Time and Space – Kala and Akasha

January 1, 2024

The nine causative factors outlined by Vaisheshika philosophy, one of the Shad Darshana or Six Philosophies of Life which underpin the science of Ayurveda, give us a container by which we can understand material existence.  The nine causative factors include Time (Kala) and Space (Akasha), with Space being one of the five great elements, the panchamahabhutas. Time and Space are critical factors to consider when practicing the art of medicine, wholeness, and healing. In Ayurveda, both Time and Space are considered substance, with effect, like any other compound or medicine.

This is a brief excerpt from a book I pulled out of the archives, off my bookshelf, regarding Time. The book is an oldy but goody, one of the first given to me after I began my undergraduate prerequisite studies of naturopathy. The book? Larry Dossey’s Space, Time and Medicine, published by Shambhala Publications.

Here, Larry quotes the great Harvard Physiologist Walter B. Cannon, who researched and taught extensively on the role of trauma in the body, and was a pioneer in the early 20th century in the study and understanding of the role of the autonomic nervous system in human health:

“Again, the physician realizes better than the layman that many of the remarkable capacities of the organism for self-adjustment require time—all the processes of repair belong in that class—and that they can play an important role in restoring the organism to efficiency only if they are given the chance that time provides … “

The Wisdom of the Body, Walter B Canon (1932)

Unfortunately, physicians today lack the very thing patients need for self-adjustment: Time. Medical physicians (MDs) are forced to see as many patients in a day as they can possibly see, sometimes in as little as 10-15 minutes per patient. Even more “functionally informed” physicians spend as little as 30 minutes. Medicine is rushed, and, as we explored in my musing “What’s wrong with the world? A musing on allopathic (western) medicine,” iatrogenic harm is caused.

Alternatively, Ayurveda recognizes the importance of both Time and Space to improve wellness, reduce disease, improve symptoms, and subsequently increase health-span and lifespan.

Health span is the length of time one has with high-functioning quality of life. By lengthening health span patients then increase lifespan.

And the number one way to improve health span? With lifestyle modifications and physical activity.

How do we improve physical activity? We must make TIME to get active. Take a few extra minutes to walk from the further parking spot. Walk the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Take breaks from sitting at the computer, 10 minutes for every hour of work. Get a yoga class in a couple of times a week. Take a digestive walk after lunch. For that matter, get up and leave your work station to eat lunch!

And how do we improve the mind body connection – with both TIME AND SPACE. Literally taking time, every day, to sit quietly, in meditation, or in contemplative activity. Such activities improve both physical AND mental health.

When making an Ayurvedic assessment of health and recommendations to my clients, I consider Time in these ways:

  1. Is the disease process natural or unnatural? By this I mean, do the symptoms of disease fall within a seasonal pattern or time of life (ie youth or old age)?
  2. What rhythms of the day are being adhered to? Is there a regularity of rhythm to eating, sleeping, and physical activity?
  3. How is my client connected or disconnected from the seasons? Have there been disturbance in seasonal patterns?
  4. What stage of disease is the client in? How long have symptoms been progressing? The length of symptom progress gives important information to treatment of disease.
  5. What is the best time to administer medicines, supplements and herbs, for optimal physiological effect? Here I mean both best time of day and best time of the year according to seasonal effect!

And regarding Space, I consider a number of factors, the most important of which is a concept called khavaigunya, or an imbalance or derangement of the first of the five great elements, akasha or space. If there are places in the body that are enlarged due to inflammation or other disease processes, or places in the body that are constricted or obstructed similarly, these are primary places in the body that will show signs of disease early and frequently. We often begin by identifying the khavaigunya in the body – and will return to often it during follow-up!

When I recommend using sound (such as mantra or sacred music) and frequency to soothe the nervous system or improve concentration, I am working with akasha – the element of “space.” The Vedas explain that space cannot be seen or felt, but it can be heard. And scientists in Finland recently confirmed that sound does in fact travel through space.

Other considerations for working with akasha include places of location in the body that connect the inner landscape to the outer landscape, including the ears, the nose, mouth, throat, lips, the GI tract, and the reproductive organs, or in the spaces between structures (liminal spaces such as the interstitial or extracellular space).

When I work with Time and Space in a healing session, you may feel particularly “seen” or “heard” and you will leave feeling soothed. When you receive a Core Synchronism session on the massage table, with the sacred vibrations and infrared heat of the Biomat, you experience profound presence, as we work with creating spaciousness in the body for life force energy to flow via cerebral spinal fluid, and the flushing of interstitial fluid via the glial-lymphatic (glymphatic) and lymphatic systems throughout the body.

The recently discovered glymphatic system is distinctive of the central nervous system and allows for homeostatic “circulation” of interstitial fluid.”

During a Core Synchronism session, you may feel deep and profound sense of rest, which induces similar healing mechanisms to those experienced in deep sleep. Some clients do, in fact, fall asleep during a core session, providing the body the necessary Time and Space to self-heal.


Bhojani M.K., Sharma Raksha, Rahul Anand. Kala. In: Deole Y.S., eds. Charak Samhita New Edition. 1st ed. Jamnagar, Ind: CSRTSDC; 2020. Available at https://www.carakasamhitaonline.com/index.php?title=Kala&oldid=42530 accessed on 1 Jan 2024.

Big Think. The #1 antidote to aging | Daniel Lieberman, Morgan Levine & more. Available at https://youtu.be/7yLeDg_KuOA?si=CL839QCwZc-CU14g and accessed on 1 January 2024.

Biomat.com. The Basics. Available at https://www.biomat.com/faq/the-basics/ accessed on 1 January 2024.

Dossey, L. (1982). Space, time, & medicine. Shambala Publications.

Klostranec, J. et al. Current Concepts in Intracranial Interstitial Fluid Transport and the Glympatic System: Part 1- Anatomy and Physicology. Radiol. Published 19 October 2021. Available at https://doi.org/10.1148/radiol.2021202043 accessed on 1 January 2024.

Ratner, P. Maybe you can hear sounds in space after all. Interesting Engineering. Published on 08 September 2023. Available at https://interestingengineering.com/science/maybe-you-can-hear-sounds-in-space-after-all accessed on 1 January 2024.