Symptoms of Imbalance in the Body

Ayurveda, as an ancient science of Health and Healing, believes that everything in the universe is made up of Five Great Elements—Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth or Akasha, Vayu, Teja, Aag, and Prithvi in Sanskrit, respectively. These Five Great Elements can be considered as subtle matter states or energy, as matter and energy are interconnected with each other. Ayurveda works on the foundational principals of these five basic elements of the “Panch Mahabhutas” and explain the importance of keeping these elements balanced for a healthy life.

Each person is influenced by certain elements more than others because of their prakriti, or natural constitution, which is categorized into three doshas:

  • Vata dosha  – the air and space elements dominate
  • Pitta dosha –  the fire element dominates
  • Kapha dosha –  the earth and water elements dominate

The dosha affects the shape of one’s body, and also bodily tendencies (like food preferences and digestion), and one’s mind and emotions. For example, the earth element in people with Kapha dosha is evident in their solid, sturdy body type, their tendency for slower digestion, their strong memory, and their emotional steadiness. Most people’s prakriti is a combination of two doshas.

When Vata, Pitta and Kapha are not functioning at their optimum level, the imbalance is indicated by symptoms which differ according to the dosha.

Vata Imbalance

The Vata dosha is the most important of the three doshas. This is for two reasons. First, if Vata becomes imbalanced for long enough and sufficiently enough, it can also cause the other two doshas (Pitta or Kapha) to become imbalanced.

Vata is a combination of the elements of air and space, so general symptoms of excess Vata are:

  • Cold and dryness in the body
  • Feeling of lightness or restlessness, confusion
  • Constipation
  • Gas formation or distension in the abdomen
  • Loss of strength, fatigue, low vitality
  • Disturbed sleep, or lack of sleep
  • Pains and general body-ache
  • Tremors and twitches
  • Dry and rough skin
  • Dehydration
  • Irrational behavior
  • Feeling confused, fearful  and shaky
  • Wanting to run away
  • Feeling ungrounded
  • Feeling dizzy or spaced out
  • Astringent taste in mouth
  • Anxious, nervous, agitated ,or impatient behavior
  • Excessive movement or talking
  • Sensitiveness to cold and desire for warmth

Chronic Vata imbalance causes:

  • Wasting of muscles
  • Weight loss
  • Joint pains
  • Cramps
  • Stiffness
  • Convulsion, tremors, paralytic attacks
  • Headache
  • Colic
  • Retention
  • Dryness, scaling
  • Constipation
  • Phobias

Pitta imbalance

The Pitta dosha is associated with fire or heat. Wherever there is transformation, there is Pitta prakriti working. Whether it is in the Gastro-Intestinal tract, liver, skin, eyes or brain; these are all locations where Pitta works. Therefore, general symptoms of excess Pitta are:

  • Excessive thirst or hunger
  • Heartburn and acidity
  • Burning sensation in eyes, hands and sole
  • Hot flushes in body
  • Skin rashes, acne, and boils
  • Vomiting bile (yellowish water)
  • Hypersensitivity to light
  • Strong body odor
  • Nausea and headache
  • Loose motions
  • Snappy speech and actions
  • Judgmental or criticizing tendencies
  • Anger, irritability, hostility, impatience and restlessness
  • Bitter taste in the mouth
  • Frustration
  • Argumentative, aggressive attitude
  • Sensitiveness to heat and desire for cool environment

Chronic Pitta imbalance causes:

  • Hyperacidity
  • Burning sensations
  • Inflammations
  • Excess eliminations
  • Bleeding
  • Skin rashes, pimples, boils
  • Hypertension
  • Mania

Kapha Imbalance

Kapha is the heaviest of the three doshas. It provides the structures and the lubrication that the body needs. These qualities help to counterbalance Vata’s movement and Pitta’s metabolism. A big, heavyset football player or wrestler is a person with a predominance of Kapha. Kapha is a combination of the elements of earth and water. Therefore, general symptoms of excess kapha are:

  • Lethargy
  • Feeling of heaviness
  • Less or no  appetite, nausea
  • Water retention
  • Congestion, mucous formation
  • Secretions in the mouth
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Dull, inactiveness
  • Excessive sleep
  • Sweetness in mouth
  • Depression, sadness
  • Feeling lack of support or love
  • Feeling greedy, entangled, possessive

Chronic kapha imbalance causes:

  • Obesity
  • Excess mucous production
  • Swellings
  • Extra growth
  • Water retention
  • Depression

By understanding the nature of our doshas and imbalances, we are better able to do what is needed to keep ourselves in balance. Now, when we are feeling confused, have phobias, or suffer from rashes or dryness we know what is wrong inside our body and can get ourselves professional, customized Ayurvedic treatment. And the name of the game in preventing disease is not to aggravate any of the Tridoshas; to keep them calm and happy. So all you need is to understand what factors increase and decrease each of the three doshas; Vata, Pitta and Kapha and follow recommendations of your Ayurveda Doctor when necessary to avoid disease and promote overall health.


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