Ayurvedic Medicine» Find a therapist dealing with Ayurvedic Medicine
The term 'Ayurvedic Medicine' refers to a system of traditional medicine which is native to India. According to Indian philosophy and its theory of evolution, the universe is comprised of five basic elements, air, fire, water, earth and ether, which are present in all things. In the human body these elements manifest as doshas.
The three doshas are bio-energies which run throughout the body and each of them has a specific site and function. The overall objective of ayurveda is to restore the body's dosha equilibriums, as the treatment is based on the principle that ill health is caused by an imbalance of forces within the body. Ayurvedic medicine teaches our bodies to speed up the removal of waste and strengthen our resistance to disease.
Ayurveda, meaning 'science of life' is an entire system of healing, so your practitioner will develop a regime which is made up of treatments personally suited to your problems. Some of the most commonly used treatments are massage, diet, herbal remedies, panchakarma and sweat treatments.
The ultimate purpose of ayurveda is to connect the body, mind, and spirit. It’s believed that once this balance has been reached, it will encourage wellness and prevent illness.
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What are doshas?
Doshas are energies originated from the five basic elements, ether, earth, fire, water and air. The three doshas correspond to the active elements, Air (Vata), Fire (Pitta) and Water (Kapha) and keeping them all harmoniously in balance is the key to good health.
In ayurveda our doshas are said to be a manifestations of our body-mind types, each describing individual characteristics, traits and tendencies. Generally we are all made up of a combination of doshas, with one dominating. Each dosha has a relationship with a particular body function, so if it becomes upset or unbalanced this can cause health issues.
Typical characteristics of each dosha type:
People with a dominant Vata dosha tend to be of a creative nature with lots of imagination and vision. If their dosha becomes unbalanced they may become anxious, forgetful and often uptight. Typical health issues caused by unbalanced Vata are erratic digestion, bloating, anxiety or joint disorder.
Those with a dominent Pitta dosha are usually natural leaders. They will be confident, passionate and organised but a Pitta overload can result in skin irritation, overheating, heartburn and ulcers.
Kapha types are loyal, kind hearted, calm and loving, but too much Kapha can result in lethargy, congestion, weight gain and bad digestion.
Dating back around thousands of years, the ayurveda system is considered to be one of the oldest forms of healthcare in the world. Ayurveda is believed to be of divine origin, communicated to the saints and sages of India through deep meditation and passed down orally through generations before being written in The Vedas. The Vedas are the sacred texts of India, believed to be the among the oldest in the world, incorporating a vast number of subjects from grammar to health.
The ayurveda we know today evolved from texts written in a relatively later period. The Sishruta, Samhita and the Chakraka all describe the principles and theories which practitioners around the world are still using as a cornerstone for treatment.
During the period of the British rule traditional medicine fell out of fashion in favour of modern medicines imported from the west. At this time ayurveda was considered a second option, used only by spiritual practitioners and the poor.
Come 1947 and India has once again gained independence, giving ayurveda the opportunity to flourish once again. With the establishment of many new schools, this holistic approach to health care continued its nurture and development, turning it into the system we know today.
Although ayurveda is still very much a secondary healthcare system in its native India and in the west, the trend for alternative and complementary care is on the increase due to increasing recognition of their medical merits.
What to expect
What does the teacher do?
In order to arrive at a diagnosis you will be required to have an initial consultation with your chosen practitioner. This will allow them to make observations and enquiries about your diet, lifestyle, mental and emotional states in addition to taking a detailed medical history - and perhaps even performing pulse and tongue readings or other forms of body examinations. Because it's important for the practitioner to take detailed analysis and listen to what you have to say with great attention, a typical first consultation could take an hour or longer.
The analysis will help to diagnose the root cause of your dosha imbalance and will subsequently allow your practitioner to select appropriate treatments from a vast array of options. Your treatment plan will be tailor made specifically to you and your symptoms and could include simple advice on diet and lifestyle such as what supplements would be useful for you plus physical and psychological treatments such as massage, meditations or emotional counselling. More treatments can be found below.
Types of treatments
Because ayurveda is an entire healthcare system, it incorporates numerous treatments which have been selected and built into a treatment plan tailored to treating your symptoms. You might find that your treatment plan is made up of mostly physical treatments, or perhaps it could be a combination of different kinds, it all really depends on what your practitioner believes will best relieve your issue.
To give you an idea of what to expect, listed below are a few popular ayurveda treatments:
This is an extremely effective ayurvedic treatment of which the main aim is to cleanse the body and restore a healthy metabolism. Panchakarma is comprised of five actions which clean the body of toxic materials left by disease and poor nutrition.
Imbalanced doshas are said to cause a build up of unwelcome Ama in the body. Panchakarma will push out the excess doshas and the Ama through waste evacuation channels such as sweat glands, urinary tract and intestines leaving the doshas rebalanced once again.
This involves running a fine stream of warm liquid on the forehead and is particularly good for diseases connected with the head, neck, eyes, nose and nervous system.
- Karna Purna
This treatment involves filling the ears with warm oils and is good for earache, tinnitus, deafness and lockjaw among other things.
Cleaning out the nose with medicated powders or liquids clears channels in the head and neck.
- Netra Tarpana
This treatment is good for eye fatigue and other eye issues and involves bathing the eyes with medicated oil.
How many sessions will I need?
As mentioned above your course of treatment will depend on your condition, meaning timings and number of sessions will vary greatly from patient to patient. However, the types of treatment given such as those mentioned above, would usually last between an hour to an hour and a half.
A combination of treatments will also mean the cost could vary from session to session, so once you have had your initial consultation and have discussed your treatment plan, make sure you check the cost of each treatment with your practitioner.
In terms of how many sessions you will need, this will be determined in your treatment plan and will be based on your personal diagnosis. Some people even choose to carry on with the ayurveda after they have completed their course as it promotes good health and well being.
How can it help me?
The ayurveda system can treat a number of symptoms at once depending on what is wrong. Discuss with your therapist in detail the problems for which you wish to receive treatment and they will be able to advise you on whether ayurveda is the more appropriate option.
What training and qualifications should therapists have?
Though there are currently no laws in place about the training and qualifications an ayurvedic practitioner should have in order practice in the UK, there are professional associations which practitioners can choose to register with.
These associations have their own code of ethics and complaints procedure as well as having a set of certain requirements which individuals are required to meet in order to become a member. The requirements will vary from association to association but generally involve specific training and a certain amount of experience.
Listed below are professional associations for ayurvedic practitioners. It is not an exhaustive list, but does feature some of the main organisations. This information is subject to change so for more information about accreditation please visit the professional bodies' websites below.
The Ayurvedic Practitioners Association (APA) is committed to supporting all UK ayurveda professionals and strives to promote and protect the practice with a view to improving the health and well being of people in the UK and Europe. The association only grants membership to those who have had adequate training in ayurveda and members must abide by the APA's Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.
The British Association of Accredited Ayurvedic Practitioners (BAAAP) is a professional association which aims to spread awareness of the merits of ayurveda whilst ensuring the safety of patients and members of the public by making sure ayurveda is only practiced by qualified and competent practitioners. Individuals wishing to join must meet certain requirements as well as agreeing to comply with the BAAAP Code of Ethics.
All content displayed on Therapy Directory is for provided for general information purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for advice given by your GP or any other healthcare professional. Whilst some people have benefited from complementary and alternative therapies, no claims can be made to treat, cure or heal, and we strongly advise individuals with any health problem to seek independent medical advice from their GP before considering complementary or alternative medicine or treatment.Submit feedback on this page