Ayurveda

Introduction

Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine that originated in India over 5,000 years ago. The foundation of Ayurveda is the idea that a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit is necessary for optimum health and well-being. It focuses on promoting harmony within the body and with the surrounding environment. According to Ayurvedic principles, each person is unique and is made up of a specific combination of elements or energies called doshas. The three primary doshas are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, and their balance is crucial for maintaining good health.

The etymology of the word Ayurveda

“आयुष: वेद आयुर्वेद:” | (A.H.Su. 1:1)

The term “Ayurveda” is derived from the Sanskrit words “ayur” meaning “life” and “Veda” meaning “knowledge” or “science.” Thus, Ayurveda can be understood as the “science of life” or the “knowledge of life.”

Definition of Ayurveda

‘हिताहित॑ सुखं दुःखमायुस्तस्य हिंताहितम्‌ ।

मान॑ च तच्च यत्रोक्तमायुवेंद: स उच्यते’ ॥  (C.Su. 1:41)

Life can be of four types – 1) Beneficial (Hitakar), 2) Harmful (Ahitakar), 3) pleasant (Sukhakar), and 4) Unpleasant (Dukhakar).

Ayurveda describes all the above four aspects which are related to human life; for example — smoking may seem to be pleasurable for some time, but it is not at all beneficial to life. In contrast, while getting out of bed early in the morning may not be enjoyable at first, it has advantages.

Ayurveda has also mentioned the quantitative aspect (mana). e.g. What is the normal life span? Ayurveda has also explained about quantitative assessment of various biological elements like the normal height of a person, and normal values of different body tissues (Dhatu) like rasa (plasma), Rakta (blood), etc. A whole lifespan can be studied qualitatively and quantitatively with the help of Ayurveda.

Aims & Objectives of Ayurveda

“स्वस्थस्य स्वास्थ्यरक्षणम्‌ आतुरस्य विकारप्रशमनम्‌ च’ ।  (C.Su. 30:26)

Swastha means healthy person. Swasthya means healthy condition. Maintaining a normal human’s healthy state is of utmost importance to Ayurveda. Atur means patient. Vikar means disease. Prashaman means to cure. The second aim is to treat the disease of a patient (curative aspect). The above sequence is also important. Ayurveda has given more emphasis to preventive aspects.

Features of a Healthy Person

“समदोष: समाग्निश्च समघातुमलक्रिय: ।

प्रसन्नात्मेन्द्रियमना: स्वस्थ इत्यभिधीयते’ ॥  (S.Su.15:47)

When a person’s Dosha (bio-energies), Dhatu (body tissues), Mala (waste products), Agni (digestive fire), and soul, sense organs, and mind are in a balanced or equilibrium condition, this is referred to as being healthy (Swastha).

Dosha, Dhatu, mala, and agni – these are specific Ayurvedic concepts, as they are very important body elements Sharirakriya Vijnan (Ayurvedic physiology) is also called “Dosha-Dhatu-Mala Vijnan’ (science giving details of these elements).

Brief explanations about scientific terms

1) Dosha – Three important body clemens i.e. Vata, Pitta & Kapha which can be called three bio-energies or functional and structural units of the body.

2) Dhatu – Seven tissues (Dhatu) are responsible for the stability & growth of the body. They are – 1. Rasa (plasma), 2. Rakta (blood), 3. Mamsa (muscle tissue), 4. Meda (adipose tissue), 5. Asthi (bones), 6. Majja (nerve tissue) and also bone marrow 7. Shukra (reproductive tissue).

3) Mala — These are waste products. They are mainly two types – gross and subtle. The gross waste products are – 1. Mutra (urine), 2. Purisha (feces), 3) Sweda (sweat), while the subtle waste products are called ‘Kleda’.

4) Agni – It is the factor responsible for different types of digestion and metabolism.

Related: https://ayurvedadvise.com/subtypes-of-vata-dosha/

Related: https://ayurvedadvise.com/subtypes-of-pitta-dosha/

Related: https://ayurvedadvise.com/subtypes-of-kapha-dosha/

Fitness at the Psychological Level

In the second line of the definition of a healthy person, there is an understanding of subtle elements of the body, like one must have psychological, emotional, and social fitness. There should be alertness, activeness, and freshness of senses, mind, and soul. Prasannatva (freshness) of these elements can be judged as follows:

  1. i) इंद्रिय – पटुत्वेन ।
  2. ii) मन: – आमोदेन ।
  3. iii) आत्मा – सन्तोषेन ।

If senses are eager to perceive their sensory objects skillfully (Patutva) they are fit. The mind should be delightful and happy, in the condition of enjoyment, and lastly, the fitness of the soul can be assessed by asserting the level of satisfaction (Santosha) in a human being.

Indriya is of two types:

1) Gnanendriya (Sensory organ)

  • Shrotra: Auditory sense (ear)
  • Twaka: Tactile sense (skin)
  • Chaleshu: Optic sense (eye)
  • Rasana: Gustatory sense (tongue)
  • Ghrana : Olfactory sense (nose)

2) Karmendriya (Motor organs)

  • Vaka: Speech (speech centers, speech apparatus)
  • Pani: Hands
  • Pada: Feet
  • Payu: Rectum & Anus
  • Upastha: Genitals

Dashavidha Parikshya Bhava

“दूष्यं देश॑ बल॑ कालमनल॑ प्रकृति वय: ।

सत्त्व॑ सात्म्य॑ तथाआहारमवस्थाश्व पृथग्विधा:’ ॥ (Ash.H.Su. 12:66)

While treating the patient, the following ten points are taken into consideration:

  1. Dushya (Affected Organs or Tissues): 

Dushya refers to any organ or tissue in the body that has been influenced by aggravated doshas, the fundamental energies in Ayurveda. By identifying the specific Dushya involved, practitioners can ascertain the areas of the body that require focused attention during treatment. This approach allows for precise targeting of imbalances and encourages the restoration of optimal health.

  1. Desha(Geographical Area and Physical Body): 

Desha takes into consideration the geographical area, or habitat, of the patient as well as their physical body. Different regions possess distinct environmental characteristics that can influence an individual’s health. Factors such as climate, altitude, and prevailing weather patterns play a significant role in shaping one’s well-being. Additionally, an individual’s physical constitution and inherent traits are also considered, enabling practitioners to customize treatments accordingly.

  1. Bala (Strength Assessment): 

Assessing the strength or vitality of a patient is essential in Ayurvedic diagnosis and treatment planning. Bala encompasses both physical and mental strength and serves as a vital indicator of a person’s ability to withstand and recover from imbalances. By evaluating a patient’s Bala, practitioners can devise therapeutic interventions that aim to enhance and restore their overall strength.

  1. Kala (Seasonal Influence): 

In Ayurveda, the influence of seasons on health is deeply recognized. Kala refers to the season and the period during which disease manifests or worsens. Different seasons have varying effects on the doshas and can predispose individuals to specific ailments. By considering the impact of the season, Ayurvedic practitioners can recommend preventive measures and treatments tailored to the prevailing environmental conditions.

  1. Anal (Digestive fire): 

Agni, the digestive fire, is a pivotal aspect of Ayurvedic philosophy. It represents the body’s ability to metabolize food, assimilate nutrients, and eliminate waste effectively. Assessing a patient’s agni helps identify imbalances and digestive disorders that may underlie their health concerns. By restoring and optimizing agni, practitioners support proper digestion and overall well-being.

  1. Prakriti (Constitutional Analysis): 

Prakriti refers to an individual’s unique constitutional makeup or dosha composition. Ayurveda recognizes three primary doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each person has a distinct balance of these doshas, influencing their physical and mental characteristics. By understanding a patient’s Prakriti, practitioners gain insights into their predispositions, strengths, and vulnerabilities, enabling them to provide personalized treatments that restore harmony and balance.

  1. Vaya: Age of the patient (child, youth, old): 

The age of a patient plays a significant role in Ayurvedic treatment protocols. Different stages of life bring about varying physiological and psychological changes, influencing health and well-being. Ayurvedic practitioners consider a patient’s age when formulating treatment plans, as the requirements and goals may differ depending on whether the patient is a child, a youth, or an older adult.

  1. Sattva (Psychological strength): 

Sattva pertains to the psychological aspect of an individual’s well-being. It encompasses qualities such as clarity, contentment, and emotional stability. Evaluating a patient’s sattva helps Ayurvedic practitioners understand their mental state and emotional resilience. By addressing the psychological dimension of health, practitioners can support patients in achieving holistic healing and balance.

  1. Satmya (Tolerance and adaptability): 

Satmya refers to an individual’s tolerance and adaptability to various factors, including food, environment, and lifestyle choices. Ayurveda recognizes that each person has unique sensitivities and responses. By considering a patient’s Satmya, practitioners can recommend suitable modifications to their diet, routines, and surroundings, promoting a harmonious coexistence with their environment.

  1. Ahara (Dietary habits): 

Dietary habits profoundly influence health and play a vital role in Ayurvedic treatment. Ahara focuses on the patient’s eating patterns, including the quality, quantity, and combinations of food they consume. Ayurvedic practitioners assess a patient’s Ahara to identify dietary imbalances contributing to their health concerns. Through personalized dietary recommendations, they guide patients toward optimal nutrition, helping restore balance and vitality.

How to remain Healthy?

Swastha is Sanskrit for “healthy,” while Vritta is Sanskrit for “laws and rules.” The subject of Swasthavritta contains advice for leading a happy and healthy life. This includes – 1) Dinacharya (daily regimen), 2) Ritucharya (seasonal regimen), 3) Ahara (dietetics), 4) Vyayam (exercise), and 5) Sadvritta (social code of conduct).

Ayurvedic Treatment

Ayurveda describes holistic management for treating a patient. The basic aim of treatment is to achieve balance in Dosha-Dhatu-Mala because imbalance (hyper or hypo state) is a disease condition.

Different Steps in Ayurvedic Management

1) Nidan-Parivarjanam — to avoid the causative elements.

2) Treatment ~ External (application of paste, ointment, oils, etc.) and internal (tablets, powders, liquids)

3) Advice about do’s and don’ts — for diet, lifestyle, exercise, etc.

4) Detoxification processes: Panchakarma – Vamana, Virechana, Basti, Raktamokshana, and Nasya.

5) Rasayana Chikitsa — This is a specialty of Ayurveda. For rasayana various herbs, minerals, and metal oxides as well as procedures are used for achieving immuno-modulatory effects and to avoid remissions, correcting and increasing the immune power of the body.

By Dr.Dimpal Baldha

I'm DR. Dimple Baldha, an Ayurvedic doctor and I have treated more than a thousand patients in my couple of years of experience in this field. This has given me a lot of insights and positive areas to work with people from different parts of the world managing arthritis issues, Dietary changes, healthy lifestyles, and metabolic disorders. I have good knowledge of Ayurvedic medicine, Panchkarma treatment, Healthy lifestyle and yoga. I have treated so many diseases like spondylitis, psoriasis, allergies and bronchial asthma. Talks about #health, #ayurveda, #wellness, #healthylifestyle

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