Ayurveda literally means ‘Science of Life’. It is one of the oldest recorded medical traditions in the world. Scholars studying the history of medicine, across the globe have always referred to Ayurveda. When many other traditional medical systems disappeared from contemporary medical practice, Ayurveda has stood the test of time. It has thrived with the help of available codified medical literature along with oral traditions. This has eventually led to Ayurveda becoming a traditional system with strong scientific framework capable of further research. The unique principles in Ayurveda are scientifically sound and these days the health experts and researchers across the world are exploring it. Ayurveda, as a healthcare system is preventive, preservative and curative at the application level.
Ayurveda that is preventive and that helps one to stay healthy (preservative), includes certain practices and procedures, most of which can become part of your regular lifestyle. A few other procedures required occasionally would need the assistance of well-trained physicians and therapists in Ayurveda. The response and modulation of these practices are personalised to a certain extent, based on the body constitution (prakṛti) of the person and need customisation which can be perceived in consultation with an Ayurveda practitioner.
The curative aspect of Ayurveda is highly personalised, which means that the medications cannot be always generalised against certain conditions or diseases. The treatment is based on each person’s imbalances (called vikṛti) of the body and also the body constitution (prakṛti) generally determined by the ‘vāta’, ‘pitta’ and ‘kapha’ balances. The scientific basis of these variations has recently been found to be evident even at the genetic level. (Suggested reading: https://www.nature.com/articles/srep15786). Personalisation also depends on the stage of disease/disorder, age, climatic zone and many such macro and micro factors. The treatments in Ayurveda for these reasons, has to be always under continuous monitoring by Ayurveda ‘Vaidya’ (Physician) who have thorough knowledge in these principles and have the skill to diagnose these personal variations. Well trained Ayurveda Therapists are also an important part of any Ayurvedic treatment.
Ayurveda can be broadly divided into eight divisions, though none of these systems stand separately and Ayurvedic principles always being holistic, do not reduce itself to level of systems or organs and specialisations. The broad divisions of Ayurveda include Kāyacikitsā - General Medicine, Kaumāra-bhṛtya - Paediatrics, Śalyatantra - Surgery, Śālākyatantra - ENT, Bhūtavidyā - Psychiatry, Agadatantra - Toxicology,Rasāyanatantra - deals with the rejuvenation of body and Vājīkaraṇatantra - deals with aphrodisiacs.
Vata energy is associated with air and space, and is linked to bodily movements, including breathing and blood circulation. Vata energy is said to predominate in people who are lively, creative, original thinkers. When out-of-balance, people with vata dosha can experience joint pain, constipation, dry skin, anxiety and other ailments.
Pitta energy is linked to fire, and is believed to control the digestive and endocrine systems. People with pitta energy are considered to be fiery in temperament, intelligent and fast-paced. When pitta energy is out of balance, it can result in ulcers, inflammation, digestive problems, anger, heartburn and arthritis.
Kapha energy linked to earth and water, is believed to control growth and strength, and is associated with the chest, torso and back. People with Kapha dosha are considered strong and solid in constitution, and generally calm in nature. But obesity, diabetes, sinus problems, insecurity and gallbladder issues can occur when kapha energy is out of balance.