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What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is a complementary health system that originated in ancient India. Ayurveda translates from Sanskrit to "the science of life."

This body, mind and spirit approach aims to restore the inner harmony of the individual.

The Ayurvedic focus is on prevention rather than cure. Treatments include diet, exercise, meditation, herbs, massage, exposure to sunlight and controlled breathing.

What is my dosha?

Ayurveda practitioners believe that everything in the universe is made up from five basic elements: ether, air, fire, water and earth. In the body, these become life forces or energies called doshas. The three doshas in the body are called vata, pitta and kapha. If these bio-energetic forces get out of balance, the result can be ill-health.

Everyone's mix of doshas is said to be different but one dosha is usually more dominant.

Each dosha controls a different body function and the risk of illness is linked to the balance of the doshas.

Vata dosha

Vata dosha is about space and air and is said to be the most powerful of the doshas.

It controls the mind, breathing, blood flow, the heart and body waste systems.

This dosha can be disrupted by a range of things, from eating dry fruit or eating too soon after a previous meal to fear, grief and late nights.

If vata dosha is your main life force, you are more likely to develop anxiety, asthma, heart disease, nervous system disorders, rheumatoid arthritis and skin problems.

Pitta dosha

Pitta dosha is about fire and water and this controls digestion, metabolism and appetite hormones.

Things that can disrupt this dosha include sour or spicy food, fatigue and too much sun.

If pitta dosha is your main life force, you are more likely to develop anger and negative emotions, Crohn's disease, heart disease, heartburn, high blood pressure and infections.

Kapha dosha

The kapha dosha is about water and earth and controls muscle growth, body strength, stability, weight and the immune system.

Things that can disrupt this dosha include sleeping during the day, eating when already full, eating or drinking things containing too much salt or water, eating too many sweet foods and greed.

If kapha dosha is your main life force, you are more likely to develop asthma and other breathing disorders, cancer, diabetes, nausea after eating and obesity.

Identifying the primary dosha

The first step in an Ayurvedic consultation is to determine the primary dosha and the balance among the others. This may involve checking weight, examination of urine and stools (poo), feeling your pulse, listening to your speech and voice, looking at your eyes, teeth, tongue and skin.

Medical history questions will be asked about recent illnesses and the ability to recover from an illness, behaviours, diet and lifestyle.

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