About Ayurveda
Ayurveda - The Meaning the word ayurveda is made up of two sanskrit words ayur and veda meaning life' and knowledge' respectively. Taken together they mean the science of life' in a more limited sense, the term is used to imply the science of medicine.

The Origins of Ayurveda



The origins of Ayurveda are shrouded in antiquity. Legend has it that Brahma, the Creator (a part of the Hindu holy trinity of gods) first perceived it and taught it to his sons, Daksha Prajapati. Subsequently, Lord Dhanwantri, the God of healing and the teacher of the medical sciences passed it on the prominent Hindu sages Atreya, Bharadvaja, Kashyapa, Sushruta, Parashara and Charaka. Sage Atreya's disciple Agnivesha is said to have written the original Agnivesha Samhita around 1000 BC which has come down to us in the form of Charaka Samhita. This text is considered an authoritative pronouncement of Ayurvedic doctrine.

Principles



In Ayurveda we view a person as a unique individual made up of five primary elements. The elements are ether (space), air, fire, water, and earth. Just as in nature, we too have these five elements in us. When any of these elements are present in the environment, they will in turn have an influence on us. The foods we eat and the weather are just two examples of the presence of these elements. While we are a composite of these five primary elements, certain elements are seen to have an ability to combine to create various physiological functions. Ether and air combine to form what is known in Ayurveda as the Vatadosha. Vata governs the principle of movement and therefore can be seen as the force which directs nerve impulses, circulation, respiration, and elimination. Fire and water are the elements that combine to form the Pitta dosha. The Pitta dosha is the process of transformation or metabolism. The transformation of foods into nutrients that our bodies can assimilate is an example of a pitta function. Pitta is also responsible for metabolism in the organ and tissue systems as well as cellular metabolism. Finally, it is predominantly the water and earth elements which combine to form the Kaphadosha. Kapha is what is responsible for growth, adding structure unit by unit. Another function of the Kaphadosha is to offer protection. Cerebral-spinal fluid protects the brain and spinal column and is a type of Kapha found in the body. Also, the mucosal lining of the stomach is another example of the Kaphadosha protecting the tissues. We are all made up of unique proportions of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These ratios of the doshas vary in each individual and because of this, Ayurveda sees each person as a special mixture that accounts for our diversity.

Ayurveda gives us a model to look at each individual as a unique makeup of the three doshas and to thereby design treatment protocols that specifically address a persons health challenges. When any of the doshas ( Vata, Pitta or Kapha ) become accumulated, Ayurveda will suggest specific lifestyle and nutritional guidelines to assist the individual in reducing the dosha that has become excessive. We may also suggest certain herbal supplements to hasten the healing process. If toxins in the body are abundant, then a cleansing process known as Pancha Karma is recommended to eliminate these unwanted toxins.
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