Discovering Ayurveda at Ananda in the Himalayas
- Published: 06 February 2018 06 February 2018
Dr Shijoe Mathew
Dr Shijoe Mathew is the Ayurvedic Physician at Ananda in the Himalayas. He has practised and learnt Ayurveda under many eminent scholars in regions all over India, after studying its principles at Vishnu Ayurveda Medical College. During this time, he came across a traditional family practising Ayurvedic toxicology treatments from which he learnt the traditional art of Ayurvedic pulse examination. He was inspired to discover this traditional medicine growing up in the spiritual town of Kerala, and by his great-uncle, who was an Ayurvedic eye doctor.
Interview with an Ayurvedic Doctor
How do you go about treating a client at Ananda with Ayurveda?
The vital step about treating a person is in understanding the individual, his body as well as his mind. A personalised approach always helps in understanding the actual underlying causes and improves the chances of resolving it from root itself. After the consultation, based on the individual body type the client is suggested specific "dosha" balancing diet and treatments are done again with a view to cleanse & balance the body and mind.
What are the main differences between Western medicine and Ayurveda?
Western medicine focuses on the disease and its symptoms. Ayurveda concentrates over the individual and his imbalance. The Mind-Body balancing will have a definite healing impact on various symptoms the person is suffering even without treating them separately.
Ayurvedic massage at Ananda in the Himalayas
What are the three doshas used in Ayurveda and what do they mean?
Ayurveda considers human body as part of this nature. The same five elements of nature earth, water, fire, air and space make up our body. The tri doshas "vata", "pitta" and Kapha" are the functional aspect of these elements in our body.
Vata represents air and space elements
Pitta represents fire and water
Kapha represents earth and water
Any imbalance in this dosha level will affect the function of body as a unit creating various symptoms or diseases.
How can someone benefit from knowing their dosha type?
The dosha type is a tendency which will stay with a person throughout his/her life. Being a Vata person or Pitta body type person means that the particular dosha can go out of balance easily. Knowing your body type will always help you plan a particular diet and lifestyle which will prevent the dosha from increasing thereby maintaining body-mind balance as well as good health.
In what ways does Ananda integrate Ayurveda principles during a guest's stay?
Starting from the morning wakeup infusion of ginger lemon & honey, the guest will experience real Ayurvedic living through proper physical activity like yoga or stretches followed by a healthy and balanced breakfast based on Dosha Balance which will be followed by any spa treatment session all of them as prescribed by the doctor. Thus Ananda incorporates Ayurveda in all its core functions whether it is spa treatments, food or activities.
Meditation in the music Pavillion
What kind of health concerns can Ayurveda treat?
All kind of chronic health issues pertaining to digestion, metabolism, skeletal system, muscles, hormones etc can be treated through ayurveda at Ananda. Most number of clients we treat here are bone & joint issues, obesity, diabetes and cardiac issues, depression, stress and various metabolic syndromes.
How long do the health benefits last after an Ayurveda treatment?
Ayurveda is a life science not essentially a medical science. Its effect stays forever if you understand your body and follow a balancing food and lifestyle. Also, a basic body-mind balancing & revitalizing treatment for 7 days a year will help the effect go on.
How many Ayurveda treatments must a client have before they begin to see an improvement in their health?
This varies with the severity and reach of the condition. But a minimum of seven days time will be required to finish a basic level Ayurvedic panchakarma treatment which will include 2-3 cleansing procedures, rest preparatory treatments and nourishing sessions.
Ayurvedic therapy at Ananda
Can you explain a little more about Ayurvedic pulse examination?
The Dosha diagnosis or understanding of a person is done through 3 different ways in Ayurveda.
1) Darsana – Visual
2) Sparsana – Tactile
3) Prasna- interrogate
Out of these the tactile part composes of pulse examination primarily. The art of pulse examination is an age-old tradition which came from teachers to students directly. Constant practise and proper understanding together only will help understand the pulse. Ayurveda understands that the blood which flows through our body collects feedback from various systems and the direct feeling of one's blood flow reflect various minor imbalances in our system. Together with visual perception and systematic interrogation, it forms one of the most powerful and infallible methods of diagnosis used in Ayurveda.
Is Ayurveda something which a client can practise at home after their wellness holiday?
As I said earlier Ayurveda is life science. Ayurveda tells you when to wake up when to sleep and everything in between. It's not just medicines and treatments. Ayurveda has to be practised at home, in the office - everywhere.
Tell us your top three health tips
1) Stay physically active. Don't miss a chance to walk or climb stairs.
2) Be aware of yourself. Be aware of your food, and be aware of your activities. When you are aware, you are 90% less likely to do disease-causing actions.
3) Believe in the healing power of your body. Your belief will work better than any painkillers.
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