Monday, March 23, 2009


Ayurveda (science of life)

Ayurveda (science of life) is a system of traditional medicine native to India, a form of alternative medicine. In Sanskrit (is a historical Indo-Aryan language), the word Ayurveda comprises the words āyur, meaning 'life' and veda, meaning 'science'. Evolving throughout its history, Ayurveda remains an influential system of medicine in India. Ayurveda covers a variety of techniques, from detoxification, diet and herbal prescriptions, to yoga, meditation and massage therapy. All are personalised to suit the individual's dosha (dosha: according to Ayurvedic medicine, the three metabolic types (vata, pitta, and Kapha). Most people are a combination of types).

Ayurvedic Massage

Ayurvedic massage uses essential oils that are chosen to suit your dosha. The massage techniques used include tapping, kneading and squeezing as well as the more traditional massage strokes you would expect. The style and flow of the massage is determined by who you are, and what your body needs for balance and wellbeing at the time.An Ayurvedic therapist is trained to focus on the "marma points" - similar to the pressure points in reflexology, acupuncture and acupressure.

The massage is designed mainly to: detoxify and cleanse, boost the effectiveness of the immune system, keep healthy people in good health, help those with medical conditions to improve their overall well-being.

Different Types of Ayurvedic massage

* Ayurvedic head massage
* Ayurvedic face and marma therapy: A facial using a herbal mask and individually prepared oils
* Ayurvedic Shirodhara: A treatment using oil poured on the forehead
* Pizhichil: A two-therapist massage using warm herbal oils
* Abhyanga: An individually prepared herbal oil massage
* Abhyanga-Garshana: A dry lymphatic skin brushing followed by a herbal oil massage
* Udwarthanam: A slimming treatment involving deep massage with herbal powders
* Vishesha: A deep muscular massage using herbal oils
* Shiro-Ahyanga-Nasya: A combination of a deep head, neck and shoulder massage, a facial lymphatic massage and aromatic steam
* Ayurvedic foot massage: A deep massage in which the therapist uses his feet to massage you

Ayurvedic Treatment [Chikitsa]

Ayurvedic treatment [Chikitsa] does not mean suppressing the main symptoms of the disease. It is to remove the root cause and give permanent relief.There are four main classifications of management of disease in Ayurveda: rasayana, or rejuvenation; shaman or palliation; shodan, or cleansing; and satvajaya, or mental hygiene.

The treatment mainly comprises of powders, tablets, decoctions, medicated oils etc. prepared from natural herbs, plants and minerals. Because the medicines are from natural sources and not synthetic, they are accepted and assimilated in the body without creating any side effects and on the other hand, there may be some side benefits.

Along with medicine, proper diet, exercise and living style is also advised. This is equally important. If we are taking a medicine to remove the root cause and at the same time we are taking some food or following a life style which is increasing the cause of disease, then we may not get well or will be getting less relief.

Ayurveda, it is divided into eight branches, which are collectively called as Ashtang Ayurveda. The eight branches of Ayurvedic science are as follows:

  1. Kayachikitsa : Kaya means the living human body, which includes body and mind both. It includes both, the visible body as well as the subtle body. In Kayachikitsa that is medicinal branch includes all the diseases situated in the body like fever, etc
  2. Shalya chikitsa : Shalya chikitsa is the branch of ancient Indian surgery that describes in detail about the pre-operative procedures, general procedures, post-operative procedures, marma's (vital points) and also about anesthesia. The description of the types of bandages, shastra (sharp instruments), yantras (blunt instruments), and sutures (stitches) has been described in this surgery
  3. Bala chikitsa: Bala-chikitsa is that branch of Ayurveda, which deals with children. The diseases suffered by children and the treatment given for curing is Bala-chikitsa.
  4. Graha chikitsa- Bhoot Vidya : Graha chikitsa bhoott vidya is that branch or subdivision of Ayurveda and mainly deals with the management of psychological disorders of human beings produced as a result of invasion by some evil spirits.
  5. Urdhvanga chikitsa- eyes, ears, nose, throat and head : Urdhvanga means the organs situated above the neck and the treatment of eyes, ears, nose, throat and head is Urdhvanga chikitsa or shalakya.
  6. Damstra chikitsa : Damstra chikitsa toxicology or agad tantra is the branch including the science of poisons
  7. Jara chikitsa-Rasayana : Jara chikitsa rasayana or the rejuvenating therapy is the therapy, which, promotes rejuvenation in a healthy person and cures the disease of a diseased person.
  8. Vrishya chikitsa : Vrishya chikitsa(vajikarana) or (Aphrodisiacs) is the branch of ayurvedic treatment, which includes drugs that are mainly used for improving fertility. They serve as good aphrodisiacs and induce an immediate sense of pleasurable excitement, along with increased fertile seminal secretions even in an ageing person. These drugs also increase the strength and stamina of the person. All this is included in Vrishya chikitsa.

Treatment methods

Therapy or treatment is that which serves as an equipment for a physician to maintain the equilibrium of disturbed dosha. In this point of view treatment methods are divided into three types i.e., Daivavyapasrayam (Spiritual therapy), Yuktivyapasrayam (Therapy based on reasoning) and Satvavajayam (Psychic therapy).

Treatment methods are again classified into two: Preventive measures and Curative measures

Preventive measures of Ayurveda

The specialty of Indian Medicine lies in the prevention of the disease. Preventive measures consists of mainly three aspects.
  1. Swastavritta (Personal hygiene) consists of Dinacharya (daily routine of life) including tooth brushing, mouth wash, bath, exercise, meals and sleep etc, Ritucharya which deals with the regimens and diet to be followed in the different seasons of the year, Sadvritta deals with the social behaviour and different conducts of an individual in detail.
  2. Rasayana and Vajeekarana - Use of rejuvenative and virilising agents to prevent ageing, impact longevity, immunity against diseases and to improve mental faculties. Vajeekarana drugs are special in nature used as aphrodisiac and fertility improving agents.
  3. Practice of yoga - It is necessary to adopt Yoga therapy in order to keep the body and mind hale and healthy and to prevent diseases.

Curative Measures of Ayurveda

Curative measures are :
1. Internal Medicine
2. External Medicine
3. Surgical Treatment

1. Internal Medicine
It is a major discipline in the practice of Ayurveda. The 2 aspects of Internal medicine are (a) Internal purification (b) curative treatment

Internal Purification or Sodhana consists of the 5 fold purificatory measures known as 'Panchakarma'. This includes Vamana, Virechana, Vasti, Nasya (Watch Video)and Rakthamoksha (blood letting). This therapy has to be done before the administration of drug therapy, rejuvenation therapy and surgery. Ayurveda is of the firm opinion that no drug therapy will yield the desired results without purifying the body properly.

2. External Medicine

It includes Oleation (Snehanam), Sudation (Swedana), bath, medicated gargles, application of paste, powders and other physiotherapeutic measures as an adjunct to internal medicines. These treatments are very popular and are in vogue even today.

3. Surgical Intervention

Ayurveda is the first in the world to practice different types of operations and sixty types of treatment of wounds, classification and treatment of fractures and plastic surgery. The earliest Sanskrit treatises on Ayurveda were the 'Samhitas' of the great ancient physicians Bhela, Charaka and Susrutha which date from around the Christian era. The Indian surgeons of that era excelled in operations and their achievements in plastic surgery had no parallels anywhere in the world. Susrutha is called the father of plastic surgery. Sources of the pre-Christian era, such as the Epic 'Ramayana', mention remarkable feats of surgery having taken place in the past. Thus we have reference to the transplantation of an eyeball. The legendary 'Jivaka' a famous physician during the time of Buddha is also reported to have performed remarkable cures involving deep surgery. The circulation of blood was first explained in Ayurvedic system of medicine 4000 years ago, although William Harvey got the credit later on.

In Ayurveda there is cure for almost all ailments, but still Ayurveda is highly useful in curing the following diseases:

• Colds, Colitis
• Skin Problems
• Cancers
• All types of Hair problems
• Diabetes
• Obesity
• Anxiety
• Stress-Related Disorders
• Metabolic Disorders
• Acne
• Allergies
• Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
• Asthma
• Ulcers
• Insomnia
• Constipation
• Arthritis
• Depression
• Hypertension
• Nervous Disorders

Ultimately Ayurveda is one of the best alternative medicines having the full potential to cure even the incurable diseases. But still what is required is a professional Ayurvedic advice from a skilled physician or else you could do the treatment yourself for minor diseases through several books based on Ayurveda.

75% of ayurvedic drugs are derived from plants and the rest from fungus. Ayurveda has no Side Effects. If someone takes Ayurvedic formulations over the counter without proper consultation then he can get side effects. Each and every patient is different, his ailment, his constitution, his age atc and other numerous factors are considered before giving medication. So even if two people have the same ailment, they may be prescribed with different medications aacording to their nature.

Ancient Ayurvedic scriptures recommend the right methods of ayurvedic medicine administration, medicine combination, diet and controls on activities. They also give specific advice on manufacturing process, the desirable environment to prepare medicines, and hundred other factors that affect the quality of medicines for ayurveda. The dos and don’ts of administration of medicines are clearly explained in Ayurvedic books. Ayurvedic medicines of high power are advised to take only for pre-determined number of days, weeks or months. If overdone, the favorable medicines show its undesirable side.

No comments:

Post a Comment