This 5,000-year-old “science of life” is a holistic system of medicine which evolved among the Brahmin sages of ancient India and distinguishes itself from other types of health care.
Rather than focusing on individual symptoms, ayurveda focuses on maintaining balanced life energies and recognizes the unique differences of all individuals and prescribes regimens accordingly. By promoting harmony between an individual and nature, it seeks to heal the mind and body, and restore wholeness.
The Five Elements
According to ayurvedic medicine, everything in the universe is made up of a combination of five elements. These five elements are known as:
space (touch and receptivity); air (force and motion); fire (heat and passion); water (cohesiveness and unity); and earth (steadfastness and strength). Balancing these elements is the key to maintaining health and treating illness, be it physical, mental, or spiritual.
The Three Doshas
The five elements are components of three biological forces known as the three doshas, or tridosha. The tridosha regulates all physiological and psychological processes in the human body. When harmonious, the tridosha creates balance and health; when imbalanced, manifests as physical symptoms or disease.
Each of the three doshas is composed of two elements. Vata is composed of space and air, Pitta, of fire and water, and Kapha, water and earth. Although most of us exhibit qualities from all three doshas, our ayurvedic constitutional type is often made up of one or two dominant doshas.
Ayurvedic therapies are used to treat and prevent disease and often include treatments that help eliminate toxins from the body, increase immunity and soothe the senses - such as: diet and exercise; meditation and breathing techniques; internal cleansing; use of gems and herbal compresses; sweating; massage; herbal medications; yoga; aromatherapy; and more.