Ayurveda, which comes from the ancient Vedic texts, is a 5,000-year-old medical philosophy and practice, predicated on the idea that we all are made up of different types of energy.
There are three doshas in Ayurveda, which describe the dominant mind/body state: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. While all three are present in everyone, Ayurveda proposes that we each have a dominant dosha that’s unwavering from birth, and ideally an equal (though often fluctuating) balance between the other two. When the doshas are balanced, we are healthy; when they are unbalanced, we develop disease, which is usually made manifest by skin issues, poor digestion, insomnia, irritability, and anxiety.
In India, Nepal, and other parts of the East, Ayurveda is considered serious medicine—with schooling that’s commensurate with a Western medical degree. But unlike Western medicine, a basic evaluation goes beyond a physical exam. An Ayurvedic doctor will take your pulse, check your tongue, and assess your appearance (among other factors), and then ask you a series of questions about how you handle and respond to various scenarios. It’s quite cool.