Ayurveda helps people heal by balancing the doshas. When the doshas are balanced, the body is in homeostasis (a state of zero change) and that is a state of perfect health. When the body is healthy it automatically repairs and protects itself.
The three doshas are vata, pitta, and kapha. The doshas are three general body types. On a simple level vata, pitta, and kapha mean small, medium and large. More deeply dosha indicates three basic patterns of how we use energy. Vata spends energy. Pitta manages it. Kapha stores it.
Body type is a combination of doshas that Ayurveda uses to understand and approximate a person’s constitution. If a person has a vata body type they have the gifts of vata but also the tendency to get vata type illnesses.
Every day, our body must react to change. In Ayurveda, a disease is any change from “normal” in the body. The body uses dosha to buffer changes and dosha is the body’s preventative medicine. Doshas and qualities accumulate in the body until they begin to overwhelm tissues. For example vata tends to be dry. Vata’s natural home is in the colon but when vata accumulates it begins to travel around the body leaving residue. Drinking less water, then skipping a meal, then doing exercise all cause dryness to accumulate. Vata increases and accumulates to manage dryness.