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Ayurveda is an ancient Indian natural wellness system that dates back several thousand years and is still practiced today. The Sanskrit word “Ayurveda” translates as “The Knowledge and Science of Life.” Ayurveda describes three primary life-forces or “doshas” that make up all of nature and are manifest in the human body: Vata, associated with the air element; Pitta, associated with the fire element; and Kapha, associated with the earth and water elements. According to Ayurveda, each individual’s unique physical/emotional/mental constitution is made up of a particular combination of these doshas, which must be kept in proper balance in order to maintain wellness. Ayurveda uses a combination of natural remedies and therapies, diet and lifestyle factors to adjust the doshas back into balance.
What to expect
Ayurveda views each person’s constitution as unique, and therefore, each person’s path to wellness as unique. For this reason, Ayurvedic consultations are very personalized. The practitioner will observe the patient’s physical characteristics and speech patterns, feel the patient’s pulse, and ask questions about the patient’s lifestyle habits and general well-being. After establishing the patient’s constitution of doshas, the practitioner will prescribe treatments to balance the doshas, which may include nutrition, bodywork, herbal remedies, and recommendations for exercise, meditation, and daily routine.
Ayurveda originated as an oral tradition 5,000 years ago in India and was recorded in the Vedas, India’s sacred literature. It is said to have influenced the Chinese and Greek systems of natural medicine. Today, Ayurveda is still widely practiced in India, and has begun to gain popularity in the West, especially in the last decade.