Ayurveda Basics

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda (= the science of life), the mother of medicine, originates more than 5000 years ago in India. Important „Rishis“ (seers) observed life’s principles with a deep understanding for nature and structured them in a sophisticated system. When the doctrine came to Sri Lanka, in combination with the indigenous medicine the Ceylonese Ayurvedic system was created. Opposite to Western allopathy Ayurveda does not focus on illness, but on the preservation of a healthy and and blessed condition through the balance of the energy flow in our body. Ayurveda not only is a medical system, it is nutrition, lifestyle and philosophy. It can at times also work hand in hand with Western Medicine, e.g. in rehabilitation or for the relief of negative effects of medication and operation.


How does Ayurveda work? 

Persons are devided into body types, the so-called doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha). The cooperation of these 3 energies is found in every organism and in universe itself. The doshas characterize us as an individual with their specific combination. When these energies are in balance, we are healthy. Daytime and seasons are also influenced by the doshas and then again influence us. Summer for example is dominated by Pitta (= heat). A day is being devided into sections, conditioned by one respective dosha.

What is it good for?

Everbody at times feels unbalanced. When we go to the doctor in that case he might tell us that everything is okay, which means that the imbalance is still on the way to manifest itself as illness. Already here we can receive help by the Ayurvedic system. An Ayurveda doctor will recognize the „mistakes“ in our system through a thorough examination by palpation, listening, observation and questioning. He will propose changes in our lifestyle and nutrition, maybe prescribe herbal medicine and Ayurvedic treatments.

The basic principles of Ayurveda are as follows…

-Every cause has an effect

-For each action there is an equal and an opposite reaction

-Like increases like

-A quality is reduced by the quality which is opposed to it

In order to be healthy our wish for health has to be in harmony with our thoughts, feelings and actions. The correct behaviour for obtaining a healthy life is called „svasthavritta“ in Sanskrit.



What does Ayurveda do?

Ayurveda includes all aspects of life – body, mind and consciousness. It recognizes each of us as an individual, we all react in different ways and have varied strengths and weaknesses. Ayurveda provides an abundance of information for each individual regarding the relation between cause and effect. It does not treat the symptoms of an illness, but its cause. Mainly though Ayurveda focusses on the preservation of health and the prevention of illness.

Panchakarma means „the five actions“. During Panchakarma treatments body and mind are cleaned in a fivefold way:

-inner and outer oil therapy to mobilise and release toxins in the body (Purvakarma)

-cleansing by vomiting (Vamana)

-cleansing by herbal laxatives (Virechana)

-cleansing by enemas in various parts of the body (Vasti)

-a healthy diet and lifestyle (Paschat Karma)


The treatments might be accompanied by herbal medicine if required. The Ayurveda practitioner decides on the treatments according to the individual constitution. Ayurveda is inseparably connected to yoga and meditation.