Ayurvedic Treatment of Imbalance
Quite often I am asked, “what do you do exactly?” For a brief moment I recollect the basic marketing advice to respond to such a question in two sentences or less. As an ayurvedic practitioner, our scope of services are so incredibly wide that this is no small feat.
I facilitate healing by utilizing all of the senses (gateways for disease and health): touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. During an ayurvedic consultation, I assess what is out of balance and customize the treatment appropriately. As an ayurvedic practitioner I am always looking for which elements, expressed through the three primary doshas (vata, pitta, kapha) to serve as the foundation of my protocols.
In ayurveda, each person is born with a constitutional type that remains unchanged through her/his life. I may mix and match from any of the categories regardless of birth constitution, depending on the current imbalance and what need is most pressing. In general, my focus is lifestyle, digestion, nutrition, detoxification and rejuvenation.
Healing For Vata
If vata (air) is high, I create a nurturing experience. High vata can express itself through the following conditions: chronic anxiety, nervousness, exhaustion, indecisiveness, rambling, inconsistencies, unfinished projects, fear of all kinds, unexplainable physical imbalances, physical pain, difficulty breathing, constipation, self-doubt, trembling, shakiness, loss of balance, desperation, fear of being alone, dry hair, dry skin, dry nails, emaciation, lack of appetite.
For this condition, the body needs to be reminded that everything is okay. This imbalance needs the most rest, safety, and comfort of the three. This is the most powerful type of imbalance. Ayurveda teaches that vata excess contributes to 80% of all disease manifestations. Vata is most balanced by mantra (vibration), conscious breathing, warm diet, and oil massage.
Healing For Pitta
If pitta (fire) is high I create an engaging experience that gives a reward experience. Pitta excess manifests itself as: anger, irritability, tyranny, control, heat, inflammation, hair loss, dominance, revenge, competition, inflammation, fast digestion, acne, sour taste, sour body odor, and constant hunger.
For this condition, the intellect needs to be satisfied. The client needs to know why they are doing what they are doing, and what reward will come of their efforts. Reading assignments, home practices, plans, and programs are heavily important for these types. When this need is met, pitta types can let go and trust the experience. Ayurvedic treatments like shirodhara (warm oil poured on the forehead), or netra basti (a ghee treatment for the eyes) can help cool a pitta type hot head, and purify mental perception.
Healing For Kapha
If kapha (earth) is high, I create a stimulating and invigorating experience. Kapha excess manifests itself as: melancholy, depression, nostalgia, weight gain, sweet craving, resentment, brewing over the past, hoarding, greed, hanging on, water retention, slow digestion, mucus in the lungs, congestion, and stagnate lymph.
For this condition, we address letting go. We stimulate the body with vigorous massage, exercise, heat, dry brushing, and/or herbal scrubs. We construct and participate in rituals that focus on letting go of the past, write letters that express suppressed feelings or beliefs, clean out closets (both literally and figuratively) and simplify our living situations, and emotional realities.
Healing For All Types
Lifestyle therapies for all types include: rituals and rites of passages for major transitions or intentions, mindfulness regarding dietary choices, and practices that connect oneself to his/her individual purpose.
Lifestyle strategies that include sleep regularity, eating habits, and some daily practice of self-inquiry (meditation, prayer, breathing, etc).
Digestion is the foundation of health and immunity in ayurveda. Diet is constructed on an individual basis in order to facilitate properly functioning digestion. If digestion is compromised, we work to identify and eradicate the contributing factors, and then we develop a protocol to heal the intestinal lining and peristalsis function.
If digestion is working well, we will work on ayurvedic dietetics. This aspect of my programming is heavily based on learning. I do not give out diet sheets and grocery lists. My job is to teach my clients how to make these things for themselves by looking at things from an ayurvedic perspective. My experience has taught me that diet sheets do not sustain will power. Mostly because it is boring and makes diet feel like a chore. Few people willingly stay on a ‘diet’ for long. Joy is what fuels our desire to eat well. By reshaping how we perceive food we can naturally crave what is good for us.
If lifestyle, digestive function, and solid nutrition practices are in place, detoxification can be most effective. If any of these areas are weak, we pose the risk of detoxification as a temporary fix, or extreme health measure, that only backfires in the end. I can remember breaking numerous fasts in my early wellness days over copious amounts of food and poor decisions. I have one memory in particular, where chimichangas and margaritas marked the end of a ten day juice fast, and resulted in a fever and terrible cold sweat! It pains me to see a client spend an exceptional amount of money on a detox program to see him/her come out making similar destructive decisions.
Proper detoxification is an art that needs to be approached realistically and respectfully toward many aspects of current life situation, timing, etc. Incidentally, just by living an ayurvedic based lifestyle we are always detoxing our excesses.
Many of the rejuvenation practices over lay with lifestyle, but emphasize foods and herbs high in antioxidants, immune stimulating properties, and systemic protection from stress. In addition, there are home practices that cause the nervous system to deeply rest to facilitate repair and relaxation.