Integrative Medicine uses a variety of healing modalities along with conventional treatments.
In the next couple of blogs, I will talk about some of my favorite healing interventions.
Let’s start with one that is really close to my heart, Ayurveda.
Ayurveda is a 5,000 year old healing system that originates in India. I appreciate this healing because it focuses a lot on prevention, on the importance of a healthy digestion, and mind-body approaches.
According to Ayurveda, we are made of the same universal elements found in nature: fire, water, earth, air, and ether.
the different combinations of these elements, called doshas, which constitute our mind-body types and personalities are what make us unique. The three doshas are: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. All of us, including children, have one dosha more predominant, with some of us having 2 or even all 3 balanced. In ayurvedic medicine, an out-of-balance dosha contributes to certain symptoms: physically, mentally, and emotionally. Learning about your Ayurvedic body type will give you actionable information on how to reawaken the body’s inner guidance system. The process of balancing a dosha involves accessing our “inner pharmacy” by engaging all the senses.
Vata Dosha – Space and Air
Vata people tend to be thin, tall, active, artistic, chatty and social butterflies. Vata is also the predominant dosha of the fall and winter season when things in nature get windy, dry, and cold. Vata, being the lightest element, of air and ether, it is the first one that gets out of balance and pushes the other elements into disharmony and disease. Spending time outside, in windy cold, weather, can be a factor that gets Vata (space/air) out-of-balance and makes the body more vulnerable to illness.
Vata out of balance in the mind causes kids to feel anxious, restless, jumpy, or distracted. In the body it can show up as cough, nasal congestion, dry skin, cracking joints, insomnia, bloating, or constipation.
Oil massages, called Abyanga, use warm, sweet, and sour aromas are generally the most balancing for Vata. These aromas include lovely orange, rose, vanilla. Vata people (like me!) don’t like the cold weather. Keep the thermostat littler bit warmer and keep an jacket or blanket along with you in the cold seasons.
Pitta Dosha – Fire and Water
Pitta people are charismatic, outgoing, and athletic. They have natural leadership skills and they also enjoy a challenge and are known for their sharp intellect.
The Pitta friend or partner can be the fire in the fireplace warming up the house or the out of control fire that burns down the whole place! While under stress, the Pitta people typically gets angry like a bubbling volcano.
Pitta should avoid spicy or hot food and opt for mild flavors. Cool foods, like cucumber, watermelon, avocados, and apples, can help cool down the fiery Pitta. Diffuse calming aromas like lavender, sandalwood, and jasmine around the home.
Meditation is a wonderful tool to calm a Pitta mind, and children as young as 6-7 years old can learn to meditate.
Kapha Dosha – Water and Earth
Kapha people tend to be more stocky in build, slower, very patient, and easy-going. When they’re out-of-balance, they can become very stubborn and have difficulty changing their minds.
Think of a balanced Kapha as the perfect mixture of earth and water, making a soft, malleable clay, but an out-of-balance Kapha can be a dry, hard brick that would rather break than take any other shape or form.
Kapha should avoid processed and canned food, dairy products and sweets. Pungent and bitter flavors, like garlic, radishes, collard greens, and ginger may bring a Kapha back into balance. Limit red meat consumption, and use small amounts of fats and oils.
Encourage your Kapha friends and family members to stay very active. Exercise is good for everyone but especially for Kapha people who have a tendency of being inactive and love their couches.
According to Ayurveda, we all are born with a “blueprint”, which is our ideal state of balance. As we age, go through life, are getting sick etc, we get out of balance.
The goal of Ayurveda is to bring the body-mind-spirit back into balance, every day.