What is Ayurvedic Healing?
Ayurvedic Healing is a traditional form of medicine from India. Ayurveda has existed for at least five thousand years and may be the oldest known healing tradition to date. Ayurveda is in use in contemporary times throughout India and wherever the ancient wisdom of Indian culture has migrated.
Today, Ayurveda is widely accepted as a reliable source of effective, long-lasting treatment for deep systemic maladies that result in the surface imbalances we call symptoms. Inflammatory conditions, digestive and autoimmune disorders, hormonal imbalances, and mental health problems alike are treated successfully with Ayurvedic Healing.
At Villa Kali Ma, we recognize Ayurveda as the powerful resource it is when it comes to helping women recover lives of meaning, dignity and happiness. Ayurveda fits well with our deep and scientifically validated belief that a multi-modal, holistic approach to healing complex problems like trauma, mental health disorders, and addiction makes the most sense and yields the best results.
Ayurvedic Healing includes diet, lifestyle, and mindset changes. The Sanskrit term may be translated loosely as “science of life”, which reflects its wide scope. While Ayurveda is most known for its approach to changing physical health through what and how we eat, Ayurveda actually represents a paradigmatic mindset shift for those of us raised up under the Western understanding of health and disease, as well as the very purpose of our lives.
Even if the reason for looking to Ayurveda is purely physiological, one positive thing about Ayurvedic treatment is that it claims to help people experience deep health in all layers of their being. This means experiencing health by way of simple changes in nutrition and through making adjustments to breath, thoughts, and behaviors, all from inside oneself, without the need for pharmaceutical products, invasive medical procedures, or the suffering associated with symptom management (rather than the hope of a deep and permanent cure).
How Ayurveda Healing helps people
Ayurveda helps people through a number of pathways. Ayurveda uses a model of three doshas, or energies, called Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Disease is attributed to an imbalance in the three doshas, and to disconnection from nature.
Which doshas are stronger or weaker in us are considered to be visible in our physical form, reflected in our basic body type as well as in other factors and aspects of our experience. In Ayurveda people are encouraged to individualize their diet, breathing, and behavior in part with the assistance of a greater understanding of one’s natural body type, and to correct any imbalances.
These types are not considered exclusive, but rather to be considered as possibly dominant or less dominant in a person’s constitution, and all three are important to all people.
Doshas notwithstanding, central to Ayurveda’s healing principles is a belief in what’s called bio-individuality, or that people are unique, and that each person’s best path to personal health and well-being will also be unique.
Although there is a huge body of knowledge and tools comprising Ayurveda, it is underpinned by the idea that no human being will be exactly the same as any other, therefore the inherent individuality of a person has great importance, after which models of healing and ideas of pathing are considered secondary.
In other words, what’s presented in the biology and subjective experience of a person is treated with some degree of reverence and as an authority to be listened to rather than imposed upon or categorized to fit a pre-existing mindset or idea about health and disease.
This is different from the Western medical model, which tends to emphasize the idea that disease patterns are consistent across the population and that any person experiencing the same disease will experience the same symptoms in a way that can be repeatably targeted in the same way.
There is no need to choose between Ayurveda and Western medicine, as they work well together. Both models have value, and Villa Kali Ma attempts to embrace the best of both and always use what actually works.
The Benefits of Ayurveda Healing during recovery
Ayurveda is integrated into Villa Kali Ma’s offerings for women recovering from trauma, mental health problems, and addiction.
The Ayurvedic perspective is woven throughout our core treatment programs, where we promote the use of breath, healing herbs and foods, visualizations, meditation, mantras, yoga, massage, and changes in lifestyle as key factors in rebalancing to an internally-generated wholeness.
Ayurveda is known to help with most mental-emotional imbalances, particularly the dispiriting depression and tormenting anxiety that characterize the experiences of many women who need help today.
The longer-term physical, mental, and emotional impacts of trauma are likewise effectively addressed with support from Ayurveda, as the subtle, electrochemical-level operations of trauma deep in the brain, nervous system, and organs are accessed well with its non-invasive and yet transformational ways of restoring wellbeing.
Ayurveda is effective in reducing physical pain, which plagues many people after withdrawing from substances (and is often the reason for developing a substance addiction, as in the case of addiction to painkillers begun with a prescription to an opiate.)
Ayurveda is also used to promote effective stress management, which is a significant support when learning how to face triggers in the external environment without falling into old behaviors.
Stress is a far-reaching problem that in its most extreme forms is deeply linked to trauma, as the clinical term “traumatic stress” indicates. Even in lighter forms, stress deriving from work, family life, and interpersonal conflicts in intimate relationships often represents the biggest obstacle for people who are trying to make positive changes in their lives.
Healing stress at a deep level has many positive impacts on health as well, improving longevity, promoting healthy body weight, increasing nutrient absorption and detoxification, encouraging good sleep, and generating positive, stable moods.
Overall, Ayurveda is a valuable form of supporting all levels and layers of your being, lending greater resilience and a sense of possibility when navigating the road to recovery.
How does Ayurveda Healing work?
Ayurveda heals through applying herbal remedies, balancing the diet, introducing powerful practices of stress relief, and changing lifestyle through exercise, meditation, and a spiritual/philosophical outlook on one’s life.
The goal of Ayurveda interventions is to heal underlying conditions that result in disease. Mental and physical unwellness are both believed to have the same deep root causes – disconnection from nature and imbalances in the vital life force. Therefore Ayurveda is always looking into how to restore the flow of the universal life force throughout all body systems, as well as how to overcome fracture and dissociation of parts of the body and soul.
Through looking into the state of the three doshas, or basic body energy types, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, Ayurveda makes a structured plan for how to bring greater balance, wholeness, internal communication across body systems, and overall coherence to the physiology, including subtle energies and spirit.
This plan is uniquely tailored to the individual, and usually involves a thorough assessment and understanding of patient history, to correctly diagnose which doshas may be dominant. The plan is based on supporting doshas to harmoniously govern body type, mood, energy levels, and behavior.
The ways that an Ayurveda healing plan restores balance in the doshas are as follows:
- Looking out to ensure that all doshas are nourished, such that none dominates too heavily, and none are completely neglected
- Guidance to practically tune into the most natural rhythms of the body, including cyclical patterns of energy and rest
- Restoring healthy attunement to rhythms of nature, including circadian rhythms, or the inner clock given to us by nature
- Choosing food, activities and lifestyle that support the most natural rhythms and energies at your core, which will be partly unique to you, and partly governed by shared rhythms of nature in which we are all embedded
5. Ayurveda Healing options
Ayurveda is integrated into every aspect of Villa Kali Ma’s offerings for women in recovery. Whether facing down addiction, trauma, mental health problems, or any combination of these, you can find Ayurveda-informed treatment and support through our programs. Our Inpatient, residential treatment program as well as our Outpatient treatment programs integrate Ayurveda.
Ayurveda is a complete and comprehensive system of its own, with many facets and layers. It is thousands of years old and represents a huge body of knowledge and resources for all forms of healing, for which we hold great reverence. We encourage you to learn more about Ayurveda and how it may support you on your healing path, whatever your reasons are.
If you are interested in Ayurveda because of your experiences with addiction, trauma, and mental health struggles, we encourage you to receive help from an Ayurvedic practitioner alongside mental health/addiction/trauma treatment. We recommend this, and this is how we offer Ayurveda because we have observed this powerful combination to give women the best chances of success.
At Villa Kali Ma we incorporate Ayurveda in particular through our emphasis on cleansing, restorative diet, healing herbs, deep lifestyle changes, yoga, spiritual philosophy, heart-based community connection, and breathwork as paths for healing.