Ayurveda means ‘life science’, it is an ancient holistic healing system, and the main Medical system in India dating back over 3 thousand years, created by nature from all over the world.
In Ayurvedic therapy we look at the 5 great elements or Pancha Maha Bhoota. Ether (space), Air, Fire, Water and Earth. This is how the theory of the Doshas is formed.
Doshas are the biophysical forces of life, the energies and functions that the 5 elements have on our bodies. Dosha literally means fault or mistake, so it is the classification of imbalance in our bodies, not a body type.
The three Doshas
Vata- (ether and air) Represents movement, without space nothing would exist. The systems include the skin, skeletal system and circulatory system.
Pitta (fire &water) where all chemical processes are enabled. Systems include the digestive system and Endocrine system.
Kapha (water & Earth) nourishment and protection. Systems include the Immune, muscles, tissues and fat.
Each one of us has an inherent genetic type or combination unique to us when we are born, our Prakriti, this shapes our needs, from what we enjoy doing, how we learn, sleep, what foods we eat, it can teach us to observe our bodies and minds and learn what our true nature is, finding our individual perfect health.
As we go through life, different environmental influences can disturb our doshic balance and create deformity within our bodies, eventually causing illness. In Ayurveda they call it your Vikriti, your layer of dust, which needs to be swept away and is approached in five different ways;
Food, Herbs, Massage, Yoga and Lifestyle. Using these tools, the aim is to rid your body of Ama (toxins) and regulate your Agni (digestive fire) using the Doshic theory.
To find out your basic body constitution or Dosha, Pukka have a great quiz on their website to try.....
Massage is a very important part if Ayurveda, it recommends a daily regime of self massage or Sneha, meaning giving love to ones self, (which is also the meaning for ghee!) as massage is brilliant for helping the body expel Ama. There are 7 aspects or aims for body health and true health (of the mind and soul)
Balance the tissues- keeping plasma healthy
Balance digestive system
Elimination-stools, urine & sweat should be regulated
Balancing of the 5 sensory functions- happy and satisfied
Balancing of the mind- directly effect’s the body
Balance of the soul- to be at peace
‘There is no Ayurveda without out heat or oil’ (Dr Deepa Apte) These are the most important requirements. Heat causes sweating and strengthens the digestion or Agni, to enable the body to eliminate toxins more effectively. Oil is nourishing for the tissues and allows the therapist to use long strokes and clear the Srotas.
Srotas are channels in the body that act like paths or roadways transporting blood and sensory information, absorbing nutrients and expelling waste products from the body. We never use anything on the skin that you cannot ingest, hence all the Ayurvedic treatments use plenty of natural, warm medicated oil that is chosen to suit your Doshic constitution.
Another important part of Ayurvedic massage therapy, anatomy and surgery is the use of Marma points (vital points). A Marma point is defined as an anatomical site where flesh, veins, arteries, tendons, bones and joints meet up. There are 107 Marma points throughout the body that are connected through Nadis (channels, or meridians in the Chinese healing system) where oxygen and Prana (life force) flows. When Ama is present in the body these channels gets blocked. Massage is used to clear and unblock these channels. For example Marma point massage stimulates blood and lymphatic flow by activating the Marmas, or points of the body’s Nadis.