The word Ayurveda means "the knowledge of life" in Sanskrit. Ayurvedic medicine originated in India about 5,000 years ago and it has evolved over time. This ancient Indian system of medicine survived a ban during colonisation, and is becoming increasingly popular today. Authentic Ayurveda is offered by practicioners from India and Sri Lanka, not only in Asia but also in Europe - for example in Spain, Portugal, Germany and Poland.
What is unique about Ayurvedic Medicine?
Unlike conventional treatments, Ayurveda offers a highly individual approach as well as holistic treatment, and focuses on the entire body and mind, rather than solely on a particular illness. Instead of prescribing every patient the same medicine for the same illness, an Ayurvedic doctor examines the patient and creates an individual treatment designed to cure the whole body, rather than targeting one particular organ.
What the treatment includes is dependent on your type of constitution, or dosha. There are essentially three main doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha - a professional Ayurvedic doctor will determine your dosha type in detail. Although it is unlikely that you will be pure Vata, Pitta or Kapha, most people have a prevailing dosha which can be used as a basic guide to begin creating an individualised treatment plan.
Diet for Vata, Pitta and Kapha
All three types should eat a balanced diet and avoid caffeinated drinks, alcohol and smoking.
Diet for Vata
If you are Vata type, you should avoid cold foods, fruits and leafy greens. You can use all spices and you should eat hearty soups, cooked root vegetables, garlic, sweet potatoes, wheat and rice. You are allowed to eat all oils as well as diary products (in moderation) and use all sweeteners apart from white sugar.
Diet for Pitta
Pitta types should avoid any acidic foods, such as sour fruits and vinegar. Pungent vegetables, garlic, root vegetables and hot spices should all be avoided as well. Sweet fruits as well as sweet and bitter vegetables and legumes are recommended. Nuts, seeds and sweeteners should not be eaten excessively. Oils and diary products are allowed in moderation.
Diet for Kapha
If you are Kapha type, you should avoid salt and oily, fatty and sweet foods. You should eat raw or steamed vegetables as well as ripe fruits and strong spices. Low-fat diary is allowed in moderation. You should use honey instead of sugar.
When to take an Ayurvedic cure
Ayurvedic medicine is offered mainly in India and Sri Lanka.
When planning an Ayurvedic holiday the monsoon seasons should be taken into consideration. The weather in India and Sri Lanka is very changeable and the monsoon season does not usually mean that it will rain all the time. It can also rain during the dry season.
Most of the hotels and centres offering Ayurvedic medicine have higher prices during the dry seasons, however many Ayurvedic specialists highlight that the wet season is a good time for Ayurvedic medicine treatments as the air is moist and free from pollutants. The pores open more easily and detox is more effective.
Most of the SpaDreams hotels offering Ayurvedic medicine in Sri Lanka are located in the south-west part of the island, where the monsoon season takes place in May-September. In the north-east Sri Lanka the wet season takes place in December-February. March, April, October and November are the months of the inter-monsoon season on the entire island.
In India the wet season lasts from July to September in the central parts of the country. The monsoons spread across India from the south west, where the wet season begins earlier (in May-June). In the north east the monsoon season begins later and finishes in October. Usually the south of India receives more rainfall than the north.
What to Consider
Travelling to India or Sri Lanka to experience the most authentic Ayurvedic medicine will be a life changing experience, however, if you are travelling from Europe it will involve a tiring, long-haul journey which could cause jet lag. Such a journey may not be suitable for elderly or disabled people.
Panchakarma is an intense detox cure, which is not suitable for children or pregnant women. Generally it is recommended for people who do not suffer from any severe or fatal diseases, but have an unhealthy and/or hectic lifestyle and may experience problems with weight gain, digestive system, sleeping, concentration and many other conditions which stem from unhealthy, irregular eating and an imbalanced lifestyle.
It is best to come with another person undertaking the treatment, somebody supportive of the treatment or alone. An Ayurvedic stay is not suitable for a family holiday. Most hotels will accommodate people who are only there to support another guest and do not wish to undertake a cure themselves, however there are a few hotels which do not accept guests who are not there to undertake an Ayurveda cure.
Ayurvedic Medicine in Europe
Ayurvedic medicine in Europe is a good alternative for anyone who would like to experience an Ayurveda cure without having to take a long flight to India, Nepal or Sri Lanka.
If you have any health related concerns about Ayurvedic medicine or a holiday stay in India or Sri Lanka, please consult your doctor to decide whether an Ayurvedic holiday is suitable for you. Vaccines are not compulsory, however vaccines for Typhoid and Hepatitis A may be advisable.
Make sure you check the entry requirements for citizens of your country carefully.
If you have any questions don't hesitate to contact us directly and we will be happy to advise you!
Alternatives to Ayurvedic Medicine
If you decide that Ayurveda is not for you, but you are still looking to enhance your overall well-being, detoxify and bring your body back to balance, then SpaDreams is here to help, with a number of alternatives on offer!
Spa Dreams specialises in Ayurvedic holidays and numerous other aspects of health and wellness tourism. We take pride in contributing to the improvement of our clients' well-being. We will be pleased to assist you in choosing your holiday, whether you're seeking Ayurvedic medicine or interested in any other healthy vacation theme.