Āyurveda, the "science of life" is a system of traditional medicine native to the Indian subcontinentand practiced in other parts of the world as a form of alternative medicine.Ultimately the goal of Ayurveda is.
This means, “promote and maintain health in healthy and cure of disease in sick”
At the centre of this ancient wisdom is the principle that health and well-being is a result of the internal harmony of mind and body and spirit. Therefore, all diseases is a consequences of disharmony and imbalance.
Over the following centuries, ayurvedic practitioners have also identified a number of medicinal preparations and surgical procedures for curing various ailments and diseases.
Ayurveda is grounded in metaphysics of the "five great elements called Pancha mahabhoothas.
Pancha Mahabhoothas are:
- Prithvi (Earth)
- Aap (Water)
- Teja (Fire)
- Vayu (Air)
- Aakasha (Ether)
All of which compose the Universe including the human body.
The seven primary constituent elements – Saptha dhatu of the body are:
Plasma (called Rasa dhatu) Blood (Raktha dhatu),
Flesh (Mamsa dhatu), Fat (Medha dhatu)
Bone (Asthi dhatu), Bone marrow (Majja dhatu), Semen or Female reproductive tissue (Shukra dhatu)
Ayurveda stresses a balance of three elemental energies
Vata (air & space – wind)
Pitta (fire & water – bile)
Kapha (water & earth – phlegm)
According to ayurveda, these three regulatory principles— Doshas are important for health, because when they are in balanced state, the body is healthy, and when imbalanced, the body has diseases.
Ayurveda holds that each human possesses a unique combination of Doshas. In ayurveda, the human body perceives attributes of experiences as 20 Guna (meaning qualities).
Surgery and surgical instruments are employed. It is believed that building a healthy metabolic system, attaining good digestion and proper excretion leads to vitality.
Ayurveda also focuses on exercise, yoga meditation and massage. Thus, body, mind, and spirit/consciousness need to be addressed both individually and in unison for health to ensue.
The three malas (excretions) are Sveda (Sweet), Purisha (faeces) and Mutra (urine).
On the mental plane, there are three attributes of energy or Manogunas – Sattva, Rajas and Tamas - that provide the basis for distinctions in psychological temperament and moral disposition.
The three doshas determine prakruti or human constitution. A person’s prakruti is determined through combinations of Vata, pitta and kapha and are also influenced by other extrinsic factors such as diet, lifestyle, behavior; emotions etc., Treatment for disease of a patient should be started only after considering his prakruti.
Ayurveda teaches that the origin of most diseases is found in either an exogenous or endogenous dosha imbalance or in an inherent or acquired weakness of tissues. Disease process is a reaction between the three doshas and dhathus and is influenced by the environment. There are very precise methods for understanding the disease process before all signs of the disease are manifested. Ayurvedic practioner can determine the nature of disease by examining bodily reactions and for this he mainly depends on Ashtasthana pareeksha – They are;
- Nadi pareeksha (pulse diagnosis).
- Mutra Pariksha - Examination of urine
- Mala pariksha - Stool examination
- Jehwa parikhsa - Tongue examination
- Sabda pariksha – Examination of sound (body sounds)
- Sparsa pariksha - Examination by touch
- Drik pariksha - Examination of eyes
- Akriti pariksha - Examination of body nature or build
Every embodied individual is composed of a body, a mind and a spirit, the ancient Rishis of India who developed the Science of Life organized their wisdom into three bodies of knowledge: Ayurveda, which deals mainly with the physical body; Yoga, which deals mainly with spirit; and Tantra, which is mainly concerned with the mind. The philosophy of all three is identical; their manifestations differ because of their differing emphases. Ayurveda is most concerned with the physical basis of life, concentrating on its harmony of mind and spirit. Yoga controls body and mind to enable them to harmonize with spirit, and Tantra seeks to use the mind to balance the demands of body and spirit.
The practice of Panchakarma is believed to eliminate toxic elements from the body.
Eight disciplines of Ayurveda treatment, called ashtangas are given below:
- Internal Medicine (Kaaya-chikitsa)
- Pediatrics (Kaumarabhrtyam)
- Surgery (Shalya-chikitsa)
- ENT & Ophthalmology (Salakyam)
- Demonic possession (Bhuta vidya): Bhuta vidya has been called psychiatry.
- Toxicology (Agadatantram)
- Prevention diseases and improving Immunity and rejuvenation (Rasayana)
- Aphrodisiacs and improving health of progeny (Vajikaranam)
Dhanvantari is said to be an avatar of Vishnu from the Hindu tradition, and god of ayurvedic medicine. Dhanvantari was an early Indian medical practitioner and one of the world’s first surgeons. Based on Vedic traditions, he is regarded as the source of Ayurveda.
"Ayurvedic dietetics comprise a host of recommendations, ranging from preparation and consumption of food, to healthy routines for day and night, sexual life, and rules for ethical conduct. In contrast to contemporary practitioners of New Age Ayurveda, older Ayurvedic authors tended to be religiously neutral. Even Buddhist authors refrained from trying to convert the patient to follow their particular religious ways."
For diagnosis the patient is to be questioned and all five senses are to be employed. The Charaka Samhita recommends a tenfold examination of the patient. The qualities to be judged are: constitution, abnormality, essence, stability, body measurements, diet suitability, psychic strength, digestive capacity, physical fitness and ageHearing is used to observe the condition of breathing and speech. The study of the vital pressure points or Marma is of special importance. It is the trauma science described in Ayurveda. There are 107 different spots described and located on the body surface that produce different signs and symptoms. With respect to the underlying anatomical structures, the symptoms vary according to blunt or penetrating trauma. The severity of the symptoms and signs also depend on whether the injury is exactly on the marma point or slightly around it. Sushruta and Vagbhatta describe these signs and symptoms.
The proper function of channels (Shrotas) that transport fluids from one point to another within the body is seen as vital, and the lack of healthy shrotas may lead to disease and insanity. Sushruta identifies that blockages of these channels may lead to rheumatism, epilepsy, paralysis, and convulsions as fluids and channels are diverted from their ideal locations. Sweating is used as a means to open up the channels and dilute the Doshas causing the blockages and harming a patient. A number of ways to take steam bathing and other steam related cures are recommended so that toxins are released.
Ayurveda, the science of life offer varied solutions for the problems in a human being. Our main aim is the wellbeing of both mind and body. Our approach to both patient and disease is planned in such a way as to achieve the same.