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Ayurveda (Science Of Life)-A Holistic Way to be Healthy

Ayurveda (Science Of Life)-A Holistic Way to be Healthy.

Ayurveda is derived from the two Sanskrit words Ayur and Veda. 'Ayur' means life and 'Veda' means Science or Knowledge. Thus, the term Ayurveda means the science of life or knowledge of life. 

Ayurveda is a holistic approach to health and wellness that was developed in India thousands of years ago. So it is a part of traditional eastern medicine that originated in India.

Ayurveda(Science of life)-holistic approach to wellness
Ayurvedic methods of treatment.




In the west, Ayurveda is considered complementary or alternative medicine.


In India, Ayurvedic treatment is also called Dhanyantari Chikitsa/Panchakarma treatment or panchakarma therapy. It's a holistic approach to staying healthy and happy.

Besides different methods of purification and rejuvenation, Ayurveda emphasizes prevention as well as healing.

The philosophy of Ayurveda is a combination of science and art of leading a healthy lifestyleIt's a well-organized health care system.

In addition to preventing and curing diseases, it can guide you through proper choices in a healthy diet, lifestyle, and exercise to balance body, mind, and spirit.

Before describing the various Ayurvedic concepts/principles (the knowledge of life), I'd like to tell you something about the history of Ayurveda.

Brief Introduction of Ayurvedic Practices

Ayurveda plays a significant role in achieving holistic wellness, as mentioned earlier. 

It is difficult to say when Ayurvedic practice started precisely. Some sources mentioned it was 3000 years ago, whereas some say it's more than 5000 years old. 

Some scholars claim that Ayurveda originated in prehistoric times, and some concepts have existed since the time of Indus Civilization or even earlier.

However, it is established that Ayurveda developed significantly in the Vedic age.

As Ayurveda and yoga are mentioned in many texts of the Vedic age, the tradition of practicing Ayurvedic treatment in India is believed to be from the Vedic period or even earlier.

Ayurvedic concepts and practices were further developed and are recorded in the classical Ayurvedic texts. The Charaka Samhita, the Sushruta Samhita, and the Bhela Samhita are the principal ancient 3 texts on Ayurveda.

80% of Indians use Ayurvedic medicine solely or in combination with Western medicine.

Ayurveda is widely practiced in many Asian countries, including Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.

Ayurvedic research in India is undertaken by the Ministry of AYUSH, through a national network of research institutes. The full form of AYUSH is Ayurveda, Yoga, and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy.

How does Ayurveda work?

To understand how does Ayurveda works, you should know the fundamental principles and different concepts.

Ayurveda is a holistic approach to be healthily used during the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. 

It is one of the oldest healing systems that is still widely practiced in the modern era.

One of the fundamental principles of Ayurveda is the inter-relationship of mind and body. 

Ayurveda teaches us that the mind and body are connected to each other, and the mind has an influence on curing the body.

Ayurveda is not merely the accumulation of individual experiences. Instead, it is based on the evidence

Evidence (pramana) are described in four different categories. 
These categories are:
  1. Direct observations or experimental evidence-(Pratyaksha Pramana),
  2. Logical Analysis-(Anumana),
  3. Expert's Opinion-(Apta),
  4. Tactical Analysis and Review-(Yukti).
Indian Traditional Medicine is based on some fundamental concepts. These include the five elements concept and the concept of Tridosha. 

Now, I'm going to present an overview of the different concepts.

The Concept of 5 elements (Panchamahabhootas) in Ayurveda

Ayurveda, 5 elements concepts of health-edumediawellnes
5 elements of Ayurvedic concepts of health. Image Credit- Wikipedia.


Like TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), the philosophy of Ayurveda is based on five basic elements found in the Universe.

According to Ayurvedic Philosophy, every human being is a unique phenomenon of the Universe manifested through those five elements. 

In other words, Ayurveda believed that every person is made of those 5 principal elements.

These elements are-
  1. Space(Ether)
  2. Air
  3. Fire
  4. Water
  5. Earth

The Concepts of 3 Doshas (Energies) in the Human Body

The ayurvedic approach considers the existence of physical, mental, and spiritual elements of each individual as their own unique factors and each element has an effect on the others.

The 3 Doshas or energies are the life forces that control how the human body works. 

The doshas form with the combination of the elements as follows:

Vata dosha- A combination of space and air
Pitta dosha-A combination of  fire and water
Kapha dosha-A combination of water and earth.

These 3 doshas are the organization of the human body that derived from consciousness. Your health conditions depend on the balancing of these three doshas (Tridosha).

Balancing the dosha between the current state (condition) and the birth state is essential for maintaining good health. 

The difference between the two conditions is known as Vikruti or imbalance. The imbalance or Vikruti is responsible for the disease.

The Concept of Channels 

The Ayurvedic concept of body channels is close to the meridian concept of TCM. 
Ayurveda states that the body consists of srotas or channels through which fluids are transported.

Channels with blockage are considered unhealthy that cause the disease.
 
To clear the blockage of channels, massage therapy is applied where oil and fomentation are used.

Diagnosis in Ayurvedic practice.

Diagnosis (Pariksha) in Ayurveda is a complex process that involves the understanding of the movement of dosha and its pathway and observing if it is incorporated with mala or ama. 

Diagnosis includes both the determination of the body constitution (Prakruti pariksha) and (Vikriti pariksha) that involves the following three steps (Trividhapariksha)-

1. Darshanna (Inspection)-observation of specific body parts such as tung, skin, hair, etc.

2. Sparshana (Palpation/Touch)- for example, touching wrist pulse.

3. Prashnana (Questioning)- inquiries about symptoms, history of medication, mental and physical condition, etc. 

There are 8 common ways that the ayurvedic practitioners(Vaidyas) use for diagnosis. These are- 
  1. Pulse (Nadi)-examination of the pulse such as the speed, quality, and rhythm,
  2. Urine (Mootra)-checking of the urine color, consistency, and sediments, 
  3. Stool (Mala)- observation stool, such as smell, color, and nature of floating,
  4. Tongue (Jihva)- observation of the tongue such as the coating, color, and shape, 
  5. Speech (Shabda)- observation of the ability to speak, sound, continuity, and so on,
  6. Touch (Sparsha)- understanding the temperature of the body, pulse reading, etc.
  7. Vision (Druk)- the color of the eyes, the frequency of the blinking, etc.
  8. Appearance (Aakruti)- Observing the appearance to understand the body structure, the condition of doshas, etc.

Important Terminologies used in Ayurveda

  • Kaya-body
  • Prakriti- body constitution
  • Dosha-body humor/energies
  • Prana-subtle life forces
  • Dhatu-tissues
  • Mala-metabolic waste
  • Agni-metabolic fire
  • Ama-toxicity
  • Avayava-body parts
  • Marma-vital body parts
  • Mahabhoota/Panchbhoota-5 elements
  • Important Ayurvedic concepts.

The Eight Branches of Classical Ayurveda

1. Kaya Chikitsa (Internal medicine)

2. Shalakya Tantra (Treatment of Head & Neck diseases) 
    
3. Shalya Chikitsa (Surgery) 
    
4. Damostra Chikitsa Agadantantra (Toxicology)
 
5. Baala Chikitsa Kaumara (Pediatrics) 

6. Rasayana or Jara C
hikitsa (Rejuvenation) 
   
7. Vajikarana Chikitsa (Aphrodisiacs-the medicine or food that increase sexual desire)
    
8. Bhutavidaya/Graha Chikitsa (Psychology).

Treatment/Therapy in Ayurveda.

In Ayurvedic treatment, apart from pure herbal medicine, other substances like metals and minerals are combined with herbs to prepare Rasa Shastra medicines.

For the preparation of herbal medicines, the roots, leaves, fruits, bark, or seeds of plants are used.
 
Furthermore, Massage, Meditation, Panchakarma (‘five actions), Yoga, and
Breathing exercises (pranayama) are considered part of Ayurvedic treatment.

Panchakarma

Most of the Ayurvedic techniques are based on the Panchakarma healing technique which refers to the 5 actions that help regulate your body, namely Vomiting, Purgation, Niruham, Anuvaasan, and Nasyam.

Benefits Panchakarma treatment

Panchakarma is considered as the base of the Ayurvedic healing system. 

The benefits of Panchakarma treatment includes the following:

The 5 Panchakarma Therapeutic Methods

1. Vaman-This is a unique technique of healing in Ayurveda that helps in removing toxic elements from the body tissues through vomiting.
 
For Kapha-dominated conditions such as asthma and hyperacidity, Vaman treatment is often suggested.
 
To get the toxins melted and accumulate in the upper cavities of the body, oleation and fomentation treatments are applied for a few days. Then emetic medicines and decoction are used to enable you to vomit.

2. Virechan-Like Vaman, it is a technique of removing toxins through oleation and fomentation treatments, but the emphasis here is on cleansing the stool instead of vomiting.

Typically for pitta -dominated conditions, such as jaundice colitis, Virechan treatment is used.

3. Basti-It is usually used against Vata-dominated conditions, such as arthritis, piles, and constipation. 

 4. Nasya-It helps in clearing the toxic or poisonous elements of the head, shoulder, and surrounding areas through a gentle massage and fomentation. Then nasal drops are applied for regulating the nostrils. 

In this treatment, attempts are made through the cleaning of the whole head area to reduce different sorts of pain and disorder.

Nasya treatment is widely used for the healing of headache, sinusitis, cerebral pain, sleep disorder, neurological disorders, and respiratory disorder, etc.

5. Raktamokshan-This treatment is used for purifying impure blood. This treatment is usually used in different skin infections, abscesses, and pigmentation, etc.

Limitation of Ayurveda

  • Inadequacy of quantitative research and clinical trials 
  • Lack of sufficient evidence that Ayurveda is effective for treating any disease
  • Some Ayurvedic medicines (rasa shastra medicines) may contain certain amounts of toxic metals such as lead, mercury, or arsenic.
  • According to a  study in 2008, nearly 21% of the Ayurvedic medicines sold through the Internet were found to contain toxic levels of heavy metals, like lead, mercury, and arsenic (manufactured both in U.S. and Indian).
 
FAQ

Quest-1. 

Is Ayurvedic treatment deals with surgery?


Ans.
Yes. 2 Branches of Classical Ayurveda deal with surgery.
 
Quest-2. 

What are oleation and fomentation treatments?


Ans.
Oleation treatment 
Oleation (Snehana) treatment is a part of Panchakarma therapy, which includes the external and internal use of oil, ghee, or herbs for several days.

For external Oleation, the oil or oily substances are used for massage, whereas in internal Oleation, patients are asked to drink it.

Fomentation treatment
The process to keep the body warm and produce sweat is known as fomentation(Swedana) treatment. 

After Oleation treatment, fomentation therapy starts. It helps in relieving pain and stiffness.

Quest-3.

Are Ayurvedic medicines safe?

Ans.
Pure herbal medicines may be safe depends upon the quality standard, but ayurvedic medicines that contain metal may not be safe.

It is not a good habit to buy ayurvedic medicine online and use it without consultation with a doctor or a health professional.

Quest-4.

What the concept of Dinacharya and How does it relate to Ayurveda?

Ans.
According to the concept of Dinacharya, natural cycles such as waking, sleeping, working, meditation, etc are essential for health. Ayurveda follows this concept. 

The concept of hygiene in Ayurveda includes the following:
  • regular bathing, 
  • cleaning of teeth, 
  • oil pulling, tongue scraping, 
  • skincare,
  • and eye washing.
Quest-5.

Is Ayurvedic medicine banned in the USA?

Ans.
The FDA of the USA does not review Ayurveda, and some products have been banned for the last 13 years as heavy toxic metals were found.

Quest-5.

What is the future of Ayurveda in Western Countries?


Ans.
Although Ayurveda is unregulated in the United States, different studies show that the number of users of Ayurveda is growing in western countries like Switzerland, Germany, Italy, and the US.

According to a research report, the Global Ayurvedic Market is expected to reach US$ 14.9Bn by 2026 at a CAGR of 16.14%, which was US$ 4.5Bn in 2017. 

Quest-6.

What are the renowned brands that deal with Ayurvedic medicines?

Ans.
Here is the name of a few leading players in the Ayurvedic world.
  • Dabur
  • Baidyanath 
  • Emami 
  • Vicco 
  • Hamdard 
  • Zandu 
  • Patanjali 

Sources:

https://en.wikipinadequacedia.org/wiki/Ayurveda

https://www.britannica.com/science/Ayurveda

The Ayurvedic Institute-https://www.ayurveda.com/resources/cleansing/introduction-to-panchakarma

Conclusion

Ayurveda emphasizes all aspects of life, including consciousness/mind, physiology, behavior, and environmental conditions.

Ayurveda is not limited to the prevention or the healing of ailments. Instead, it's a holistic approach to wellness.
 
You must consult a doctor before the use, specifically for internal use of Ayurvedic medicine.

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Comments

  1. Your blog is really very nice informative and thorough. I read the blogs each time they are sent.
    Healthy Mind And Body

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