Ayurveda is an ancient health care tradition that has been practiced in India for at least 5,000 years. The word comes from the Sanskrit terms ayur (life) and Veda (knowledge).

Prakruti is determined by three "bodily energies" called doshas, Manyam told Live Science. There are three basic doshas, and though everyone has some features of each, most people have one or two that predominate. These are - Pitta (energy linked to fire), Vata (energy associated with air and space), and Kapha (energy linked to earth and water). Some researchers who study Ayurveda believe that understanding a patient's doshas — and in turn, his or her prakruti — can help determine that patient's risk of developing certain diseases or health conditions.