Ayurveda is one of the oldest established systems of medicine in the world. Used for over 6000 years, it is the only medical system that focuses on curative and preventive healthcare and has treatment modalities that is specific and unique to each individual and their body type.
Perceptions about Ayurveda has undergone a phenomenal change in the last few decades. Traditional medicine like Ayurveda are now gaining much popularity because people have started to feel the need for more fundamental and long-lasting cures for their health problems.
Approximately 80% of India’s one billion population use one or the other product of Ayurveda. Based upon centuries old observation, rich in traditional wisdom and with its own strong basic principles; Ayurveda forms an important component of healthcare in India.
The Body Of Matrix
According to Ayurveda, human body is composed of three body states- Vata, Pitta and Kapha (Tridoshas), seven basic tissues- Rasa, Rakta, Mamsa, Meda, Asthi, Majja and Shukra (Saptadhatus) and the waste products- Shakrit, mutra and Sveda (Mala). Thus the total body matrix consists of Tridoshas, Saptadhatus and Mala. Vata consists of the elements Air and Ether, Pitta includes the elements Fire and water and kapha is characterized by the elements Earth and Water. When the three body states are in perfect harmony, the individual enjoys good health, whereas an imbalance in the body states causes diseases. Ayurveda addresses this state of imbalance through a process of complete healing (i.e. identifying the root cause and eliminating the disease as a whole).
All the objects in the universe including the human body are composed of five basic elements (The Panchamahabhutas) according to Ayurveda. They are Earth, Water, Fire Air and Ether. There is balanced condensations of these elements in different proportions to suit the needs of different structures and functions of the body matrix.
Diagnosis of a Disease
In Ayurveda, diagnosis is done of the patient as a whole. The physician studies the patient’s physical and mental disposition and identifies their body type and notes down all the factors that can adversely affect the individual’s health. The treatment consists of avoiding causative factors of disequilibria of the body through the use of medicines, Panchakarma procedures, suitable diet and regimen to prevent or minimize the recurrence of disease. For successful administration of a treatment, four things are essential according to Ayurveda – Physician, Medicaments, Nursing personnel and the Patient itself.
HISTORY OF AYURVEDA
Ayurveda has been described in the Vedas, which are considered to have been originated from the Gods, both in theoretical and practical form. Development of Ayurveda in India was coeval with the growth and evolution of Indian civilization and culture. This medical knowledge has been the work of ages and is the outcome of patient labour of hundreds of scholars spread over thousands of years. It is considered as a sub-division of Atharvaveda (one of the four divisions of Vedas) which contains about 114 hymns/formulations for the treatment of diseases.
Ayurveda has now grown into a very comprehensive healthcare system with two major schools of thought and eight specializations, through use of systematic observation and documentation of detailed experiences over the past several thousands of years.
Ayurveda, which started as a magico-religious practice, in course of time matured into a fully developed medical science with eight branches, thus giving the name – Astanga Ayurveda.
The eight branches are as follows:
- Kaya chikitsa (General medicine)
- Bala chikitsa (Paediatrics)
- Graha chikitsa (Psychiatry & Psychology)
- Salakya tantra (ENT & Opthalmology)
- Salya tantra (Surgery)
- Agada tantra (Toxicology)
- Rasayana chikitsa (Anti-ageing & Geriatrics )
- Vajikarana (Eugenics & Aphrodisiacs)