What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is a science evolved through centuries and developed by the great Indian sages. It is the science of healthy living, the ancient living medical heritage of India. It is a way of co-operating with the nature and living in harmony with it, making our lives happy and healthy. The mind, body, soul and the environment are in a state of dynamic interaction and the maintenance of this interaction in an optimum state of efficiency is what we call health. It is a sense of all-round well-being as contrasted with illness. It is difficult to live without depending on and following the science of health called Ayurveda.

What is Health?

When the elementary equilibrium of the human body is in harmony with nature, a person is said to be in a healthy state. But when this harmony is lost either by means of internal factors like diet, sleep or sexual life, or by means of external factors like the variation of the elements like the earth, water, wind, fire or ether factors, a person is said to be sick. Ayurveda is based on the three Dosha (Vatha, Pitta, Kapha) theory and the Panchabhootha theory (earth, water, fire, air and ether). The whole Universe and also the human body which is part of the universe is made up of the Panchabhootha.

Ayurvedic treatment is divided into two parts

(1) Shamana Chikitsa(Curing of diseases through medicines)- In this, the disease is controlled to a certain extent, but it is not completely eliminated.

(2) Sodhana Chikitsa (Total elimination of causes of disease without any chance of relapse)- In this, the toxins and Malas are completely eliminated and the body is rejuvenated.

Ayurveda is a holistic science which help human beings to achieve a healthy living. It has sound observational concepts which have stood the test of time for thousands of years. It is a science that has overcome the most stringent attacks on its voracity. Ayurveda is one of the most ancient systems of medicine in the world. It is an extension of Atharva Veda; it is a mixture of science, art and philosophy. Ayurveda means the knowledge of life. It not only gives recipes for treatment of illness but discusses at length ways to prevent any form of disease. Ayurveda has eight branches, namely:

1. Kayachikitsa (internal medicine)

2. Balaroga chikitsa (paediatrics and gynaecology)

3. Shalyachikitsa (surgery)

4. Shalakyachikitsa ( ENT, ear, nose and throat surgery)

5. Agadathanthra (toxicology)

6. Rasayanachikitsa (rejuvenation)

7. Vajikaranachikitsa (study of sexual function and reproduction)

8. Manasarogachiktsa (psychiatry)

Basic philosophy and principles of Ayurveda are based on the Pancha Maha Bhootha (the five elements) theory. Human body is made up of five elements, namely ether or space, air, fire, water and earth. The solid matter is the earth and the liquid matter is water, the gaseous state is air, the transforming force in the body is fire and is the source of all matter and the space in which it exists is ether. The body according to the science of Ayuveda has three basic components: the doshas, the dhatus and the malas. There are also composed of the five elements. The controlling forces which act on these tissues of the body are called doshas. They are vata (air and space), pitta (fire and water) and kapha (earth and water). The vata is the lightest and kapha is the heaviest of these.We can experience them only because of the effects they produce on the tissues of the body. The dhatus perform functions under the control of the doshas. The various metabolic products formed from these functions are called mala ( waste metabolic products of tissues discharged from the body.

Dhatus are ruled by the Doshas and cannot function properly in their absence. The food we eat is assimilated into the body to form and displace the Dhatus and through them the Doshas, in turn, influence the function of the Dhatus. The waste products of the body are called Mala. They are metabolic end products. The character of Mala or waste products, like urine or faeces, plays a great role in maintaining of health in an individual. They play an important function inside the body, for the faeces facilitates the function of the colon and the urine influences through intricate hormonal systems the fluid and electrolyte balance of the body. Each cell in the body is a living factory which produces, under the influence of the Doshas, chemicals or Mala which in turn influence the function of the Dhatus which manufacture them. There is an interaction between the Doshas,Dhatus and Mala. The principle of Ayurveda says that if all the three legs of the tripod (Dosha- Dhatu- Mala) are kept healthy, there will be no disease at all.


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