Originating in ancient India, Aryuveda is an ancient form of healing for the body and the mind. The word literally means “the science of life”, and is as much a philosophy of why human beings develop and behave the way they do as it is a medical system.
Integrating herbal and dietary recommendations with yoga, massage, and behavioral recommendations, Aryuveda is a holistic approach to human health that seeks not just to heal specific symptoms, but to increase a person’s overall physiological and psychological well-being.
According to Ayurvedic medicine, all human beings have a certain physical and mental temperament that can be roughly divided into three categories: pitta, vata, and kapha.
Pitta people tend to be of medium build, with fair or reddish skin. They sunburn easily, have straight, fine hair, and dislike hot weather.
Pitta is associated with the fire element, and when this element becomes out of balance in pittas, they suffer from ailments such as fevers, inflammatory diseases, and jaundice.
Pittas also tend to be quick-witted, but also quick to anger or develop jealousy.
Vata people tend to be of slight or thin build, with dry skin, dry hair, and disliking cold weather.
Highly imaginative and intelligent, vatas also tend to have their “heads in the clouds” — they are day-dreamers who sometimes suffer from restlessness, distraction, or other disjointed thoughts.
Related to the air element, vatas are more likely to suffer from problems with pneumonia, arthritis, and emphysema.
Kapha people are larger, physically stronger, and tend to have thick, oily hair. They are slower than the pittas and vatas, but more methodical and steady. Like vatas, they dislike cold weather, and especially damp weather.
Associated with the water element, kaphas tend to struggle with sinus congestion, excess mucous, and the flu. Kaphas are slow to anger, but they’re also slow to change.
Usually, most people have one predominate dosha that is stronger than the other two, but everyone’s physical and mental type contains elements of all three doshas.
Determining a person’s dosha is the first step for a practitioner of Aryuvedic medicine to decide the proper course of physical and psychological treatment.