One of the attributes of Ayurveda is its ability to view each individual in his or her uniqueness. The constitution of the person is ascertained and health complaints are viewed in the light of personal tendencies as seen in the nature of the body.
When a person presents him or herself for a consultation, the body type (Prakriti) and the present modification of that body type (Vikriti) are determined along with an analysis of the reasons for the current complaints.
The three elements of Vata, Pitta and Kapha are the basic components through which Ayurveda views the condition of the body.
Vata means wind or energy and refers not only to moving energy such as the flow of blood or food through the system but also to the electrical energy in the nervous system and the more refined energies of thoughts and emotions.
Pitta means fire and refers mainly to the powerful energies required to digest food (the fire of digestion!) and power the immune system. In addition, sight, the processes occurring in the skin and the metabolism of thoughts and emotions are also governed by Pitta.
Kapha means earth and water and refers to the lubricating elements of the body and the solid tissues and structures of the physiology.
An individual’s body type is viewed in terms of the combinations and proportions of these three elements to determine what tendencies may be present and to advise the person on diet and lifestyle issues. For example the Kapha body type will usually require more strenuous exercise to stay in balance than the more ethereal Vata type. A Pitta type will usually have stronger digestive power than the others. In this vein, the tendencies of each person can be viewed very clearly.
For example someone with high blood pressure might be a Pitta type who is experiencing a lot of pressure in life. They could be the classic type A personality who is trying to overachieve, to control the environment and to dominate others. What is usually observed in such a case is that the Vata energies of mind and emotions have become imbalanced on the level of the energy bodies and are moving Pitta energy out of the digestive areas leading to irritation in the heart.
It is also possible that the high blood pressure may be caused by excess weight in a Kapha type or high anxiety in a Vata constitution. The same symptom will therefore require completely different modes of treatment for each person.
An Ayurvedic analysis observes any symptomatic complaints and locates their origins in such areas as the patterns of the mind and emotions, the energies created by past Karmas, the results of dietary and lifestyle habits, etc. Recommendations may cover a wide spectrum ranging from herbal formulas and supplements to spiritual, behavioral, dietary, therapeutic and other regimens.