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB’s) and pesticides from the body, without damaging side effects.
Most of today’s environmental toxins are lipophills that accumulate in the fatty tissues of the body. These fat-soluble toxins are associated with a range of diseases such as hormone disruption, immune system suppression, allergies, diseases of the liver and skin, various types of cancer, neurological illness, reproductive disorders and deformities.
Several modalities in the Ayurveda detoxification procedure use non-toxic, lipophilic materials, such as clarified butter in the oleation phase and herbalized sesame oil in the massage and enema treatments. These traditional methods are believed to sequentially loosen and remove lipid soluble toxicants from their deposited sites and stimulate their elimination.
Rejuvenation through Ayurveda – (Achieving Overall Balance)
One of the greatest benefits of Ayurveda and other holistic forms of medicine is that it allows for individualizing treatments and improving the whole body a little at a time, all of the time. It is a lifestyle as much as a complementary and alternative medicine, so within reason and depending on health needs, it is practical for every day.
From the very beginning Ayurveda was believed to be effective for psychiatry, sexual energy, surgery and internal medicine. If health is waning or emotional stress and 'the blues' have set in, diet, physical activity and connectivity to things spiritual -- in whatever religious tradition you adhere to -- can be "applied" to correct the imbalance and promote harmony.
A lot of the work of even the most traditional physician's treatments involves getting rid of junk that makes our bodies sick, and Ayurveda complements that basic approach to healing by helping us de-junk and de-clutter the mind and spirit while taking care of our bodies.
There are several aspects to Ayurveda that are quite unique:
1. Its recommendations will often be different for each person regarding food and lifestyle; each one should follow in order to be completely healthy. This is due to its use of a constitutional model.
2. Everything in Ayurveda is validated by observation, inquiry, direct examination and knowledge derived from the ancient science.
3. It understands that there are energetic forces that influence nature and human beings. These forces are called the Tridoshas.
4. Ayurveda sees a strong connection between the mind and the body, a huge amount of information dominantly exists in this relationship.
Bruno Fernandes is the managing director of the Ayurvedic Natural Health Center in Bardez, Goa. www.healthandayurveda.com