Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word originating from Ayur = Life and Veda = Science. Ayurveda, in other words, is the science of life. For nearly 5000 years this holistic medicine has imparted knowledge of how to prevent illnesses, prolong life and maintain vitality. Modern medicine has only recently started looking at these issues.
Modern medical system believes everybody has the same anatomy, physiology and disease process-Ayurveda believes every body is different. It respects individuality.
Modern system looks for cure, Ayurveda looks for prevention.
Modern medical system treats mind and body as separate entities. Ayurveda has always believed “psyche” and “soma” are closely connected. Healthy body has healthy mind and vice versa. Health is achieved when one’s body mind and soul are healthy. Harmony within us and around us is important for being healthy.
Modern medical system often looks for and delivers quick fixes. Immediate symptomatic relief is the goal. Ayurveda on the other hand takes a systematic approach in getting rid of the underlying cause of ill health. Imbalance in life forces is seen as the cause of ill health. This approach can take longer but once achieved results do tend to last.
Ayurveda has so much to offer! The basic concepts, vocabulary and principles are very different to modern medicine. In order to understand Ayurveda it is important to become familiar with these concepts and notions. You can enroll for individual or group courses in Ayurveda at Ayuspa and quench your thirst for knowledge.
Health is a state of harmony between our internal (physical psychological, spiritual) and external, social and micro/macro cosmos. Health is therefore a state of harmony and not only absence of disease.
Ayurveda gives emphasis to longevity. Effects of our karma (our deeds), genetic factors and spirituality receive equal importance. Through harmony and healthy life style, Ayurveda teaches us to achieve wellbeing, to be free of envy, anger, resentment and ego problems.
Imagine what a happy place our beautiful world would become if everyone followed Ayurvedic principles. We can at least make a start with ourselves and our immediate families. Here is how.
Ayurveda believes all living and non living matters are made of five elements. Ether, air, fire, water and earth. These basic elements combine with each other to produce life forces (called doshas in Ayurveda) which in turn govern our bodily functions.
Doshas are life forces formed through a unique blend of certain physical, cognitive and emotional characteristics. Three types of Doshas are described in Ayurveda – Kapha, Pitta and Vata. Their names suggest their characteristics and origins. Vata is composed of Space and Air, Pitta of Fire and Water, and Kapha of Earth and Water. Thus, those of us with dominant Vata will be quick thinking, thin, and fast moving, Pitta dominant will be blessed with a fiery personality and oily skin whereas Kapha ones will have a solid body frame and yet calm temperament.
Doshas make us who we are- they change depending on what we eat, how we sleep, our stress level, our daily routine and so on. As Doshas change we change- the way we think, the way we feel, the way we respond to stress –almost everything changes.
Knowledge of how Doshas work helps us modulate our health. Ayurveda empowers us to enjoy good health by making small changes in our routine or dietary habits without having to lean on expensive and sometimes harmful medicines.
Knowing our Prakrity helps us understand our vulnerability to develop particular dosha imbalance. Understanding our unique body type, what aggravates and pacifies doshas helps us gain more control on our health. At AyuSpa you can learn to respond to these changes by making appropriate adjustments in your daily routines, diet and exercise regime.
More about our body
Ayurveda divides flavours into six basic tastes or rasas. A properly balanced meal should satisfy all six taste. Diet must also be modified to suit our life forces.
Ayurveda believes that seven essential tissues make up human body. If we lose any of these essential tissues illnesses prevail.
Believe it or not by examining a person’s skin type it is possible to predict their taste preferences. This happens because doshas are common factor to both: our skin type and our taste preferences. Take some examples and try for yourself.
- Dry skin (Vata) prefers salty, sour and sweet
- Sensitive skin (Pitta) prefers bitter, sweet, astringent
- Oily skin (Kapha) prefers pungent, bitter, astringent
The food we eat forms Dhatus- the building blocks of our body. There is some merit in the old saying that we become what we eat. The efficient machine called human body, after metabolising what we have eaten ensures waste products are eliminated. The waste products are called amas (i.e. toxins) in Ayurveda. Their accumulation leads to ill health and detoxification leads to restoration of health.
Waste products are eliminated through hair, nails, intestine, urine, sweat, ear wax and secretions from the eyes and genitals. This happens routinely without our conscious awareness. Disease sets in if elimination of Mala is hampered.
Five elements in various permutations and combinations make three basic life forces. These life forces vary in their proportion and makes us unique as individuals. They govern things like our taste preferences and skin conditions. Seven tissues make up our bodies. Well functioning systems eliminate toxins efficiently. Illnesses set in when this system fails. Ayurveda has the knowledge of restoring this imbalance or “dis-ease”.
Ayurveda and Beauty
Ayurveda is well known for preventing and curing illnesses as well as promoting health.
Less known, especially in the Western world, is the great Ayurvedic tradition of enhancing beauty. With its wealth of knowledge of herbs and lifestyle factors Ayurveda is in a perfect position to enhance beauty. The basic idea is- find health and beauty will find you. Ask yourself who would you consider beautiful- someone with layers of makeup or someone who has a natural glow?
Ayurvedic notion of beauty based on health is more complete, more permanent and brings humans closer to nature.
An Ayurvedic physician will undertake a detailed constitution analysis first. This includes taking a detailed history, physical examination, inquiry in to taste, habits, life styles, preferences for temperature, temperament etc, pulse examination and tongue examination. This enquiry enables the physician to understand the person’s constitution and to detect any imbalance in the doshas. Steps are then recommended for rectifying the imbalance.
Herbal preparations, diet changes and lifestyle modifications are offered along with special massage techniques to make the skin glow, remove the dulling effects of toxins (internal and external). A state of harmony is achieved, happiness prevails and we enjoy beauty from within.
Ayurvedic approach is based on empowering the person with knowledge about the constitution, state of doshas and steps for rectifying any imbalance. Knowledge does not sit with the physician alone. It is shared with the person whose life and health is under scrutiny. Understanding and knowledge enables us to take control of our health. Learning to prevent unnecessary suffering we live a long and healthy life. Beauty then becomes a by product.
Ayurveda takes a comprehensive approach when it comes to restoring balance. This is done by:
By paying attention to food, stress, activities, daily routine etc we can increase or decrease the doshas and restore balance. Everything is considered from changing the time to bed or to rise, varying different food combinations, spices, type of yoga and meditation. More importantly modifications are individualized.
Herbs and metals:
Ayurveda has used herbs for nearly 5000 years. Extracts of some of these herbs are now being used in modern medicines. Adhatoda vasaka is used in cough preparations, Rowlfia serpentina for high blood pressure, gold salt for rheumatoid arthritis – they are all from Ayurvedic pharmacopeia.
At AyuSpa we source herbs in raw or processed forms from the most reliable Indian Ayurvedic manufacturers. Our products are selected for their beauty enhancing properties.
It may surprise many to know that Ayurveda has a very rich surgical tradition. Intestinal reconstruction, plastic surgery of nose, making skin flaps, burr hole taps in the human skull are only a few which are now being used in modern surgery. Believe it or not many of Ayurvedic surgical instruments which were based on animal mouths and claws are now used in modern surgery.
This is the most widely used method in Ayurvedic treatment.
In simple terms it means five activities all geared toward balancing Doshas in the body. The five activities are:
- Snehana or Massage
- Swedana or fomentation sweating,
- Basti : Medicated enemas or oils are used in this method to clean the colon or sinuses which are places where bugs and toxins accumulate.
- Virechana or purging through herbal laxatives
- Vamana or vomiting with the help of herbs,
Pancha Karma when practiced correctly can be curative and preventative. It is best used in conjunction with beauty packages described below. If done conjointly benefits are enhanced because body is cleansed, digestive system is rectified and whole metabolism improves.
The science of Panchakarma has given us the unique gift of Marma massage. Using warm oil and constant circular motions various pressure points (known as Marma points) are massaged. This is turn helps us eliminate toxins and streamline the energy flow. Depending on the need, marma massage can focus on:
- Back and Shoulder
- Whole body
Ayurveda believes we radiate beauty if we are in a state of harmony. Real beauty comes from within and is not skin deep. This is a fundamental difference between Ayurevdic and most modern cosmetology approaches. Modern cosmetology is usually devoted to skin care. Ayurveda is about finding peace, restoring harmony, and achieving inner contentment. Beauty then becomes a natural by product.
This does not mean that you have to work hard to unleash your inner beauty.
At AyuSpa, we have developed packages to stimulate your Marma points, clear your body of toxins which could have been suppressing your natural glow, and help you make lifestyle modifications. Everything we do is individualized to your needs. We never compromise on quality. We never settle for anything but the best.
We aspire to help you achieve a state of radiant health. We embrace the Vedic concept of beauty which is encompassed in the Sanskrit expression “Sat chit ananda” which is made of three words “pure, bliss and consciousness”. Visit us and let us take care of you and together we will achieve the state of “sat-chit-ananda”.
Ayurveda and Marma Massage
At AyuSpa we use marma massage technique. This is based on a four thousand year old Sanskrit treatise called Sushruta samhita. Sushruta was a renowned Ayurvedic physician who mapped 107 marma points on human body. 22 marma points are located on the lower extremities, 22 on the arms, 12 are on the chest and stomach, 14 are on the back, and 37 are situated on the head and neck. These marma points are massaged using variety of strokes. Their selection is based on your health or beauty needs.
The great teacher Sushruta said massaging Marma points has rejuvenating, healing and relaxing effects. We can achieve health by promoting energy flow, unblocking energy channels and detoxifying our body.
Marma massage works best if taken as a course of five or more sessions.
Long term and cumulative benefits include:
- Reduces stress level
- Eliminates toxins (called ama)
- Prevents illnesses from wear and tear of body
- Reduces sense of lethargy.
- Improves resistance against infections
- Releases pent up tension and
- Brings emotional stability
Immediate benefits of Marma massage:
- Relief from muscle tension
- Pain relief
- Relief from headache, neck pain
- Healthier skin appearance (complexion, circulation and tone)
In summary, simulating or massaging marma points not only benefits the area massaged but also improves function of connecting organs. Done over a course of time Marma massage has more systemic benefits.
A typical marma massage session lasts between 60 to 90 minutes. Ayurveda recommends having Marma massage on either empty stomach or few hours after a light meal. Steam bath or warm shower are recommended after the session so that the toxins which have been brought to surface are eliminated through the skin pores. Drinking plenty of warm water is also a good idea for flushing the toxins through the kidneys.
Ayurveda uses essential oils for health promotion and prevention of illness. Essential oils can have either cooling or heating or effects.
Depending on prakrity and the state of Dosha relevant oil is used for massage, steam treatment and even inhalation. Ayurvedic oils enter the brain through inhalation, and affect our mood by working on neurotransmitters. A happy person is a beautiful person! Ayurvedic oils make the skin glow and look younger.