Ayurveda is one of the great gifts of the sages of ancient India to mankind. It is one of the oldest scientific medical systems in the world, with a long record of clinical experience. However, it is not only a system of medicine in the conventional sense of curing disease. It is also a way of life that teaches us how to maintain and protect health. It shows us both how to cure disease and how to promote longevity. Ayurveda treats man as a “whole” – which is a combination of body, mind and soul. Therefore it is a truly holistic and integral medical system. The word “Ayu” means all aspects of life from birth to death. The word “Veda” means knowledge or learning. Hence Ayurveda indicates the science by which life in its totality is understood. It is a way of life that describes the diet, medicine and behavior that are beneficial or harmful for life.
Basic Principles Of Ayurveda
Ayurveda is the science of positive health and fulfillment in life. The aim of Ayurveda is threefold:
- To achieve positive health for the individual
- Protection of the masses
- Ultimate liberation
The last goal can be achieved by following regulations of daily conduct and by following strict seasonal regimens, so that one can be constantly healthy. Being continuously healthy is comparable to achieving ultimate liberation, as it involves the eradication of the factors that bring about suffering.
To understand Ayurveda, it is very essential to know its basic concepts. These are the backbone of Ayurvedic philosophy. Ayurvedic approach to health care is based on their applications.
- Pancha Mahabhuta (The five basic elements)
- Doshas (Biological elements)
- Dhatus (Basic tissues)
- Malas (Waste products)
- Agni (Biological fire)
Ayurvedic Prakriti (Constitution)
The concept of Prakriti is unique. Every person is born with a definite genetic constitution, depending upon Doshas. Our body behaves according to the status of Dosha Prakriti. For example, a person is born with Vata Prakriti and his or her diet is rich in Vata promoting substances then he or she is likely to develop problems like Constipation etc. while the same diet is consumed by a person of Pitta constitution that will keep him or her in order. Without knowledge of one’s Prakriti, it is practically impossible to apply Ayurvedic fundamentals in prevention, promotion and cure of disease.
The treatment in Ayurveda can be classified broadly into two-
- Shamana Chikitsa (Alleviating Therapy)
Herbal medicines are used internally and externally to correct the derangement of functions of Doshas, Dhatus, Malas and Agni and also to increase the Immunity. The restoration of normality is brought about without any elimination.
- Sodhana Chikitsa (Purification Therapy)
The main aim of this treatment is to eliminate the internal causative factors of the disease. A large quantities of toxic bi-products are formed in the body as a result of continuous metabolic process. All though most of these toxins are eliminated naturally by the body’s excretory system, some may get deposited in the various tissues of the body, which ensures the vitiation of Doshas, Dhatus etc. and then the normal functioning of the system is impaired. Similarly disease causing toxins accumulate in the body as a result of various factors like wrong body habits, wrong food habits, incompatible combination of food items, suppression of the body urges, emotional imbalance etc. Panchakarma therapeutic procedures are used to facilitate the elimination of such harmful factors
Panchakarma is the cornerstone to Ayurvedic management of disease. Pancha Karma is the process, which gets to the root cause of the problem and re-establishes the essential balance of 'Tridosha' (three doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha) in body.
Salient Features of Ayurveda
- 100% Safe: Ayurvedic uses all Natural herbal medicines having no side effects.
- Deep healing: Ayurveda goes to the root of the problem and does not only suppress the external symptoms.
- Comprehensive method: Ayurveda uses special diet, yoga, breathing techniques and meditation for complete restoration of the body and mind.
- Clean: Ayurveda detoxifies the body from years of toxin and tension build-up.
- Both preventive as well as curative treatments.