This article is from the Alternative Medicine Therapies guide.
A first visit to an Ayurvedic practitioner may last 45 to 90 minutes. The practitioner will ask a series of questions to determine your doshic (or constitutional) profile. You will be questioned about your physical traits, emotional temperament, food preferences, and mental attributes. You will also be asked about your personal and family history.
The practitioner will listen to your heart and lungs and pay special attention to your pulses and tongue. According to Ayurveda, each person has three superficial and three deep pulses on each wrist, which correspond to various internal organs; by reading the pulses, the practitioner can reveal imbalances. The pulses also convey information about the three doshas. The color and sensitivity of parts of your tongue, as well as your general physical appearance, provide more clues about your health. In addition, you may be asked to provide a urine sample for analysis.
After identifying your constitutional type and any imbalances, the physician may prescribe a combination of Ayurvedic treatments, including herbal remedies, lifestyle and dietary modifications (vegetarianism is not required), meditation and yoga postures, breathing exercises, and cleansing measures such as nasal douching or enemas.
If you are found to be suffering from excess kapha, for example, you may have a slow metabolism and perhaps be overweight. The practitioner might suggest that you start an exercise routine and choose light foods over heavy foods to improve your diet.
Vata types, on the other hand, are usually quite thin and tend to be prone to nervous disorders such as anxiety and insomnia. If you are suffering from excess vata, an Ayurvedic practitioner might recommend that you keep a regular routine by eating at set intervals and going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day.
If you are a pitta type, you are probably in good shape but may be subject to moodiness, heartburn, and hemorrhoids. If you suffer from excess pitta, you may be advised to give up alcohol and fried foods and to avoid stressful situations.
The frequency and duration of Ayurvedic visits varies widely, depending on your condition and the practioners's prescription. Once you have received your treatment advice, you may be able to pursue it on your own or your practitioner may want to see you regularly to monitor your treatment. Of course, you may want to revisit the practitioner if the treatments or herbal remedies don't seem to be working.