Ayurvedic Principles and Self Healing
Ayurvedic medicine and principles are grounded in historical texts, despite not being supported by a large amount of modern scientific data. Some of the earliest texts addressing Vedic principles appeared during the mid-second millennium BC in India — part of the appropriately named “Vedic period.”
Over the following years, medical practitioners have added to these ancient practices, techniques, and approaches with preparations and surgical procedures for a large variety of ailments and conditions. In general, as modern science has revealed the root cause of more and more conditions, Vedic medicine has evolved to address their root causes.
The Vedic approach recognizes not just the five elements of which everything in the universe is composed, but also seven elements that make up the human body. A healthy balance of plasma, blood, flesh, fat, bone, marrow, and semen (or female reproductive tissue) is thought to prevent most ailments. As such, returning these elements to a healthy balance is thought to treat abnormalities that result in illness. Despite it’s obvious close relationship with modern medicine, Ayurvedic principles are a very different approach to modern medicine for a variety of reasons:
- It is an all around approach that is meant to improve the entire body (or life energy) and thus recover from illness rather than addressing the symptoms of a single condition.
- It approaches every individual with different routines and cures in order to be a more effective remedy for different body types. This system recognizes that although mutliple people may show the exact same symptoms, their bodily make up may be very different and require differing methods of treatment.
- Ayurvedic medicine recognizes the flow off all intellect and knowledge as stemming from the same source, known as Paramatman. It combines this principle with the laws and balance of nature, or Prakriti, to become an all encompasing system of medicine.
- This system believes that the same rules that guide the galaxies and solar systems are present on a much smaller level in the human body. The three guidelines for this set of energy are referred to as the Tridosha.
- Much like Yoga, Ayurveda is mainly focused with the union of the body and mind. It believes that, through Ayurvedic principles, it is a way for people to tap into the deeper aspects of human demeanor.
- The body (in fact every entity in the universe) is made up of a combination of space, air, fire, water and earth.
How to Live in an Ayurvedic Way
Ayurveda has many rules and guidelines to govern how a person lives a more healthy and balanced existance. Some of the rules include:
- Design your sleep schedule so that you wake up when the sun is first rising.
- Spend a few minutes outside when the sun is first coming up.
- Drink a glass of warm water when you first wake up to help eliminate overnight toxins.
Release of Waste and Bodily Function
- Deficate twice a day with your first time being in the morning.
- Do not deficate immediately after eating. Urinate after eating.
- Properly inspect waste to locate signs of an upcoming illness or condition. If you see signs of an irregularity, begin a fast.
- Do not stop yourself from eating, eliminating waste, quenching thirst, sleeping, yawning, vomiting, releasing gas and ejaculating.
- Take a bath and brush your teeth every day.
- Gargle with salt water and turmeric once every week to keep the mouth and throat clean.
- Use warm water and saliva to wash your eyes.
- Regularly cut your hair and nails.
- Never wear unclean clothing.
- Exercise is good for the body but must not be done too frequently as it can form an addiction.
- Different types of people need different types of exercise (kaphas-heavy, pittas-moderate, vatas-yoga).
- Recommends walks, swims and laughs for optimum exercise.
- Stresses how important massage is for the body.
- Perform regular self massage with the occassional professional massages.
- When massaging, follow the direction of hair growth and pay careful attention to the scalp and bottoms of your feet.
- Ayurveda stresses that meditation is very important for longevity and stress reduction.
- Meditation can actually relieve hunger and refresh the mind.
- For the most effective meditation, meditate in sunlight.
- Clothes should always be light and open to the air.
- Use materials such as linen, silk, wool and cotton for your clothes.
- Make sure that your clothes are always clean and abstain from wearing other’s clothes.
- Do not wear shoes that are the property of someone else or once belonged to someone else.
- Remain barefoot as often as you can and do not wear shoes while in your own house.
- When choosing sandals, choose wooden ones rather than leather or rubber.
- Employment depends on the type of person that you are.
- Vatas should avoid cold jobs and choose jobs that offer both excitement and routine.
- Pittas should avoid hot jobs and choose jobs that are administrative or challenging.
- Kaphas should avoid stressful jobs and choose jobs that employ them as leaders.
- Choose pets that relax and rejuvinate your body.
- Vatas should choose dogs or small pets like guinea pigs or hamsters.
- Pittas should choose cats for their personality and challenge.
- Kaphas should choose birds or large dogs for their chirpiness or need for exercise.
Choosing Sexual Partners
- Consider choosing a sexual partner that is as much like you as possible.
- Likewise, partners that are alike tend to clash because of similar defects.
- Choose a partner that makes you want to better yourself and stimulates you.
- Avoid sleeping for more than 15 minutes unless you are sleeping at night.
- Do not eat a full meal very soon before going to sleep.
- Sleeping on your right side is good for relaxation.
- Sleeping on your left side is good for digestion and sexual activity.
- Sleeping on your back or stomach is unhealthy.
- Wash your hands, feet and face to sleep better and more productively.
- Sleep 6-8 hours every night and avoid sleeping in the kitchen.
Ayurveda for Life
However, despite the physical and mental benefits touted by individuals who adhere to a Vedic lifestyle, much of the recent scientific research into its practices has revealed not effective medical treatments, but instead, legitimate safety concerns.
One 1990 study, when Ayurvedic medicine reached the height of its popularity in the West, found that 41% of the Ayurvedic products imported from India has unsafe levels of arsenic, lead, and/or mercury.
Later in 2008, a similar study performed by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 20% of the 230 examined products developed in both the US and India contained mercury, lead, or arsenic.
Despite the dubious evidence on Ayurvedic medicine, some of the principles of a Vedic lifestyle can be helpful for some people. In essence, living in an Ayurvedic way involves the careful analysis of every activity and basic function of your body. It invites you to constantly search for a better way to perform an exercise or basic task. Balancing all aspects of life is essential for the proper utilization of Ayurvedic principles. Ayurveda views the body as a combination of all 5 of the major components of life (space, air, fire, water and earth). Unbalancing of any of these elements is one of the primary reasons for illness and disease.