Uniqueness of Ayurveda
Ayurveda, is the oldest and traditional Indian science of health care of India, a well established holistic system. It is a system survived and developed against all odd times for more than 5000 years. Ayurveda, the science of life, It’s based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit. Its main goal is to promote good health, not fight disease.
Ayurveda – Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge. It offers a body of wisdom designed to help people stay active and healthy while realizing their full human potential. Ayurveda also emphasis the adage, ‘prevention is better than cure’
During early years of BC itself, this system has had main branches like General Medicine, Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, ENT, Ophthalmology, Surgery, Psychiatry, Toxicology, Sexology and Aphrodisiac treatments, Geriatrics and Rejuvenative treatments etc.
Basic principles in Ayurveda
The two main guiding principles of Ayurveda
1. The mind and the body are inextricably connected
2. Nothing has more power to heal and transform the body than the mind
Ayurveda defines health not as a mere absence of diseases, but ‘perfect balance of body constituents and wellness of special senses, mind and soul’. In order to accomplish this health Ayurveda offers daily and seasonal regimes, dos and don’ts regarding food, social and occupational life and; medicines and treatments to prevent diseases.
One of the uniqueness of the Ayurveda is prakruti, understanding of individual characteristics (differences) and applying this knowledge in promotion of health and wellness, and prevention and treatment of diseases.
Ayurveda is holistic and considers the mind, body, and spirit to be connected.
Ayurveda approaches holistic way of treatment as it concentrates not only on physical health but also aims in achieving mental, social, and spiritual wellness. The very beauty of ayurveda is that it does not try to suppress the ailments by prescribing drugs. Instead it treats the whole body and aims to prevent the ailments by finding and eliminating the root cause of the disease. Ayurvedic tools are holistic, natural, and benign—natural herbs, yoga, meditation, marma, and palliative (shamana), and cleansing (shodhana) therapies.
Swasthya and balance.
Charaka & Vaghbhata in Sutrasthana define health as:
“Samadosha, samagnischa samadhatumala kriyaha prasanna atmenindriya manaha swasthya ityabhidheeyate”
Susruta has described the features of a healthy person in the above quote. It follows that the doshas(energy principles) must be in equilibrium, the digestive fire (agni)must be in a balanced state and the tissues (dhatus) and malas (wastes) must work in a normal state. The sensory and motor organs and mind, atma must be also in a pleasant state. Such a person is called a healthy person or Swastha.
Importance of the gut and concept of nutrition.
Irregular eating habits and accumulation of toxins causes extensive damage to body and mind. According to Ayurveda, the digestion and gut play leading roles in immunity. Ayurveda speaks about a substance or a process called Ojas, the finest product of healthy digestion, which strengthens the immune system and has many beneficial effects on the mind and body.
Ayurveda focuses on preventive medicine through diet and lifestyle interventions. It’s first goal is “Swasthasya Swasthya Rakshanam”—preserving the health of the healthy. In the present day circumstances, several bad factors play a major role in deteriorating our health.
• Hectic lifestyle plays havoc in inducing stressful conditions and leading to numerous health problems.
• Improper sleep due to anxiety and stress levels saps body energy.
• Postural issues due to work conditions and complete lack of physical activities further deteriorates the situation and results in muscular problems.
Trayopastambha of health.
Ayurveda state that for the appropriate maintenance of health one needs to have three Sthambhas (i.e. pillars) as well as three Upasthambhas (supporting pillars) functioning properly. The word Trayopastambha is derivative of two words Traya and Upasthambha. Traya means three and the word Upastambha means supporting pillars. The three Sthambha are the three Dosha (humors) Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The three Upastanbha are Aahaara (Food), Nidraa (Sleep) and Bhramacharya (Celibacy) i.e. regulated sexual conduct. Proper food replenishes the Bhautika constituents, sleep is helpful to soothe the mind and sensory motor apparatus and observance of celibacy or moderation in sex is responsible for spiritual well being.
Disease management, chronic ailments, and root-cause analysis.
The other goal of Ayurveda is ‘Aaturasya Vikara Prashamanam,’ or disease management with root-cause analysis rather than merely providing symptomatic relief.
Ancient Indian system of medicine, Ayurveda, strongly emphasize on personalized patient care under the concept of Prakriti (phenotype-based human constitution). Every individual is different. Ayurveda emphasizes the imbalance in doshas (vatta, pitta, and kapha) as the main reason for occurrence of any disease. A patient’s primary dosha is evaluated to find the quantum of domination of one over the others. A detailed analysis that includes checking of pulse, skin, hair, tongue, gums and analyzing of sleep pattern is carried out to determine dosha. Over dominating doshas are the main reason for any ailment and ayurveda helps in balancing these doshas by altering lifestyle, diet, yoga, and other natural therapies.
Ayurveda advises a daily (Dinacharya), seasonal (Ritucharya), and lifespan regimen for health management. Ayurveda has divided each day & night in to 4-hour periods dominated by vata, pitta or kapha. Wake up: Rise early in the morning, before the sunrise (4 to 6am), preferably around 5 am. Sleeping after 6 am will make us lazy and increases our tendency to put on weight.
Prodromal symptoms and stages of a disease, including rehabilitation.
The five main types of diagnostic methods in Ayurveda, involve an examination of Purvarupa (prodromal symptoms), Rupa (manifested symptoms) and Samprapti (pathogenesis), and the conduct of Upasaya (therapeutic tests), and Ashtavidha Pareeksha (physical examination). The aim is to interrupt the pathological process. This goes on to understanding the samprapti, or etiopathogenesis of the disease. For each ailment, there are interventions at well-defined stages of the disease, or shat kriya kala.
Immunity and Rasayana.
Boosting immunity is a cornerstone in Ayurvedic health management. Ayurveda rasayana remedies are known for their immuno-enhancing, neuro-nutrient, anti-aging and anti-cellular stress effect. The programme focuses on balancing nutrition, creating a richer ojas system, boosting agni and enhancing microcirculation to strengthen immunity.
Cleansing helps in many chronic ailments and in de-addiction and the most efficacious is Panchakarma which has its clear indications and contraindications. Ostensibly the most eminent branch of Ayurveda is Panchakarma. The name Panchakarma literally means “Five Actions” which is well-suited given the fact that this technique relies upon five distinctive basic activities that control the body namely Vomiting, Purgation, Niruham, Anuvaasan, and Nasyam. In other words, Panchakarma healing technique is a pillar on which majority of Ayurvedic techniques stand.