What is Ayurvedic Medicine and Benefits of Ayurvedic Medicine
The practice of Ayurvedic medicine dates back two thousand years and remains an important and viable treatment approach for many common health conditions.
Ayurvedic medicine is a traditional style of healing medicine that has its origins in the Indian subcontinent.
Generally speaking, Ayurvedic medicine is based on manipulating and understanding the energetic forces in nature – the doshes- more specifically known as the Vata dosha, Pitta dosha, and Kapha Dosha. By balancing these different forces, and maintaining our energetic unity with nature, we can come into unity with ourselves and our true spirit. When all of these forces and energetic flows in the body are optimized, it also leads to better health.
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Ayurvedic medicine was as effective as it can be today, but now practitioners are equipped with knowledge of the science and active ingredients behind so many of these natural remedies.
One can be diagnosed in eight different ways within the Ayurvedic practice- by your pulse, stool, urine, tongue, appearance, touch, vision or speech. Once a diagnosis is made treatment can take many forms, ranging from the message, yoga, and meditation to the alcoholic beverages and unique herbal preparations.
Ayurvedic Medicine Benefits
Benefits of Ayurvedic medicine include its ability to lower stress and anxiety and blood pressure, increase circulation, reduce inflammation, aid in weight loss and regular diabetes.
The 3 Doshas of Ayurvedic Medicine
Vata energy is often said to be like the wind. It’s primarily in charge of mobility, motion, circulation, breathing and other essential body functions. Vata types are known to be creative and energetic when they’re in balance but fearful, stressed and “scatter-brained” when they’re not. Physically, data types are usually on the thin side, have smaller bones and tend not to put on weight easily. They also might be cold a lot of the time, have a delicate digestive system and have dry, sensitive skin.
Pitta is the energy force that governs most metabolic activity, including digestion, absorption of nutrients, body temperature and energy expenditure. Pitta types tend to be smart, hard-working and driven (even competitive) when in balance but can be overly angry and aggressive when they’re not. They tend to have a medium build, be athletic and are versatile in terms of putting on weight or muscle.
Kapha controls growth in the body and is considered the nourishing dosha. It supplies moisturize to the cells and organs and helps keep a strong immune system. Kaphas are known for being grounded, supportive, loving and forgiving when in balance — almost like a motherly type. However, they can also be lazy, insecure, envious and sad when they’re not in balance.
By helping to balance the three doshas — not letting one type become overly dominant and another to become ignored — handling stress, following a healthy diet, dealing with change and maintaining relationships are all expected to be easier.
Two of the most important aspects of restoring balance in Ayurveda is tuning in to the natural rhythms of your body and also bringing your lifestyle into sync with nature and its cyclical patterns. This includes lining up your activity level, food choices, sleep and so on with the time of day, seasons and for women even their menstrual cycles. Ayurveda can help ease stress and restore a healthy circadian rhythm in this way, which benefits everything from your hormones to appetite.
In order to help rebalance your doshas and prescribe a certain diet, healing herbs and restful practices, an Ayurvedic practitioner will take your medical history, check your vital signs like your pulse and reflexes, examine your skin, look inside your mouth at your gums and tongue and speak to you about your sleep and relationships. All of these factors help the practitioner first determine your primary dosha, then figure out which aspects of the doshas might be out of balance — for example, if you’re overworking, under-sleeping or not consuming enough nutrients.
Ayurvedic Medicine Research and Studies
One of the core benefits of Ayurveda and what makes it stand apart from western medicine is that it takes into account bio-individuality and a patient’s entire body-mind-spirit connection. Rather than treating symptoms with drugs and ignoring the underlying problems, Ayurvedic medicine aims to look at the root of disease and how it’s related to a person’s thoughts, beliefs, and lifestyle — in other words, a person’s “vital energy.”
What’s especially of interest to researchers studying traditional healing symptoms like Ayurveda is the power of the mind and its connections to the body Since various studies have acknowledged that beliefs surely have the ability to change someone’s health, even after controlling for placebos, new health models are beginning to focus more on including the mind and its interaction with the body as a primary lever of curing diseases.
Better controlling stress seems to be one of the primary benefits of Ayurveda, according to a western medical viewpoint. We know that chronic stress can ruin your quality of life and that lower stress levels are correlated with better health, longevity, weight management and overall happiness. A healthier diet, natural herbs, better sleep and improved hormonal balance also all likely play a role in healing with Ayurvedic medicine.
7 Benefits of Ayurvedic Medicine
1. Helps Lower Stress and Anxiety
Because stress is related to nearly every aspect of overall health, an Ayurvedic medicine practitioner might call for a number of different techniques used to naturally treat anxiety and depression symptoms, lower cortisol and rebalance the body’s hormones or “energy.” This can include meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, herbal treatments, skin brushing, visualization or repeating inspirational mantras.
Studies have found that transcendental meditation, a component of one branch of Ayurveda called Maharishi, helps lower symptoms of anxiety with regular practice. Pranayama, a series of various targeted breathing exercises, also helps calm nerves and results in better energy, restful sleep, and improved hormonal function. And while yoga isn’t always necessarily included in someone’s recovery plan, it, too, offers well-documented benefits for reducing stress and anxiety.
Over the past several decades, efforts have been underway to help find non-pharmacologic therapies to relieve stress and anxiety.
2. Lowers Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
Studies have shown that Ayurveda diets and relaxation techniques can lower inflammation and help reduce plaque buildup, even reversing the thickening of artery walls known as atherosclerosis in both healthy adults and those with a higher risk for heart disease. Atherosclerosis is a slow, complex disease in which cholesterol, fats, and other substances build up in the inner lining of an artery. This buildup, known as plaque, can lead to heart attack and stroke. Thankfully, Ayurvedic techniques lower cholesterol naturally and naturally lower blood pressure.
3. Helps with Recovery from Injuries and Illnesses
Research supports the idea of the Ayurvedic concept of immune-modulation and healing. By targeting inflammation, which is the root of most diseases, Ayurvedic medicine can help lower pain and swelling, improve blood flow and fight inflammatory conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia just as well as medication.
Ayurveda is also especially helpful in detoxing the body using various herbs, teas, healthy foods and plenty of rest. Certain practices also increase circulation and liver function — for example, Abhyanga is the practice of rubbing the skin with herbal or essential oils to increase blood flow and help draw toxins out of the body through the skin. Ayurveda practitioners might also prescribe various herbs that help lower cortisol such as holy basil or ashwagandha.
4. Promotes a Nutrient-Dense, Antioxidant-Rich Diet
Ayurvedic medicine promotes a mostly plant-based diet filled with a variety of real, whole foods. While each person’s diet depends on body type and needs, Ayurvedic diets for the three different dosha types all include various fresh herbs, spices, teas, vegetables, healthy fats, high- antioxidant foods and protein.
General dietary guidelines of Ayurveda emphasize consuming fresh, hot and easy to digest foods while taking into account several variations that depend on someone’s ancestry, customs and traditions. For example, Ayurveda practitioners consider social, geographic and climatic variables all when prescribing a diet to balance the doshas.
In coastal areas, cooling and detoxifying fermented foods are common. For example, pickled, probiotic-rich foods are prescribed to help with digestion and temperature regulation. In other regions, and during colder parts of the year, healthy fats and hot foods are emphasized more to help warm the body and promote better circulation.
5. Can Help with Weight Loss or Maintenance
While fast weight loss isn’t necessarily the primary goal, Ayurvedic medicine can help someone shed excess weight naturally using a healthy diet, stress reduction and even essential oils for weight loss. A 2009 study conducted by the NutriHealth Systems Center in New Delhi, India, found that adjusting someone’s healthy diet to take into account individual food preferences and needs helped participants lose weight effectively.
This is likely because Ayurveda promotes compliance and believes that a diet should be balanced, practical and easy to follow.
6. Lowers Inflammation
Ayurvedic medicine rests on the assumption that a combination of a poor diet, bad digestion, not enough rest or sleep and insufficient air (Vaayu) inhaled cause oxidative stress and inflammation. This results in an imbalance in metabolism — or in other words — in the three doshas.
The focus of Ayurvedic healing looks at using various ways of reducing inflammation with hopes of regulating the heart and circulatory system, digestive tract and the means of elimination of wastes. People are prescribed a combination of herbal treatments, antioxidants to quench free radicals, an exercise that is gentle but boosts metabolism and circulation and a combination of phytochemicals from natural herbs.
By addressing many factors including stress, individual food intolerances, overstimulation and a lack of nutrients, many people experience lower levels of inflammation and increased energy and healing.
Researchers have found that one benefit of Ayurveda is the belief that one herb or one drug alone cannot cure the imbalance of doshas for everyone. Therefore in most of the cases, Ayurveda practitioners recommend a combination of herbs and plants or staple foods for different inflammatory treatments. A good example is an ancient recommendation for an herbal formulation of beneficial turmeric in combination with black pepper.
Studies have found this mixture together increases the bioavailability of beneficial compounds, reduces toxicity and speeds healing. It’s now known that the bioavailability of curcumin (the active ingredient of turmeric) is increased by piperine (an active compound in black pepper) by preventing the glucuronidation of the curcumin.
7. Helps with Hormonal Balance
People have turned to Ayurveda to balance hormones naturally, conceive and have a healthy, natural pregnancy or menstrual cycle for thousands of years. Studies have even shown that various therapeutic effects of Ayurveda have been effective in helping to treat subfertility due to PCOS, a common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age, resulting from insulin resistance and hormonal imbalances.
Ayurveda treatment regimens have also helped women for centuries overcome absent periods (amenorrhea) or infrequent menstruation, irregular periods, infrequent or no ovulation, multiple immature follicles, increased levels of male hormones, thinning hair, excess facial and body hair growth and various symptoms of PMS, including acne and oily skin.
The primary goal of Ayurvedic medicine is to help people live long, healthy and balanced lives without the need for prescription drugs, complicated surgeries or suffering through painful conditions. In fact, the very word Ayurveda itself means something in Sanskrit similar to lifespan build on knowledge or “science of life.”