One of the reasons that Ayurvedic medicine is regarded as being such a powerful and
effective system of non-emergency medicine is that, like western medicine, it has both a germ
theory of disease, and medicines and therapies which were specifically developed to treat
specific diseases of all types. But, in addition, it has another level of diagnosis and treatment
which is unique to it, based on the theory of bio-energies called doshas.
Imbalances in the doshas, which occur both because of lifestyle choices which we make, as
well as things which happen to us and seasonal changes and climatic disturbances; create
difficulties in our physical bodies and our minds. If these imbalances persist over a period of
time, they often lead to disease.
An Ayurvedic Medicine Practitioner seeks not only to treat the presenting symptoms, but to
resolve, as well, the underlying imbalances of the doshas which contributed to their
development. Sometimes the practitioner can bring about a positive result just by balancing
the doshas alone. When the imbalances are not severe, this is often easily done:
· Excess vata is treated by strategies, whether they be yoga, diet, lifestyle, or
medicines, which warm, lubricate (i.e. oil), and calm.
· Excess pitta is treated by strategies, whether they be yoga, diet, lifestyle, or
medicines, which cool and calm
· Excess kapha is treated by strategies, whether they be yoga, diet, lifestyle or
medicines, which warm, dry, and stimulate.
More about the doshas
From their writings, it would seem that the rsis of ancient India had some concept of the
inter-convertibility of energy and matter, and they described the transformation from energy
to matter as occurring in stages, from energies (tanmatras), to potentials for matter
(mahabhutas), to bio-energies (doshas).
Energy, according to several closely-related creation philosophies collectively termed
Samkhya, can exist in five states of matter:
1) Pure space, devoid of matter (akash)
2) Gaseous (vayu, sometimes translated as “air”)
3) Luminous/combustive (tejas, sometimes translated as “fire”)
4) Liquid (ap, sometimes translated as “water”)
5) Solid (prithvi, sometimes translated as “earth”)
These capacities for matter formation give rise, in turn, to three primary bio-energies, Vata,
Pitta, and Kapha