What does Ayurveda mean?
Ayurveda roughly translates from Sanskrit as the Science of Life and has a history that spans over 5000 years, making it perhaps the most ancient health system still practiced today. Using herbs, diet, lifestyle, body therapies, mantras, pulse and tongue reading. It has many of the ingredients found in other healing modalities and is most probably the health system on which western medicine is based. Ayurveda sees each person as an individual and as a whole rather than looking at the illness. In fact treatment with Ayurveda is based on the concept that the actual disease is the manifestation of overlooked causative factors.
Ayurveda originally developed to take care of the population as people moved away from the mountains and into more crowded towns and then cities. It is truly a system of health designed for everyone, of all ages and as we now mostly live in an over populated environment, very relevant for today. There are elements of Ayurveda that look after health from pre-conception to old age and everything in between.
How does Ayurveda work?
Ayurveda works by re-aligning the client’s health within the individual parameters we were born with, in other words it brings balance back to our lives. At around 5000 years old it could be said to be the oldest form of evidence-based research, as the evidence comes from many many patients over many years of observation and refinement. A key area that Ayurveda looks at is Agni which is the body’s ability to digest, metabolise and transform not just food, but also sensory experiences such as sounds, words, visual images and emotions. Without good Agni we will not function as well as we could, therefore many practitioners will try improving Agni before looking at other areas.
Ayurveda also uses body therapies and herbs to eliminate toxins or to increase relaxation as the situation dictates.
Should I consider Ayurveda and is it safe?
Yes Ayurveda is safe.
Practitioners from the APA are fully qualified and have completed both Ayurvedic training together with at least basic medical training. Visit the APA website and look for a practitioner in your area and talk to them on the phone to find someone you feel confident in. When you feel happy with the answers to your questions, you can feel safe in the knowledge that all APA members are fully qualified and insured and you will be able to book an appointment with confidence. Sometimes when people consider visiting a complementary therapist they have been unwell for a while with various symptoms that have been ignored or treated with medication to mask the warning signs that something was wrong. When this is the case, remember that it took time for this problem to establish, and therefore it will take time to heal.
Unfortunately Ayurveda has no magic quick fix solutions and, especially if you are reading this after a specific health diagnosis, it is crucial you find a fully qualified Ayurvedic practitioner to guide you and not try to go it alone.
Many busy GPs would love to be able to spend more time with their patients. Unfortunately an over-burdened NHS does not allow this luxury. However if you decide to try Ayurveda, the practitioner will have time to listen to you as an individual and time to work out a unique plan with you.
Many of the body therapies are wonderfully relaxing and soothing which can be just what is needed when recovering from an illness.
What is the disadvantage of seeing an Ayurvedic practitioner?
Ayurveda is not a quick fix approach. Any treatment will take dedication on your part and not just the practitioners time . Today, we increasingly expect a quick solution and there is no doubt that modern medicine offers lifesaving solutions with medication showing immediate effects.
Lifestyle changes and herbs are not so quick, may not taste very nice, or may not even be applicable especially when taking some pharmaceutical medications, which is why it is crucial to find a practitioner you can trust and work with as you may be together as a team for some time!
What happens during a consultation?
The practitioner may have a long questionnaire; try to be as honest as possible rather than giving the answers you think you should.
A consultation can also include a pulse and tongue assessment as well as personal and family health history plus diet and lifestyle questions. All of the information helps the practitioner see a picture of not just what is happening now but where the problem started. Diet and lifestyle changes may be recommended but changes are made slowly and at the pace of the client who can decide if they want to implement changes or not. Some therapies and herbs may at first seem unusual; however, if you discuss any worries with your practitioner, you will soon find that, as you start to feel better, Ayurveda becomes a way of life and not a chore.
Should I tell my GP?
Yes, inform your GP. Sadly many are unaware of alternative therapies, so you may find they don’t know about Ayurveda. Practitioners are more than willing to work with GPs and you will be asked about any medications or diagnoses to help assess any possible contra-indications between medications that have been prescribed and any suggested herbs.
It is a sad fact that in 1998 alone over £93 million was spent on over the counter remedies and non-disclosure is a hidden problem for health professionals. GP’s often do not ask their patients about the use of alternative medicine and patients often feel intimidated or do not feel the need to mention their use. This is an unfortunate situation and could leave both sides working in the dark, more importantly, some drug-herb interactions occur, even common foods such as grapefruit can change the way some medication is absorbed, so it is vital that everyone working with you has a complete picture. The choice to use alternative therapies is yours. As professionals we try to make sure you are able to make an informed choice and are happy to work as part of a professional team should you choose to use Ayurveda.
I have heard people mention Vata Pitta and Kapha, what are they?
We are all born with a unique combination of the elements; our doshas or Vata, Pitta, Kapha mix. These in turn give us what Ayurveda calls our prakriti. Our prakriti is a combination of the doshas. When our unique body make up is working well, this equates to health. However just as the wind changes direction, our systems are influenced by life and seasonal changes. For example as we age, Vata, a combination of the elements air and ether, can easily become unbalanced. This could manifest in dry skin, constipation, loss of memory or confused thinking. Many people try to work out their individual prakriti by taking quizzes to see if they are Vata, Pitta or Kapha. Quizzes can be far too simplistic so, especially if you have been diagnosed with a serious condition, it is time to find a fully qualified practitioner who can assess you correctly especially if you are considering using Ayurveda alongside conventional treatment.
Should I consider a detox?
Today, with the advent of celebrities checking into a clinic as a way of treating drug or alcohol abuse, detox has become fashionable. Ayurvedic Panchakarma is the ancient model on which modern detox programmes are based. Historically considered a privilege and luxury, panchakarma was reserved for the rich at the change of seasons. However, to be able to take part in such a detox, one must be physically fit and if you have just been diagnosed with an illness this may not be the case. This is why it is vitally important to find a fully qualified Ayurvedic practitioner to guide you, rather than try on your own. Every treatment, including body therapies, has many factors to be considered before its use, including an optimum time to be used when part of a treatment programme. For more information on Ayurveda visit: http://apa.uk.com
Kindly provided by: Ayurvedic Practitioners Association 23 Green Ridge Brighton BN1 5LT Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://apa.uk.com