Disturbing the balance – how does this happen?
While constitution is stable throughout life, our disharmonies change. Each of the universal attributes of our constitution, described by the 3 Dosha model or the principles of Yin & Yang, have the natural tendency to increase, following the rule of like increases like. Therefore, the most likely disharmony is due to the increase of one’s universal attributes.
Like Increases Like
A basic principle of traditional medicine is “like increases like.” Therefore, increasing the inherent qualities of a Dosha will increase the Doshas inherent qualities in your body, mind, and spirit.
For example, because pitta is inherently hot—hot weather, hot foods, the hot seasons and times of day, and even hot emotions can increase pitta in body, mind and spirit.
Opposites as Medicine
Each of us has a unique proportion of the three Doshas in our constitution. Ayurveda teaches us that if a dosha increases beyond its original, natural proportion for us, it will first create symptoms of imbalance and over time lead to disease.
It is common for our predominant dosha (Vata, Pitta, or Kapha) to increase more quickly than the other Doshas because the predominant dosha is influencing our choices, preferences, instincts and tendencies. For this reason, diagnosing constitution and learning to balance the natural influence of the predominant Dosha is so crucial for striking balance and maintaining good health.
For example, if your dominant dosha is pitta, you may be intellectually bright, due to the hot and sharp qualities of pitta. However, this very quality that is inherent in pitta may eventually aggravate it and create mental or physical “burn out.”
Medicines are substances, which decrease the excess dosha by providing the opposite qualities to it. For example, if excess mental wrestling has resulted in “burn out,” a comfortable, soft couch, a foot massage, a good laugh and a cool refreshing drink can be medicines. If imbalance has arisen due to excess heat, coolness can be the medicine, and so on with all other natural attributes.
One of the wonderfully practical aspects of traditional medicine is that anything can be used as a medicine because everything that exists has a quality. This includes but is not limited to: herbs, foods, drinks, environments, colors, smells, and lifestyles.
Examples for the natural increase of the universal attributes:
- An individual with the constitution of heavy, cold and oily qualities, that will maintain a diet of similar qualities (milk, cream), expose to cold and damp weather and avoid physical exercise, is most likely to develop symptoms of overweight, a cough accompanied by phlegm, apathy and a dull mind.
- An individual with the constitution of Light, Hot and Slightly oily qualities, that will maintain a diet of similar qualities (fried meat, potato chips), expose to the mid-day sun and perform intensive aerobic exercise, is most likely to develop symptoms of fever, inflammation, heartburn, skin rash, anger and arrogance.
- An individual with the constitution of Dry, Cold and Light qualities, that will maintain a diet of similar qualities (fresh vegetables and rice crackers), expose to cold and dry weather and that travels long distance often, is most likely to develop symptoms of insomnia, neural pain, constipation and obsessive thinking.
Although less common, a cold constitution can suffer from excess heat, a dry constitution can suffer from excess dampness, a light constitution can suffer from excess heaviness, and vice versa.
Process of disease development:
First stage – Accumulation:
A certain natural attribute or Dosha gradually increases in amount. This accumulation takes place mostly in the digestive system. This process creates a spontaneous attraction to the opposite quality as a natural strive for restoring balance.
Second stage – Vitiation:
The accumulated quality is over stimulated and provoked, and a sudden increase occurs, which brings about a stronger and sharper sense of imbalance and malaise. To restore balance from this stage, one must remove or eliminate the immediate cause for the disturbance, actively sedate the increased natural attributeor increased Dosha, and reinforce digestion strength.
Third stage – Suffusion:
The increased quality creates stagnation and as a defense reaction the body amplifies the Air element that in turn spreads the stagnation outside of the digestive system and into the body tissues. This stage develops quickly but will take time to fix. The symptoms at this stage may be of any quality, regardless the source increased quality that initiated the process of the disease. This stage may occur with no specific cause. It happens naturally over time if the previous stage was not treated. To treat this stage of disease, one must remove or eliminate the immediate cause for the disturbance, actively sedate the increased natural attribute or increased Dosha, reinforce digestion strength, and calm down excess Air element (or Vata Dosha).
Fourth stage – Stationing
The increased quality or Dosha finds and sticks to a weak spot in the body and a disease arises. The disease very much relates to the site rather than to the quality that caused it. If there is no specific site, systemic disease emerges.
Fifth stage – Eruption
The disease is ripe and outbreaks with full force.
Sixth stage – Complication
The disease is chronic and cannot be cured, only maintained, complications arise and spread throughout the body. Vitality is fragile.