The word Ayurveda is derived from the Sanskrit words, Ayur-life and Veda-knowledge (Science) and is aptly commonly referred as ‘The science of Life.’
Ayurveda is the oldest continuously practiced system of medicine on earth, with its ancient teachings extending deep into the prehistory of humanity. Based on the logical framework of the Vedas, Ayurveda sees the world in a very different way than Western medicine, viewing each thing, each person, as fundamentally connected. This holistic perspective allows the practitioner to find connections where science draws only blanks, as well as provide natural treatments that leverage the power of nature, food and spices. Ultimately, the goal of Ayurveda is to empower its practitioners, including students and patients, with a heightened state of self awareness, allowing each of us to take full responsibility for our own health and well-being.
An Ayurvedic practitioner understand that everyone is unique and as a result, lifestyle and wellness counseling is based on what right for you and your body type in accordance with the principles of Ayurveda. Ayurveda is based on the three Doshas (body-mind types: vata, pitta, kapha) which reside in our bodies in varying degrees. When a person is in a healthy state, these doshas are balanced in a natural harmony within our bodies. In order to understand our natural healthy state of being, we must first understand our original body-type (prakriti) and current body-type (vikriti) and thus see the imbalances. To simplify the approach, Ayurveda does not treat a disease but the underlining doshic imbalances in the various tissues (dhatus) and channels (srotras).
In Ayurveda, the emphasis is always on treating an individual rather than simply treating a disease state so every treatment program will look slightly different depending on each person's unique situation. Having said that, there will always be some common recommendations which will include dietary and lifestyle guidelines, herbal preparations and body treatments.
Confusion over what to eat and when to eat is often at the source of people's weight and health issues. Most of us have been inundated with books, infomercials and so-called experts selling the latest ideas and diets based on the latest research so it's no wonder most people are not clear about what foods are best for them.
Since we each have a very different digestive system there can never be one diet for everyone. Thus, each person has their own unique dietary needs and foods that will work best to maintain their overall health and digestive balance. Since everyone is born with a unique body constitution (dosha, or body-type) with different strengths and weaknesses, Ayurveda provides dietary and lifestyle guidelines based on your individual type.
In Ayurveda there are different body-types or doshas: Vata, Pitta, Kapha, Vata/Pitta, Vata/Kapha, Pitta/Kapha, Pitta/Vata, Kapha/Vata, Kapha/Pitta and Tri-doshic. At our first appointment, I will advise you of your constitution-type or body-type (Prakriti), any imbalances and how to achieve balance through changes in your diet and lifestyle. Every diet I recommend will be different based on your current state of health, digestive strength (agni), toxin level (ama), time of life and even the current climate/season. Additionally, I'll provide custom Ayurvedic herbal formulas and oils specific for your health needs and imbalances.
Ayurvedic diets are designed to balance the elements in your body, cleanse toxins, build immune strength, cultivate a peaceful mind and encourage a strong and balanced digestion.
"One man's food is another's poison." Ancient Roman philosopher Lucretius
How does this work?
The food that we eat is intended as the "fuel" for our body's cells, our engines of metabolism. Our cells in turn convert the fuel to energy to be used in all the life-supporting processes of metabolism that keep us alive and healthy. But like any engine, our body needs a certain kind of fuel to function optimally.
Similarly, our bodies have genetically-based requirements for specific kinds of foods and balance of nutrients in order to produce optimal energy and function in a state of optimal health. If we meet these "design requirements," we can expect to be healthy, energetic, fit and trim.
Failure to obtain on a regular basis the kinds of foods our bodies are designed to utilize will initially produce sub-clinical health complaints such as fatigue, aches and pains, headaches, indigestion, weight gain, constipation, rashes, dry skin, low blood sugar, etc. But long-term deficiency of the right foods will lead to degenerative conditions like asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, etc.
Standardized nutritional approaches fail to recognize that, for genetic reasons, people are all very different from one another on a biochemical or metabolic level. Due to widely varying influences, we all process or utilize foods and nutrients very differently. Thus, the very same nutritional protocol that enables one person to lead a long healthy life full of robust health can cause serious illness in someone else.
In the West, it is common to count calories and to diet in order to lose weight. There is a common saying, "You are what you eat." However, individuals may eat what is widely considered to be a healthy diet, yet they are still having problems with digestion or nervousness, and other complications. According to Ayurveda, some very strict diet plans are actually more harmful than helpful to one's system. What is important in Ayurveda, is not simply what you eat, but to practice eating in accordance with the body-type that you possess. In Ayurveda, it's not "You are what you eat," but "You are what you digest." A simple change in diet can work wonders for your health and well-being.
Individual / Phone Consultations
A consultation generally lasts for 60 to 90 minutes depending upon an individual's personal concerns and number of health conditions. As is traditional in Ayurveda, I employ observation (darshanam), questioning (prashnam) and touch (Sparshanam) to understand your state of health and all imbalances. This detailed assessment includes identifying your original body-type (Prakruti) and understanding doshic imbalances using Ayurvedic methods of clinical examination: pulse, hair, nails, teeth, eyes and more. Subsequently, once I know your current body-type (Vikruti) I can design individualized dietary guidelines with meals plans and lifestyle recommendations to restore balance in your constitution (homeostasis).
Additionally, I provide or recommend specific Ayurvedic herbal tablets, powders, medicated ghee or oil and to balance the doshic subtypes, tissues (dhatus), channels (Srotras), digestive power (agni), elimination channels (malas), prana, ojas and specific health conditions.
An Ayurvedic consultation requires only one consultation with one or two follow-up sessions. Besides profoundly improving your overall health, Ayurveda will leave you with the knowledge to care for your body for the rest of your life and clear understanding of your unique path to optimum health.
Khabir Southwick, C.A.S., A.P., A.H.P., P.A.C.E. Provider
Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist (CAS), [Registered] Ayurvedic Practitioner (AP), [Registered] Ayurvedic Herbal Pharmacist (AHP), [Registered] Professional Ayurvedic Continuing Education (PACE) Provider
Member of: Association of Ayurvedic Professionals of North America (AAPNA), American Herbalist Guild (AHG), Ayurvedic Institute, Ayurveda Association of Canada (AAC), National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA)
~ Over 26 years of practice ~
Note: The National Institute of Health Office of Complementary and Alternative Medicine currently considers Ayurveda a form of complementary and alternative medicine in the United States. In the State of California, Ayurveda is a non-licensed profession. Its practice was formally legalized under the passage of Senate Bill 577 in January 2003. Ayurvedic consultations are considered alternative or complementary to healing arts that are licensed by the State of California.