good health depends on the balance between body, mind and spirit
The interview was conducted by Fatiha Al-Idrisi
Dr. Abhirami Santhosh from Santhigiri Holistic Health Center/ Dubai, is an Ayurvedic Practitioner for natural wellness and preventive healthcare based on the principles of the Ayurvedic traditions of Kerala, India. Her wealth of knowledge also includes specialising in chronic health conditions, diet and lifestyle planning to support recovery and Ayurvedic medicinal plants.
- Can you tell us about Santhigiri Holistic Healthcare Center/ Dubai?
With this venture, the Lootah Group of Companies has stepped in the healthcare domain partnering with the Santhigiri Group from Kerala, India to launch the Santhigiri- Lootah Holistic Health Center. The prime modality of treatment at the center is Ayurveda along with other alternative treatments such as Homeopathy, Osteopathy, Physiotherapy, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chiropractic etc. all offered under one roof. The center aims to offer comprehensive holistic health and wellness treatments and Panchakarma massage therapies to men, women, elderly, children and infants. The center has a well-equipped infrastructure with a serene and calm environment and can provide customized treatments for all medical conditions in a holistic manner, after completely analyzing the patient’s life events, role emotions, dietary habits etc. as lifestyle plays a vital role in causing health imbalances.
- How can people incorporate Ayurveda into their lives?
Ayurveda originated in the Indian subcontinent, supposedly 5000 years ago as a healing & wellness science. Over last 5000 years Ayurveda has been connecting the human race and nature very deeply for health & longevity. The science focuses on how foods, herbs, emotions, climate and lifestyle impact the dynamics of our own physiology and psychology. It stresses the need for prevention rather than cure and recommends harmony of the body, mind, soul and senses as an essential requirement of health
- Can you explain the Ayurvedic dietary rules in simple terms?
Ayurvedic dietary rules mainly focus on balancing different types of energy within your body. The diets are based on your body type. According to Ayurveda, the Universe is made up of the five elements— akash (space), vayu (air), teja (fire), jala (water) and prithvi (earth). These form three energies or tridoshas- Vata, Pitta and Kapha. An equilibrium among them determines the state of health of an individual. Thus, the diets are planned according to the dominance of these energies your body. It sets guidelines for when, how, and what you should eat based on your dosha, or body type.
- Is Panchakarma advisable for any disease or imbalance?
The “Panchakarma” also known as the “Panchashodhana” or the five purificatory therapies are the most important cleansing and detoxifying program for the body, mind and consciousness. Ayurveda emphasizes preventative and healing therapies. The purificatory procedures can help to restore your natural state of health and wellness by cleansing your body of toxins, bringing balance into your system and improving bodily function. It can also help you sustain this process by making positive changes in lifestyle.
The therapies include – Vamana (the therapeutic emesis), Virechana (the therapeutic purgation), Vasti (the therapeutic enema), Nasyam (the nasal therapy) and Raktamokshana (the bloodletting therapy)
- What about children ? Can Panchakarma be practiced at any age?
The “Panchakarma” therapies are recommended by an Ayurvedic practitioner after considering several factors, like your age, health conditions, your vital functions, any aliments that you are suffer from etc along with the place you live, the climatic conditions that you are exposed to. Pancha Karma is main stay of the treatment in Ayurveda, it has to be employed in all the age group if the condition demands. These are prescribed as per the stage of the disease that you are suffering from when it is intended for a curative aspect.
- What about women? can Panchakarma be advised for pregnant women, obesity , hair and skin problems?
There is no better time to pamper yourself than in pregnancy with a nurturing prenatal massage, to rub away all those stresses and strains your body undergoes during the development of a life within you. Prenatal massages are designed for the anatomical changes you go through during pregnancy. The therapy provides deep relaxation and helps to alleviate neck and shoulder stiffness, aches of lower limbs and overall fatigue that manifest during pregnancy and promote good sleep to the soon to be mom. This soothing massage can be performed from the fourth month of pregnancy till the ninth month.
As Panchakarma therapies are detoxifying in nature, it is very often opted as a treatment option in case of different metabolic disorders like obesity. its effects are powerful and long-lasting. Panchakarma is a unique, health-giving series of therapeutic treatments that cleanse the body’s deep tissues of toxins, open the subtle channels, bring life-enhancing energy thereby increasing vitality, inner peace, confidence and well-being. It is also a preferred line of treatment for hair and skin problems especially in conditions like psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema etc.
- How can Ayurveda change our life? What happened?
The natural constitution of an individual, called prakruti, is determined by a combination of the three energies known as doshas – Vāta, Pitta and Kapha. An individual’s health, diseases, its cure etc are governed by the doshas. Their combination differs from person to person. Being aware of one’s own prakruti is key to good health and helps you to plan your lifestyle according to the requirement of your body. Ayurveda helps you to come close to nature and heal yourself naturally. By understanding and following the principles of Ayurveda, one can not only get a faster recovery from your ailments but also helps to prevent many diseases.
- How often should a Panchakarma be done?
The purpose of these Panchakarma procedures is to remove toxic substances and waste products from the body. Ayurveda doesn’t insist on any specific rules on when and how often Panchakarma should be done. In general, a healthy person is recommended to undergo Panchakarma at least once a year. A strict follower can opt to undergo the procedures on the seasonal cycle. When considering a wellness aspect, one can undergo the treatment whenever one feels out of balance or is sick. For a diseased person (according to conditions), it may vary: twice a year or possibly more, depending on the severity of the condition.
- Is Ayurveda medicine advisable for any disease or imbalance?
Ayurvedic medicine is one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems. The science is based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a balance between the mind, body, and spirit. Its aims to promote good health of the healthy as well as offer treatments for specific health problems that you are facing. An Ayurvedic practitioner will prescribe a treatment plan specifically designed for you, after considering the state of health condition and disease that you are suffering from along with your unique physical and emotional composition, your primary life force, and the balance between all three energies or the “Tri-dose”
- How would you describe the Ayurvedic doshas to a beginner?
As per Ayurveda, just like the Universe, every person is also made of five basic elements – akash (space), vayu (air), teja (fire), jala (water) and prithvi (earth). These combine in the human body to form three life forces or energies, called Doshas. They control how your body works. They are the “Tridosa” – Vata dosha (space and air); Pitta dosha (fire and water); and Kapha dosha (water and earth).
Everyone inherits a unique combination of the “Tridosa” and forms the person’s natural constitution called “Prakruthi”. The combinations and predominance of each “Dosa” in each “Prakruthi” varies from person to person. Each “Dosa” controls a different body function. The level of equilibrium between them determines the state of health and illness in an individual.
Among the Tri-dosas, Vata is considered to be the most powerful and influential, as it is the moving force behind the other 2; Pitta and Kapha. Vata enables all motion-related bodily functions. Composed of the space and air elements, Vata Dosa promotes a healthy balance between thought and emotions, facilitates activity and creativity. A vata-dominant person is quick, alert, and restless. However, they tend toward nervousness, fear, and anxiety, and are more susceptible to diseases like arthritis, insomnia, flatulence, constipation, and nerve disorders. To balance vata, it is important to maintain calm and routine, avoid extreme temperatures, and get adequate rest. Vata in the body increases with age.
This Dosa is associated with heat and oiliness, and governs digestive, chemical and metabolic functions in the body. Pitha controls your digestion, metabolism (how well you break down foods), and certain hormones that are linked to your appetite. Composed of fire element, Pitta is considered to add luster to eyes, hair and skin. Pitta dosa dominant people enjoy an efficient metabolism and hearty appetite. They are considered intelligent, aggressive achievers. Pitta people must be on guard against bleeding disorders, inflammations, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, and anger. To achieve Pitta dosha balance, Ayurveda advises avoiding extreme heat and eating less spicy food.
This Dosa relates to mucous, lubrication and carrying nutrients into the system. It controls the muscle growth, body strength and stability, weight, and your immune system. Composed of water and earth element, Kapha is also thought to offer endurance and physical and psychological strength and stability. Kapha dosa-dominant people are considered strong but loving, tenacious but calm, and are blessed with wise tolerance. They could be prone to weight gain, lethargy, excessive sleep, pulmonary congestion, allergies and asthma. To maintain balance, Kapha people are advised to frequently exercise, eat light meals, and avoid napping.
- What is an Ayurvedic practice that you would recommend?
Ayurveda empowers us to take our health into our own hands, by providing simple practices that can be easily implemented over time to ensure a happier and healthier life. Ayurveda advices “Dinacharya” (daily routine), as one single most powerful tools for improving overall health and well-being. Adopting an appropriate daily routine is undoubtedly one of the most grounding and nurturing things you could do for yourself. The general template can and should be adapted to meet the needs of each individual’s constitution and current state of balance. And that’s the beauty of it, because the right daily routine can dramatically improve your life. An Ayurvedic practitioner will first assess your “Prakruthi” and then recommend a “Dinacharya” that helps to establish balance in your constitution, by regularizing your biological clock, aiding digestion, absorption and assimilation, and generating self-esteem, discipline, peace, happiness, and longevity.