Ayurveda – A Way of Life – Create a Holistic, Balanced and Healthy Life
It is believed that Ayurveda, an ancient technique of medicine originated and evolved in the Indian sub-continent. Charak an ancient renowned Ayurvedacharya (practitioner of Ayurvedic medicines) wrote ”Charak Samhita” and Sushruta another practitioner of this ancient medicine wrote ”Sushruta Samhita”. They have assimilated the medicinal value of many herbs and till date these books are followed as bibles in Ayurvedic practices.
The base of Ayurvedic treatments
Every human body has three elements kapha (mucous), vaat (wind inside the body) and pitta (bile). If there is any imbalance in any of these three elements, various ailments occur and make the body sick. The herbs and massage therapies used in Ayurveda are aimed at correcting this imbalance and curing the ailment from its root.
Ways of diagnosis in Ayurveda
Nadi parikshan means checking the pulse. It is believed that good ayurvedacharyas can touch the pulse and gauge the imbalance and problems in various organs of the body. There are seven other ways of diagnosing illnesses in Ayurveda-Aakruti (appearance), Shabda (speech), Sparsha (touch),Druk (vision), Mootra (urine), Mala (stool) and Jihva (tongue).
Ayurvedacharyas do not treat the symptoms alone and they believe that the physical existence, mental existence, and personality complete a human being. Hence to lead a healthy life one needs to establish a harmony among them.
Once the ayurcvedacharya has diagnosed the issue s/he starts the upakarma (treatment). This includes langhana (depletion), sodhana (purification), samana (pacifying) and brimhana (nourishing).
Eight Components of Ayurvedic Treatment
Ayurveda looks at the prevention and cure of any ailment and treats a patient holistically. It even looks at the environment where the patient stays and the impact of it on his/her well-being. There are eight components in ayurvedic treatment known as chikitsayam ashtaangayam and these can be categorized as follows:
- Kayachikitsa – Treatment of the body and using different medicinal herbs to treat the body- general medicine like triphala, Haridra, brahmi etc are used during this phase of treatment. It also includes the panchakarma ayurvedic massages which are known to relieve chronic aches and pains.
- Kaumara bhrtya – Paediatrics or the treatment of children. Child psychotherapy too is a part of this where the children and adolescents who are experiencing behavioral, psychological and emotional difficulties are treated and they are put in the normal trajectory of physical and mental growth.
- Salya-tantra or Shalya Chikitsa – Surgery. Treatment where the body is perforated, cut and the affected organs, foreign particles are removed.
- Salakya-tantra- Surgery of ears, eyes, nose and mouth (ENT).
- Bhutavidya- If it is believed that the body is possessed by spirits, then removal of those spirits and nullifying the ill-effects caused by them comes under this form of treatment.
- Agadatantra- Toxicology using vamana (emesis), virechana (purgation), vasti (enema), nasya (nasal emission), raktamoksha (blood purification).
- Rasayantantra- Administering tonics for rejuvenation and increasing lifespan, reversing the effects of age, increasing intellect, stamina and strength.
- Vajikarantantra- Helping to increase the libido in men and women and improving sexual prowess. Aphrodisiacs are used in this treatment to improve the quality of sperms in men and ovum in women. Salep Orchid / Salabmisri (Orchis mascula) is a very effective medicinal herb for men and Asparagus /(Asparagus Racemosus) for women.