AYURVEDIC MEDICINE Background
Ayurvedic medicine also called Ayurveda, originated in India approx. 5000 years ago. The term "Ayurveda" combines the Sanskrit words ayur (life) and veda (science or knowledge). Thus, Ayurveda means "the science of life."
In the western world Ayurvedic medicine is considered a type of CAM and a whole medical system. As with other such systems, it is based on theories of health and illness and on ways to prevent, manage, or treat health problems.
Ayurvedic medicine aims to integrate and balance the body, mind, and spirit;hence its viewed as "holistic." This balance is believed to lead to happiness and health, and to help prevent illness. Ayurvedic medicine also treats specific physical and mental health problems. A chief aim of Ayurvedic practices is to cleanse the body of substances that can cause disease, thus helping to re-establish harmony and balance.
Ayurvedic medicine Philosophy
Ayurvedic medicine is rooted in several schools of Indian philosophy, in particular, in the Samkhya philosophy of creation. This holds that there is a close relationship between man and the universe: man is a microcosm, a universe within himself. This philosophy also holds that cosmic energy is manifest in all living and nonliving things. The source of all existence is cosmic consciousness, manifested as male (Shiva, purusha) and as female (Shakti, prakriti) energy.
The Universal elemental or Panchmahabhuta Philosophy
This is the basic foundation of Ayurvedic anatomy, physiopathology, and pharmacology. The Panchbhuta philosophy holds that in the beginning, the world (universe) existed in an unmanifested state of consciousness. This consciousness was energy that then manifested into five basic elements or mahabhutas: ether (space), air, fire, water, and earth. Man is a microcosm of nature; and so, all five basic elements present in the world are also present in each and every individual.
In the human body, the five elements combine with each other and manifest themselves as three basic principles, or humors, known as doshas. Collectively, the doshas are referred to as the tridosha and are made up as under
Elements Resultant humor
Functions of the Three humors or Tridosha
These three humors govern all biological, psychological, and pathophysiological functions in the body, mind, and consciousness. They are the basic constituents of the body and act to facilitate its fundamental processes under normal physiologic conditions
Vata. Vata is the primal constituent of the living body concerned with the production of those physical and mental processes that are rajasic (activating or dynamic) in nature. Thus vata plays a role in mental phenomena such as exhibition of enthusiasm and concentration and in physical processes such as respiration, circulation, voluntary action of any kind, and exertion.
Pitta. Pitta is the primal constituent of the living body concerned with the production of those physical and mental processes that are sattvic (balancing or transformative) in nature. Hence pitta plays a role in mental phenomena such as intellectualization and clear concentration as well in physical phenomena such as heat production, digestion, and assimilation. .
Kapha. Kapha is the primal constituent of the living body concerned with those physical and mental processes that are tamasic (conserving or stabilizing) in nature. Thus kapha plays a role in such mental processes as exhibition of courage and forbearance and in physical phenomena like the promotion of bodily strength and build, integration of the structural elements of the body into stable structures, and maintenance of smooth-working joints.
Individual Mind body Constitution¾or Prakriti
Prakriti is a Sanskrit word that denotes the constitution of each individual. A person’s prakriti is determined at conception through combinations of vata, pitta, and kapha, with maleness and femaleness dominating other traits. These basic constitutions are also influenced by other extrinsic factors, such as diet, lifestyle, behavior, emotions, and seasons. Ayurvedic physician uses various tools to determine one's prakriti hence forming a basis for any further advice or treatment.
On the mental plane, there are three attributes of energy, or gunas¾sattva, rajas, and tamas¾ that provide the basis for distinctions in psychological temperament and moral disposition. These can give cues on the psychological constitution of an individual.
About Panchakarma (Purification or Detoxification treatments)
Panchakarma or PK is a Sanskrit word that means "five actions" or "five treatments". Pancha Karma is the process which gets to the root cause of the problem and corrects the essential balance of 'Tridosha' in body. Pancha Karma is not only good for alleviating disease but is also a useful tool in maintaining excellent health. It is a process which helps eliminate accumulated environmental toxic builtup from our body. The therapies and herbs used in PK are believed to
sequentially loosen and remove lipid soluble toxins from their deposited sites and stimulate their elimination.
Ayurveda advises undergoing PanchaKarma at the seasonal changes to clean the body, improve the digestion and to improve the metabolic process.
The Five purification procedures mentioned by Charaka (an ancient indian medical text) are Vamana (induced vomiting), Virechana (induced purgation), Vasti niruha/ Asthapana (herbal decoction enema), Anuvasana (oil enema) and Sirovirechana/Nasaya (induced errhine). Main benefits of panchakarma includes better functionality of digestive process, elimination of toxins, restoration and maintenance of health, helps in proper functioning of sense organs, enhancement of mind and intellectual work, enhances the glow in your skin, increased stamina, person becomes capable of getting good progeny, elevated sexual power, delaying the aging process and the person enjoys disease free healthy life.
Every individual requires purification or detox from time to time. Due to the effect of time, imbalance in sense organs, bad food habits and other reasons like hybrid & processed foods, pollution, stress etc. are responsible for accumulation of toxin waste products in the body. If the body is purified properly, then the rejuvenation procedures get boosting and body gains strength and immunity. Hence Panchakarma therapy is considered important for every individual.
Each individual should carry out proper purification procedures for maintaining their health and improve energy levels..
Health in ayurveda is defined as an equilibrium of Doshas or bio humors, normal functioning of all seven tissues Dhatus, balanced Agni digestive fire, efficient elimination of waste products Mala, normal functioning of five sense organs and harmony among body, mind and soul.
FIVE procedures of PANCHAKARMA
Vamana (Induced vomiting)
In this procedure excess and vitiated doshas are removed from the upper part fo the body by way of vomiting. Vomiting is induced with herbal emetic substances for the purpose of eliminating vitiated Kapha and Pitta after an extensive preparation period prior to the procedure.
Virechana( Induced medicated purgation)
Downward elimination of vitiated doshas or waste products is known as virechana. To eliminate pitta, virechana is the best treatment. This procedure involves induced purgation by using a range of purgative preparations in a liquid or paste form accompanied by herbal medications. the motions are generally controlled and closely monitored by the ayurvedic practitioner for frequency , amount and consistency. The aim of this treatment is to stimulate vitiated doshas from the stomach, small intestine, liver and gall bladder, and bring them to the gastro- intestinal tract for their eventual expulsion from the body through rectum.
Vasti/ Basti (Medicated enema)
Basti is main treatment for Vata disorders. However, it is useful in diseases of pitta and kapha as well as for vitiation of all doshas together and the vitiation of blood also. Basti (Medicated enema) can be given with many different combinations of herbs and other substances like oil, milk, honey, salt, broth, herbal paste, etc. Generally of two types as described below.
Nasya (adminsitration of errhine herbs or oils) - involves administration of medicated oil or herbs through the nose to cleanse accumulated Kapha toxins (Mucus) from the head and neck region. This procedure gently cleanses the upper respiratory tract and sinuses hence may be useful for a range of health problems in these area such as sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, migraine, chronic and tension headaches.
Rakta mokshna or blood letting is a specialised form of Panchakarma procedure generally only performed at specialised centres under close observation and is not available with us .