What is an Ayurvedic Practitioner? And how can one help you in ways that a conventional or holistic doctor cannot? These are questions that we regularly receive here at Bodhidevi, and without surprise. Though Ayurvedic prescriptions for wellness have gained traction in the world of holistic health in recent years, most people still don’t understand exactly what Ayurveda is, where it came from, and how it can help them. Many people also assume that holistic doctors can provide the same services that an Ayurvedic practitioner can, which is not necessarily the case. This week, we will explore the most critical components and benefits of working with an Ayurvedic practitioner to better your health.

An Ayurvedic Practitioner Caters To You

At Bodhidevi, we offer a broad array of services that compliment an Ayurvedic lifestyle. But an Ayurvedic lifestyle may look very different for different individuals. That’s because Ayurvedic prescriptions for wellness are catered to the unique biologies and lifestyles of different individuals. In fact, working with an Ayurvedic practitioner is so medically effective is because he or she will be able to design treatments that are catered precisely to your body and life.

According to Ayurvedic philosophy, we each contain unique levels of the three life forces, or doshas: pitta, vata, and kapha. Each dosha, in turn, possesses its own gunas, or qualities. Thus, an individual’s physical and mental qualities differ based on his or her unique doshic balance. For example: pitta is characterized by the guna of heat, among others. Those who present with predominantly pitta energy are therefore more likely to be “hot-headed” and have a distaste for hot weather.

Western medicine finds the idea of the blind panacea quite favorable. Unfortunately, the medical reality is that individuals vary in their physical constitutions and, by extension, possess different medical needs. Western practitioners therefore seek to mask symptoms of a problem with toxic prescription medication rather than treating a problem at its core, as these problems can be difficult to identify and may require different forms of treatment in different individuals. Ayurvedic practitioners are more patient and methodical, working to identify and heal the source of your ailments. Working with an Ayurvedic practitioner is thus an incredible asset to your health because, in accordance with Ayurvedic philosophy, an Ayurvedic practitioner will design a dietary and lifestyle program catered to your unique doshic balance.

An Ayurvedic Practitioner Takes Your Whole Health Into Account

So how, exactly, does an Ayurvedic practitioner determine your doshic balance in order to improve your health? The process begins with an examination. Unlike a conventional Western doctor, an Ayurvedic practitioner need not conduct a full physical examination. Rather, he or she possesses the knowledge required to make inferences about your health with almost no physical contact.

First, an Ayurvedic practitioner will engage in observation, or darshan. Darshan requires the Ayurvedic practitioner to examine a person’s physical shape, movement, skin quality, eye color, tongue, lips, and hair. Then they will employ touch, or sparsha. Sparsha includes the palpitating and tapping of different parts of the body, as well as listening to bodily sounds, such as those emitted from the lungs and digestive organs.

Finally, the Ayurvedic practitioner will question, or prashna, a patient about his or her lifestyle. The questioning is perhaps the most extensive and comprehensive element of your meeting with the practitioner. Questions about your physical health, medical history, diet, work life, relationships, and mental health will all help the Ayurvedic practitioner to ascertain the nature of your doshic makeup. For example: if you describe yourself as anxious and present with slow digestion, dry skin and hair, and a cracked tongue, you likely possess excess vata energy.

An Ayurvedic Practitioner Will Help You Find Balance

According to Ayurvedic philosophy, disease occurs when our doshas become imbalanced. Too much or too little of a dosha can cause significant health complications. The nature of these health complications depends upon the gunas that characterize the excessive or deficient dosha. For example, vata possess the quality of dryness. Excess vata is therefore associated with constipation and dry skin. Once the Ayurvedic practitioner knows which of your doshas are stronger or weaker, he or she will provide solutions that will help to balance those energies and restore good health.

Ayurvedic philosophy holds that like increases like and opposites balance. Thus, in order to restore doshic balance, an Ayurvedic practitioner will make recommendations for countering the gunas that characterize your excessive or deficient dosha. In the example above, an Ayurvedic practitioner my encourage the consumption of oily foods, as the oily guna is the opposite of the dry guna. Introducing oily foods will tame vata energy.

An Ayurvedic Practitioner Will Provide Holistic Solutions

Ayurvedic Practitioners cannot provide prescription medications. Rather, an Ayurvedic practitioner will prescribe dietary and lifestyle recommendations designed to restore your doshic balance. Most often, Ayurvedic prescriptions will involve making some sort of change in your diet. Eating “healthy” is not enough to produce real health. To be true healthy, you must eat foods that will elevate the doshas you lack and tame the doshas you possess in excess. An Ayurvedic practitioner can help you design a diet that will restore your balance.

There are other dietary and lifestyle suggestions an Ayurvedic practitioner is likely to recommend to his or her patients. Our daily rhythms and habits can influence our doshic makeup just as significantly as diet can. And different doshas benefit from different routines and activities. Kaphas, for example benefit from rigorous exercise. Vata types, on the other hand, require more sleep and less exercise than kaphas. Pittas would do well to engage in soothing activities like meditation, as well as moderate exercise. An Ayurvedic practitioner can provide insight into what day-to-day habits you can alter to improve your health.