Ayurveda Treatment Guidelines
Once a patient is assessed for his or her dosha and diagnosed, the practitioner treats the patient through a variety of holistic methods that are designed to pacify any doshas that are out of balance. Pitta, vata, and kapha each have factors that will aggravate it, and tendencies towards certain conditions or illnesses. Likewise, there are dosha-specific supplements and seasonal conditions that will pacify these types.1
Regardless of type, there are general treatment guidelines that are employed in Ayurveda, with specific elements to individualize the treatment to the patient’s dosha:1-2
Eliminating impurities. A process called panchakarma is designed to help cleanse the body of undigested food and other toxins that can lead to disease. Panchakarma works predominantly on the digestive and respiratory systems, and treatment practices include enemas, massage, and nasal sprays.
Relieving symptoms. The practitioner may suggest various options, including exercises, breathing techniques, herbal remedies, and changes in diet and lifestyle.
Increasing resistance to disease. Similar to what western medicine refers to as boosting the immune system; this usually involves the prescription of herbal and nutritional remedies to help strengthen the basic constitution. Ayurveda currently has more than 600 herbal formulas and 250 single plant drug treatment options, in addition to vitamins and minerals.
Stress relief and increasing harmony. The practitioner may recommend practices like meditation and yoga that offer stress relief, mental nurturing, and spiritual healing.
Nutrition. In Ayurvedic nutrition, food is prescribed based on 6 different tastes, which are also dosha-specific in their tendency to aggravate (increase) or pacify (decrease) pitta, vata, and kapha:
- Sweet (e.g. sweet fruits, root vegetables, grains, dairy).
- Sour (e.g. sour fruits, tomatoes, pickled vegetables).
- Salty (e.g. seafood, condiments)
- Pungent (e.g. peppers, onions, radishes, garlic, ginger)
- Bitter (e.g. green vegetables, coffee)
- Astringent (e.g. pomegranates, beans, cherries, berries, black tea)
For example, sweet foods decrease vata and pitta but increase kapha.1
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