Who am I?
I am Rheanna Griffin, I am 27 and come from Sheffield, I came across this ancient medical system when I was struggling myself with a long list of ailments and felt like I had tried everything to no avail. Although I had a happy childhood I had had a challenging time at 6th form suffering with an eating disorder and recurrent tonsillitis. After I left I did a lot of traveling, an art foundation diploma and a degree in culinary arts in London, however I was still really struggling with my health and by this point was experiencing IBS, eczema and extreme fatigue which was disabling me from working the long shifts that being a chef involved. I had been given countless courses of antibiotics and there didn't seem to be a way out, the medical professionals suggested that these were things I would have to live with for the rest of my life. Frustrated and confused I started researching.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurvedic medicine uses the elements to describe our bodily functions and the natural and cultural environment around us. The 5 elements are present in all of us, our food, our lifestyles and our environment but from birth we all have a subtly different balance of these within and to understand them we group them in to the three dosha. Vata (air and ether), pitta (fire and water and kapha (earth and water). We might have a predominance in one dosha or two in near equal proportion from birth. These states help us understand ourselves and our place in the world. They can help us connect to why we behave in certain ways and why our relationships are the way they are.
This combination of predominant elements is our unique, natural and healthy state but throughout our lives as we take in the elements around us (through food, activity and lifestyle) we can easily get out of balance and this is when imbalance/illness can occur. The doshas all have certain needs and tendencies and this can come across in how we live our lives and what we require from them but it can also empower us to stay true to ourselves, stay in balance, notice where imbalance comes from and to understand how to find our natural state once more. As well as treating current illness this knowledge can assist us in predicting the health issues we might personally face and Ayurveda can recommend how we might avoid these.
Ayurvedic medicine is here to help us live our best most authentic lives and I encourage you to engage with it if you feel uncomfortable within yourself in some way. It can really be a life changer but it's important to understand that it is not a quick fix approach, it takes time and commitment. I work with clients at a pace that is right for them. I do not recommend quick 'cleanses/detoxes' as these are rarely sustainable however in the beginning of a treatment some clearing of 'ama' toxin build up in the system in often necessary along with a re-balancing of the digestive fire 'agni' so the beginning is often the most challenging part of our work together.
For the most part the deep work happens with herbal remedies but the long term and more difficult adaptations will be diet and lifestyle changes necessary to avoid future imbalance. I use my experience as a chef to assist people in finding new recipes that suit their condition and constitution without being overwhelming. This approach can be as gentle as you need and whatever your schedule or current situation I take care to adapt the guidance to work for where you are at right now. Supportive therapies such as Ayurvedic massage and yoga may also be recommended in order to help relieve the condition. Ultimately Ayurveda is about balance and is as much about your mental/emotional health as your physical health, we will endeavour to find a sweet spot in your life where you can truly enjoy your experience being who you are while not letting that brilliance spill over in to related health issues.
My sister studied yoga in India and on her return she told me a bit about Ayurveda. I had been exploring other medicines and had tried acupuncture as well as going to a dietitian. On finding Ayurveda I was immediately intrigued by the personalised nature of the medicine and how it was able to link all my symptoms together. By developing a deeper understanding of my constitution and what that meant for me in terms of health, diet and lifestyle, within just 5 months of committing to an Ayurvedic programme with the great help of the institute I would end up studying with, all of my long term symptoms had near completely disappeared. Through studying this medicine at the Ayurvedic institute UK (with Dr Deepika Rodrigo I have now developed a much closer relationship with myself and feel empowered to re-find my balanced state whenever challenges come. It has also enhanced my relationships though a deeper understanding of the doshas /'birth types' and what this means for the dynamics between individuals and their needs and mine in different situations.
Above all, after studying and working with this medicine for several years now, I have had the absolute privilege of seeing many others recover from mental and physical health issues, delve deeper into who they are and live a more balanced, authentic and fulfilled life.