Ayurveda 101: A promise of wellness backed by over 3,000 years of history
Beyond skin deep
With a history spanning more than 3,000 years, ayurveda is arguably one of the world's oldest medical systems. While its roots might be entrenched in India, today, Ayurveda practitioners the world over continue to study the human constitution and harness the use of herbal compounds to heal and rejuvenate. Below, Dr. Sajin Philips, Ayurvedic doctor at Amanbagh, gives us the low-down on this ancient practice.
How did you start practising Ayurveda and how long have you been an Ayurvedic physician?
In India, one has to complete a six-year Bachelor programme in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery to be a registered Ayurvedic physician. I completed my professional degree in 2007 and have been actively practising Ayurveda for the last nine years, practicing at healing spaces such as medi spas, resort spas and cure centres across the globe.
How is the ancient practice of Ayurveda different from modern medicine?
Although modern medicine is essential, in the case of casualty management or preventing epidemics and communicable diseases, my observation and practical knowledge leads me to believe that Ayurveda or Traditional Indian Medicine, owns a strong history of more than 3,000 years and is very effective in treating non-communicable diseases), offering support for a healthy mind and body.
Ayurveda is more comprehensive and helps mankind to gain a holistic perspective as the practice accommodates everything that's happening in your life. Ayurveda treatments are completely natural and non-synthetic. Plants and plant extracts are either directly used or made into specific oils, decoctions and compounds without preservatives. I believe this is the most effective way to connect to Mother Nature.
How do you assess a patient's condition?
For an Ayurvedic diagnosis, we have three different ways to assess health issues: Darshana (Perception), thorough observation and detailing; Sparshana (Touch), palpation of the area affected; and Prashna (Questionnaires), where a set of questions will be asked about all aspects of a patient's life.
Either one or all three approaches could be used according to the logic and experience of the physician to arrive at a conclusion and thereafter recommend various treatments for the patient. This will include complete analysis of the patient's tongue, ears, skin, agni (the "fire," that drives all digestion and metabolism in the Indian medical practice of Ayurveda), sleep patterns, general well-being, and emotional modulus. Nadi pareeksha (pulse diagnosis) is also a great tool to determine the patient's body characteristics and conditions.
What does an Ayurvedic nutritional plan entail?
The teachings of Ayurveda believes that food is an integral part of life. In short, we are what we eat. The agni inside your stomach determines how your body reacts to what is consumed. We suggest dietary plans according to the patient's prakrithi (body type). When they are completely healthy, they can monitor whether they are eating according to their prakrithi and when the patient falls ill, the dietary plans will need to be revised.
You will have to get your body type assessed by a professional Ayurvedic physician. We communicate with our resort's Ayurvedic chef on a daily basis to provide the necessary nutrition for our guests who attend Ayurveda immersions. The chef specially tailors Ayurvedic meals for each guest to complement their prakrithi.
Prior to the commencement of such Ayurveda immersions, we offer recommendations to the guests for future dietary plans. In contrast to an Ayurvedic nutritional plan, modern medicine does not provide as much emphasis on the importance of dietary habits when one is ill.
How would the four-day Ayurvedic immersion programme differ from that of the 21-day programme at Amanbagh?
A four-day Ayurveda immersion will aid the guest in assessing his/her body type, experience the concept, and plan for a better lifestyle. Treatments feature the use of warm herbal oils and powders, Ayurvedic cooking lessons, and most prominently, one-to-one consultation sessions with the Ayurvedic Physician. Any healthy individual can participate in an Ayurveda immersion.
A 21-day programme is significantly more detailed. Guests will have more options to immerse themselves in the knowledge of traditional Ayurvedic medicine, thus encouraging healing of the body and mind. The administration of panchakarma (a form of authentic detox in Ayurveda) will be executed under the supervision of an experienced Ayurvedic physician. This is extremely beneficial for guests who wish to prevent illnesses in future as well as guests suffering from pains and other health issues.
To find out more about the Ayurvedic immersion programmes offered at Amanbagh, click here.