Most of us are clueless when we first visit an Ayurvedic practitioner. We have no idea what goes behind the science of Ayurveda. With a lot of presumptions in mind and a lot of questions to ask, we are usually wondering what is true and what is not.
Here are a few factors involved in Ayurvedic treatment:
- Herbs and herbal formulas- In many cases, herbs and herbal formulas are used as medication. Ayurveda states that the effectiveness of each herb can be determined on the basis of its taste, potency, and its post-digestive effect. Ayurvedic medicines and administering of herbs is an exact science and should be performed by a qualified practitioner only. Ayurveda understands that there are side-effects of herbs as well, and thus they should not be consumed or given without proper supervision. Ayurveda as a medicine requires deep knowledge of many sciences such as human physiology, herbology, psychology, and even biochemistry.
- Panchakarma- Panchakarma is a multi-step detoxification process that involves the removal of a toxin through treatments followed by strict diets and therapy. The treatment involves massages, steam treatment, Vamana (induced vomiting), Nasya (nasal treatment), virechana (natural and oil-based laxatives being used to remove toxins), Basti (medicated enema), and bloodletting. This is an invasive procedure complemented by suggested changes in the daily routine as well. Such a treatment should be closely monitored by an ayurvedic practitioner.
- Diet and nutrition- The science of Ayurveda firmly believes that a person’s nutrition and diet play a crucial role in a healthy life. It is an important component of recovery, healing, and treatment. It is one of the most important elements of disease management as well. There are 6 main “tastes” that are the basis of decisions of dosage and administration by practitioners. These are- Sweet: promotes strength and provides nourishment to tissues; sour- helps in digestion; salty- helps maintain electrolytes and water balance in the body; bitter- stimulates other tastes; astringent: helps with absorption; pungent- helps to improve absorption as well as digestion.
- Ayurvedic massages and Shirodhara- Ayurvedic massages are performed by trained ayurvedic masseuses and involve oils made in decoction as per the practitioners’ recommendations and diagnosis. Shirodhara, on the other hand, is a special ayurvedic technique that involves dripping of medicated oil on the forehead, also known as the third eye region. Such therapy, the kind of oil used, frequency of treatment, and duration are all decided by the Ayurvedic practitioner. All Shirodhara must be performed under the supervision and should always be performed by a trained therapist.
These are some of the factors involved in a general ayurvedic treatment. It may vary person to person and ailment to ailment. A practitioner may suggest some changes in daily and seasonal routines to ensure that all treatments are in sync with your routine and body cycle.
As much as Ayurvedic is a natural science, it requires in-depth study of many aspects before any medication or treatment can be administered. It is advised to not self-medicate, even naturally, as all herbs have side effects too.