Ayurveda is a traditional holistic health care system that older than any other system of medicine in the world. It has been practiced in India for more than 5000 years. The major principles of Ayurveda involve the symbiosis of mind, body and spirit. Any imbalance in this system results in physical ailments.
Theory of Panchamahabuta and Tridosha According to ayurveda all matter is thought to be composed of five basic elements known as the panchamahabuta. These five elements are Earth (Prithvi), Water (Jal), Fire (Agni or Tej),Aair (Vayu) and Space (Akasha). The human body is composed of these five basic elements in the form of dosha’s, dhatu’s (tissues) and mala’s (waste products). The panchamahabuta theory therefore serves as the foundation of all diagnosis and treatment principles of Ayurveda. The theory divides the constitution of the diseases into three humeral categories vata, pitta, and kapha. Vata governs movements; Pitta concerned with functions of heart, digestion, and energy production; Kapha governs physical structure and is responsible for weight cohesion and stability. Thus in Ayurveda diseases are viewed as a state of imbalance in any one or more of these problems or doshas and the treatments aim to establish equilibrium among these three functional qualities.
Ayurveda has eight specialized branches
Kaya chikitsa – General medicine
Balachikitsa – Pediatrics
Vishachikitsa – Toxicology
Shalyachikitsa – Surgery
Salakyachikitsa – Management of diseases of eye and ENT
Manasikachikitsa – Psycho therapy including seizures by evil spirits
Rasayana and vajikarana – Science of aphrodisiacs
The main intensions of Ayurvedic treatments are curing and prevention of diseases. Ayurveda justifies that any disease occurring due to the vitiation of the ‘tridoshas’ ie vata, pitta and kapha, the equilibrium of these doshas can only be attained by the ayurvedic treatment known as shodhana and samanachikitsa.
In samanachikitsa the toxic materials which are accumulated in the body due to lifestyle, atmospheric change, and other reasons are purified by taking medicines followed by pathyaahara (proper diet).
The term sodhana means’to go away’ it impacts the elimination of’mala’ (waste material). The process aims at reinstating the former balance of doshas by pacifying the symptoms of the disease and also curing it from the root. Sodhanachikitsa is completed through three major process ie purvakarma, pradhana karma, and paschat karma.
Purva karma (preoperative procedures)
These are two preparative processes before the treatment actually begins. This mode includes preparing patient mentally and physically for the main procedure. It comprise of procedures namely:-
which involves application of medicated oils externally or administrated internally.
which comprises of various methods like Nadisweda, Bashpasweda, Pindasweda etc.
Pradana karma (Panchakarma)
These are the purification procedure commonly known as Panchakarma. They are:-
- Vamana (induced emesis)
- Virechana (induced purgation)
- Basti (medicated enema)
- Nasya (nasal administration) and
- Raktamokshanam (blood letting)
Paschat karma or Postoperative care This is a process in which certain precautions are to be taken to get the full benefit the main procedure. It also maintains individual health by diet and lifestyle management or by giving internal medication.