Read - Reducing Pitta: My Introduction to Other Forms of Wellness Care - PART 1
In the remainder of my stay in India, I continued to struggle with acne and the intense heat. And, people I encountered would have long discussions with me about remedies. I began to notice people using the “pitta”, “kapha”, “vata”, “cooling”, and “warming” words in daily conversation. People would use these words while planning out what to cook for the day. For example, they may have said, “It’s very hot today, we should reduce the pitta by eating cooling foods like yogurt.” I did not understand the origin of these words, but I noticed the foods chosen helped alleviate problems. If it was cold, the food made me feel warm inside, or if the food was ‘cooling’ it helped relieve my internal body heat. And when I could eat more cooling foods, use coconut oil on my hair in the day and the turmeric face pack, the pimples and red tint from my face reduced. What did all this mean? I still did not know.
I returned to US with the continued acne problem. But, back in US, I did not encounter people talking about cooling foods, pitta reduction, etc. I encountered the things I was accustomed to when growing up, put on this creme, that creme, go to the doctor for some pill or creme, use that face wash, or that soap with salicylic acid, etc. I did all that. I used Proactive, which did not work. I used the over the counter things with acne medications, those did not work. I take it back, they worked for a short period, but once my skin got used to it, I got immune to it, and the pimples retuned. It was so frustrating, and emotionally challenging. A few years went by. I had left my home town and was working in another town. I had made some Indian friends there.
My Indian Aunty was talking about how they dealt with this in India. Again, after a long time, I heard the words “pitta”, “kapha”, “vata”, cooling, etc. I then took the opportunity to tell my story from India and ask, “What are all those words?” I was told they are terms from Ayurveda, the medicine of ancient India. Wow, know I finally knew what all that was! She told me she’s been seeing an Ayurvedic doctor in US. She explained some of the remedies she used and for what ailment. She suggested me not to 100% rely on the herbs if the problem is too integrated, but to mix it with Western medicine. That seemed to work well for her. She did mention something else that seemed interesting to me. She asked me not to talk much about this to other Indians (from India) because it seems non-Indians believe in this Ayurveda thing more than Indians! I was perplexed, but took her advice.
I called that doctor. She was situated about 12 hours away and, of course, did not take health insurance. But, she says she usually has a clinic every other month on a weekend, and that was situated about 8 hours away from me. So, I decided it was important enough for me to invest the time and money into this. It would take time to drive there, but also, I’d have to pay for a hotel and gas to get there and back and, of course, food.
I visited Dr. Reddy on and off for a few years. But, then I had to move to another city, where I now live. Upon moving to Rochester, my then fiancé (now husband), Krishna found out from the Indian Store, that there is an Ayurvedic doctor here in Rochester! I went to visit him, with a skeptical Krishna, who happens to be native to the area in India Ayurveda reigns, Kerala. Dr. Sonam Targee blew the socks off both of us. Sure, I told him what bought me to the other Ayurvedic doctor, and what I was looking for now, and also a few of my ailments. However, after taking my pulse diagnosis, Dr. Sonam told us even more about me that I had not mentioned to him, but that both Krishna and I were aware of.
In visiting Dr. Sonam, we learned a lot more about Ayurveda we never knew, and also began to learn about Chinese Herbal Medicine. Dr. Sonam had prescribed me a mix of Ayurvedic and Chinese herbs (in pill, powder or tincture forms). He also prescribed fasts, dietary changes, yoga positions, exercises, body work, and herbal face packs over last three years of visiting him. The first year and a half of treatments, I visited him monthly or every other month, then the visits reduced to every other month. Now I only go when I have a problem that I know western trained doctors will prescribe antibiotics for.
In addition to the wonder and miracle of an acne free face, reduction of dandruff, and a cure of my monthly female problems, I have learned a lot about the language and culture of Ayurveda. I hope to explore that in future posts of my own or your professional or personal experiences!
Continued from May 9, 2007 posting.