Influence of Circadian Rhythms on Health According to Ayurvedic Medicine
Ayurveda, the science of life, places a primary focus on the importance of circadian rhythms in one’s individual health and wellness. It is essential to maintain one’s health; one must follow the circadian rhythms in day-to-day life.
According to the World Health Organization, about 2/3rd of people in rural areas of India use Ayurveda to meet their primary health care.
The Ayurvedic system of medicine is based on three bioenergetics (doshas) – Vata, Pitta, Kapha, and their influence very closely impacts health and disease manifestation. These doshas are composed of the five elements – Vata is made up of air and space elements; Pitta is of fire and water elements; Kapha is of water and earth elements. These five elements appear in human physiology as follows: the space elements represent in the body as channels of circulation, air element corresponds to the gaseous exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, breathing, etc.; fire elements can are observed in the human body as chemical reactions, enzymatic activity, and digestion; water elements represent fluids and ionic constituents, and earth element is providing structure to the entire physiology.
According to Vedic scriptures, “Yada Pinde, Tatha Bramhande” — as is the cosmic body, so is the human body.
Vata functions at the cellular level as functions of the nucleus and somatic level as all the neurological functions; it is responsible for movement, transportation, and communication. Pitta functions at the cellular level in the mitochondria and the somatic level as all hormonal and enzymatic actions; it is responsible for digestion, metabolism, transformation. Finally, Kapha functions at the cellular level functions of protoplasm and the somatic level, all secretory and immunological activities, and is responsible for structure, cohesion, and binding in the physiology.
In the clinical application of doshas, Vata’s quality of dryness represents in the physiology as emaciation, broken or hoarse voice, insomnia, constipation, etc. Its light quality manifests as weight loss, irregular digestion. Vata’s mobile quality creates instability, constantly moving joints and eyes, a talkative nature. Its cold quality makes for intolerance to cold and poor circulation. Finally, Vata’s coarse and brittle quality creates rough, dry skin, brittleness of nails, and its non-slimy quality produces cracking joints (crepitus).
The Pitta dosha qualities appear in physiology as follows. Slight oiliness creates smooth and oily skin; heat and warmth provide intolerance to heat and excessive hunger, thirst, skin problems, early wrinkles, and graying of hair. Pitta’s sharp quality provides physical strength and sharp digestion. Its sour and pungent quality provides less progeny, low sperm count. Pitta’s liquid and flowing quality creates a tendency of sweet Nature, loose bowel movements.
Kapha dosha qualities manifest in physiology as follows. Heavy quality leads to a stable gait and a tendency to have a stocky build, weight gain. Its cold quality provides slow, mild hunger, thirst, and perspiration. Kapha’s soft quality leads to a pleasing appearance, smooth complexion. Oily quality creates unctuous skin and joints. Kapha’s sweet quality provides sweetness of speech and behavior, and its stable and steady rate makes for slowness to anger and slowness to initiate actions.