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Ayurveda's Approach towards Diagnosis - Body Types

Ayurveda an ancient medical science is being re-discovered now. It is getting more relevant today than ever before. It is the oldest health care system, based on nature's principles and logical insights.

Modern medicine's way of working of prescribing certain specific medicines, for a specific disease is now somewhat changing. The modern scientists are now realizing that what works for one, may not work for other. Studies are being done now, to make medicines more individual specific. Something which, Ayurveda has been doing since hundreds of years.

Ayurveda works on the principles of body types i.e. every human being is made of different combinations of elements. Hence for the same disease, different people are given different medicines. The future of medicine is heading towards, what already has been discovered in ancient medicine system of Ayurveda. Life goes a full circle.

Human body is composed of three humors, which decide the process of growth and decay of that person. These humors are the deciding factors of the person's personality and constitution. Every person is born with a certain type. These types are known as Doshas.

What are Doshas?

 Doshas are the connecting link between the physical body and the energy which runs our life. They are the gross manifestation of energy, which control the physical processes of our body. They are invisible. `Doshas' in Sanskrit means fault. In this context, here it means something which decays our body. It is the imbalance in Doshas which leads to ailments.

There are 3 Doshas- Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Every person is born with a certain ratio of Doshas, which decide his constitution. Every human has his own unique mold. -the mould in which a person is born. It is the unique mould which governs his personality and characteristics. It is nature's way to ensure variety in human race.

What are Doshas composed of?

Doshas are made up of pairs of the five elements (Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth). It is the combination of these five elements in a person which decides his Dosha-type.

Vata - is composed of space and air.
Pitta - is composed of fire and water
Kapha- is composed of earth and water.

Doshas are composed of a ratio of these three types. Doshas govern the way we look and act. Every Dosha has its own attributes and qualities, its own beauty and strengths. All Doshas serve a purpose in Nature's plan. We are born in a balanced Dosha state. During our lifetime our body type is always in a state of flux, getting aggravated or depleted depending on our emotional state, our surroundings, age and lifestyle. Too much imbalance in Dosha state leads to disease.

We cannot change our body type (Dosha). The ideal balance for any person is his own unique balance. We can maintain the right balance by keeping our body type as close to its original state. We should, neither allow them to be aggravated nor depleted, and make the best use of inherent qualities of our Doshas.

To keep the Doshas in check, Ayurveda recommends a specific diet and lifestyle for every body-type.

Here, you will be given some basic traits of each body type. There would be some traits that you will find easy to identify with, and some will seem to overlap with another Dosha. If no one type seems dominant, then in that case, you may be two-Dosha type or even in rare cases a three-Dosha type.

Physical Traits:

  • Thin, flexible and light built. Usually underweight and find it difficult to gain weight.
  • Light muscles and little fat; May appear flat-chested.
  • Tire easily; low stamina
  • Irregular sleeping patterns.
  • Usually get gas formation and constipation.

Nature Traits:

  • Worrisome and unpredictable. Tend to be moody.
  • Tendency to do things and actions quickly- Fast eating and walking.
  • Seem to be in a rush and anxious. Tendency towards over-exertion.
  • Experiencing bursts of emotions, which are short-lived and easily forgotten.
  • Higher sexual drive.
  • Usually have clarity of mind, creativity, good imagination.
  • Mentally flexible.

Physical Traits:

  • Medium built, have strength and endurance
  • Cannot do hard physical labour, do not like too much exposure to sun
  • Baldness, thinning of hair and have tendency of premature graying of hair.
  • Soft, fair skin often freckled and does not tan easily.
  • Strong digestion; cannot skip meals.
  • Sweaty palms and feet, and have slightly higher body temperature.
  • Experience sharp hunger and thirst.
  • May suffer from bad breath or body odor

Nature Traits:

  • Sharp intellect, precise articulate speech, often rude.
  • Short temper, and irritable if stressed
  • Ambitious, argumentative and out-spoken
  • Like name and fame
  • Impatient, demanding and a perfectionist
  • Orderly in management of money, time etc.
  • Like challenges

Physical Traits :

  • Solid , powerful built, with great physical strength
  • Tendency towards weight gain as they turn calories to fat
  • Usually heavy bones and slow movers
  • Soft look in the eyes with undemanding approach.
  • Skin is oily, soft, and lustrous. Joints and organs are well lubricated.
  • Bodily processes do not swing to extremes; body remains unaffected by changes
  • Prone to sinus infections and chest congestion
  • Excessive mucous production
  • Like to sugary foods like candies and chocolates

Nature Traits:

  • Slow, steady and relaxed
  • Have a sweet , loving disposition
  • Usually affectionate, caring and forgiving
  • Good memory
  • May over sleep
  • Decision making takes longer
  • Steady energy with graceful movements
  • Very happy the way they are; don't like too many changes

Above, certain traits for each body type are given. Each body type has its own charm, and it is the way we are designed. One cannot change his body type(one you are born with). All attempts to become someone you are not, will just lead to imbalances in your type.

Imbalances create illnesses in the body. One must appreciate what one has, and work on his own type to keep the negative aspects of his type under control.

Body types do not control thoughts, emotions and desires. They may affect our body types but not otherwise.

Look out for the article- "Symptoms of Body-Type Imbalances"

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