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Ayurvedic Medicine

Ayurveda, meaning "science of life" is a natural healing system deriving from India. The system of medicine places equal emphasis on the body, spirit & mind to restore the body's harmony & health. Main treatments comprise exercise, meditation, diet, herbs, massage & controlled breathing.
Ayurvedic Medicine

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History: How does it work?:
A typical appointment: Timings/ Cost/ Sessions:
Is it right for you?
Ayurvedic medicine, also know as Ayurveda, is an ancient holistic health care system native to India and over 2,000 years old. Ayurveda in English means "science of life" and its philosophy comes from ancient Hindu texts suggesting that a harmony exists between the environment and the individual and the actions of one influence the other.

Two medical texts from the schools of physicians Charaka and Sushruta (c300 BC) form the basis of Ayurvedic medicine. These ancient texts cover topics such as pathology, anatomy, diagnosis, treatment, surgery, lifestyle and pharmacy. Charaka was the first physician to reference the body's immune, digestion and metabolic systems.

Ayurvedic medicine practitioners use a variety of methods for diagnosis and treatment. Ayurveda methods today comprise of touch, observation, physical therapies, herbal remedies and health advice.

Ayurveda looks to balance the mind, body and spirit to prevent illness and promote well-being. It does not look to treat specific symptoms but the root cause and assesses the elements that make up the individual. The three essential bodily processes of a person are known as doshas. The three doshas are vata, pitta and kapha and in regular balance maintain the health of the individual. Where an imbalance exists, physical or emotional illness can occur.

Vata controls circulation, breathing, the nervous system and waste removal. It also controls thoughts and emotional energy and is usually the first source of disease. Pitta governs metabolism, digestion, sensory perception and behaviour. Kapha maintains the immune system, joint mobility and physical structure such as bones and skin.

The Ayurvedic practitioner examines these three doshas and applies various methods to help restore or retain their balance. Ayurveda achieves this through nutritional advice, impurity removal (known as Panchakarma), physical stretches and exercise (e.g. Yoga), massage (e.g. Indian Head Massage, Abhyangam), herbal remedies and essential oils.

Be prepared - It is advisable to choose an Ayurvedic medicine practitioner who is a member of, or is accredited by, an association or professional body. This ensures your Ayurveda session is carried out in a suitable environment and by someone who has received formal training and ongoing development. Members are also bound to a code of ethics and practice. The main Ayurvedic organisations are listed at the foot of this article. On finding an Ayurveda practitioner, ask about their expertise and testimonials from previous clients.

Before your session, spend time thinking about what you expect to achieve with Ayurveda. Many people use Ayurveda to improve their quality of life and to reduce stress. Ayurvedic medicine also has methods to help with many types of disease, disorders, allergies and pain relief. Consider what your needs are and consult with a local practitioner who can advise you on the benefits of Ayurveda in relation to your condition.

Depending on the methods your Ayurvedic practitioner uses you will need to prepare for your appointment accordingly. General advice is to avoid alcohol on the day of your appointment and drink plenty of water. Have a light snack (nothing spicy or fatty) a couple of hours before you see the Ayurvedic practitioner. If you are to have Panchakarma (detoxification), your Ayurvedic practitioner will discuss a pre-Panchakarma routine before your receive the treatment.

Wear loose, comfortable clothing and allow plenty of time to get to your appointment; hurrying will affect your physical and mental well-being and be detrimental to the effects of Ayurveda.

What to expect - During your first appointment, your Ayurvedic practitioner will begin with an assessment of your general health, medical history, diet and lifestyle. They may also ask about your sleep patterns or emotional state. They will then perform a physical examination and take your pulse. From this assessment the Ayurvedic practitioner is able to determine the state of the doshas within your body and recommend a course of Ayurvedic treatment.

Depending on your course of treatment you should expect different things. Panchakarma, known as PK, involves the removal of toxins from the body through special diets, fasting, herbal remedies or medicated enemas. You will need to have prepared for PK and your practitioner will provide details of what to do and what to expect.

Massage therapy techniques for Ayurveda are called abhyanga and can be used on the head and face, neck and shoulders, limbs, back, chest, abdomen or as a full body massage. Pressure and movements will be applied using the therapist's fingers, hands, knuckles, elbows, knees and sometimes feet. Some methods may be a little uncomfortable but the therapist will not go beyond your comfort zone.

To relieve stress and reduce the symptoms of certain ailments your Ayurvedic practitioner may utilise Yoga and breathing techniques. Yoga postures strengthen, stretch and compress different parts of your body. This will help realign your body's structure and improve its physical function. Postures also enhance circulation and flush out toxins that may have built up. Breathing exercises will calm your mind by increasing oxygen levels to the brain while improving lung capacity and energy levels.

Your Ayurveda treatment may involve special diets and herbal remedies to improve digestion or essential natural oils that can aid headaches or ease chest complaints. Your practitioner will explain the herbs and oils used in Ayurvedic medicine and advise you on how and when to use them.

The various methods applied in Ayurvedic medicine give different sensations and experiences. Detoxification from PK, massage and Yoga will renew and refresh your body but be aware that it can cause physical and mental reactions. Side-effects of Ayurveda, however disruptive to your usual state, are a sign of the body responding to the treatment. If you have any concerns discuss them with your practitioner.

Your first Ayurveda session may take longer than subsequent sessions as your practitioner diagnoses your condition and recommends a course of treatment. Depending on the type of treatment you receive will also affect the time you will be at your session. Expect to spend two hours at the initial consultation and treatment and 60-90 minutes for follow-up appointments.

The cost for Ayurveda varies so check with your local practitioner before making an appointment. The amount you pay will vary by the type of treatment you receive. Ayurvedic treatments range from £15 - £50 each on average. If you are prescribed a herbal remedy be aware this may incur an additional cost.

The number of Ayurveda sessions you'll need will depend on your condition. Ayurvedic medicine has a number of methods and techniques and you may require a few appointments to fully explore all of them. Your practitioner will advise on you this during your first appointment and throughout the course of your treatment. Many people continue to use Ayurveda after their condition has been treated as way to promote good health and prevent further problems.

Ayurvedic medicine is a multi-disciplined health care system that is safe and effective for a variety of conditions when applied by a trained practitioner. Due to its adaptable nature and philosophy of treating the root cause of symptoms it is beneficial to people of all ages.

Consult with your GP and Ayurvedic medicine practitioner about any problems or concerns you have as they are trained to recognise what can and cannot be treated with the therapy.

This therapy or modality may help with:

Abdominal Pain Acne Addiction
Alcoholism Allergies Anemia
Arthritis Asthma Back Pain
Bad Breath (Halitosis) Blood pressure Breathing disorders
Bronchitis Circulation Problems Constipation
Dementia Dermatitis Diarrhoea
Digestive Problems Dry eye Dry mouth
Ear Ache Eating Disorders Eczema
Excessive Sweating Fever Flu
Food sensitivities Gastroenteritis (stomach flu) Glaucoma
Glue ear Headaches Heart Burn
Heart disease Hormone Imbalance Hyperhidrosis
Immune System Dysfunction Incontinence Indigestion
Influenza (Flu) Insomnia Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Itching Joint Pain Ligament Sprain
Lumbago Menopausal symptoms Migraines
Mouth ulcers Muscle Cramps Nausea
Neck pain Neck stiffness Obesity
Osteoporosis Pregnancy Rashes
Rheumatism Runny Nose Sexual Dysfunction
Shoulder pain Sinusitis Smoking Addiction
Sore throat Sports injuries Sprain (Ankle, Knee)
Stomach cramps Stress Tiredness
Tonsillitis Urinary Problems Vomiting
Warts Watery Eye Weight Management

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