AYURVEDA FAQS

ABOUT AYURVEDA

  • About Ayurveda
  • Ayurveda Dosha Theory
  • About Ayurveda Therapies
  • What is Panchakarma
  • Benefits of Ayurveda
A Brief History of Ayurveda

The name Ayurveda is derived from the Sanskrit words, “ayur” meaning life and longevity, and “veda” meaning knowledge or science. It is the “Science of Life “that teaches us to live in a truly balanced, natural and harmonious state. Practiced for more than 5,000 years, Ayurveda is the traditional natural healing system of India.

The science of Ayurveda was preached and practiced in ancient times by the omniscient sages, as revealed to them in their spiritual pursuit. It evolved into a complete health-care system over time. While modern medicine has pushed this science aside, albeit temporarily, the failure of modern medicine to counter ailments without side effects has brought Ayurveda into the forefront of complementary and alternative therapies, for those seeking other health and wellness options.

The Fundamental Concept of Ayurveda

The ideology of Ayurveda says that disease occurs in the body because of an imbalance in the body’s energy. In Ayurvedic medicine, there are 3 energy types or doshas – Kapha, Pitta and Vata. Everyone has a combination of the doshas as a part of the body system. When these energy centers are imbalanced, Ayurveda, helps to restore balance to the body.

An Ayurvedic consultation and analysis can determine your body type(s) and Santhigram Wellness can design a program especially for you!

The “Dosha” theory (Three Doshas) is one of the basic theories of Ayurveda. The word “Dosha” is a Sanskrit word whose expansion is “Dooshayati Dosha” i.e. That which gets easily vitiated is “Dosha.”

Body constituents (tissues) are always in the process of metabolism, which is a combination of deterioration (catabolism) on one side and construction (anabolism) on the other. Health is maintained by balancing these activities.

Metabolism is controlled by a lot of chemical reactions, hormonal activity etc. When these systemic and natural functions get disturbed, it results in various types of diseases. As the basic functions of the body are innumerable, the number of diseases are also innumerable. Even Hippocrates, the father of the Modern System of Medicines accepts the importance of the “Dosha” Theory.

According to Indian philosophy, the basic constituents of all beings are “Pancha Maha Bhootas.”

The five Maha bhootas are:
  • Prithvi (Earth)
  • Ap (Water)
  • Tejas (Fire)
  • Vayu (Air)
  • Akash (Ether)

The basic constituents of the human body are also the same “Pancha Maha Bhootas.” Each and every cell, system and organ is made up of these constituents. The proportion of the five “Pancha Maha Bhootas” is different in the various body systems and organs. The proportion is based on the involvement, the qualities and functions of the organs. The deficiency or excess of their involvement results in various diseases.

Ancient Ayurvedic experts developed this “Pancha Maha Bhootas” theory into the “Tri Dosha” theory for their easy diagnosis and treatment.

The “Tri Doshas” are:
  • “Vatha”
  • “Pittha”
  • “Kapha”
Panchakarma Therapy

The “Tri Doshas” are also made up of the “Pancha Maha Bhootas”. The functions of the “Tri Doshas” should be taken in a broad spectrum.

“Tri Doshas” decide the “Prakrithi” (body constitution) of a being. If “Vatha” is predominant it is known as “Vatha Prakrithi” (Vatha constitution). A “Vatha Prakrithi” person is prone to be afflicted by “Vatha diseases” if exposed to conducive surroundings and causes. Similarly, for the “Pittha Prakrithi” and the “Kapha Prakrithi”. A brief explanation is given below.

Vatha

All movements in the body are maintained by the “Vatha Dosha”. The expansion of the term “Vatha” in Sanskrit is “Tatra va gati Gandhanayoriti”, i.e. all movements and catabolic activities of body are controlled by “Vatha”.

Finer movements like cell division, circulation etc. are maintained by “Vatha”. The predominant “Maha Bhoota” involved in “Vatha Dosha” is Vayu (Air) and Akash (Ether).

Pittha

The “Maha Bhoota” predominance in “Pittha” is Teja (Fire). All the digestive activities of body are controlled by “Pittha.”

Digestive activity means not only the digestion of food occurring in the intestine but the hormonal, chemical and metabolic changes are attributed to “Pittha.” Body warmth, taste, vision, appetite, skin luster, intelligence, bravery – are all qualities attributed to “Pittha”.

Kapha

The predominant “Maha Bhootas” in “Kapha” are Prithvi (Earth) and Jal (Water). All of the anabolic activities of the body are maintained by “Kapha.” It contributes to the nourishment and bulky form of the body.

By analyzing these symptoms the physician can come to a conclusion that this “Dosha” is vitiated and an Ayurvedic treatment plan can be created.

Due to various causes, when the body functions become imbalanced, it results in various diseases. Whole body functions are maintained and controlled by the “Tri Doshas”. So when the “Doshas” get disturbed it results in symptoms like Vridhi(Increase), Kshayam (Decrease) or Prakopam (Vitiation of Doshas). An observing Ayurvedic physician can diagnose the disease based on the symptoms exhibited by the “Doshas” vitiation.

The factors that cause ailments are innumerable. They may be caused by several types of microorganisms, allergens, surrounding factors, climatic conditions, systemic disorders etc. Whatever the cause, when the body is exposed to these, it results in the vitiation of “Doshas.”

Once a full Ayurvedic assessment is done, the Ayurvedic practitioner can come to a conclusion based on the involvement of “Doshas.” Ayurvedic practitioners view the human being as a whole while diagnosing the disease and administering the treatment. This specific concept is lacking in the modern system of medicine.

Many new diseases are on the rise and uncertainty prevails in the medical field when approaching several diseases. The majority of the common diseases are incurable, e.g. auto immune disorders, chronic skin diseases, arthritis, malignancy etc.

The allopathic medical system, medication of chronic diseases, is comprised of steroids and immuno suppressant drugs, which have various side effects. In this context Ayurvedic concepts are very important. They are time tested, all natural and free from side-effects. This is the reason that Ayurveda is being accepted all over the world.

Santhigram Wellness Centers offer authentic Kerala specific Ayurvedic and Panchakarma therapies to suit your specific health and wellness needs.

The “Ayurveda wellness therapies” that Santhigram offers will help reduce the physical suffering, to a great extent, control several dreaded disabilities, ward off middle age syndrome, retard the aging process and provide unlimited curative powers for the body and mind. Ayurveda helps repair worn out tissues, increase memory, improve energy in the body and helps improve overall physical and mental fitness.

Details of some of the therapies shown below include:

Panchakarma Therapy
Abhyangam (Uzhichil)

Oil Massage with medicated oils to rejuvenate the body and strengthen all the tissues to help achieve ideal health and longevity.

Benefits of Abhyangam:
  • helps tone muscles
  • improves circulation
  • increases the skin’s luster – making you appear younger
  • rejuvenates the body and strengthens all the tissues to help achieve ideal health and longevity
  • increases primary vitality (Ojas) and resistance
  • beneficial to the eyes
  • helps you have a good night’s sleep
  • effective in reducing the symptoms of rheumatism
  • can help control fat
  • reduces sagging skin
  • reduces stress

Panchakarma Therapy
Pizhichil (Oil bath with gentle body massage)

Oil bath with gentle body massage that helps to reduce muscle spasms and manage the ill effects of various degenerative ailments. Relaxes your mind and body.

The ultimate therapy with the constant flow of warm oil which is slowly and gently applied to your whole body.

Benefits of Pizhichil:
  • makes you feel peaceful, calm and relaxed
  • treats muscle spasms and other degenerative diseases that affect the muscles

Panchakarma Therapy
Shirodhara (Sirodhara)

A steady stream of warm aromatic oils that provide lasting relief from psychosomatic disorders and soothes your body and mind. Using a special device to flow rhythmically across the forehead, This usually accompanies Abhyangam.

Benefits of Shirodhara:
  • calms the mind and soothes the nervous system
  • induces a feeling of profound peace and happiness
  • used for treating various psychosomatic disorders, insomnia, chronic cold, sinusitis, etc.

Panchakarma Therapy
Svedana (Swedana)

A herbal steam treatment to release impurities from the skin and soothe aching muscles and joints.

Benefits of Svedana:
  • helps soothe painful, sore or aching muscles and joints
  • improves blood circulation
  • improves complexion

Panchakarma Therapy
Elakizhi

A type of sudation therapy using medicated leaves. The proportion of ingredients varies according to the disease symptoms.

Benefits of Elakizhi:
  • helps to alleviate the problems associated with joint pain, muscle cramps, rheumatoid arthritis
  • helps to manage the ill effects of various degenerative ailments

Panchakarma Therapy
Navarakizhi (Njavarakizhi)

A type of herbal fomentation therapy with linen bags containing special rice processed in milk. It is used to provide strength and nutrition to the body tissues, especially bones, muscles and other soft tissues.

Benefits of Navarakizhi:
  • It promotes the peripheral vascular circulation
  • Gives strength to the muscles and activate peripheral nervous system
  • Improves skin texture and circulation
  • Induces good sleep and reduces the stress
  • Helps to alleviate problems related to malnutrition

Panchakarma Therapy
Sirovasthi (Shirovasti)

It is an ayurvedic therapy procedure in which outer area of head is covered by a leather cap keeping hollow inside to put medicated oil in it for a specific duration in such a way that oil should not be leaked out.

Benefits of Shirovasti:
  • Helps to alleviate the problems associated with insomnia, depression and other stress related issues.

Panchakarma Therapy
Udvartanam (Udwarthanam)

Fine herbal powder is used in a whole-body therapy to enliven and energize the body.

Benefits of Udvartanam:
  • Reduces the excess fat accumulated in the subcutaneous tissues
  • Helps in weight reduction
  • Improves mobility of joints and improves blood circulation
  • Refreshes and rejuvenate the body and also helps to promote better digestion
  • Softens and exfoliates dead skin cells, thereby giving a lustrous glow to skin
  • Strengthens and tones up the muscles

Shirodhara (Sirodhara), Svedana (Swedana), Elakizhi, Navarakizhi (Njavarakizhi), Sirovasthi (Shirovasti) are normally not administered as individual treatment. They are usually combined with Uzhichil (Abhyanga).

PLEASE NOTE:

We do not provide any medical services. However, Ayurvedic therapies and Santhigram’s health management programs help to alleviate the ill-effects of certain chronic conditions. As per the Ayurveda system, the therapies depend on the prakriti (constitution) of each person. As such it is advisable to make an appointment for a consultation with one of our Ayurveda Consultants prior to scheduling an appointment for our services.

Panchakarma consists of five detoxifying treatments that combine a mix of massage, herbal therapies and other procedures that to help restore balance in the body. The five treatments include:

  1. Nasya
  2. Vaman
  3. Virechana
  4. Vasthi and
  5. Raktha Moksha

These cleansing treatments help eliminate many toxic elements from the body. The Ayurvedic medical system emphasizes the holistic approach and the whole person-body, mind and soul is considered and not just the affected parts of the body.

Ayurveda is based on “Panchabhutha” and the “Tri Dosha” theories. This unique living system considers that a human being is a balanced composition of body, mind and soul. Lifestyles that are based on the true principles of Ayurveda can help resist diseases, arrest premature aging and retain youthfulness for a long time.

The Uniqueness of Ayurveda Treatments

Ayurvedic treatments are unique in their approach to health and disease. Instead of suppressing the main symptoms, the root cause is eliminated and thus gives permanent relief. The treatments are mainly carried out using a mixture of medicinal powders, tablets, herbs and medicated oils prepared from natural herbs, plants and minerals, massages oils and other natural products.

Ayurveda is an ancient system of natural healing that helps:

  • Restore balance in the body and mind
  • Lower stress and anxiety
  • Promote weight loss and maintenance
  • Prevent diseases and increase longevity
  • Provide a curative effect for several diseases
  • Can Ayurveda really cure cancer?
  • Can Ayurveda help me lose weight?
  • Can Ayurveda help chronic pain?
  • Can Ayurveda help me prevent acute and chronic diseases?
  • Can Ayurveda help with depression and other mental conditions?
  • Do I have to follow a certain religion to incorporate Ayurvedic principles into my life?
  • Do I have to be a vegetarian to follow an Ayurvedic lifestyle?
  • Can I continue taking vitamin & mineral supplements along with Ayurvedic herbal supplements?
  • Can I take allopathic medicines, including prescription drugs, and Ayurvedic herbal supplements at the same time?
  • How effective is Ayurveda?
  • Can Ayurvedic herbal supplements help improve my health?

Remember that Ayurveda does not claim to ‘cure’ diseases, but to restore balance to the body, mind and spirit complex. Cancer is another such condition; a tri dosha imbalance at the cellular level. Ayurveda recommends herbal treatments, dietary changes and divine (mantra, gem, etc.) therapy to help treat cancer. It is recommended that cancer patients check with their physician or primary health care provider prior to starting Ayurvedic treatments.

Yes, and very successfully. Obesity is caused mainly by an imbalance in the Kapha dosha. When Ayurvedic wisdom is applied to the life of an ‘obese person’, they gain insight into why and how they created and hold on to their Kapha imbalance (manifesting as obesity). Clients learn about how they can regain control of their Kapha imbalance. They learn about Kapha balancing foods, specialized Kapha reducing exercises, essential oils, self-massage, gentle detoxification and herbs. The over-expressed Kapha can also linger on due to certain ‘heavy’ thought patterns. Hence, a total shift in paradigm is gradually brought about in the living and thinking of an obese person because of Ayurvedic treatments and guidance by an Ayurvedic practitioner. When the recommendations are followed consistently, one can expect to lose weight.

Yes, absolutely. Personalized herbs, specific dietary modifications, specialized oils and massages have proven to be very effective in pain management, without side effects or drug dependency. Illnesses such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, or pain due to falls, trauma or repetitive stress – all such conditions are highly amenable to Ayurvedic therapies. Before you start or stop all adjunct therapies check with your physician or primary health care provider.

Please remember that Ayurveda does not claim to treat, prevent or cure diseases, but only to restore balance to the physiology. When balance is restored, many diseases and disorders are often automatically prevented or health is restored. This is the beauty of the Ayurvedic lifestyle and food choices.

Yes. While antidepressant and other drugs are both critical and often life-saving; a person suffering from depression may or may not live life optimally and may drag through life – without experiencing daily abundance, joy and unbridled enthusiasm. Certain Ayurvedic herbs, specialized massages and mind/body therapies (such as Panchakarma, Shirodhara, meditation, Yoga, Gem therapy, mantra therapy, etc.) are time-tested, gentle mind-balancing tools with no side effects. One can continue taking the antidepressants (and remain in touch with their MD regarding the drugs, dosage etc.) while at the same time, simultaneously work in the Ayurvedic field can be done. Ayurvedic therapy enhances and expedites recovery and people feel the ‘joy of being alive’ and not merely the numbing of anxiety.

No. Ayurvedic principles are universal, and anybody can incorporate them into his or her daily life. There is no need to become religious to adopt the principles of Ayurveda. It is a rational science that celebrates universal principles. While deeply spiritual in subject (in the sense of matters of the mind and spirit are addressed in Ayurveda), it is not a Hindu religious practice, nor does it advocate a particular religion or deity.

No not at all. Ayurveda recommends foods that are ideal for your body and mind; not per any specific dietary protocol. While Ayurveda sings the praises of a healthy seasonal, vegetarian diet, it similarly prescribes meats of several animals, fishes and birds. What you eat will depend on which food serves your health and energy needs best. With respect to what you can digest, your Ayurvedic practitioner will offer guidance and recommendations in this area.

Unless otherwise directed by your physician or primary health care provider, it is not necessary to take additional vitamin and mineral supplements. Ayurveda recommends getting vitamins and minerals directly from the intake of nutritious foods and herbs.

Before altering the schedule of your prescription medications or you start taking Ayurvedic herbal supplements, always check with your physician or primary health care provider. Ayurveda can be used in conjunction with Western allopathic medicine. Drugs save lives, but because of their toxicity, sometimes they can also weaken or damage the body. Ayurveda can help protect and make the body stronger after or along with traditional medical treatments (i.e. drugs or surgery).

Ayurveda is a very effective health and wellness system that is being recognized more and more in the West. It is one of the primary healthcare systems in India, and it has been used for thousands of years to treat all sorts of ailments and disorders. The Ayurvedic path has been for thousands of years. Today, Ayurveda is popular all over the world. Hospitals and clinics offer it, news reports share it, researchers examine it, governments host it and people love it. Ayurveda has stood the test of time; and regardless of the political or legal climate – people continue to practice it, from little clinics in India to large spas all over the world. The word is out today – ‘Try Ayurveda, it works.’

Ayurvedic herbal supplements may help to improve one’s overall health, however, it is extremely important that they be taken in their compatible and complementary combinations, and that one also follows the necessary dietary and daily and seasonal recommendations for his or her particular constitution and health concerns. In order to get results using Ayurvedic herbal supplements, it is best to consult a professional first.

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