LIFESTYLE MEDICINE PERSPECTIVE:

Ayurvedic Methods 

 
 Ayurveda means the science or knowledge of life. A healing tradition that originated more than 5,000 years ago, Ayurveda is a combination of science and philosophy derived from the ancient Vedic texts of India. Ayurvedic physicians teach that it is possible to achieve perfect health by restoring the balance or harmony that nature always intended within our mind, body, spirit and the environment in which we live.


In a recent article on treating the causes of disease through lifestyle medicine, Dr. Mark Hyman was quoted as saying that “most of the chronic diseases that affect 160 million Americans and account for 78% of our healthcare costs are caused by lifestyle and environmental factors – namely ourdiet, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, chronic stress, and environmental toxins” (Mark A. Hyman, M.D., Dean Ornish, M.D., Michael Roizen, M.D., “Lifestyle Medicine: Treating the Causes of Disease,” Altern Ther Health Med. 2009;15(6):12-14).

Dr. Hodson teaches the lifestyle medical approach by providing healthy nutritional diets,encouraging exercise, teaching meditation to reduce stress, and providing clients with lists of safe alternative household and personal products to reduce the environmental toxic burden in our bodies and our homes as a more effective solution to chronic disease than any other medical intervention. Treating the causes of disease through changes in diet and lifestyle fundamentally influences the basic biological mechanism of genetic expression that leads to inflammation (primary cause of all disease), oxidative stress, and metabolic dysfunction (obesity).

The primary Ayurvedic belief is that everything within the universe, including ourselves, is composed of five elements (space, air, fire, water, and earth) called tridoshas. By correcting the balance of the tridoshas within ourselves and in relation to the world around us, we will promote health on all levels. Good health, according to the Ayurvedic philosophy, is a state of balance between the mind, body, spirit, and the environment. This balance, or harmony, is achieved through diet, exercise, lifestyle changes, and meditation. We offer custom-designed diets to restore the body’s natural balance, teach meditation, yoga, and chi gong exercises, and encourage our clients to make permanent lifestyle changes to restore their balance, providing them with the information they need to live a long and healthy life.

The basic elements of Ayurvedic medicine include:

  • Detoxification by panchakarma (oil massage therapies) 
  • Diet (tridosha pacifying foods) and herbal medications
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Vata dosha – space and air elements

Vata people tend to be thin with dry, rough and/or dark skin, large, crooked, or protruding teeth, have a small, thin mouth, and small, active eyes. They speak quickly, sleep little, are very active, have a quick and restless mind, and express themselves in sports or creative pursuits. They avoid confrontations, feeling anxious often with an unpredictable temper. They can forget to eat, and like sweet, sour and salty foods. They are moderately thirsty, are often constipated and tend to be emotionally insecure.

Disturbed Vata – rheumatic and joint pain, arthritis, constipation, abnormal blood pressure and heart disease, and mental instability

  • Pitta dosha – fire and water elements

Pitta people usually have a medium height and build, with soft, fair skin, light brown or reddish hair, small teeth, a medium size mouth and penetrating eyes. They speak clearly, often speak sharply, and enjoy light but uninterrupted sleep. They are intelligent, sometimes aggressively so, have a clear memory, and often fanatic in their beliefs. They are often jealous, aggressive, and easily agitated. They love to eat and eat a lot, they like sweet, bitter, and sharp tasting foods, and have an unquenchable thirst. They have regular soft bowels and tend to be emotionally intense.

Disturbed Pitta – impaired visual perception, burning sensations all over body, abnormal or subnormal temperature, impaired skin health and complexion, confused mind and anger, yellow urine, feces, eyes and skin.

  • Kapha dosha – water and earth elements

Kapha people are usually large framed and often heavy in weight, with thick, wavy and oily hair, large full lips, with large eyes and often have thick, dark lashes. They speak slowly, need a great deal of sleep, think things through calmly and rationally, have a  long memory, but are slow to learn, with poor short-term memory recall. They stick to their beliefs, can be calm and caring, but can also be greedy and possessive. They have a slow, steady appetite and enjoy bitter, pungent and sharp tastes. Their bowels are slow moving. They are very loving and patient, with sweet personalities and tend to be emotionally secure.

Disturbed Kapha – emaciation of body, loss of oiliness, flabbiness, weakness, susceptibility to diseases, impotence, sterility, immobility, loss of joint function, lethargy, fatigue, confusion, ignorance, lack of understanding.