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Ayurvedic healing has a 6,000-year-old history, making it the oldest healing modality in the word today. It’s an integrated health care system that has been successful in maintaining and restoring vitality, mental clarity, physical endurance and emotional equilibrium. Ayurveda’s fundamental objective is optimum health, so it comes as no surprise that Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word meaning “knowledge of life and longevity”.

Ayurveda combines the daily lifestyle practices of exercise, yoga, meditation, healing herbs, diet, massage, music therapy, and aromatherapy to enhance physical and emotional health. It focuses on cultivating a life-affirming mental attitude that will have a positive impact on mind, body and spirit. Ayurvedic philosophy sees no distinction between mind and body; there can be no physical health without mental health, and vice versa. Its foundational premise is that of self-knowledge and self-healing.

The emphasis of Ayurveda is to bring the mind, body and emotions into perfect harmony by balancing your doshas (the governing principles of life). There are three doshas; vata, pitta and kapha. They are the biological ‘humours’ that govern our constitution.

Vata people are changeable, and irregularities feature strongly in their emotional and physical make up. Their weight can change quickly, and when stressed they lose weight easily. They tend to eat irregularly and find it hard to sit still. They also have a tendency towards feeling cold and may have poor circulation. Any symptoms they have tend to be worse in cold weather. They love summer and sunshine. Vata people tend to suffer with constipation, wind, bloating and irritable bowel. Their sleep tends to be light, and they are easily disturbed by insomnia and nightmares.

Pitta people may be sensitive to sunlight and irritants, and are prone to acne and rashes. Their skin burns easily and they often have moles and freckles. They never seem to really feel the cold and they sweat readily, even in cold weather, being very intolerant of heat. Men who go bald early are most likely Pitta types as the high level of testosterone that is associated with balding is a Pitta trait. Pitta people have a good appetite and avoid missing meals as it leaves them irritable. They are methodical, organised, and tend to be perfectionists. They are also highly competitive and their main fear is of failure. They are naturally intelligent and quite fiery.

Kapha people tend to be grounded, resilient, and physically and emotionally strong. They avoid confrontation and tend to be sweet-natured, loyal and affectionate. Exerting themselves does not come naturally, however, they often feel healthy when they do undertake some sort of exercise. They tend to be people with the strongest builds, and Kapha women are the most fertile. Kapha people have large bones, broad shoulders and put on weight easily. They love food and tend to comfort eat. Their digestion is slow and sluggish, and they don’t mind extremes in weather. They have a tendency to be stubborn and obstinate, and can suffer from depression.

Ayurvedic medicine is a complex healing system, requiring a comprehensive consultation where the practitioner works towards the client's optimum health with detailed recommendations for the holistic treatment of common ailments with food, herbs, meditation and massage.

Toni Green is a Launceston-based naturopath, herbalist, and health writer. It is her passion to pass on this knowledge of natural therapies to others so that they might live a stress-free life with health and vitality. Contact Toni at www.naturalhealthsolutions.net.au; toni.green57@iinet.net.au; 0431 716 601.