Ayurveda, an ancient medicinal practice matters more than ever and as these practitioners work to balance modern life with time-honoured healing. In ‘Medicine Women’, we explore these local, high vibrational practices that draw from ancient roots where mind, body and spirit are treated as one. Hearing from the healers themselves, our local Southeast Asian healers share their modern, life-affirming mantras and generational wisdom with us.
Candice Goh, ayurvedic bodyworker and founder of SOL House on ayurveda treatments
“Since I was a teen, I’ve sought various medical treatments to cure my hormonal imbalance and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). While some treatments saw short-term results of a regular period cycle, something just doesn’t click. In 2019, I consulted an ayurvedic doctor and spent half a year receiving ayurvedic treatments and yoga therapy in a local clinic for treatment.
“Ayurveda originates in India and it is a way of living that is deeply embedded in the culture and households of the majority of Indian families. In most western countries, Singapore included, ayurveda is commonly known as an alternative healing modality that is sought after when modern medicine fails to find the root problem of an ailment/disease. It is often projected as a watered-down version of the holistic healing system.
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“I am mindful to share the goal of ayurveda as a way of life that is in alignment with nature’s rhythm, and not a temporary solution or a quick fix. As a Singaporean Chinese, I acknowledge my societal privilege in my country and the weight of my words spoken, specifically, of a healing system that I’m not initiated at birth and by my culture. In my work and practice, I always credit my sources and studies back to the ancient Indian system of holistic healing.”
“Ayurvedic medicine has a rich history and was recorded more than 5,000 years ago in Sanskrit. It doesn’t require one to be religious to understand ayurveda. Just like you don’t need to believe in a certain faith to practice yoga.
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“In Ayurveda, the knowledge is passed down to eliminate the root cause of a problem, rather than putting a band-aid as a quick fix. Ayurveda is primarily focused on personalised health as everyone has a unique body type, temperament, and emotions.
“In essence, ayurveda aims to increase ojas, the substance that nourishes and connects our mind, body and spirit. The mind is seen as a tool for intention, for how we want to live our life: the body is a tool to become what we want to be; and the spirit, the omnipresent that fills our being with vibration, gives us the power to lead the life we want. Ayurveda is a system for balanced living, good health and longevity.”
“When our doshas are imbalanced, we’ll aggravate our mind and body. We’d tend to gravitate towards activities that make us even more out of balance. A common Ayurvedic saying is “Like attracts like, opposite brings balance”. For example, if a person has a fiery personality, there is a tendency to consume spicy foods and be out in the Sun. The element of fire within will be aggravated even more and the pitta dosha will get out of balance.
An imbalance of our doshas will disturb our subtle essences—prana (life force), tejas (radiance) and ojas (vitality).”
“Health is the harmonious function of the whole individual (mind-body-spirit). No system can work in isolation. When one is in a state of balance, the body, mind and spirit work together and there is a sense of well-being. When the root cause of imbalance is removed, symptoms disappear.”
Dinesh Singh, ayurvedic doctor at RAKxa, a wellness and medical retreat in Thailand
“Ayurveda is a traditional system of Indian medicine that aims to prevent and treat illness holistically by maintaining balance and harmony between body, mind, spirit, and nature,” explains RAKxa wellness ayurvedic doctor, Dinesh Singh. “For me, ayurvedic practice entails not viewing humans and nature as separate entities. I believe that we are all intimately connected to nature, and that nature and the plant world can facilitate our healing.
“The modern lifestyle has led to a lack of self-awareness, created a disconnect within us, and thrown our internal clock out of sync. The fastest way to throw doshas off balance is to fall into poor eating habits, for instance, junk and processed foods, improper sleep, and chronic stress.
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“There are joint problems, metabolic disorders, gut imbalances, and, in recent times, respiratory issues, especially post-COVID.
“Ojas are the innermost vital essence that makes you healthy. Your immune system is directly related to ojas. At RAKxa Wellness, we usually recommend pranayama breathing, mindfulness meditation, shirodhara, thalapothichil, and abhyanga treatments to our guests who are feeling burnt out by work stress, experiencing financial or relationship burdens, or having a long COVID, as these treatments can help with all of the issues mentioned above. In addition to these treatments, spending quality time in nature outdoors is always a great way to build ojas.
The ayurveda doctor offers four top habits in order to live a balanced life: “1. Food, sleep, and a regulated lifestyle are considered the three pillars of good health in ayurveda.
2. Control your digestion or gut health by regulating your eating.
3. Get quality sleep to lead a peaceful life. Be mindful of your activities and practise yoga nidra.
4. Keep your lifestyle regulated by exercising regularly and adopting a balanced approach towards drinking habits, sexual habits, smoking, and drug abuse. Overindulgence in any of these causes oja depletion.”
Photography, creative production and set design: Studio Oooze
Beauty direction: Alli Sim
Hair and make-up: Karol Soh
Nails: Ann Lim
Stylist: Joey Tan
Photography assistants: Belynda Wong and Muhammad Alif Noor Hazemi
Beauty assistant: Verity Cheng
Model: Sherinn/Misc. Management