Traditional Ayurvedic Center

Stage 1: Diagnosis - understanding the patient; Diagnosing the "doshas"
Stage 2: Treatment
Stage 3: End of treatment ; guidelines for self-work

I shall be brief since readers will have already understood that practice is not what is primary here, but rather the quality of the practitioner's training and the complex adaptation of Ayurveda to each individual.
With the knowledge acquired in the previous pages, we can now proceed to the stages that need to be undergone between the person who seeks treatment or training in Ayurveda and the practitioner who is competent in this tradition.

The practitioner tries to understand the lifestyle, diet and problems of the person who has come to seek help.

He discovers the balances and imbalances of the doshas and also sees the three attributes, "gunas," at work - "sattva" (essence, purity), "rajas" (activity, achievement), and "tamas" (resistance, inertia) - in the patient's tastes, diet, hygiene, lifestyle, choices and emotional relationships. Through these systems, the practitioner discovers many aspects of the patient's life.


- Dosha Vata (approximate meaning - wind, movement) regulates energy, life, movement, air, space, light at all levels (physical, psychological, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, etc.) The zones of the body primarily affected by dosha Vata are the digestive zones, the skin, hearing, etc. Dosha Vata is not separate from the other attributes; it animates, favors, or disturbs them and the balance of the whole is what is important. Different types of foods strengthen or complicate these roles.

- Dosha Pitta (approximate meaning - digestion) characterizes the processes of growth, development and digestion. An examination of the patient's habitual diet is therefore important: the practitioner's task is to discover the digestive pathology and encourage a return to an optimal state.

- Dosha Kapha (approximate meaning - cohesion) regulates all the zones of the body which are involved, physically and psychologically, in the function of cohesion.

The practitioner studies the imbalances of the doshas.
Each dosha can manifest itself in one of five forms:
Dosha Vata: apana-prana-saman-udana-vyana
Dosha Pitta: alochaka-brajaka-pachaka-ranjaka
Dosha Kapha: avalambaka-bodhaka-kledaka-slashaka-tarpaka

The doshas act in a specific manner on a particular part of the body and manifests ("vyakti") itself there.
Pathological manifestations of doshas are as follows:
- "bheda" or diversification
- "prakopa" or aggravation
- "prasara" or expansion
- "sancaya" or accumulation

These manifestations can be:
- "antar marga" : external to the body
- "bahya marga" : internal
- "madhyama" : in the central nervous system

The treatment program will be effected through the five "purifications" ("panxha karma" or "shodhana") with the goal of regeneration ("rasayana").


After the period of time needed to collect and study the above, a new phase begins: that of the "first treatment" based on the diagnosis. This can last one or two weeks and requires several meetings.

Since Ayurveda focuses on balance, treatment and re-evaluations have to take into account the patient's reactions, and whether they are slow or fast.
Treatment can involve foods, herbs and plants, dietary counseling, lifestyle counseling, oils ("snehana") and massages ("abhyangan"), breathing techniques, etc.

Sometimes a cleansing treatment is necessary: this is called "panchakarma" and consists of three stages:
- a gradual beginning : "purvakarma"
- main treatment : "pradhanakarma"
- final or post-cleaning phase : "paschatkarma"

The massages ("abhyangan"), with ayurvedic oil, are given on a traditional table made of special wood ("dhroni")

This can involve a hand massage, or application of oil on the patient's forehead, head ("shirodana") or other parts of the body. "Shirodana" is often done three days before the end of a treatment.

The goal is to enable a patient to discover himself, his constitution, energies, positive or negative balance ("madhyamaka"), and to understand Ayurvedic cuisine so that he will be able diagnose and treat himself in order to live a healthy life. This is a pro-active process, not like passive intake of medication.

The whole process takes place in an atmosphere, place and relationship which constitute the dynamic that enables the diagnosis and treatment. Studies of the psychology of relationships and therapies have shown to what extent the transference of problems is a rich tool in the therapeutic relationship. It is a rich, positive phenomenon which sets the ground for the patient's improvement and return to a state of wellbeing.

It should, of course, be stressed that, parallel to this process, conventional treatment of a patient's pathology, based solely on a medical diagnosis, should proceed as normal. Both disciplines are valid and separate.

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