Ayurveda for Beginners

The ancient healing practice offers a holistic approach to combating common health conditions, including allergies and digestive problems.

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“I definitely look at a condition and its severity and sometimes make the judgment to work in concert with a medical doctor to make sure a patient is out of harm’s way and to be as conservative as possible,” says Douillard. However, Ayurveda can be a first line of defense for many non-threatening conditions since it supports the body in self-healing.

In some cases, additional treatments may be needed, such as more aggressive naturopathic therapy to eradicate the symptoms, followed by a course of Western treatment. “What is happening in our country is a great morphing of these systems working together,” Douillard says.

To find a qualified Ayurveda practitioner, look for one with a doctorate or bachelor’s degree in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery, earned through training in India, or a practitioner with a two-year certificate of study from a Western Ayurvedic school. The National Ayurvedic Medical Association provides a directory of sanctioned practitioners.

What it’s Best For: Ayurveda functioned as India’s only form of medicine for thousands of years and is designed to treat any health concern. “There really isn’t anything that I don’t look at through an Ayurvedic lens,” says Douillard. The therapy helps treat both chronic and acute problems, including allergies, digestive problems and skin conditions. A meeting with an Ayurvedic practitioner can also uncover an imbalance that has been brewing for 10 or more years, even if the symptoms have just appeared, explains Douillard.

The Beauty Connection: Ayurveda is all about restoring balance. When it comes to beauty, the focus is on healing the skin from within and draining the lymphatic system, which is closely tied to the skin’s appearance.

“[In Ayurveda] we want to make the skin function well,” says Douillard. “If skin functions well, it radiates. Skin not only lines the outside of your body, it also lines your intestinal tract, your heart and your arteries. So if the skin on the outside is unhealthy, toxic, sagging and lacking luster, the skin on the inside will be the same. Ayurveda cares for skin on the outside and inside.”

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