Ayurveda, or ayurvedic
medicine, is a healthy-lifestyle system that people in India have used for more
than 5,000 years. Ayurveda emphasizes good health and prevention and treatment
of illness through lifestyle practices (such as massage, meditation, yoga, and
dietary changes) and the use of herbal remedies.
medicine is holistic, which means viewing the body and mind as a whole.
Ayurveda not only treats a person's physical complaints, but it also changes
lifestyle practices to help maintain or improve health.
By Helen Kirwan-Taylor
Many years ago I had a falling-out with a girlfriend that proved so painful, I can hardly talk about it today. My friend (let's call her Mary) was a colorful television personality and had the world at her feet. She was engaged to a handsome European, and her face was plastered across the newspapers. I was working for 60 Minutes at the time, and we often met for lunch. Then one day her show was canceled and she asked me - casually, as though it didn't really matter...
to ayurveda, the five elements of nature (space, air, fire, water, earth)
combine in the body as three components (doshas) known as Vatta, Pitta, and
Kapha. These doshas relate closely to the basic elements of nature and to
specific functions of the body. A balance of these doshas is thought to be
required for optimal health.
Air and space represent Vatta. Vatta controls muscle and joint
movement, breathing, and heartbeat. Also, Vatta controls anxiety, fear, pain,
and other functions of the nervous system.
Fire and water represent Pitta, which is thought to control
such bodily functions as digestion,
metabolism, intelligence, and skin color. Pitta
governs the emotions of anger, hate, and jealousy.
Earth and water represent Kapha. The physical structure of the
body and the
immune system are governed by Kapha. Emotional
responses thought to be controlled by Kapha include calmness, forgiveness,
love, and greed.
The doshas, which are determined at the time of
conception, also relate to an individual's physical makeup and personality. A
person with a Vatta makeup tends to have a small, thin build. The Pitta body
style is more of a medium, muscular build. The Kapha appearance is usually
bigger and well-developed. Most people are considered to have a combination of
doshas, with one type usually being predominant.
medicine, it is thought that if an imbalance occurs in any of the three doshas,
illness results. Ayurvedic medicine treats illness in many ways, including
dietary changes, herbal remedies, and exercise. According to the ayurvedic
philosophy, you can also use yoga, meditation, or counseling to treat