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Ayurveda and ayurvedic medicine

Ayurveda is a 5000 year-old natural, holistic health system whose origins are found in the Vedic culture of India. Although it had lost some of its popularity during the years of British colonisation, Ayurveda has once again become very widespread in its country of origin as well as throughout the world. Tibetan medicine and traditional Chinese medicine both have roots in Ayurveda. Early Greek medicine also borrowed many notions that were originally described in the classic Ayurvedic medical texts.

More than just a simple system to cure illnesses, Ayurveda is a life science: Ayur = life and Veda = science or knowledge. It offers a body of wisdom that allows us to conserve our vitality while fully developing our human potential. Ayurveda presents a number of recommendations for daily life in terms of diet and daily practices; these are adapted to the seasons and individual specificities. Ayurveda reminds us that health is a dynamic balance between environment, body, mind and soul.

Considering that people are an integral part of Nature, Ayurveda describes the three fundamental energies that govern our inner and outer universes: movement, transformation and structure. These primary forces, known by their Sanskrit names Vata (wind), Pitta (fire) and Kapha (earth), are responsible for certain characteristics of our mind and body. We all have a unique balance of these three energies, which forms our profound nature.

If Vata is dominant, we tend to be slender, light, enthusiastic, energetic and flexible.

If Pitta predominates, we tend to be passionate, intelligent, and purposeful, with a strong appetite for life.

When Kapha rules, we tend to be easy to get along with, methodical and protective.

While each of us has all three of these energies, one or two predominate in most people.

Each element can express itself in a balanced or unbalanced manner.

When Vata is balanced, its expression is dynamic and creative. But when there is too much movement, this can translate as anxiety, insomnia, dry skin, constipation, and difficulties concentrating.

When Pitta expresses itself in a balanced manner, a person will be warm, friendly, organised and potentially a good boss, leader or speaker. But when Pitta is unbalanced, he or she may be compulsive and irritable, and suffer from digestive concerns or eczema.

When Kapha is balanced, a person will be gentle, empathetic and patient. But when Kapha is unbalanced, this can translate as excessive slowness, a tendency to put on too much weight, and sinus congestion, among others.

One of Ayurveda’s goals is to give each of us the means of reaching a state of perfect balance through knowledge of our imbalances, and to find appropriate remedies through good diet, the use of appropriate Ayurvedic plants, massage, music and meditation. Regular use of aromatherapy and Ayurvedic beauty products in everyday life is a simple, effective way to readjust and rebalance our energies.

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