Through history, it has been common practice in most cultures to develop a practice of utilizing various ingredients for medicinal purposes. Only within the last century has the majority of these elements been the result of careful and rigorous science and research. More recently, the popular homeopathy method of treating disease and illness has been the focus of interest, especially for those individuals who find that available medicines do not achieve the results that they desire. An additional factor relating to this increase in “home remedies” is multicultural awareness. While most of these kinds of treatments have not been thoroughly researched for their efficacy, some have with mixed results. Interestingly, many of these recommended notions of healing do not represent herbs or other ingredients, but instead, revolve around spirituality or mind over body sort of process. Ayurveda, also referred to, as “the science of life,” is one such treatment that is a process of obtaining spiritual balance that maintains a healthy body.
Ayurveda in India
Ayurveda is a system of health that originated more than five thousand years ago in India. It is “a Sanskrit word which signifies ‘knowledge of long life’”. Basically, there are three Doshas or body types. They are
- Kapha meaning water and earth.
- Pitta meaning fire and water.
- Vata meaning air and ether.
Each individual is a particular body type. When the person’s particular Dosha is out of balance, then the individual suffers an illness, similar to the Chinese philosophy behind the balance of yin and yang.
Ayurveda as Therapy
An author reports two basic processes of therapy. One is undertaken when the individual is ill, and the other treatment is to maintain harmony. The treatment process consists of several steps with the first consisting of the discovery of which element is not balanced among the other element. This is done through locating the problem area. Thus,
- Kapha’s zone is the head and chest.
- Pitta’s zone is the upper abdominal region down to the legs.
- Vata’s zone is the rest of the body.
An author notes that the next aspect or step of the treatment process is to take note of cravings. The kind of craving an individual has may be an indicator of the element of out of balance, usually the opposite of the craving. Thus, a desire to drink more water may indicate that fire is not balanced.