The Ayurveda is an ancient and complex medicine born in India that still continues to apply. In this article you will know what is Ayurveda? Benefits, practices and products.
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WHAT IS AYURVEDA?
Ayurveda also means ” knowledge of life ” and, therefore, is a philosophy that applies to life and things. It is essentially a system for the prevention and treatment of diseases that starts from a holistic approach that is interested in the person as a whole and in harmony with nature. Together with traditional Chinese medicine, one of the oldest medical systems in the world and that are still valid today.
It is important to know that this medical system has nothing to do with conventional medicine today, although that does not imply that they are not compatible. We could say that ayurveda is a way of life , in which not only one disease is treated but it prevents the appearance of others.
In ayurveda , it is not about curing the disorder itself, but about returning to its causes: if, for example, we have digestive problems, ayurveda will try to understand if it is really a colitis.
As we have been able to read, the origin of this medicinal system is prior to Christ and has been a continuous practice, except in a few exceptions such as the English occupation that relegated it. It is also important to know that there are legends that tell the origin of this medicine, where the great masters who resided in the Himalayan caves discovered the relationship between the body and balance through a state of meditation.
The fertile Indus valley in India was the seat of many city-states, between 3500 and 1500 BC, in what is now considered one of the five cradles of civilization, along with China, Egypt, Sumeria and Peru. It is known that these city-states were solid and well organized, with a range of one thousand to more than one million km2, in the region that today corresponds to northwestern India. They had a pictographic writing, a standard of weights and measures and very well designed construction models. Ayurveda knowledge arose from different evolving cultures.
The Vedic tradition states that Ayurvedic medicine has been revealed by “Brahma” to the Rishis, the ancient Indian sages and the Siddah, and of these has been transmitted orally through the relationship between the Master and the disciple.
It is said that the Rishi felt the need to move away from civilization , to find the calm and clarity necessary to develop the knowledge they so eagerly sought. So a group of Rishi met at the foot of the Himalayas to face the problem of disease and its effects on humanity. Its objective was the elimination of the disease, not only in man but in all creatures.
THREE TYPES OF PEOPLE
This medicine is based on five elements – earth, water, fire, air and space – that would be what make up the universe as well as the human being. Therefore, these elements would correspond to seven main tissues such as plasma, blood, meat, fat, bone, bone marrow and semen.
This medicine treats health from an integral and holistic point of view , where the spiritual is combined with a personalized medicine to the individual. This clearly clashes with conventional medicine today, where everything is based on globality and science.
The main objective of ayurveda is that each one can find the balance , which would be to recover lost health, but also, within the philosophy of ayurveda we find a basic classification about the human being, or three types of people given that three types of vital energy flow into the body, the doshas , in different proportions according to the constitution of each individual.
The three doshas vary their balance throughout the year, seasons and day, so Ayurvedic therapies take this variability into account. They suggest appropriate behaviors and foods that should be taken according to each change and in case of imbalance, as this leads to a disease situation.
These three energies are called vata, pitta and khapa . Each dosha is composed of different elements and has certain qualities that characterize it:
vata (elimination force):
controls everything that is the movement in the body, that is, the nervous system, the circulation, the breath and the intestine; Its qualities are: coldness, dryness, lightness, subtlety, mobility, sharpness, hardness, roughness and fluidity; Its main part is the colon.
pitta (combustion force):
controls the transformation in our body, then digestion and metabolism, but also emotions; Its qualities are: warm, oily, lightness, subtlety, mobility, sharpness, softness, softness, clarity and fluidity; The main part is the small intestine.
khapa (assimilation force):
controls cohesion in our body, then body fluids, bones, joints and tissues; Its qualities are: coldness, humidity, heaviness, coarseness, stability, opacity, softness, softness and density.
By identifying the prevalence of one of these three forces in each, the person can be classified both from the point of view of the personality and from the physical point of view. In this way we can identify the dysfunctions that can derive from it, which always arise from the imbalances that are created between these doshas.
There is thus a physiognomy for each of the three 3 doshas , with the predominance of certain physical and psychological characteristics. And for each one is also provided for a specific diet.
Vatta people are those who have a thin constitution and usually have dry skin. On the other hand, it is believed that they are people who do not tolerate cold, nervous and creative well.
The people Pitta would be those with a medium build and enjoy a good appetite. In aesthetic terms, these people usually have a certain tendency to baldness, in addition to being easily irritable and endowed with great intelligence.
As for Kapha people, they usually have oily skin and tendency to be overweight. As personal characteristics, they are characterized by being calm, do not get angry easily and like things to be methodical.
THE BENEFITS OF AYURVEDA
One of the important aspects to keep in mind about ayurveda is that its benefits are long term , it is not a medicine that removes the symptoms of the ailments at the moment, but that heals from the base out. This medicine heals slowly, in the same way that one gets sick slowly.
The first step will consist of learning to eat well since healthy and balanced eating are the foundations of good health. In addition to food being healthy, it is also important to know that food must be consumed at the right time and slowly, it is over to eat in a hurry.
We can also point out all these benefits:
REDUCE STRESS AND ANXIETY LEVELS
Since stress, especially when it becomes chronic and difficult to manage, is connected to all aspects of health, Ayurvedic medicine uses several natural techniques to try to relieve anxiety and symptoms of depression. And, consequently, to decrease cortisol levels in the body. These techniques include meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, nutritional supplements based on medicinal plants, visualization or repetition of mantras.
IT HELPS KEEP CHOLESTEROL AND BLOOD PRESSURE LEVELS UNDER CONTROL
Studies have shown that healthier eating and relaxation techniques can decrease inflammation levels.
They also prevent the formation of plaques within arterial walls and even block the hardening caused by atherosclerosis, both in healthy adults and in those at risk of heart disease.
Atherosclerosis is a slow and complex disease in which cholesterol, fats and other substances block the inside of the arteries. This can lead to heart attacks. Ayurvedic techniques can help reduce cholesterol levels and even blood pressure. Guggul, in this case, is one of the most used plants for this purpose.
According to Ayurvedic medicine, a poor diet , especially in nutrients and vitamins, poor digestion and insufficient rest, sleep and breathing cause oxidative stress or inflammation. This is also caused by an imbalance of the metabolism, or in other words, of the three doshas.
Ayurvedic medicine uses different methods to try to reduce inflammation by regulating the cardiovascular, digestive and excretory system
By regulating many factors, including stress, food intolerance and nutrient deficiency, many people can have lower levels of inflammation, increase energy levels and accelerate the healing process.
One of the most successful remedies used to fight inflammation is the use of turmeric in the kitchen associated with black pepper. This mixture activates curcumin, the substance that helps fight inflammation and provides benefits to many other problems.
IT HELPS TO RECOVER HEALTH FASTER AFTER ILLNESS OR HOSPITALIZATION
According to research, inflammation is the cause of many diseases. For this reason, Ayurveda works to reduce inflammation, so that it can also eliminate pain and swelling, improve blood circulation and relieve inflammation such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.
For example, this is done by massaging certain essential ceites on the skin . Basil improves the healing process and relieve the signs of healing.
Ayurvedic medicine also allows to strengthen the immune system always through holistic practices that feed and natural remedies.
PURIFY THE ORGANISM
Ayurveda is particularly useful for purifying the body through the use of medicinal plants, herbal infusions, healthy foods and plenty of rest. Some practices increase the circulation and functions of the liver.
For example the abhyanga technique, skin cleansing. This is done with plant extracts or essential oils that improve circulation and help eliminate toxins from the body through the skin.
IT HELPS TO LOSE WEIGHT OR KEEP IT
Ayurvedic medicine is useful when you want to lose weight. The extra kilos can be lost thanks to the consumption of natural and healthy foods . According to some studies in India, changes in diet can help us lose weight more effectively.
In particular, Ayurvedic medicine bases its diet on the three doshas and on the current constitution. There are foods that are best suited for each dosha and others that would be good to limit. This way losing weight becomes easier.
Common in Ayurvedic medicine is trikatu, based on ginger and pepper of different types, which helps to speed up the metabolism.
PROMOTES HORMONAL BALANCE
Ayurveda naturally helps maintain hormonal balance, which also results in a menstrual cycle without pain or other symptoms and in a healthy pregnancy. In 2010, a study conducted by the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka showed that the use of certain essential oils, medicinal plants and healthy eating help to balance the hormonal system.
In addition, for centuries, Ayurvedic medicine has helped women resolve amenorrhea (lack of cycle) or irregular cycles, strengthen hair, limit body hair growth and prevent many symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, such as Acne and skin. And experience menopause serenely and without symptoms or disorders.
IT HELPS FIGHT INSOMNIA
Eating late, drinking drinks containing caffeine before going to sleep, watching television or mobile phones, and eating spices or heavy meals at night can disturb sleep and aggravate the nervous system.
Ayurveda can help you fall asleep thanks to simple tips such as using jasmine essential oil or coconut oil to massage the scalp or the sole of the foot, drink a cup of hot almond or drink herbal tea, or to say a positive affirmation
ADJUST ABDOMINAL SWELLING
Ayurveda can help fight abdominal swelling and poor digestion by eliminating waste. Spices, medicinal plants and roots such as cumin, cardamom, fennel and ginger can cure indigestion.
Chewing cumin and ginger before a meal helps digestion. Drinking an herbal tea made from cardamom and fennel can also help digestion and relieve cramping.
KEEPS SKIN HEALTHY AND SHINY
Ayurveda has hundreds of remedies to help keep your skin as velvety and shiny as a child at a low cost, if not zero. Vegetables such as cucumber, lettuce and daikon have purifying properties and a high water content. For this reason they are also easy to digest.
Physical activity keeps the body firm and muscular, and helps eliminate toxins through sweat.
The nuts and oil seeds contain good fats and Omega 3 which help maintain healthy skin and reduce inflammation in certain skin conditions.
THE DIFFERENT PRACTICES OF AYURVEDA
A balanced diet and a daily exercise routine are essential for a healthy mind and body. But that is only the beginning when it comes to optimal health. The ancient teachings of Ayurveda have many less known practices that can help with things like weight loss, body detoxification and improving the overall connection of the mind, body and spirit.
A study conducted at UC San Francisco took 47 overweight women and divided them into two groups. Only one group received training in “conscious feeding” and meditated for 30 minutes a day. During the four-month period, the women who meditated lost more than one pound of abdominal fat and showed a large decrease in their cortisol levels (linked to stress) while the control group continued to gain weight.
Meditation can include from breath awareness to moving meditation or yoga. Choose the ones that resonate with you and stay with them. The more you practice, the easier it will become.
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PRANAYAMA (BREATHING EXERCISES)
The diaphragmatic breathing deep clean the lungs of carbon dioxide increases and oxygen consumption, giving more body vital energy. Deep abdominal breathing also massages your internal organs and promotes digestion by stimulating metabolism and encouraging peristalsis.
It has been proven that this oral hygiene practice eliminates toxins from the tongue better than a toothbrush. If your taste buds are covered with bacteria and plaque, it makes it harder to taste the food.
What you need to do is place the r aspador tongue as far back on your tongue as you are comfortable. With firm but gentle pressure, slide the scraper from the back of the tongue to the tip. Rinse and clean the scraper and repeat until there is no limestone residue. Use it for about 1 to 2 minutes.
As in scraping the tongue, when you eliminate toxins and bacteria from the mouth, this leads to detoxification of the body. One of the best practices is to take 1 to 2 tablespoons of organic sesame oil or coconut cold pressed and shake vigorously in the mouth as if to rinse. After about 15 to 20 minutes, spit out the saponified oil and discard it.
Numerous studies have shown the incredible health benefits of massage, including lowering blood pressure, increasing muscle tone, reducing stress and increasing lymphatic flow (which reduces edema). The National Institute of Health conducted a study in 2009 that concluded that abdominal massage successfully reduced constipation and increased bowel movements.
If you can’t get to a spa, try a self massage or Abhyanga with high quality organic oil . Ayurveda suggests using sesame or coconut oil.
- Heat the oil and apply it throughout the body from the scalp to the toes.
- Drink more oil and spend some time in each area of ??your body, using circular movements over the joints and long movements over the long areas of your body, such as the forearms and thighs.
- Spend some time where there are nerve endings such as the scalp, hands and feet.
- Massage your abdomen clockwise to improve digestion.
DRINK HOT WATER AND GINGER TEA
The cold water can actually prevent your digestive functions . Instead, drink plenty of warm or hot water and ginger tea during the day and with meals. Ginger tea also helps increase Agni (digestive fire) and promotes digestion.
Start with a cup of ginger tea in the morning and, if you wish, increase your intake from 2 to 4 cups per day.
USE THE 6 “TASTES” AT EACH MEAL
Sweet, sour, salty, bitter, spicy and astringent are considered the six flavors in Ayurveda. Each fruit, vegetable, grain, nut and legume has a particular “flavor” or a combination of some. Ideally, these should be included in each meal.
Be simple and use a mixture of Ayurvedic spices that includes flavors such as coriander, ginger, mustard, turmeric, cinnamon and cayenne, and sprinkle it in your meals.
It also helps to choose whole foods and make sure the meals have a rainbow of colors.
DO NOT EAT WHILE FEELING EXCESSIVELY EMOTIONAL
When you are worried about intense feelings, you may not be paying attention to the foods you are eating. This can lead to a poor choice of diet, overeating, poor digestion and dissatisfaction after a meal. Wait until the storm passes before picking up your fork.
Take a deep breath and on each exhale imagine letting the feelings pass. Repeat until you feel clear and focused. Then enjoy some food.
TAKE YOUR TIME EATING
Chewing is the first step in the digestive process. While chewing, the salivary glands produce digestive enzymes that help break down your food. Chewing for a longer period will also give your stomach more time to signal to your brain that it is full, which prevents it from eating more than necessary, so chew your food until it is as smooth as possible before swallowing.
EAT IN SILENCE
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing like eating a good meal while chatting with friends and family. But try to eat in silence sometimes too. When you do, you appreciate your food more and it is easier to hear your body’s signal that you are full, which helps to avoid overeating and leaves you more satisfied after your meal.
Focus on the aromas of your food and expand the textures and flavors with a conscious diet. Take your time, you have to be grateful for what nature offers and enjoy every bite.
Selena is a blogger and a guest contributor for a well-known brand that includes MESHEBLE. In her leisure time, she plays tennis.