Ayu (life) and Veda (sacred knowledge) are two Sanskrit words used to describe the study of life and living itself, the Ayurveda. An ancient form of medicine and healing, the Ayurveda has been around and in practice for thousands of years. The key characteristic of its practice is the holistic approach it has towards each individual and not just in humankind as a whole. While most forms of medicine are rooted in a one-cure for all philosophy, Ayurvedic medicine resorts to treating the individual based on his doshas i.e.
Ayurvedic medicines take about 3 months to 1 year to work depending on the severity of a condition. Since it is a natural system of medicine, Ayurveda believes in curing the disease from the root hence, therefore it takes a longer time compared to western medicine. There are some quick-relief medicines available in Ayurveda that work as quickly as a 15 to 20 minutes but they are for day to day common ailments like digestive issues, sore throat and infections.
“Life (ayu) is the combination (samyoga) of body, senses, mind and reincarnating soul. Ayurveda is the most sacred science of life, beneficial to humans both in this world and the world beyond.
Ayurvedic medicine isn’t one to provide immediate and short-lived relief as most over the counter drugstore medicines claim to do. It is rooted in nature, healing and takes time to cure you for the long run. To understand the healing procedure, let us understand the foundations of Ayurveda.
The Elements And Their Relation To The Doshas And The Balance
All Ayurvedic practitioners believe that an individual is made of five elements of the universe: Space, Air, Earth, Fire and Water. The combination of these elements results in the formation of certain life force and biological energies called the Doshas. The Doshas are responsible for and govern the individual’s physical and mental processes.
There are three doshas:
The Vata: The Vata dosha is made up of the elements of Space and Air. It is considered the most powerful of the three Doshas and governs the basic bodily functions. It is in relation to the respiratory system, the cardiovascular system and the mental and psychological wellbeing of an individual. Adding to the same, The Vata also controls movement in the bones and muscles and expulsion of waste. For those that have the Vata as their primary biological force, the chances of onset of anxiety, asthma, skin problems and rheumatoid arthritis are high.
Any imbalance in the Vata can be caused due to frequent eating or feeling worrisome and fearful. It can also be caused due to poor sleep patterns.
The Pitta: The Pitta dosha is made up of the elements of Fire and Water. The Pitta governs the digestive system and metabolism and all hormones and enzymes pertaining to the individual’s digestive system. The familiar issue of overheat in one’s body can be caused by the imbalance in the Pitta. Those that have the Pitta as their primary biological force tend to be more susceptible to Crohn’s disease, inflammation, heartburn and even ulcers.
Any imbalance in the Pitta can be caused due to the inhibition of one’s digestive capacity by sleeping immediately after meals, consuming too much water and diluting the digestive enzymes. A lot of spicy or sour food also leads to an imbalance in Pitta.
The Kapha: The Kapha dosha is made up of the elements of Earth and water. The combination of which results in a “sticky” nature. The Kapha dosha governs muscle growth, immunity, strength and stability and is localized to lungs, lymph glands, throat and fatty tissue. The Kapha is also known to ground the Vata and the Pitta doshas and offsetting any imbalance among the three.
Any imbalance in the Kapha dosha can be caused due to staying indoors for a prolonged period of time, overeating, not engaging oneself in physical activities and also in not intellectually challenging oneself.
All three doshas can be in either of the following states:
- The balanced state where the doshas are in the natural states and in proportion or in equilibrium with each other.
- The increased state where any of the doshas are present in excess or in an aggravated form.
- The decreased state where any of the doshas are in their depleted form or in their reduced capacity.
The balance of the doshas ensures the well being of an individual whereas any imbalance can lead to diseases of the particular doshas.
Does Ayurveda Work?
One of the long-standing questions against the practice of alternative medicine is this―Does it really work? The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies Ayurveda as a complete system of natural medicine and conducted a study through 1977-1984 looking into the efficacy of Ayurvedic medicine for treating rheumatoid arthritis.
How Long Does It Really Take To Work?
Ayurveda is a nature-centric medicine. It takes what nature provides, works with your body and its enzymes, your mind and your thoughts and delivers long term results. It is a slow but sure reaction. Starting from your consultation where the ayurvedic practitioner asks you questions about your body and psychological state to prescribing the medicines as per your primary and problematic doshas, it is all about you.
It isn’t chock-full of one pill wonders and what works for your friend simply won’t work well for you. It is a personal and time-consuming healing experience where nature slowly makes its way into your body and heals you. As a patient that has chosen Ayurveda, you will not only be subjected to natural remedies but a change in lifestyle where you respect the vessel that is your body and your mind. The herbal and natural concoctions are prescribed along with sufficient exercise and mind stimulating exercises.
And as you might already be aware, changes take time and habits require practice. As for the answer, it is time-consuming and the duration depends from individual to individual.
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Safety Concerns And Stigma
There are numerous Ayurvedic treatments that call for the use of certain metals and ingredients in the recipes. As far as the content of any naturally occurring toxins is concerned, you can rest assured that your practitioner will not recommend them to you if you are susceptible to any side effects, especially in case of pregnancies.
In case your therapy involves medicines that your body may have adverse reactions to, cooling remedies will be prescribed. For instance, for those with overheating bodies, the turmeric and ginger concoction might be prescribed along with tea with cooling properties.
Remember that your physical and psychological profile is the foundation on which the remedies are advised and prescribed. Due to the same reason, the side effects are curbed.
Self-medication is strictly not advised and every patient must be subjected a thorough consultation before a prescription for any ailments.
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