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Ayurvedic Medicine

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Vata Dosha

Vata dosha (space and air) is thought to be the most powerful of all three doshas. It controls very basic body functions, such as how cells divide. It also controls your:

  • Mind
  • Breathing
  • Blood flow
  • Heart function
  • Ability to get rid of body waste through the intestines

Things that can disrupt this dosha are:

  • Eating dry fruit
  • Eating too soon after a previous meal
  • Fear
  • Grief
  • Staying up too late

If vata dosha is your main life force, you are more likely to develop:

  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Heart disease
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Skin problems

Pitta Dosha

The pitta dosha (fire and water) controls:

  • Digestion
  • Ability to break down foods (metabolism)
  • Certain hormones linked to appetite

Things that can disrupt this dosha are:

  • Eating sour foods
  • Eating spicy foods
  • Fatigue
  • Spending too much time in the sun

If pitta dosha is your main life force, you are more likely to develop:

  • Anger and negative emotions
  • Crohn's disease
  • Heart disease
  • Heartburn a few hours after eating
  • High blood pressure
  • Infections

Kapha Dosha

The kapha dosha (water and earth) controls:

  • Muscle growth
  • Body strength and stability
  • Weight
  • Immune system

Things that can disrupt this dosha are:

  • Daytime sleeping
  • Eating after your stomach is full
  • Eating or drinking items that have too much salt or water
  • Eating too many sweet foods
  • Greed

If kapha dosha is your main life force, you are more likely to develop:

  • Asthma and other breathing disorders
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Nausea after eating
  • Obesity

The Ayurvedic Visit

There are a few state-approved Ayurvedic schools in the U.S. However, the U.S. has no national standard training or certification program for Ayurvedic practitioners.

Some practitioners may have a great deal of training or experience, others may not. Do your homework when choosing an Ayurvedic practitioner. Ask about his or her training and experience.

In India, Ayurvedic training can take five or more years. Graduates receive either a Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) or Doctor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (DEMS) degree.

At your first visit, the practitioner will examine you and try to determine your primary dosha and the balance among the others. The exam will include:

  • Checking your weight
  • Examination of urine and stools
  • Feeling your pulse (each dosha theoretically creates a unique pulse)
  • Listening to your speech and voice
  • Looking at your eyes, teeth, tongue, and skin

You will be asked questions about your:

  • Ability to recover from an illness
  • Behaviors
  • Diet
  • Lifestyle
  • Medical history, including recent illnesses
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