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Addiction and Ayurveda

Ayurveda is the ancient Indian practice of natural medicine, which incorporates meditation and yoga as part of prevention of illnesses and maintenance of optimum health. A lot of emphasis is placed on daily routine, food balancing according to one’s physiological body type and herbal supplements to maintain healthy function and/or correct imbalances.

 Ayurveda for Addiction

The main cause of disease in Ayurveda is considered to be Pragyaparadha. This Sanskrit word is usually translated as the mistake of the intellect, where the intellect starts to see itself/person as separate from everything else. This concept is directly related to Addiction as a disease of isolation and shame, with grandiosity, making oneself appear bigger/stronger than one is, and control being efforts to keep the shame hidden.

From a physiological perspective, the body is thought to be comprised of five elements – space (akasha), air (vayu), fire (agni), water (jala) and earth (prithvi) – that comprise the three movement, metabolic and structural components called the three doshasVata (space and air), Pitta (fire) and Kapha (water and earth). Vata, includes hearing and touch senses, in addition to all movement/air related activities in the body such as thinking, sinuses, swallowing, gastrointestinal movement and circulation. Pitta includes the sense of sight, in addition to metabolic activities such as digestion, detoxification and emotions, especially anger. Kapha is related to structure, hence, affects the spine, glands, organs and lubrication in joints, in addition to the senses of taste and smell. Body types and imbalances in these doshas can be detected by a clinical history and a special way of checking the pulse!

Generally speaking, the disease of Addiction creates imbalances in the Vata and Pitta areas, hence, focus is needed in those areas during detoxification and early recovery. Meditation and psychotherapy are both techniques to treat Pragyaparadha, hence, they work well together! Yoga is also a great way of balancing Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

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