Updated: Feb 15
What to expect
When you visit an Ayurvedic practitioner, be prepared to talk about yourself. Because Ayurveda emphasizes balance in all areas of your life, a trained practitioner will not only examine your body, but will take an extensive personal and medical history, including questions about daily diet, profession and working conditions, exercise routines, relationships, and mental health. This thorough intake process helps the practitioner identify key symptoms and potential causes of imbalance and determine suitable treatment options.
What is the initial examination?
Ayurvedic examinations generally consist of three parts:
Observation (Darshan): The practitioner first evaluates general physical health by looking at the patient and observing his/her movements, body contour, color of the skin and eyes, facial lines and ridges, shape of the nose, and qualities of the lips, tongue, hair, and nails.
Touch (Sparsha): There is special focus on the patient's pulse, tongue, nails, and speech. Laboratory testing is also included under this category.
Questions (Prashna): The practitioner asks the patient about complaints and symptoms, as well as the duration of discomfort and disease progression. The practitioner also inquires about mental and psychological conditions.
How do practitioners make diagnoses and decide upon treatments?
Most westerners are familiar with visiting a healthcare provider when we feel ill. The provider diagnoses the sickness and determines which pathogens, such as bacteria or virus, caused it. The treatment is then geared toward selecting a technique to battle those pathogens. The same medicines, procedures, and doses are often used for multiple people battling the same illness.
An Ayurvedic diagnosis, and subsequent treatments, differ from this Western process in that the diagnosis is made not only on the disease level (called roga), but also on the patient level (called rogi). The exhaustive examination helps the Ayurvedic practitioner not only diagnose the disorder, but individualize or tailor treatments for each patient.
To make a diagnosis, the Ayurvedic practitioner uses a method called rogi-roga pareeksha, which combines disease analysis with deep examination of each individual. The Ayurvedic practitioner considers the whole human being, believing that people have within them the required energy to bring the body back to a healthy, or balanced, state.
According to Ayurveda, diseases are due to a doshic imbalance. Determining the patient's dosha, and then identifying the root cause of a disease, and
instead of focusing on a treatment or medicine to heal the illness, the Ayurvedic practitioner concentrates on the techniques that will strengthen the healthy elements inherent in every body, which will in turn help the individual to recover. This tenet is called "Svabhavoparamavada", and it refers to the Ayurvedic ideal of helping the body call upon its own energy to heal. Treatments and medicines are a vital part of this process, but act only to support the body's self-reparation, rather than cause it.
What are some Ayurvedic treatments?
The Ayurvedic practitioner has a wide array of treatments and therapies at his/her disposal. Practitioners may include a variety of treatments in an individual's dincharya (daily recommended routine) and ritucharya (seasonal routine). We determine and analyze a client’s unique Body Constitution by conducting Ayurvedic Lifestyle consultations in which we give Ayurvedic guidance on daily routines like diet according to client's unique (dosha) or bio energetic constitution and provide holistic support as a complementary therapy in combination with standard, conventional medical care.. We provide guidance for cleansing, detoxing, and Plant Remedies suitable for each individual constitution.
Diet and nutrition
Ayurvedic diet and nutrition practices are vital to healthy living, and are important components of treatment, recovery, and disease management. Dietary practices are tailored to each individual's constitution, with six primary "tastes" forming the basis for practitioners' recommendations depending upon the doshic constitution of the client:
Sweet: promotes strength and nourishes all tissues
Sour: stimulates digestive power
Salty: maintains water electrolyte balance
Pungent: improves digestion and absorption
Bitter: stimulates all other tastes
Astringent: helps in absorption
Herbs and herbal formulas
This ancient practice is key to Ayurvedic medicine, which teaches that the action and effectiveness of each herb is determined by its ras (taste), virya (active potency), and vipak (post-digestive effect). Thus the Ayurvedic administration of herbs is considered a precise science, requiring deep knowledge of plants and their effect on human physiology, biochemistry, and psychology. Ayurveda does not support the theory that herbs are benign and have no side effects. Thus, Ayurvedic herbs should only be prescribed by qualified practitioners.
This multi-step detoxification regimen is thought to remove ama (a toxin). The regimen includes massage, steam treatment, vamana (induced vomiting), virechana (use of prescribed herbal and oil-based laxatives) and basti (medicated enema), blood letting, and nasya (a nasal treatment). These treatments are followed by a strict dietary and herbal regimen, a rejuvenating therapy, and recommendations for daily routines. Note: this invasive procedure requires the supervision of a trained Ayurvedic practitioner; contraindications and side effects should be closely monitored.
Basic Ayurvedic Principles:
All things in the universe, both living and nonliving, are joined together. In fact, everything in the universe is actually made of the same five gross natural elements: space, air, fire, water, and earth.
There is a deep connection between the self and the environment.
We are all initially connected within ourselves, to people surrounding us, to our immediate environment, and to the universe. This balanced connectivity ensures good health.
We remain healthy if we retain balance, interacting with our environment in an effective and wholesome way.
However, our initial balance is often disrupted by our lifestyles. Choices about diet, exercise, profession, and relationships all have the potential to create physical, emotional, or spiritual imbalances.
This imbalance causes a lack of harmony, and makes us more susceptible to disease.
Harmful foods, such as fried foods, processed meats, and very cold foods, can create undigested residue that forms toxins, or in Ayurvedic terms “ama.” Ama or "toxins" is described as the root cause of disease. The buildup of ama in the body mind leads to obstructions in the flow of energy, information, and nourishment, and is the basis of all disease.
Human beings are responsible for their choices and actions. We can attain and maintain good health if we make balanced choices that promote connectivity and harmony.