My first visit to an Ayurveda Doctor
After visiting several doctors when my eczema flared up again a year ago, I decided to try the alternative route for healing it. Eczema has been part of my struggles since childhood but most of the time it stays away. However, when it does surface, the process of clearing it up takes months or even years. Until last summer I had been eczema-free for almost 5 years, with some occasional rash in my arms that would go away with some cortisone.
To not make this blog too lengthy, Ayurveda is an ancient form of medicine from India from which Chinese medicine eventually was created from. Or well they started to develop around the same time period. However, ayurvedic treatments are still present in this time and day. Ayurveda has three main body types and then the sub-types are combinations of those three. Most people have at least two of the types present and one being more dominant. These body types are known as doshas. The doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. An ayurvedic doctor finds out your exact type by listening to your pulse.
I come in during a rainy day in late October, ready for my 1 hour session with an ayurvedic doctor. I briefly explain my reason for coming, which quite obviously can already be observed from my red and puffy eyes that are accompanied with some flaky and dry skin. The doctor asks me to remove my watch from my wrist and then holds my hand and feels my pulse from my left wrist. Tapping my wrist occasionally and then asking me to show my tongue, takes a look at my nails and then proceeds to ask a few questions. Some of the questions are about my life and work, am I stressed, how is the quality of my sleep and so on. Some questions however feel a bit more random. “Do you eat a lot of lemons?” Which surprises me as lemons are one of my favorite fruits, and I can easily bite into one and eat it too instead of just using it for cooking.
Finally he begins to draw some lines on a paper and then explains to me as he makes his notes that I am dominantly a pitta dosha. I have about 15% of vata in me but pitta is the dominant one. Then he goes on explaining that I have a excess of pitta in my body. When you are diagnosed with the body type, you shouldn’t get obsessed with it like an horoscope that analyzes your personality and traits. When you get your body type, you will know what you are sensitive to, and what to avoid so that your dosha doesn’t act up.
Pitta is fire. Vata is mostly air. Kapha is associated with earth.
I had previously misdiagnosed myself with an online test to be a vata dosha, and then I carried on trying to balance that out on my own which further caused my pitta to flare up, as the ways to balance the doshas are little different. What is good for the other, might not be so good for the another. I had been trying to cool down the airyness of my body, while I was really supposed to put down that fire that had became excess and was causing my eczema. The other body types can also get eczema and it isn’t always pitta acting up, vatas and kaphas have their own kind of eczema. Pitta usually has a very red eczema. I had also been taking ashwagandha almost everyday to cope with my anxiety but then found out that in excess it wasn’t good for pitta. Great for vata but only tiny amounts for pitta.
The doctor then handed me print-outs how to manage my pitta by avoiding certain foods and what to eat instead. During the recovery process he recommended me to eat a pitta-balancing diet about 70% and then after one month, trying to increase it to about 85%. The remaining 15% being foods that are not necessarily recommended for pitta, but to keep my sanity and not fall for the a-type personality perfection (that pittas tend to be) I should eat those as well.
The doctor then taught me a shiitali pranayama technique, to do every morning after few breaths to cool down my body and help it relax. Other guidelines he gave were using coconut oil in the morning, putting it all over my body and then showering after 10-minutes of it sitting on my skin. During the recovery process I should also be doing it at night, but if I am in a rush in the morning then the evening routine should be enough.
I won’t go further down on the guidelines that were specific for my condition at the moment but I really do recommend seeing an ayurvedic doctor. Especially if you are interested in the topic and have only diagnosed yourself online, to get more accurate information if that diagnosis was even right. The doctor told me that he is not surprised that I had self-diagnosed as vata, because on the outside I have very vata like body type but when you go into the details, my body is more pitta.
The first couple days of eating pitta-balancing diet, I felt my body being cold and found out that being a regular symptom when you remove the fiery foods to recover. After a three months, I returned for a check-up. My skin had started get better and he checked my pulse again. My pitta was more in balance with the vata and kapha in my body. He pointed out things from his notes that I didn’t even remember I had had an issue with previously, such as insomnia.
I would love to hear your thoughts! Have you been into ayurveda or even visited a doctor yourself? Hopefully you found this blog post informative and got some new insights, and if you want to know more, then contact me through my social channels or via e-mail and I can try to answer your questions!