Ayurveda is the Asian medical system which has its beginning in the fifth century BC, and thrives even to the present day in many parts of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Tibet. It is one of the oldest systems of health care, which is in continuous practice in the world today. The word Ayurveda comes from two Sanksrit words, Ayus meaning life and longevity, and Veda meaning life and science. Therefore, Ayurveda is the Science of life, which specifically refers to establishing a healthy integration of body, mind and spirit.
Ayurveda regards health as a foundation for creative and spiritual growth by harmonising the body and mind. Ayurveda teaches us to employ the principles of nature in practical ways, to promote the well-being of the whole person, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Ayurvedic System of Healing
The Ayurvedic system of healing teaches that the five great elements of dynamic forces which are in constant cosmic motion are found manifested in the human body. They in turn, give rise to the three functional bio-energy or psycho-physiological principles known as the Tri-doshas, called Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Ill health or disease result when one or more of the doshas are in disharmony. For example, when in excess Vata can manifest as constipation, dry skin or insomnia; similarly, excess Pitta as heart burn, a skin rash, acne or peptic ulsers; and excess Kapha as respiratory congestion involving phlegm, obesity, sinusitis or asthma. These are just a few of the manifestations that fall under the different categories of imbalances for Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
According to Ayurveda everyone is born with a natural constitution or Prakriti, genetically determined at the time of conception. This tri-doshic constitution is unique to each individual. But we may loose this natural balance either through improper diet or lifestyle, or through adverse factors in our internal or external environment.
Psychological as well as physical factors can also adversely affect the tri-doshic or bio-energy balance.
Creating a balance is the cornerstone of Ayurveda. A single bio-energy or a combination will determine your body type. An essential element of Ayurveda is the determination of one's constitutional mind/body type. Knowing your body type is essential to understanding yourself; this dictates, which diet, physical activities and medical therapies should help you, and which may do no good or even cause you, harm.
When we fall out of balance with our individual basic nature, disease results. Thus diseases are primarily produced by the toxic influence (ama) of the aggravated or depleted doshas. They manifest as symptoms in various parts of our body. Ayurveda uses many treatment modalities to re-harmonise our constitution into a state of health.
Ayurvedic Treatment Methods
Each of us have our own unique bio-energy states where one or two may predominate. When they fall out of balance due to a toxic build-up in our system various symptoms begin to show. During an Ayurvedic consultation the physician would try to determine the bio-energy imbalance through asking questions, and by examining the pulse, tongue, eyes, urine, skin, etc. Once the aggravated or depleted bio-energy is determined, Ayurveda uses many treatment modalities to re-harmonise the balance. Thus treating the whole person and not just the symptoms
The types of treatment used in Ayurveda are:
- Panchakarma (Detoxification)
- Ayurvedic Herbal Remedies
- Ayurvedic Marma Therapy
- Therapeutic Massage
- Yoga and Meditation
- Nutrition and Diet Protocol
- Stress and Lifestyle Counselling
All Ayurvedic treatments are individualised for each patient according to their unique body-type, bio-energy and imbalance (vikruti). No two patients with the same symptoms would receive the same treatment.
By Dr. Mauroof Athique DAMS(Hons), MD(MA), DAc, DHom
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