INTRODUCTION TO AYURVEDA
Ayurveda literally means “knowledge of life” and its scope is truly no less encompassing.
While the tradition is thought to be over five thousand years old, its till relevant.
Ayurveda remains as relevant as ever—and it is enlivened every day as individuals around the world engage its timeless wisdom in their day-to-day lives.
Ayurveda is a medical practice that originated in India.
Thought to be far superior than other forms of medicine, it promises treatment for various ailments that would not normally not be found in other systems of medicine.
#1 The Principles are Basic yet Extremely Effective
Ayurveda is based on the principle that the body is made up of 5 elements – space, air, water, fire and earth.
When all these elements work in congruence they make a healthy person.
While all of us have all the five elements, they are in different proportions in our body
– making a person one of these three – vata, kapha or pitta.
An imbalance in any of these elements makes a person ill and a realignment of these humours can cure a disease.
#2 The three doshas make you who you are
Before you scoff at the idea, here is what Ayurvedic practitioners believe.
A person who is of a particular dosha has unique characteristics.
Due to the dominance of one of the doshas it affects a person’s temperament, the diseases that can affect him
and even governs how he react to stress.
Apart from that it also dictates the type of body structure he has and the foods he is likely to love.
#3 Diagnosis is based on various factors
Ayurveda uses the system of ‘Astavidha rogi pareeksha’ or eight methods to examine a patient.
This includes testing the following factors – Naadi (Pulse), Mutra (Urine), Mala (stool),
Shabda (voice),Jivha(tongue), Sparsha (skin), Drik (Eyes) and Aakriti (body build).
After the doctor has understood the type of body you have and the problem you might be suffering from,
he/she will try to understand which humour could be imbalanced and thereby prescribe medication.
#4 Ayurveda looks at your body as a whole
In Ayurveda a disease is known as a disharmony (or imbalance of energy flow) between mind, body and soul.
This means that your body, its organs, your mind and your mental makeup – all play a role in diagnosis and treatment.
This way it tries to treat the root of the problem rather than the organ or part of the body that is affected
– factoring in how the medicines will affect the person as a whole.
#5 Your environment plays an important role in your health
What you eat, where you live, even the colours you are attracted to can be explained by Ayurveda.
According to the principles, a person’s dosha mitigates this and therefore being in an environment
that is contrary to your dosha will elevate one particular humour in the body leading to an imbalance and disease.
Ayurveda seeks to negate that effect and bring the balance back into equilibrium.
#6 Ayurveda involves more than just herbs
Ayurvedic medicines contain not only herbs but also other substances like milk, ghee, butter, honey, molasses, gingelly oil, rock salts, minerals, ashes and self-fermented alcohol.
While herbs are a major component of the medicines prescribed, other compounds are used as well.
In some cases the other compounds are adjuvants or carriers (help the medicine perform better) and in others they form the medicine itself.
#7 It cures the root of the problem not the symptoms alone
Ayurveda is based on the very compounds that make and run your body.
During treatment, an Ayurvedic doctor finds the problem, then looks for the reason for it.
Once the reason is found he/she will treat the factors that are hindering the entire recovery process.
Once cleared he/she will take care of the disease itself.
This way Ayurveda looks to root out the problem rather than simply treat the symptoms — hopefully eradicating the problem entirely.
#8 Ayurveda is a lifestyle
The word Ayurveda is derived from two words; ‘Ayur’ meaning life and longetivity and ‘veda’ means knowledge.
The basic scripture of Ayurveda talks about living life the Ayurveda way, where every aspect is in line with keeping your body’s humours in check.
So if you have diabetes, and with Ayurveda your blood sugar levels have been brought under control, you will notice that along with the medication there are several lifestyle changes you will have to make.
Therefore, if you follow those principles for as long as you live, your diabetes will stay under control.
#9 It has many specialities
Ayurveda has many more principles than just prescribing medicines.
It also has specialties like surgery (Shalya-chikitsa), diseases above the shoulder (Shalakya), internal medicine (Kaayachikitsa), psychiatry (Bhutavidya), pediatrics (Kaumarabhrutyam), toxicology (Agadatantram), rejuvenation (Rasayanam) and aphrodisiacs (Vajikaranam).
All these can treat every complication encountered by the human body.