WNY Body, Mind and Spirit

A Healthy Body, a Healthy Mind, a Healthy Spirit
Focus on Life Energy
Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) Reiki - Massage and Myofascial Release-Traditional Chinese Medicine -Ayurveda

Introduction to Ayurveda
Ayurveda is India’s traditional system of medicine. It has been practiced for more than 5,000 years. Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word which means the "science of life" or the "practice of longevity." The teachings were originally conveyed orally to each new generation of doctors. Beginning in about the fifth to sixth century before Christ, the first written texts were created. These highly detailed and richly illuminated books were written in Sanskrit by the famous physicians Charaka, Sushruta, and Vagbhata. Charaka listed 500 hundred remedies and Sushruta described over 700 vegetable medicines. Ayurveda teaches the prevention of disease, the rejuvenation of the body’s systems, and the extension of one’s life span. Through faithful practices, Ayurveda promises the prevention of heart disease and the freedom from pain. It is an integrated approach which relies upon lifestyle changes and natural therapies. The fundamentals of Ayurveda can be found in
Hindu scriptures called the Vedas — the ancient Indian books of wisdom.

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How does it work? Just as everyone has a unique fingerprint, according to Ayurvedic beliefs, each person has a distinct pattern of energy -- a specific combination of physical, mental, and emotional characteristics. It is also believed that there are three basic energy types called Doshas, present in every person:

Vata -- energy that controls bodily functions associated with motion, including blood circulation, breathing, blinking, and heartbeat. When Vata energy is balanced, there is creativity and vitality. Out of balance, Vata produces fear and anxiety. Pitta -- energy that controls the body's metabolic systems, including digestion, absorption, nutrition, and temperature. In balance, pitta leads to contentment and intelligence. Out of balance, pitta can cause ulcers and arouse anger. Kapha -- energy that controls growth in the body. It supplies water to all body parts, moisturizes the skin, and maintains the immune system. In balance, Kapha is expressed as love and forgiveness. Out of balance, Kapha leads to insecurity and envy.

From a Western medical perspective, stress relief seems to be one of the ways Ayurveda works to help fight illness. Ayurveda, lowers anxiety. Other studies have found that Ayurveda lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, slows the aging process, and speeds recovery from illness. Many herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine have antioxidant effects, which means that they may help protect against long term illnesses such, as heart disease and arthritis. Many Ayurvedic practitioners also recommend a vegetarian diet, which is believed to be better for your heart than diets containing red meat. What should I expect from an Ayurvedic treatment? Ayurvedic treatment focuses on rebalancing the Doshas. The practitioner will take a detailed medical history, check your pulse, feel your abdomen, examine your tongue, eyes, nails, and listen to the tone of your voice. The practitioner will also ask you questions about your general health. They will then recommend ways to restore your natural Dosha balance, Practitioners draw from more than 20 types of treatment, but the most commonly prescribed include:
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Pranayama -- breathing exercises. Practicing pranayama helps you feel calm. Abhyanga -- rubbing the skin with herbal oil to increase blood circulation and draw toxins out of the body through the skin. Rasayana -- using mantras (repeated words or phrases) during meditation combined with certain herbs to rejuvenate a person. Yoga -- combining pranayama, movement, and meditation. Yoga has been shown to improve circulation and digestion, and to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol levels, anxiety, and chronic pain. Pancha karma -- cleansing the body to purify it and reduce cholesterol. Practitioners use methods that cause sweat, bowel movements, and even vomit to cleanse the body of toxins. Herbal medicines -- prescribing herbs to restore Dosha balance.

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What is Ayurveda good for? The goal of Ayurvedic medicine is to prevent diseases. Studies have suggested that Ayurveda may be effective at reducing the risk of heart disease. For example, one study found that Ayurveda helped reduce plaque and reverse the thickening of artery walls known as atherosclerosis in both healthy adults, as well as adults at high risk for heart disease. A number of Ayurvedic herbal remedies have been examined, though sometimes high quality studies are lacking. Are there any risks? Most Ayurvedic therapies, such as pranayama and rasayana, are unlikely to have bad side effects. Ayurvedic herbs, however, may interact with medications, and like all herbs, they are not right for every person; speak with your physician. In addition, heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, have contaminated some Ayurvedic herb supplements. Ask your health care provider about choosing quality supplements for you and your family. Be sure to talk to your doctor before trying Ayurveda, especially if you take medicines or have to eat a special diet (to control diabetes, for example). How can I find a qualified practitioner? For a list of qualified practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine in your area, contact the National Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine (NIAM). Although none of the 50 states offer a license to practice Ayurveda, there are several institutions across the United States that have educational programs, including The California College of Ayurveda, located in Grass Valley, California, and the Kerala Ayurveda Academy in Foster City, California. The school issues a certificate of Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist, at www.ayurvedacollege.com. Others sources of information include:
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California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine -- www.ayurveda-caam.org Ayurvedic Institute -- www.ayurveda.com National Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine -- www.niam.comReviewed last on: 10/2/2011 Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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Chakras
Chakras are a concept common to several disciplines of alternative medicine and traditional healing. A chakra is energy center and has several functions. Chakras are first mentioned in the Vedas, ancient Hindu texts of knowledge. The word chakra is a Sanskrit word that means wheel. The body has seven major chakras and a great many lesser chakras or energy centers. The major chakras recognized as focal points of the life-force. They are, from the lowest to the highest: the Root or Base Chakra, the Navel Chakra, the Solar Plexus, the Heart Chakra, the Throat Chakra, the Brow Chakra, and the Crown Chakra. Secondary chakras are in the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. There are hundreds of other areas of focused energy in the body.

References
Neurosurgical.com http://www.neurosurgical.com/neuro_medical_info/alternative_care/ayurveda.htm Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayurveda

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