Health and Disease in Ayurveda


Ayurveda defines health in a much wider sense than just the absence of disease. In this article, our Ayurvedic doctors shed some light on this topic. Health is harmony, a state of normality and well-being, being free of disease and discomfort and it manifests when all the bioenergies are in balance. On the other side, the imbalance leads to disease.


When the Tridoshas are balanced, the individual experiences health on all levels—mental, physical and spiritual. This is much more than just the mere absence of disease. Balance in the following areas is included in what Ayurveda considers as health.

  • Happiness – the sense of well-being
  • Emotions – evenly balanced emotional state
  • Mental functions – good memory, comprehension, intelligence, and reasoning
  • Senses – the proper functioning of vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch
  • Energy – abundant mental and physical energy for life
  • Digestion – easy digestion of food and drink
  • Elimination – normal elimination of wastes: sweat, urine, feces, and others
  • Physical body – healthy bodily tissues, organs and systems

When there is an imbalance, some of these symptoms may manifest:

Vata imbalance

  • Worried
  • Tired, yet cannot relax, fatigue, poor stamina
  • Nervous, cannot concentrate
  • Anxious, fearful
  • Agitated mind
  • Impatient, antsy or hyperactive
  • Spaced out
  • Self-defeating
  • Shy, insecure, restless
  • Cannot make decisions
  • Weight loss, underweight
  • Insomnia, wake up at night and cannot go back to sleep
  • General aches, sharp pains, arthritis, stiff and painful joints
  • Agitated movements
  • Very sensitive to cold
  • Nail-biting
  • Rough, flaky skin, chapped lips
  • Fainting spells
  • Heart palpitations
  • Constipation, intestinal bloating, gas, belching hiccups
  • Dry, sore throat, dry eyes

Pitta imbalance

  • Angry, irritable
  • Hostile, enraged, destructive
  • Impatient
  • Critical of self and others
  • Argumentative, aggressive
  • Bossy, controlling
  • Frustrated, willful, reckless
  • Acidity, heartburn, stomach ulcer
  • Fitful sleep, disturbing dreams
  • Diarrhoea, food allergies
  • Bad breath, sour body odour
  • Very sensitive to heat, hot flushes
  • Skin rashes, acne
  • Boils
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Weakness due to low blood sugar
  • Fevers, night sweats

Kapha imbalance

  • Sluggish, dull thinking
  • Groggy all-day
  • Apathetic, no desire
  • Depressed, sad, sentimental
  • Slow to comprehend, slow to react
  • Procrastinating, lethargic
  • Clingy, hanging on to people and ideas
  • Greedy, possessive, materialistic
  • Sleeping too much
  • Very tired in the morning, hard to get out of bed
  • Drowsy or groggy during the day
  • Weight gain, obesity
  • Mucus and congestion in the chest or throat
  • Mucus and congestion in the nose or sinuses
  • Nausea
  • Diabetes
  • Hay fever
  • Pale, cool, clammy skin
  • Edema, water retention, bloating
  • Sluggish digestion, food “just sits” in the stomach
  • High cholesterol
  • Aching joints or heavy limbs


Vata dosha is known as the controller in Ayurveda, the other two doshas depend on it. That is why so much of Ayurvedic treatment is dedicated to working with Vata dosha. One of its common and most important effects when not in balance is to diminish the digestive processes and your body’s ability to produce new tissue. When your tissues do not get enough nutrition, Ama, undigested matter, forms and deposits itself especially in the places of your body that have already been weakened. It finally manifests itself as a disease. Ama is a toxic by-product of poor Agni (digestive fire) juices. This is why Ayurvedic doctors often focus on digestion. In general, disease happens slowly. The strength of Ayurveda lies in the fact that it can address illness at any stage.

There are six stages of diseases:

  1. Accumulation happens when your doshas become imbalanced. It causes mild discomfort and if you listen to your body, you will notice an aversion towards the cause of accumulation. At this stage, it is easy to change the disease’s path.
  2. Aggravation is when the dosha begins to move in more pronounced ways, filling its seat (for Vata colon, Pitta digestive tract and Kapha lungs, and stomach). During this stage, you need to bring the dosha back to its site as soon as possible to prevent a more serious problem.
  3. Overflow is when the disturbed doshas start to spread around your body.
  4. During the Relocation stage, the circulating dosha begins to merge with tissues, eg in an old injury or other sites of weakness, sending warning signals.
  5. Manifestation. The disease shows signs and symptoms that are clearly identifiable.
  6. Diversification is the end stage, the site of illness becomes clear.

Find out more facts about Ayurveda here.

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