Ayurveda is the oldest medical system in the world. Its recorded origin goes back about 4500- 5000 years to the Vedic civilization of India. It’s one of the three great Vedic life sciences, the other two being Yoga and Tantra, each having a different main perspective on human life. The word Ayurveda is a Sanskrit term meaning science of life, from two roots: Ayus meaning ‘life’ or ‘existence’ and Vid meaning ‘information’ or ‘science’.
References to Ayurveda are found in the Atharva Veda, the fourth veda, which deals with herbs, healing and mantras to cure illness and prevention of diseases. Ayurveda has now become fashionable in the West. Film stars, politicians, new age seekers from California to Camden Town, London seek information about Ayurvedic massage and Therapy and the best practitioners.
Aims and Objectives of Ayurveda
The aims and objectives of Ayurveda have been divided into two gross aspects namely:
- ‘Swasthasya Swathya Rakshanam’ (To maintain the health of healthy people).
‘Aturasya Vikar Prashamanam’ (To cure the diseases of ill people).
Ayurveda teaches that health is maintained by the balance of three subtle bioenergies or Doshas known as Vata (nerve energy), Pitta (catabolic fire energy) and Kapha (anabolic nutritive energy). Disease in simply understood as imbalance between three subtle bioenergies or Doshas Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Knowledge of Ayurveda enables one to understand how to create this balance of body, mind and consciousness according to one’s own individual constitution and how to make lifestyle changes to bring about and maintain this balance.
Ayurveda does not get into healing of the symptoms superficially, but instead it evaluates the complete body and mind of the individual, and aims to prevent disease and promote health.
Ayurveda treatments consisting of four basic forms:
- Panchkarma (the five detoxification procedure),
- Medicine or drug therapy,
- Dietary regimen
- Regulation of lifestyles
The treatments are designed to return three bioenergies to the harmonious disease All foods, herbal medicines, special purification and rejuvenation procedures, exercise therapy, meditation and life styles have an effect on over all balance of these three bioenergies or Doshas.
In order to keep the Doshas in a state of healthy equlibrium and Agni – digestion & metabolism; in proper order Ayurveda prescribes preventive methods for each individual such as Dincharya (daily routine), Ritucharya (seasonal corrections), Sadachara (appropriate behaviour), Rasayana (rejuvenation) and Vajikarana (virlification).
According to ayurveda, success in treatment of disease depends on the reliability of four factors Vaidya (doctor), Aushadhi (medicine), Paricharak (nurse) and Rogi (patient).
There are eight branches in Ayurveda:
• Kayacikitsa (Internal medicine)
• Koumara Bhrutya (Paediatrics)
• Bhootavidya (Psychiatry)
• Agadatantra (Toxicology)
• Shalya Tantra (Surgery)
• Shalakya Tantra (Eye & ENT)
• Rasayana (Geriatrics)
• Vajeekarana (Virilation Therapy)
Kayacikitsa (Internal medicine)
The branch of Ayurved which deals with internal medicine and treatment through various means like Mantra, Mani and Aushadhi. The Ayurvedic therapeutics are not limited to dravya chikitsa only i.e treatment with medicines but also in the form of bhava chikitsa i.e treatment without medicines in the form of Thoughts.
This branch of Ayurved deals with diseases acquired or inherited from apparently unknown causes. In modern terminology it can be considered as idiopathic diseases in which the exact cause of disease is unknown. According to Ayurveda these diseases are caused by affliction due to Deva, Asura, Gandharva, Yaksha, Rakshasa, Pitara, Pishacha, Naga etc. The exact pathophysiology of these disorders will have to be extensively researched.
Koumara Bhrutya (Paediatrics)
This branch deals with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases related to preconception, childbearing (Pregnancy), childbirth (delivery) and diseases of children (Pediatrics).
This branch deals with the various types of poisons and there antidotes.
Shalya Tantra (Surgery)
It deals with the shalya in the body and the methods to remove it from the body. It deals with the means such as Yantra (Tools), Shastra (Instruments), Kshara (Alkalies) and Agni (Fire).
Shalakya Tantra (Eye & ENT)
It deals with the disease of Urdhva Jatru region i.e diseases in the organs above the Clavicle (Jatru) and their treatment. In other words it deals with the diseases related to Nose, Ear, Throat and Eyes.
This branch deals with various aspects of preventive health care. It includes longevity, improved memory, health, youthfulness, glow, complexion, generosity, and strength of body and senses. Without rasayana it is possible to gain neither oratory nor the desirable aura. Rasayana improves the metabolic activities, which results in best possible biotransformation leading to health.
Vajeekarana (Virilation Therapy)
This branch deals with sexual aspect. It includes medications for diseases related with reproduction namely spermatogenesis, aphrodisiacs etc.