AYURVEDA – the prisitine oriental system of healing and health that India could still boast of
Although Ayurveda meets with stray and occasional critical remarks of its being unmindful of the modern developments of the European system of medicine, it has to be admitted that Ayurveda bears the unique distinction of being recognized as the major system of medicine that our times have been bequeathed from the ancient wisdom of India. It is still widely practiced in many parts of the world and India is typically home to its origin, interpretation, and therapeutics.
Ayurvedic treatment of diseases dates back to even 5000 BCE. It remains even today the prominent traditional health-care system of India, on which people rely in large numbers and get relieved of their psychological and stress-related disorders as well as physiological diseases. Etymologically, Ayurveda is life (ayur) knowledge (veda) and has stuck to its conceptual basics and signification, all through the thirty-odd centuries it has been at the service of humanity. Ayurvedic teachings were orally passed on from expert practitioners to would-be and highly dedicated disciples for over several millennia, coming down to the present day. One unquestionable and most basic concept of Ayurveda is that health is the result of a delicate balancing of mind, body and spirit.
Eight branches of Ayurvedic therapeutics
In the ancient Indian epic ‘Mahabharata’, Ayurvedic treatments are mentioned and classified into eight components, viz., Kayachukitsa (medicine of the body, Kaumara bhrtya (paediatrics),Salyatantra (surgical techniques),Bhutavidya (exorcism) , Agadatantra (toxicology), Rasayanatantra(rejuvenation techniques which include tonics for intellectual prowess and lifespan) and finally Vajikaranatantra (aphrodisiacs) .
Ayurveda reinforces the notion of a precarious balance of the most basic elemental substances which are ‘Vata’,’Pitta’ and ‘Kapha’.When there is the said balance, there is health, while the absence of it gets manifested in diseases. Each human possesses a unique combination of the aforesaid elemental substances (erroneously called ‘doshas’), which goes into the making of the temperament and peculiar characteristics of the individual.
The broad themes of treatment
There exist three broad themes, viz., elimination therapies (shodana or panchakarma), pacification therapies (shamana) and nourishing therapies (bhrimana).Of the three themes, pacification strategies have especially found favour with lots of foreign adherents of this system of medicine. They include attempts at balancing of opposites and are quite evident in dietary and lifestyle prescriptions, use of various herbs , meditation and yoga, this last item being an integral and highly as well as widely reputed program for physical and mental well-being sans any use of medicine.
How the Ayurvedic principle works
Ayurvedic philosophy has it that the subtlest aspects of human life are made up of five essential elements: ether (space), air, fire, water and earth. Each person is constituted through a unique and individualistic combination of these elements. Based on this assumption, Ayurvedic healing estimates the balance or its absence a person maintains of the fine elements on the concrete physiological level. Illnesses are caused by an aggravated tilt one way or other away from the constitutional elements that have gone into the making of any person. This tilt could occur in areas of diet, lifestyle, work, emotional states, interpersonal relationships or even the spiritual sphere.