Dr. (Vaidya) Lina Thakur



Background

Dr. (Vaidya) Lina Thakar, BAMS (Bachelor Degree of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery) is a licensed Ayurvedic physician and founder of Ayurveda In Pittsburgh. She became interested in Ayurvedic principle through her mother and grandmother, who always emphasized prevention of disease, freshly cooked meals, and using natural remedies to cure ailments. She received her degree from the world renowned Tilak Ayurved Mahavidyalaya, one of the oldest Ayurvedic colleges in the world. From 1993-2003 she worked in her own practice in India. After arriving in America, she started her own practice in Pittsburgh in 2005. Her work focuses on prevention of disease and wellness programs. She has worked extensively with many other practices including yoga studios, Allegheny General Hospital, and local universities. She has presented educational sessions at several venues including a recent conference, titled The Healing Power of Food. Through her practice she has provided many patients with nutritional advice, lectures, and educational sessions.


Below are some highlights from our interview:

YouTube Video


How do you get a Bachelor Degree of Ayurvedic Medicine?

While there may be workshops that teach Ayurvedic philosophy, in order to become a licensed Ayurvedic physician there is a rigorous academic program that must be completed. This program requires five and a half years of study. Four and  half of those years are devoted to the didactic academic knowledge focusing on anatomy and physiology, herbology, spiritualism, and focused clinical teaching. The last year includes an internship in both a rural and urban setting to gain practical exposure in the community. Furthermore, during the program each student is given a mentor, or guru, to guide them in practical aspects of the Ayurvedic philosophy. They must meet with their mentor every morning and late evening to gain adequate experience. Thus, obtaining a degree in Ayurvedic medicine truly requires much dedication, hard work, and determination.  

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is one of the oldest systems of natural healing that has been practiced in India for over 5,000 years. Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word that literally translated means “science of life”. The primary goal of Ayurveda is prevention of disease by understanding the individual body’s energy and making proper food and lifestyle choices accordingly. By preventing disease one can avoid chronic health conditions in the future. “Your own health is in your hands”, Dr. Lina Thakur urges patients to take charge of their own health.

Why should patients try Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is a more natural holistic approach to wellness that has less side effects than conventional methods.

·         Food is considered one of the first and most important tools in healing. Properly chosen fresh food can help prevent imbalances and help reverse the disease process.

·         Lifestyle modifications are also essential to uphold Ayurvedic philosophies.

·         Furthermore, detoxification treatments are essential to restore imbalances.

·         Finally, a healthy mind through meditation and yoga practices is necessary for a healthy body.

What is the central philosophy of Ayurveda?

In Ayurvedic philosophy, the five elements (earth, water, fire, air, and space) combine to form three dynamic forces or interactions called doshas. People can be dominated by one dosha or commonly have dual dosha personalities. The three active doshas include:

·         Pitta-combination of fire and water, energy filled with heat and commonly associated with gastric problems, cooling refreshing drinks can be quite soothing

·         Vata-combination of air and space, moving force, commonly associated with anxiety and fear

·         Kapha-binding energy, combination of earth and water, warm food such as soup may be comforting

What is the proper way of preparing and choosing food?

Absolutely, no processed foods should be eaten! Food needs to have life force energies and these are only present in fresh foods. If something has been in the refrigerator for over 2 days this is considered “dead” and lacking life energy.

Food should be tailored to the specific dosha of each individual.

·         For example, the Vata dosha is airy, cold, dry, and constantly snaking and thus eating salads will not provide benefits. On the other hand a warm cup of soup will help balance this cold dosha and provide nourishment.

·         A Kapha individual usually requires several meals throughout the day to satiate their hunger and thus should eat light meals on a specific schedule.

Ayurvedic food philosophy lies in common ground with the principles of nutrition advertised in the ADA Whole Food Guide Pyramid. Ayurvedic meals consist of bread (whole grain), basmati rice, fresh veggies, daal (protein-lentils, legumes), and ghee (fat source). 

How do you determine someone’s dosha?

For an initial appointment, Dr. Thakur will perform a specific pulse reading and analyze the tongue, nails, skin, and physical characteristics and habits of each individual. The pulse reading is not a conventional method that most are accustomed to through western medicine but instead also focuses on temperature, speed, and location.

How can spices help healing?

Spices can help clean the Gastrointestinal Tract. Over time everyone accumulates toxins in their body and these toxins prevent nutrients from getting absorbed. Spices can help remove these toxins and help increase immunity. For example, mustard seeds can be used to destroy microorganisms commonly found on raw food. Some other essential spices include cumin seeds, turmeric, coriander, and cayenne powder.

What is Panchakarma, Abhyanga, and deep detoxification?

Dr. Lina Thakur believes that many chronic conditions are due to the accumulation of toxins in the body. A key aspect of Ayurveda is cleansing the system to eliminate toxins from the body. Toxins clog cells and do not allow nutrients to be properly absorbed.

·         Panchakarma involves putting oils on the body that have high porosity and go deep into the cell level. Then steam is applied to help take toxins out of the body and later more toxins are removed through the GI tract. At first this detoxification may be quite exhausting since cells become accustomed to toxins, but later the body will become more energized and rejuvenated. This treatment is recommended during every change of season, especially spring and fall.

·         Abhyanga massage is the ayurvedic application of oil. Oils are customized to specific doshas.

What conditions can Ayurveda help with treatment?

·         Stomach problems

·         IBS

·         Nervous disorders

·         Autism

·         ADHD

·         Allergy problems

·         Skin issues

·         Diabetes

·         High Blood Pressure

·         Obesity

·         Cancer

·         Infertility

·         Menopause

·         Fatigue

·         Stress

·         Depression

·         Fibromyalgia

Where is the future of complementary wellness programs?

People must understand that “ the absence of disease does not mean health”, Dr. Lina Thakur stresses that there are many processes that occur when imbalances first occur and when the manifestations of disease are first seen. Thus, preventative measures must be taken to prevent imbalances and treat those existing in the body already. While, western medicine is good for acute issues complementary medicine can be used to prevent chronic conditions. Ayurveda “looks at each person as a whole individual” instead of merely a compilation of systems and treats each person holistically. 

 More information can be found at: http://ayurvedainpittsburgh.com/default.aspx

 

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