Ayurveda is the traditional medicine of India and the oldest system of healthcare in the world. A system of both preventative and curative medicine, it has been practiced for at least 5,000 years and perhaps as long as 10,000 years.
Fundamental to Ayurveda is the understanding that each person is unique and as a result, each person’s path toward optimal health is unique. As Dr. Halpern says, “Nothing is right for everyone, everything is right for someone. Ayurveda is a path of what is right for you.” Ayurveda helps individuals to know what types of foods, sounds, smells, and other stimuli will create a state of balance and harmony in their unique body and mind. When the body and mind are in harmony, normal physiology is restored and healing takes place.
Ayurveda defines physiology in terms of three forces called doshas. The three doshas are vata, pitta and kapha. Vata governs the physiology of motion in the body. Pitta governs the physiology of metabolism. Kapha governs the physiology of structure. Each person has all three of these doshas within them. The balance of these three doshas at the moment of conception defines what Ayurveda calls one’s constitution, or “prakruti”. These doshas also fluctuate in accordance with how we live our lives and as they increase or decrease they cause different conditions in the body and mind. These imbalances are called “vikruti”. The goal of Ayurveda is to restore the proper balance of these physiological forces. This is accomplished by utilizing one’s senses properly and living a healthy lifestyle.
Herbal medicine also plays an important role in Ayurveda. In fact, Ayurveda is one of the most advanced herbal sciences in the world, utilizing different combinations of powerful medicinal plants depending on the unique constitution of the individual. Other tools often used by the Ayurvedic Practitioner include: Yoga, Meditation, Purification Programs (Panchakarma) and Lifestyle Counseling.