Ayurveda uses the body’s natural intelligence to promote health and offers meditation, diet and herbal remedies to create long-term health.
Early human cultures practiced natural healing methods because that was what they had. Some of our best strategies for natural healing come from these cultures. Ayurvedic medicine is a centuries old health system that was developed in India in the Hindu culture. It has become a very respected healing system that has documented the systems of the body as well as the effects of all types of food and herbs on each body type.
Ayurvedic Healing Vs. Modern Medicine
Modern medicine places intelligence in the brain and treats the body as the train following the engine (brain). It does not see the body as a dynamic system, and, therefore, usually does not recognize the value of natural healing methods. Ayurveda sees the energetic nature of humans and all life. It recognizes intelligence in each cell of the body and has a way to promote the health of each cell, making it possible for an individual to achieve health and quality of life. Ayurveda works with the human system, it does not fight it.
Ayurveda organizes the body systems around three bioenergies called doshas and views each person is a unique combination of these bioenergies:
- Vata represents air and movement,
- Pitta represents fire and metabolism
- Kapha represents water, earth and the structure of the body.
Ayurvedic healing documents each of the subsystems of the three doshas which locate body systems within the three bioenergies.
Since it is the most natural thing in the world to be healthy, it does not matter how long you have waited, or how inadequate your preparation may seem. The more healing you can activate in the present, the less bad habits and ailments will dominate. A healthy present can eliminate an ailing past.
Nancy Lonsdorf, A Woman’s Best Medicine, Tarcher, 1995, p.1
Each bioenergy contributes to a state of balance. Each can go out of balance. Stress does not affect just one of the doshas, it affects all of them. Each dosha is also related to a time of day, the seasons and stages of life. Spring is Kapha season, summer Pitta season and winter Vata season. Youth is Kapha season when we build our bodies, adult life is Pitta dominated with its fire and drive, later years are Vata dominated. Stress relief through Ayurveda is a way to minimize all stress creating lifestyle approaches that interfere with health and well-being in all of the body’s bioenergies.
Vata is the function that HSPs should pay the most attention to. Vata rules movement and flexibility. People with the Vata constitution can be quick, creative and easily aroused. They are changeable and may have trouble settling down and sticking with a schedule. Planning is not a strength. They can be worriers, fearful, and suffer from anxiety, loneliness, insecurity and nervousness. Stress causes Prana Vata, the subdosha governing the brain, mind and energy to become unbalanced and can also affect Vyana Vata which governs touch, nerve impulses and circulation. Stress in Vata dosha reduces one’s ability to handle stress and is, therefore, an important function to protect. Even if an HSP does not have predominant Vata constitution, HSPs are wise to make great effort to balance this function. Vata is the king all of the three functions and it is said that when Vata is in balance all other functions come into balance. Read more about Vata Dosha.
Pitta rules metabolism and digestion including the digestion of emotions, making it an important dosha for HSPs to consider. People with a predominant Pitta constitution are organized, very bright and focused. They like to delve deeply into a subject, a characteristic that HSPs can relate to. Pittas suffer from inflammatory diseases and that can include anger. Stress causes Sadhaka Pitta, the subdosha governing emotions and the heart to go out of balance. HSPs can suffer from emotional problems due to abuse and a difficult world. This subdosha needs protection. Read more about Pitta Dosha.
Kapha rules the immune system, which makes it an important dosha for HSPs. Kapha people tend to be physically strong, heavyset, and have calm and sweet dispositions. When out of balance they become lethargic and possessive and are prone to depression. Kapha is the most stable of the three doshas and has to be concerned about too much complacency in their life.
Stress for Kapha individuals is associated with physical overexertion. Two subdoshas are related to stress factors in Kapha: Shleshaka Kapha governing joint and skin lubrication, and Tarpaka Kapha governing neurohormones – particularly important for HSPs since neurohormones are related to the immune and nervous systems are easily compromised by HSP sensitivities. Read more about Kapha Dosha.
“There exists in every person a place that is free from disease, that never feels pain, that cannot age or die. When you go to this place, limitations which all of us accept cease to exist. They are not even entertained as a possibility. This is the place called perfect health.”
Deepak Chopra, Perfect Health, Three Rivers Press, New York, 2000, p.7.
Each person is a combination of all three doshas, and all are important. Highly sensitive people have a chance to significantly improve their health by using Ayurvedic healing to get a handle on their bodies tendencies toward imbalance and learn how to help themselves. One of the great benefits of Ayurvedic healing is that it empowers the individual with great information and tools to create optimal balance in the body. Ayurveda works with your body’s particular constitution and therefore avoids easy simplistic answers. Since Ayurveda has documented the effects of all foods and herbs on each system of the body, a monumental undertaking and a great contribution to the human race, it provides its users with the ability to be very smart about choices.
Reading the Body With Ayurvedic Healing
Trained Ayurvedic practitioners are able to discern the state of the three doshas on your body through the pulse. It is called pulse diagnosis and helps to identify imbalances. Imbalances can be detected before a disease is visible, making it an important natural stress relief tool for HSPs to minimize or prevent the accumulation of stress in the body and the diseases that come with stress. Most importantly, Ayurvedic healing methods reduce stress and improve health without the side effects of harsh medications which make it particularly beneficial for highly sensitive people.