The Aim of Ayurveda
– To protect health and prolong life
– To cure the diseases and maintain the balance of body functions
Universe is made up of five elements i.e air,fire,water,earth and space. These elements are represented in humans by three doshas or energies Vata,Pitta and Kapha. When any of the doshas accumulate in the body beyond the desirable limit, the body loses its balance. Every individual has a distinct balance. Our health and well being depend on getting a right balance of three doshas. Ayurveda suggests specific lifestyle and nutritional guidelines to help individuals to maintain balance between the doshas. Vatha, Pitha and Kapha are together called as three humours or thridosha. Trihumoral theory is the core of Ayurveda. In the living, there are only three fundamental mechanisms happening at all times. One mechanism known as catabolism, breakdown the food or tissue to provide energy. The other mechanism which is called anabolism utilizes this energy to facilitate growth and repair. The third mechanism is an entity which strives to maintain a balance between these two.
In Ayurveda all catabolic factors are represented by a conceptual humour called Pitha which is predominantly fire existent. Another humour called Kapha which is a combination of earth and water existents represents anabolism.The third humour called Vatha is the balancing entity in the body Vatha is blend of air and space existents. It is in control of Pitha and Kapha, prevents them from going rogue. Vatha may be compared to the neuro-hormonal mechanism of the body. Each of these humours is assigned a set of qualities.
Diseases and Conditions:
Acid Reflux or GERD
Acute Respiratory Distress
Allergic Rhinitis/Hay fever
Atopic Dermatitis/Contact Dermatitis
Chronic Fatigue Sndrome
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease
Dry eyes and dry mouth
Guillain Barre Syndrome / acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
Menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding)
Restless leg Syndrome
Ayurveda is not a medical system that addresses only diseases. The first and foremost aim is to preserve the health of the healthy. The three humours function as pillars supporting the body. The derangement in the humours causes illness. The natural constitution (Prakrithi) of an individual and deranged state of the body in an illness (Vikrithi) are expressed with respect to Vatha, Pitha and Kapha. Medicines and herbs are grouped based on its effects on the humours.
Ayurvedic treatments are classified in two groups broadly:
- Shodhana chikitsa
- Shamana chikitsa
Shodhana chikitsa is Panchakarma therapy; literally meaning fivefold therapy. It gives the long lasting benefits in the body. The five processes which are used for body cleansing in Ayurveda:
Vamanam– Medically induced vomiting
Virechanam– Medically induced purgation
Nasyam– Administration of medicine through the nose in the form of drops or powders
Snehavasthy– Enema done with medicated oil
Kashayavasthy– Enema done with a mixture of honey, salt, herbal paste,herbal decoction and medicated oil.
Shamana chikitsa is a method of treating diseased by appropriately planned diet, lifestyle and internal medicines. Shamana chikitsa is palliative therapy.
Rasayana treatment is Ayurveda’s unique way to prevent or reverse degeneration due to ageing and excessive cell oxidation. These are of two types:-
Kutipraveshika, a type of rasayana which has to be done with strict restrictions in diet and regimen. In this process patient will be confined in a specially constructed room as per textual direction for more than 30 days.
Vathatapika, in this treatment, restrictions are less compared to kutipraveshika, can be taken by a patient while leading a normal life.