by Doug Gillard, acupuncturist & Ayuvedic practitioner at Shree Ma Ayurveda Institute & Wellness Centre

Editor’s note: Dr. Hemant Kumar Gupta is a visiting physician at Carp Ridge Natural Health Clinic and owns the Shree Ma Ayurveda Institute & Wellness Centre Inc. ( at 2596 Carling Avenue in Ottawa. He is happy to answer any questions about Ayurvedic medicine and can be reached at 613-422-0936.

Ayurveda comes from two Sanskrit words, Ayur meaning “life” and Veda meaning “knowledge” or “science”. Therefore, Ayurveda is usually translated as “the science of life”. It is believed that Ayurveda is the oldest system of preventative medicine in existence. It is natural, safe and targets the root cause of disease.

Being a completely holistic medical model, Ayurveda takes a broad view of a person when addressing a disorder. It effectively treats imbalances on the physical, mental, emotional and energetic levels of the human being. Ayurveda takes a multi-model approach of diet, exercise, relaxation techniques, therapies, and daily or seasonal routines in restoring and maintaining homeostasis for optimal health and wellness.

An authentic consultation with an Ayurvedic doctor will include numerous traditional diagnostic tools such as pulse reading, tongue and facial diagnosis, determination of body-mind constitution (dosha type), and the state of imbalance of doshas (called vata, pitta and kapha). This extensive overview of the person’s condition is 45-60 minutes in length. After which a completely customized treatment strategy is devised to remedy the disorder. The treatment typically includes nutritional, herbal, supplemental, detoxification (Panchakarma) and lifestyle recommendations, along with various therapies available at our clinic.

A few of the time honored forms of bodywork of Ayurveda are Abhyanga, Marma Therapy and Shirodhara. Abhyanga is a traditional form of massage from India. This luxurious full-body massage is uniquely rhythmic. The emphasis, during treatment, is on lubricating and invigorating the body, while clearing any blocked flow of life forces in your constitution. This massage promotes the penetration of oil deep into the body tissues, softening and promoting flexibility of the muscles and joints.

Marma Therapy is a treatment involving gentle pressure on specific energetic points to enhance the reception and flow of prana (life force energy), that resides in the nadis (energetic channels) throughout the body. Marma is a Sanskrit word that translates as “of a mystical nature”. These are the vital points of the body where muscles, nerves, blood vessels, joints, ligaments, and bones meet the junctions of prana. At these hubs the physical and subtle channels of the body merge or intersect. To enhance the treatment, specialized herbal infused oil is applied on the marma points.

Shirodhara is a purifying and rejuvenating therapy that involves gently pouring a stream of warmed therapeutic fluid from a specific height and for a specific period of time continuously and rhythmically over the forehead or the ‘third eye’. The name comes from the Sanskrit words shiras (head) and dhara (flow).

Ayurveda, based on its simple and unique Tro Dosha model, can incorporate any form of medicine. To enhance and support the needs of our cliental we often use various holistic practices from around the world to create an individually tailored and customized treatment plan.