Ayurveda is a holistic medical system based on ancient Indian texts that utilizes natural treatments, botanical medicines, and lifestyle and dietary practices to promote healing of the body, mind, senses, and spirit. Interest in Ayurveda has grown in the United States over the last two decades, as consumers, therapists, scientists, and health regulators have recognized its holistic and preventative benefits. According to Ayurveda, every human being is composed of a unique proportion of these elemental energies, a foundational theory in Ayurveda known as tridosha. The three doshas (vata, pitta, kapha) represent three psychobiological constitutional types that govern all human characteristics, activities, and patterns of health and illness. Preliminary genomic research suggests there may correlations between the doshas and certain genetic patterns. Other early research applying doshic theory to various populations shows similar promise. Ayurvedic treatments are also being tested for efficacy both in medical and psychological applications, but it is often examined in ways that isolate individual therapeutic substances or treatments in a way that is antithetical to the holistic approach of Ayurveda. This approach might be more fruitfully paired with a holistic approach to psychology such as that offered by transpersonal psychology.
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