Ayurveda - how to balance your Dosha
The stresses of living in a
material world has led celebrities such as Madonna, Demi Moore and Naomi
Campbell to seek solace in the ancient Indian therapy of ayurveda.
This 5,000 year-old holistic treatment aims to balance a persons ‘dosha’ and
create harmony within the mind and body by combining massage with diet and
Ayurveda, which comes from the Sanskrit words ayur which means ‘life’ and
veda which means ‘knowledge’, is known as the ‘science of life’. According to this
science each of us is believed to possess a pattern of energy that corresponds
with ayurveda’s three dosha types which are: vata types which tend to be thin,
creative and highly strung; pitta types which tend to be of medium build and
driven while kapha’s are large-sized and stable.
Ayurveda is one of the oldest treatments known to man
Each dosha is said to be made up from a pair of the five elements; water, fire,
air, earth and ether. An ayurvedic consultation begins the minute you walk through the door, with the
practitioner observing your gait and general appearance among other things. You
will then be asked about your medical history and your eyes, skin, abdomen and
tongue will be examined before the final diagnosis.
All this helps the therapist determine your dosha type and the nature of any
problem. Treatments range from external therapies, such as massage, to internal therapies, such as herbal medicines. In addition you may be advised
to make amendments to your diet and lifestyle changes which could include taking
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Ayurveda is becoming so popular around the world that it currently accounts for
US$60 billion of a US$120 billion global herbal market.
• detoxify and cleanse
• boost the effectiveness of
Once your diagnosis has been completed, the therapist will tailor a massage to
suit your specific needs – no two ayurvedic massages will be the same. The
massage is performed using herbal oils, selected to complement your
constitution. Pressure is applied directly onto the skin with an aim to
loosening the excess doshas and directing them towards the organs of
elimination. It also promotes circulation, flexibility and relives pain and
The massage techniques used include tapping, kneading and squeezing as well as
the more traditional massage strokes you would expect. The style and flow of the
massage is determined by who you are, and what your body needs for balance and
wellbeing at the time.
An ayurvedic therapist is trained to focus on the marma
points which are similar to pressure points in
reflexology, acupuncture, acupressure and Shiatsu. They are points along the
energy paths that map your body, which when pressed, release tension and unlock
When combined with other ayurvedic principles (eating a range of food
prescribed by one’s dosha or exercising at certain times of the day), the
massage is designed to:
• keep healthy people in good
• help those with medical
improve their overall well-being.
During the massage, which can
be quite oily, the therapist (or therapists) may utter dosha mantras designed to
help balance the body, mind and spirit.
Afterwards you’ll probably want to relax for a while, taking a long, leisurely
shower to wash off all the herbal oil. Sip some cool water to re-hydrate
yourself and enjoy feeling calm, composed and balanced for the rest of the day.
Different kinds of ayurvedic
• Ayurvedic Indian head
An individually prepared herbal oil massage
A dry lymphatic skin brushing followed by a herbal oil massage
A deep muscular massage using herbal oils
A two-therapist massage using warm herbal oils
A combination of a deep head, neck and shoulder massage, a facial lymphatic massage and aromatic steam
• Ayurvedic foot massage: A deep massage in which the therapist use his feet to massage you
A slimming treatment involving deep massage with herbal powders
• Ayurvedic Shirodhara:
A treatmentusing oil poured on the forehead.
• Ayurvedic face and marma therapy:
A facial using a herbal mask and individually prepared oil
• Chavutti thirumal:
is a full-body massage performed using the bare feet of the therapist. Massage strokes vary between long and short ones.
This treatment was developed from the ancient Southern Indian art of
Kalarippayattu - a fighting system - and was practised as a way of loosening
soft tissue and joints and lengthening the spine, to keep soldiers ready for
Today, this massage is particularly recommended for athletes, sports
participants and dancers. As the need for
natural therapies, disease prevention and a spiritual approach to life becomes
ever more important in this modern age it is not surprising more people than
ever are turning towards ayurveda.