Ayurveda originated in India over 5,000 years ago. Ayurveda emphasizes the importance in establishing balance in the body through diet, lifestyle, exercise, and body cleansing, and on the health of the mind, body, and spirit.
In Australia, Ayurveda is considered a form of alternative medicine, like traditional Chinese medicine.
How popular is Ayurveda in the Australia?
In the past few years, Ayurveda has been growing in popularity in Australia, partly due to the work of Deepak Chopra, M.D., a physician who combines western medicine with Ayurveda in North America.
What does a typical Ayurvedic assessment involve?
An initial assessment with an Ayurvedic practitioner may last an hour or longer. The practitioner will ask detailed questions about your health, diet and lifestyle. He or she will listen to your pulse. Unlike mainstream medicine, 12 different pulse points are assessed in Ayurveda.
The Ayurvedic practitioner also examines the tongue; its appearance is believed to provide clues about areas of the body that may be out of balance. The appearance of the skin, lips, nails, and eyes is also observed.
After the assessment, the practitioner will determine an individual's unique balance of doshas, or metabolic types. From there, the practitioner can create an individualized treatment plan, which often includes diet, exercise, herbs, yoga, meditation, and massage.
What are the doshas?
According to Ayurveda, everything is composed of five elements: air, water, fire, earth, and space. These elements combine to form the three doshas, vata, kapha, and pitta, or metabolic types. In Ayurveda, doshas account for some of our individual differences.
The vata dosha is a combination of space and air. It controls movement and is responsible for basic body processes such as breathing, cell division and circulation. Vata body areas are the large intestine, pelvis, bones, skin, ears, and thighs. People with vata as their main dosha are believed to be quick-thinking, thin, and fast, and are susceptible to anxiety, dry skin, and constipation.
The kapha dosha represents the elements of water and earth. Kapha is believed to be responsible for strength, immunity, and growth. Kapha body areas are the chest, lungs, and spinal fluid. People with kapha as their main dosha are thought to be calm, have a solid body frame, and are susceptible to diabetes, obesity, sinus congestion, and gallbladder problems.
The pitta dosha combines fire and water. It is thought to control hormones and the digestive system. Pitta body areas are the small intestines, stomach, sweat glands, skin, blood, and eyes. People with pitta as their primary dosha are thought to have a fiery personality, oily skin, and are susceptible to heart disease, stomach ulcers, inflammation, heartburn, and arthritis.
An imbalanced dosha is believed to interrupt the natural flow of prana, or vital energy. The disrupted energy flow is then thought to impair digestion and allow the build up of body waste, or ama, which further impairs energy and digestion.
Because of its growing popularity, Ayurvedic treatments, particularly at spas and salons, are increasingly being performed by people who have not received formal training in Ayurveda. That's why if you are interested in consulting with an Ayurvedic practitioner, it is important to seek a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner and learn about his training.