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What Are the Health and Wellness Benefits of Ayurveda?

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Tired of five-step wellness routines? You're not alone. In 2024, we are witnessing a shift where people are returning to more traditional ways of approaching health and wellness. And many people are now looking towards ancient practices like Ayurveda, which promotes back-to-basic routines. Ayurveda is one of the world's oldest medical systems, originating in India 5,000 years ago. It is based on the belief that health and wellness relies on a delicate balance between the mind, body, spirit, and environment.

PS UK spoke to Dr Murthy, Integrative Ayurvedic Doctor and Global Scientific Advisor for Kama Ayurveda, and wellness expert and founder of Ayurveda brand Spa Ceylon, Shalin Balasuriya to learn how to authentically incorporate Ayurveda in wellness, self-care and health routines.

Why Is Ayurvedic Wellness Important?

Balasuriya says: "It's important because it offers a holistic approach to health that considers the interconnectedness of the body, mind, and spirit." Unlike conventional medicine, which often focuses solely on treating symptoms, Ayurveda seeks to address the root cause of imbalances to promote long-term well-being.

"It help individuals cultivate balance in their lives, leading to improved physical, mental, and emotional health. Ayurvedic wellness emphasises the importance of preventive care through wellness practices and daily self-care rituals. Ayurvedic principles promote moving towards balance externally and internally," he explains

What Does Ayurvedic Medicine Include?

Dr Murthy explains that Ayurvedic medicine offers a complete package of healing methods, ranging from natural herbs to dietary advice, mindful living, yoga, and detox routines. "At its heart, Ayurveda believes that true health means finding balance in body, mind, and spirit. It's like a personalised roadmap to wellness, tailored to your unique needs. As the ancient Ayurvedic texts say, 'In Ayurveda, health is all about keeping the body, mind, and spirit in harmony.'" So, whether you're seeking relief from ailments or aiming for overall wellness, Ayurveda is here to help you find your balance.

What Is an Ayurvedic Diet?

Central to Ayurvedic healing is the concept of "Ahara" or food as medicine. Dr Murthy explains that an Ayurvedic diet emphasises whole, seasonal foods that are "fresh, organic and locally sourced whenever possible." He tells PS UK: "Each person's optimal diet is determined by their unique dosha, with an emphasis on balancing the six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent) to promote harmony within the body. Incorporating spices such as turmeric, ginger, and cumin not only enhances flavour but also boosts digestion and supports overall well-being."

What Are the Three Doshas of Ayurveda?

Based on centuries of Ayurvedic practice, a practitioner can spot a person's dosha based on a mixture of physical, emotional, mental, and behavioural characteristics.The three doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. According to Healthline, each person has a unique ratio of each dosha - but one stands out more than the others. So one person might be majority Vata, but someone else might be mostly Pitta. If you want to find out your ratio, an Ayurvedic practitioner would be able to tell you.

Kapha: For your health, it is advised that a kapha-dominant person focuses on maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, and establishing a regular sleep routine.

Pitta: If you are pitta-dominant, you should focus on work-life balance and avoid extreme heat (e.g hot weather and spicy food).

Vata: A vata-dominant person should create a regular daily routine, manage stress through meditation and other calming activities, and try to keep a warm body temperature by avoiding cold weather and consuming warm foods and drinks.

What Health Concerns Can Ayurveda Help With?

Dr Murthy reveals that Ayurveda can help with a wide range of health concerns. He advises: "By addressing imbalances at their root cause, Ayurvedic therapies can alleviate a wide range of health concerns, from digestive issues and stress-related disorders to chronic conditions such as arthritis and insomnia. Through gentle detoxification, nourishing herbal remedies, and lifestyle modifications, Ayurveda empowers individuals to cultivate vibrant health and vitality at every stage of life."

How Can Using Ayurvedic Formulations Improve My Skin?

Balasuriya explains that unlike conventional beauty products that often contain synthetic chemicals, Ayurvedic beauty emphasises natural ingredients derived from plants and herbs.

He tells PS UK: "The emphasis on natural ingredients aligns with the growing consumer demand for transparency and sustainability in beauty products. As consumers become more conscious of what they put on their skin, Ayurvedic beauty offers a trusted alternative rooted in centuries-old wisdom and backed by modern scientific research."

Ayurvedic beauty rituals offer a luxurious yet deeply nourishing approach to skincare that goes beyond surface-level concerns. By harnessing the power of potent botanicals and time-honoured techniques, Ayurvedic formulations work in harmony with your body's natural rhythms to promote radiant skin from the inside out. Balasuriya tells PS UK: "Ingredients such as saffron, neem, rose, and sandalwood are prized for their purifying and rejuvenating properties, while practices like Abhyanga (self-massage) and Udvartana (herbal exfoliation) help to promote circulation, detoxify the skin, and impart a luminous glow."

Are There Any Health Side Effects of Ayurveda?

According to Dr Murthy, when practiced under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner, Ayurveda is generally safe and free from adverse side effects. "However, it's essential to approach Ayurvedic therapies with mindfulness and respect for individual differences. As with any form of medicine, it's wise to consult with a healthcare provider before making significant changes to your diet or lifestyle, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are pregnant," he advises.

Aaliyah Harry (she/her) is the associate editor at PS UK. She writes extensively across lifestyle, culture and beauty. Aaliyah also has a deep passion for telling stories and giving voice to the voiceless. Previously, she has contributed to Refinery29, Grazia UK and The Voice Newspaper.

Image Source: Getty / Jupiterimages
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