Ayurveda is a science of life as the name suggests – Ayur – life; Veda – science. More than just an alternative or complementary treatment method, it is a complete science of healthy human existence. It offers an extraordinary and comprehensive outlook of the healthy life drafted by the rishis of Indian vedic civilization. The earliest mention of Ayurveda is found in Atharvaveda which is fourth in the series of Vedas – the divine and spiritual text of India. Rig veda is the oldest existing text in the world which speaks about philosophy of creation and manifestation which is the basis of Ayurveda. Hence it is nearly a 5000 year old wisdom imparted to us.
There are eight categories in Ayurveda as per Atharvaveda. The components are internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, ENT, Aphrodisiac remedies, Gerontology or Science of Rejuvenation, Spiritual healing or Psychiatry.
Ayurvedic Principles :
According to Ayurveda, Health is a blissful experience of senses (Indriya), mind (Mana), body (Sharira) and soul (Atma). It is governed by
• Twenty Gunas – non-slimy/slimy, heavy/light, minute/gross, cold/hot, unctuous/dry, dull/sharp, stable/mobile, soft/hard, smooth/coarse and viscous/liquid
• Seven basic tissues – blood (rakta), plasma (rasa), muscles (māmsa), marrow (majja), fat (meda), bone (asthi) and semen (shukra)
• Srotas – channels through which blood, food, malas and dhosas are transmitted.
• Three Malas – Waste materials produced in body. Mutra (urine), Purisa(faeces) andSveda (sweat)
• Agni – The biological fire for metobolism.
• Five classical elements – earth, fire, water, air and ether.
• Three gunas – Satva ,Rajas and Tamas
• Three elemental dhosas- Vata, pitta, kapha
Each human body is made up of unique combination of these dhosas ( basic human energy). The Vata signifies dynamic, mobile, energetic aspect ; pitta signifies transformative, intellectual aspect; kapha signifies the structural and physical aspect.
A person’s temper and character is decided by the predominance of the three dhosas. Thus the unique ratio of these three dhosas make each individual diverse from others thereby enabling a different treatment protocol for each.
Diagnosis and Treatment
An ayurvedic practitioner access each individual’s predominant dosha, along with the dhatus,srotas and malas of the body. The imbalance in any one of the above factors lead to the ailment.
The diet that would cure the imbalance and that which have the opposite qualities of the aggravated dhosa. Also some strong herbs are prescribed to cure particular organs and disorders. Also the patient is instructed on how the present lifestyle has contributed to the current ailment.
A change in lifestyle is recommended so that it contributes to harmony of fundamental elements of body.
Five senses of the body are used as a key for diagnosis and treatment. Herbal remedies are prescribed along with the pacification and rejuvenation of mind and soul with meditation and yoga.
Ayurveda also underlines the importance of purification and hygiene of body. Impurities, both internal and external, interfere with the wastes of the body and cause ailments when it is not cleared properly.
Ayurveda employs a method called panchakarma for purification process. It provides a restricted diet, oil massage therapy, steam therapy, nasal/sinus cleansing. After panchakarma, the body and soul feels rejuvenated and fresh.
Thus a holistic health is aimed via Ayurveda that makes you more healthy, energetic and motivated.