It feels like such a long time ago that I was so so sick.
The thing with Chronic Fatigue… it goes unrecognized for a very long time (and for some, it never really is ever recognized… because it is *apparently* “something that is all in your head”)
So a lot of the time, when you get sick… and you will get sick… because your immune system is so badly compromised… you are treated for that day’s complaint. I was literally on antibiotics consistently for about 6 months. For many different reasons and ailments… but with the same result… compromised immune system was just knocked down again and again and again. You literally are a disease sponge… you come into contact with anyone with anything of any germ value… it’s going to own you in a few days…
You know when you get *that* sick? You will try anything? Well, that is how I came to the offices of a very well-known Ayurvedic doctor.
Picture the scene… a young western woman, extremely au fait with the process of “talking and telling… and then getting pills”… I had this gentleman come over to me and hold my wrist and pause for a few moments… and then turn to me and say… you have a very compromised immune system, and it’s almost like there is a sticky tar coating your colon so you cannot eliminate toxins and instead you are building them up internally.
With many internal eye rolls, I politely asked for the pills I should be getting (because that was appropriate, right?) and I left. The word “quack” may or may not have been thought at this point…
Fast forward 6 months.
I was at the lowest point in my life. Pain, fatigue and depression were constant. I just couldn’t shake the heavy. Everything was just too painful. Literally.
Remember that “try anything” desperation? Someone mentioned to me that I should try colonic hydrotherapy. Sign me up!!! Off I went to one of the sweetest nicest ladies I have ever known (I actually renamed her Fraulein Maria because she reminded me of Julie Andrews in The Sound Of Music… she was *that* sweet) and as she started my first session, she says… “Have you by any chance been eating charcoal?”
Noooo!!! I reply. “Strange, she says, because it’s almost like there is a tar like substance covering your colon.
Mind. Officially. Blown.
First thought that did go through my mind though… the quack was right!!!!
The way I try to explain Ayurveda to people who don’t know, like I didn’t… Ayurveda is an INCREDIBLE system developed so many thousands of years ago. If Yoga is “the science of the body”, then Ayurveda is “the science of life”.
Specifically it is a 5,000-year-old system of natural healing that has its origins in the Vedic culture of India. More than a mere system of treating illness, Ayurveda is a science of life (Ayur = life,Veda = science or knowledge). It is designed to help people stay vital while realizing their full human potential. Providing guidelines on recommended daily and seasonal routines, diet, behavior and the proper use of our senses, Ayurveda reminds us that health is the balanced and dynamic integration between our environment, body, mind, and spirit
Think of it this way… if you were working a lot and bent over your computer for many hours a day, with a window open behind you… and you started to get seriously bad shoulder pain… an allopathic doctor would most probably recommend that you take some sort of anti-inflammatory for the pain and inflammation.
An Ayurvedic doctor would tell you to pick up your computer and move to another spot where the wind would not blow on your back or suggest you close the window. And they would suggest you did something to strengthen the weak point… like yoga.
Ayurveda does not treat the symptom. It treats the cause. Ayurveda is not easy because it requires that you recognize the issue within and make changes. Ayurveda does not work if you are a passenger. You have to drive the healing and formation of something more. These type of changes are uncomfortable because a lot of the time it is a bad habit we must now unlearn and a new habit we must now cultivate. Sound a bit like hard work? It is. Anti inflammatories sound a lot easier sometimes huh?
It wasn’t until many years and adventures later that I came across my awesome Ayurvedic doctor again.
Again, I was unwell and again, I was going from homeopath to tropical specialist and back to homeopath to try and get to the bottom of my continued ailment. Parasites from Egypt they cried. Cancer they whispered. I was completely stuck. Paralysed in fear to go the allopathic route where tests and operations waited… until I bumped into a friend at my local health store where she exclaimed at how thin I had gotten… I explained I couldn’t hold on to nutrition. Had I ever heard of an Ayurvedic Doctor in Durban, she asked.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! How had I forgotten!!
I arrived at the offices, but this time around… I was a yogi, and armed with knowledge and understanding and a deep respect for the Ayurvedic lifestyle.
I told him of my earlier visit so many years ago… and my reaction to his diagnosis and my thoughts of ducks and quacks. He was very gracious about it… and just smiling, shook his head and said “….my constant challenge with Westerners”
He felt my pulses (Ayurvedic practioners are incredible… they literally feel three main pulses on our wrists (and three smaller ones within the three if they are *that* good) and can deduce so much from just that pulse movement. They can establish what dosha we are and also what organ is under stress
Recognizing that human beings are part of nature, Ayurveda describes three fundamental energies that govern our inner and outer environments: movement, transformation, and structure. Known in Sanskrit as Vata (Wind), Pitta (Fire), and Kapha (Earth), these primary forces are responsible for the characteristics of our mind and body. Each of us has a unique proportion of these three forces that shapes our nature. If Vata is dominant in our system, we tend to be thin, light, enthusiastic, energetic, and changeable. If Pitta predominates in our nature, we tend to be intense, intelligent, and goal-oriented and we have a strong appetite for life. When Kapha prevails, we tend to be easy-going, methodical, and nurturing. Although each of us has all three forces, most people have one or two elements that predominate.
For each element, there is a balanced and imbalance expression. When Vata is balanced, a person is lively and creative, but when there is too much movement in the system, a person tends to experience anxiety, insomnia, dry skin, constipation or diarrhea, and difficulty focusing. When Pitta is functioning in a balanced manner, a person is warm, friendly, disciplined, a good leader, and a good speaker. When Pitta is out of balance, a person tends to be compulsive and irritable and may suffer from indigestion or an inflammatory condition. When Kapha is balanced, a person is sweet, supportive, and stable but when Kapha is out of balance, a person may experience sluggishness, weight gain, and sinus congestion.
An important goal of Ayurveda is to identify a person’s ideal state of balance, determine where they are out of balance, and offer interventions using diet, herbs, aromatherapy, massage treatments, music, and exercise and meditation to reestablish balance.
Your dosha is freaking out he (kind of) said. This is what I took from his diagnosis. He actually did go as far as to say that I had taken my dosha being out of balance to a whole new level and that he was going to use me as an example of “Vata in chaos” (his words, not mine) in his new book. I did take a moment to preen somewhat for being offered a (slight) book deal and offer him a really lovely picture of me doing a yoga pose… whereby he burst out laughing and told me I had missed the point. Apparently if we were talking cars… I was a Fiat Uno. “Could I not be a really smart expensive small car? I asked, like a Porsche?”
A few Ayurvedic herbs and a LOT of understanding of my capacity (apparently Fiat Uno’s are not the biggest and the strongest and the fastest)… regarding my mind and my body… and the constant diarrhea was a thing of the past and I crept slowly back to strength and wellness and peace again.
Virgil said THE GREATEST WEALTH IS HEALTH.
How true is this statement? And how do we give ours away… oh so willingly… with our misunderstanding and DIS-involvement in our own lives. So often we focus on the wrong problem and even the wrong remedy and find ourselves lost down a rabbit hole of fear, confusion and most of the time pain, and sadness.
Why do I love Ayurveda?
Ayurveda makes me a part of the process. A part of the solution. It empowers me and it enlightens me and it peels away the parts of me that have become like heavy cumbersome cloaks of worry and pain. Ayurveda brings me closer to me. And through this… closer to my Truth.
If you are interested and want to find out more about YOURSELF… take this dosha quiz in the link below. Maybe you will find something about yourself you never thought was there… and maybe it can also change your life xxx