Ayurveda is a holistic system of medicine that has been practiced in India for over 5,000 years. Literally, the word Ayurveda means “knowledge of life” and its practice constitutes a science of routines and remedies designed to foster and maintain optimum health.
One of Ayurveda’s distinguishing features is its concept of the “doshas”, the three elements that influence the biological, physiological and psychological balance of each individual. People’s different body constitutions, diets, daily routines, and behaviors are all governed by their doshas.
Vata dosha governs kinetic energy in the body. Mainly concerned with the nervous system, it controls all forms of body movement, including the circulatory functions. Vata is characterized as a dry dosha, and when excessive dryness affects the constitution, irregularity of some kind results. Vata people are typically restless, edgy and irregular in their behavior or daily routines.
Kapha dosha is associated with potential energy, controlling body stability and lubrication. The structure, tissues and wastes of the body are its main responsibilities. Kapha is regarded a heavy dosha, and when it is disturbed, heaviness in mind or body often manifests. Thus, Kapha people are prone to lethargy, weight gain and a general “stickiness” in their diets and daily routines.
Pitta dosha controls the balance between the body’s kinetic and potential energy. Pitta governs body heat and digestive fire, and thus handles the enzyme and endocrine systems of the body. Pitta is labeled a hot dosha, and Pitta people are prone to overheating physically or psychologically, being passionate, creative, and sometimes aggressive.
In the context of spa experience, therefore, the three doshic types demand different treatment. Vata types, being dry and cold, benefit from warm oil massage that calms their anxieties, penetrates the skin and lubricates the joints. Kapha types, being heavy and cold, benefit from sauna treatment and detoxification that helps flush out their sluggish systems. Pitta types, being hot and oily, benefit most from meditation, yoga and herbal treatments that cool down their heated systems.