Strengthening the Immune System with Ayurveda

Ayurveda specializes in determining what brings balance to each individual. The term Ayurveveda means “knowledge of life”. Ayurveda’s approach to creating balance is to look at every aspect of your life to see what is promoting health and vitality and what is creating strain on the mind/body system. Balance means balance in the biological factors of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. It means a strong, balanced digestion, balance in the tissues, balanced health and balanced emotions.

Ayurveda was the first health science to recognize that people have different needs, and that what might create balance for you could create imbalances for someone else. At the same time it identifies a common, underlying framework that supports ideal functioning for the basic human physiology. For instance, recommendations such as going to bed before 10 P.M., eating one’s main meal at noon, and waking up early in the morning are recommendations that will enhance the health of everyone.

Having a balanced physiology results in a balanced immune system. You probably know people who have been healthy all their lives. These people probably had a strong immune system to begin with. According to Ayurveda there are three types of immunity:

Natural or inherited

Seasonal

Acquired

Natural immunity

Natural immunity comes from birth. When both parents are healthy and in good balance and if the “family tree”. has had a long line of healthy people, it is often the good fortune of the children to inherit that strong immune system. For this reason, Ayurveda recommends that parents-to-be undergo a three month period of purification prior to conception.

Seasonal immunity

Seasonal immunity means immunity according to the seasons, or immunity

according to time of life.

Let’s first look at how immunity changes throughout the year. A good example is during the winter when our state of balance can be affected by the increase of Vata dosha in our environment. One result of this increase in Vata is that our “agni”, or digestive fire can fluctuates dramatically. Any weakening of digestive power can lead to a build-up of partially digested food in the tissues. (Ayurveda refers to this as “ama”.)

If we do not change our diet and life-style habits, the continued accumulation of ama will begin to affect our body’s ability to function normally. This can lead to susceptibility to colds, allergies and other disorders. This is the reason why so many respiratory illnesses and allergies occur at the change of seasons.

Immunity can also change throughout our lifetime. During childhood, our body is more susceptible to certain types of imbalances such as coughs and earaches because this is a Kapha time of life. As we “grow our body”, the element of structure is all important. As we hit puberty, Pitta begins to become more lively. This Pitta influence continues to dominate during our middle years, making us more prone to Pitta imbalances, such as digestive problems. In old age, the body is more susceptible to Vata imbalances, such as stiffness in muscles and joints or memory problems.

Acquired immunity

Acquired immunity results from the choices you make every day. Examples are organic, fresh foods, enjoying exercise that does not deplete the body’s strength, following a regular daily routine, going to bed on time, eating at the right times and enjoying regular purification (Panchakarma) to eliminate impurities from the cells and tissues of the body.

According to Ayurveda, perfect health is not just the absence of disease, but rather, life in balance, life in wholeness, life in complete happiness. The goal of an Ayurvedic expert is to identify which factors in your life are causing your mind/body system to be out of balance and to help design a routine, diet and lifestyle that will support your continued health and vitality.