Ayurveda focuses on the whole being, as does traditional Chinese medicine, but this system is based on traditions found in Indian culture. The Sanskrit term Ayurveda means the science of life (veda) and longevity (ayus). This natural system of wellness is several thousand years old. It is similar to Chinese medicine in that both procedures use a total examination of the client (including skin condition, pulse, temperature, eyes, psychological traits, and other factors) when making a diagnosis.
Ayurveda is the art of living in harmony with the laws of nature and the therapy encompasses the entire life of the individual. The aim of this science is to maintain the health of a person and to restore health where it has been lost i.e. to heal the disease of an unhealthy person. Both maintenance and healing are carried out entirely by natural means.
Ayurveda uses diet, herbs, massage, attitude training, water therapy, behaviour modification, detoxification regimens, and meditation along with other procedures to encourage restoration of the body to a balanced condition.
According to Ayurvedic theory, everything in the universe is connected. Good health is achieved when your mind, body, and spirit are in harmony with the universe. A disruption of this harmony can lead to poor health and sickness. Anything that affects your physical, emotional or spiritual well-being can cause you to be out of balance with the universe. Here are some of the things that can cause a disruption:
- Genetic or birth defects
- Climate and seasonal changes
Every person is made of a combination of five basic elements found in the universe:
These elements combine in the human body to form three life forces or energies, called Doshas. They control how your body works. The three Doshas are:
- Vata Dosha (space and air)
- Pitta Dosha (fire and water)
- Kapha Dosha (water and earth)
Everyone inherits a unique mix of the three Doshas. One Dosha is usually more dominant. Each Dosha controls a different body function. It is believed that your chances of getting sick are linked to the balance of your Doshas.
Vata: The force in the body that represents all kinetic activity, all movement of any sort in the organism.
Pitta: The force in the body that is responsible for all forms of digestion in the organism and balances kinetic and potential energies.
Kapha: The force in the body that represents stability and structure of all sorts in the organism.
Vata Dosha (space and air) is thought to be the most powerful of all three Doshas. It controls very basic body functions, such as how cells divide. It also controls your:
• blood flow
• heart function
• ability to get rid of body waste through the intestines
Things that can disrupt this Dosha are:
• eating too soon after a previous meal
• staying up too late
If Vata Dosha is your main life force, you are more likely to develop:
• heart disease
• nervous system disorders
• rheumatoid arthritis
• skin problems
The Pitta Dosha (fire and water) controls:
- Ability to break down foods (metabolism)
- Certain hormones linked to appetite
Things that can disrupt this Dosha are:
- Eating heavy, hot, oily foods
- Eating spicy foods
- Spending too much time in the sun
If Pitta dosha is your main life force, you are more likely to develop:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Anger and negative emotions
- Heartburn a few hours after eating
The Kapha Dosha (water and earth) controls:
- Lubrication of joints
- Brain function
- Nervous function
- Fatty tissue
Things that can disrupt this dosha are:
- Eating dairy, wheat and sugar
- Lack of activity
- Oversleeping or being lazy
- Refusal to let go emotionally or hoarding
If Kapha dosha is your main life force, you are more likely to develop:
- Overweight tendencies
- Fluid retention
- Slow digestion
How do we heal with the Unique features of Ayurvedic Massage?
- Special Medicated oils are used, warmed to suit the individual constitution
- Ayurvedic Medicine to balance 5 elements
- Strokes selected according to client constitution and imbalances
- Marma Point consideration
- 7 chakras are opened physically through marmas and nadis
- Physical mental and emotional balance
- Strokes used are vigorous and rhythmic, connecting one site to another
- The concoction of oils stabilise the subtle and gross bodies
- AyurYoga massage helps stimulate deep and hidden kundalini energy which lies dormant in sacrum and unfolds the deeper layers of consciousness in the mind
- Improves circulation and expels toxins from blood, reducing ama
- Strengthens immunity
- Opens pranic channels and balances three doshas
Ayurvedic oils are chosen to suit the individual constitution
There are different oils for each Dosha. You can purchase specific oils that have a sesame oil base and a combination of special herbs designed just for your Dosha. Three popular oils used in ayurvedic massage are almond, sesame and sunflower oil as these are all very nutritious oils and help aid the detoxification process when used on the skin in massage.
Different oils are recommended for the different Dosha types. Many more oils can be used, but the recommendations below are a good selection for your daily massage.
Selecting the oils
Vata types: Use calming oils, including cold pressed black sesame, olive, almond, wheatgerm, and castor oil.
Pitta types: Use cooling oils, such as coconut, sandalwood, pumpkin seed, almond and sunflower seed.
Kapha types: Choose heating lightening oils. These include mustard, corn and safflower.
Different Massage techniques for each constitution
Massage for Vata constitution:
Duration Massage: 50-60 minutes
Temperature oil: warm to hot
Quantity: More than usual
Strokes used: active, passive, less persuasive
Main sites to concentrate attention: lower abdomen, temporals, pelvis and chest
For anxiety and fear: centre of palms, writs, temporal area, centre nipple, throat, navel centre
For nervousness and insomnia: centre of palms, centre eyebrows, eight fingers above eyebrows, occipital area, back of ears.
Massage for Pitta constitution:
Duration Massage: 55-60 minutes
Temperature oil: luke warm to warm
Strokes used: Passive and persuasive
Main sites to concentrate attention: abdomen, lower stomach, eyebrows, below eyes, soles feet.
Massage for Kapha constitution:
Duration Massage: 60-65 minutes
Strokes used active persuasive less passive
Main sites to concentrate attention: Chest and thigh, armpits, buttocks and joints. Kapha can become stagnant and sluggish in stomach lungs and joints. Kaphas also have low digestive fire so important to use warm oil and vigorous movement to enkindle agni.
Learn how to give an Ayurvedic massage at our upcoming course.
Ayurvedic Massage and Energetic Anatomy with Celia Roberts – A 4-day course to explore Ayurveda, Massage and Marma Therapy. Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th June and Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th July 2017.