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ayurveda

MEANING OF AYURVEDA
A system of self-care that originated in India more than 5000 years ago, Ayurveda is becoming very popular all over the world, with hundreds of healers incorporating it into their practices and thousands of people using its well-tried principles and therapies to improve their well-being.
The Vedic word ayurveda has two root words--ayu and veda. Every root word in the Vedic tradition has its own definition--thus, ayu has its own definition and so does veda. Literally and concisely, ayu means "life" and ved means "science." According to this translation, ayurveda means "the science of life." But the Vedic texts expand on these definitions to offer us a more complete understanding, and our ayurvedic expert Vaidya Rama Kant Mishra has explained some of these expanded statements.

Ayu explained

What is the real meaning of ayu or life according to the fundamental principles of ayurveda? Sharirendriya sattwa atma samyogo ayuhu, goes one verse. Sharir means physical body; indriya means senses. Sattwa refers to the combination of mind and heart--overall psychological strength, and atma means soul or spirit. When all of these--body, senses, heart, mind and spirit--are in proper balance and function in a harmonious, coordinated manner, that is true life--"the living body."

Veda explained

Veda means science: not a science that changes its theories and its findings every few years but ageless, eternal knowledge built on siddhantas, fundamental unchanging principles. Veda refers to guided knowledge: it is not just theory, but also a roadmap for how to derive practical benefit from the knowledge.

A longer definition of ayurveda

Another longer definition of ayurveda goes: ayurhitahitamvyadhe nidaanamshamanam thathaa vidyate yatra vidhwadhihi tatra ayurveda uchyate. This verse takes us to a deeper level to understand what ayurveda is.

Ayurveda provides us with a complete understanding of what is life-sustaining and what is not, not just for the physical body, but also our mind, heart, senses and spirit. This includes descriptions of the kind of diet, lifestyle and behavior that is optimal for well-being, the ideal environment, and the herbal rasayanas that are good or bad for each of these aspects of health. There is great detail on each of these modalities--what to eat, when to eat and how to eat are a part of dietary recommendations, for example. The texts also include recommendations for nurturing relationships and living as part of the human community.

If an individual does not have this knowledge or has the knowledge but does not implement the knowledge, then, say the texts, the person becomes susceptible to imbalance and disorders

PRINCIPLES OF AYURVEDA

According to ayurvedic philosophy an individual bundle of `spirit’, desirious of expressing itself, uses subjective consciousness or Satwa to manifest sense organs and a mind. Spirit and mind then project themselves into a physical body, created from the five (Pancha) great (maha) eternal elements (bhutas) – together called the Panchamahabhutas – which arise from Tamas. The sense organs then using Rajas to project from the body into the external world to experience their objects. The body becoming the mind’s vehicle, its physical instrument for sense gratification.

The Bhutas combine into "tridoshas" or bioenergetic forces that govern and determine our health or physical condition. While the three gunas (Rajas or activity, Tamas or inertia and Satwa, which balances the first two) or psychic forces determine our mental and spiritual health. Ayurveda is thus a holistic system o

BASICS OF AYURVEDA

The following are some of the principle theories and practices of Ayurveda.

Ayurveda is divided into eight parts. Hence it is also known as Ashtanga ayurveda.
These are as follows: Kaya, Bal, Graha, Urdhwa, Shalya, Dhanstra, Jara, Vrishan.
1. Kaya: The part of ayurveda which mainly related with diseases related with body, related with digestion.
2.Bala: It is related with the paediatric age group. It is the treatment for the proper growth and diseases of children.
3.Graha: It deals with stars and planets and other mental disorders.
4.Urdhwa: The diseases of upper part of the body above the neck. This part is also known as Shalakyatantra. In this part, disorders of ear, nose, throat, eyes, and oral cavity are considered.
5.Shalya: This is surgical branch of Ayurveda which is well developed by Sushrut.
6.Dhanstra: It is related to the tooth where animal bites, poisoning and its treatment is considered.
7.Jara: It is the branch related to geriatrics. It deals with treatment to avoid old age.
8.Vrushya: It is the branch related with healthy sex life and treatment related to complaints about intercourse etc.
Prakruti: At the time of conception, the particular dosha dominating is the prakruti of that individual.According to individuals prakruti, he or she is prone to some types of disease. To cure those disorders, some hints related to day to day life "dincharya" and seasonal behavior "Rutucharya"are given.
Panch Mahabhoot Siddhanta: The whole body is considered to be made up of five basic elements such as Prithvi, Aap, Tepa, Vayu and Aakash .When there is disturbance in dosha-dhatu-mala, the individual suffers from disease. Hence they should be treated accordingly.
The treatment part includes Shodhan and Shaman. In Shodhan, the doshas are expelled out of the body with the help of medicines and in Shaman , doshas are suppressed in the body. Shodhan includes five ways of cleansing named as Pancha karma. It includes;
Vaman: emesis,
Virechan: purgation,
Nasya: medicine administered by nostrils.
Raktamokshan: letting out blood,
Basti: medicated material administered through anus.
Prakruti - The Unique Genetic Code of an Individual
Everyone knows that there are no two fingerprints alike. No two voice modulations and no two genetic codes are exactly alike. What makes anyone think we all have the same liver, lungs, kidneys, or anything else the same as the next person. Therefore to propose that we all eat the same foods, take the same drugs when we are ill, or perform the same exercise is more than ludicrous. It is unscientific! Ayurveda uses a system of historical analysis and physical examination done almost entirely by observation (with the exception of pulse reading), to ascertain one's original nature and current imbalances.
A diet and health plan are given to the individual according to the needs to correct the imbalance. The basis for all other concepts in Ayurveda is Sankhya (the analytical study of the elements that comprise the universe). Although the modern physicist would delineate well over one hundred elements, Sankhya states there are twenty-four, of which five are the foundation of the gross world: Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether.
These five elements, when joined in different combinations, make up the three "doshas" or "biological modes" which are the "Prakruti" or nature of an individual and the nature of all things.
The combination of air and ether gives us Vata or the Kinetic Biological Mode. Vata is that which is electric in the body and causes all movement in and out of the system (breathing, urination, defecation, menstruation, etc.)
The combination of fire and water gives us Pitta or the Transformative Biological Mode. Pitta is that which mutates or transforms the outside elements of the macrocosm into the inside elements of the body (the microcosm). Pitta governs the digestion of physical, mental, and emotional elements.
Finally, the combination of earth and water gives us Kapha or the Structive Biological mode. Kapha is that which makes for both lubrication (mucus, synovial fluid) and structure (bones, muscles, fat, joints, etc).

TREATEMENTS AND ITS Use

Abhyangam
Tones muscle, improves circulation. Balances Vata
Obesity, Especially for Diabetic Gangrene etc.
Pizhichil
Rejuvenate the entire body, esp. neuromuscular system. Balances Vata. Rheumatic diseases like Arthritis, Paralysis, Hemiplegia, Epilepsy, Paralysis-Agitanus and Sexual weakness.
Njavarakizhi
Rejuvenates all tissues. Balances Vata
Weight loss, Rheumatism, Pain in the Joints, Emaciation of limbs, High blood pressure, Cholesterol and certain kinds of skin diseases.
Dhara
Deep relaxation. Brain rejuvenation. Balances Vata
Insomnia, Vata aggravation, Stress related disorders, dermatitis.
Sirovasthi
Brain and neuromuscular tonic. Whole body tonic.
Epilepsy, Facial paralysis, Dryness of nostrils, mouth and throat, Severe headaches, and other Vata originated diseases.
Vasthi
Balances Vata. Tonic. Arthritis, Paralysis, Hemiplegia, Numbness, Gastric complaints associated with Rheumatism and constant constipation
Udvarthanam
Loose weight, improve circulation. Hemiplegia, Paralysis, Obesity and certain Rheumatic ailments
Nasyam
Sinusitis, recurrent respiratory problems.Headaches, Brain disorders, some types of skin disease.
Snehapanam
Internal rejuvenation. Improves immunity. Aids cleansing. Also used in Osteoarthritis, Psoriasis, Leukemia etc.
Kizhi
Anti inflammatory tonic. Gentle, deep cleansing. Osteoarthritis, arthritis with swelling, spondylitis, sports injuries etc.
Yoniprakshalanam
Female reproductive disorders. Endometriosis, cysts and fibroids, tumors, infertility.
Kativasthi
Strong and flexible back. Disc prolapse, Back pain and spinal disorders.
Urovasthi
Tones respiratory system and heart. Asthma, other respiratory problems hearth diseases and muscular chest pain
Ksheeradhoomam
Tones facial nerves and muscles. Facial paralysis, speech disorders and other nervous disorders of the face.
Thalam
Improves sleep. Strengthens eyesight. ENT problems, insomnia, mi

YOGA
1. Neti (nasal cleansing):
Jala neti (salt water flushing of the sinuses).
Sutra neti (nasal cleaning with string).

2. Dhauti (washing the GI tract).
Teeth, tongue, eyes, ears and forehead.
Agnisara Dhauti.
Vamana Dhauti (vomiting salt water).
Vastra Dhauti (washing with a cloth).
Varisara Dhauti (washing with water for purgation).

3. Basti (enema).
4. Trataka (forehead wash, gazing into a candle flame).
5. Nauli (intestinal washing, abdominal rolling).
6. Kapala Bhati (skull shining).

The Ayurvedic method for cleansing and rejuvenation is known as panchakarma (pancha karma), or five cleansing actions. This program is usually done for a week or two, but can also be done for longer periods depending on the case. The five actions of this method are:

1. Basti (Enema).
2. Nasya (Nasal application of herbs and herbal oils).
3. Vamana (Therapeutic vomiting).
4. Virechana (Purgation).
5. Rakta Moksha (Blood letting).

It is obvious that Ayurveda and yoga not only complement each other. Both sciences actually embrace each other as they share similarities and fundamental principles on many levels. Ayurveda and yoga should go hand in hand if we want to achieve optimal health, peace, and longevity.

Ayurveda with Meditation

Meditation is a continuous flow of perception or thought, just like the flow of water in a river." A practice wherein there is constant observation of the mind, meditation brings awareness, harmony and natural order into life. It helps you dig deep into your inner self to discover the wisdom and tranquility that lie within.

Principles of Meditation

The basic points to be kept in mind in practicing meditation are :

*Have a special place and specific time for meditation. Try doing it daily.
*Choose a time when your mind is not clouded with worries.
*Sit up straight with your back, neck and head in one line. Facing north or east.
*Condition your mind such so as to remain quiet for the duration of your meditation session.
*

Regulate your breathing. Start with 5 minutes of deep breathing. Then gradually slow it down.
*Follow a rhythmic breathing pattern - inhale and exhale.
*Initially let your mind wander. It grows more restless if you force to concentrate.
*Then slowly bring it to rest on the focal point of your choice.
*Hold your object of concentration at this focal point throughout your session.
*Meditation happens when you reach a state of pure thought. Even while retaining an awareness of duel self.
Followed diligently you will soon be able to attain a super-conscious state.
Tips on Concentration

At the outset, it is hard to keep your attention to keep focussed on one object.
*So it is better to start off by limiting your field of concentration to a category of objects.
*Choose your objects with care e.g. any four flowers, fruits, trees...etc. You must feel at ease with what you choose.
*After concentrating on one, you can move on to the next, if & when your mind starts wandering.

This style of meditative exercise will help you control your mind down to a finer focus, teaching you the principle of single point concentration

Rejuvenates all tissues. Balances Vata

Weight loss, Rheumatism, Pain in the Joints, Emaciation of limbs, High blood pressure, Cholesterol and certain kinds of skin diseases.
Dhara
Deep relaxation. Brain rejuvenation. Balances Vata
Insomnia, Vata aggravation, Stress related disorders, dermatitis.
Sirovasthi
Brain and neuromuscular tonic. Whole body tonic.
Epilepsy, Facial paralysis, Dryness of nostrils, mouth and throat, Severe headaches, and other Vata originated diseases.
Vasthi
Balances Vata. Tonic. Arthritis, Paralysis, Hemiplegia, Numbness, Gastric complaints associated with Rheumatism and constant constipation
Udvarthanam
Loose weight, improve circulation. Hemiplegia, Paralysis, Obesity and certain Rheumatic ailments
Nasyam
Sinusitis, recurrent respiratory problems.Headaches, Brain disorders, some types of skin disease.
Snehapanam
Internal rejuvenation. Improves immunity. Aids cleansing. Also used in Osteoarthritis, Psoriasis, Leukemia etc.
Kizhi

Anti inflammatory tonic. Gentle, deep cleansing. Osteoarthritis, arthritis with swelling, spondylitis, sports injuries etc.
Yoniprakshalanam
Female reproductive disorders. Endometriosis, cysts and fibroids, tumors, infertility.
Kativasthi
Strong and flexible back. Disc prolapse, Back pain and spinal disorders.
Urovasthi
Tones respiratory system and heart. Asthma, other respiratory problems hearth diseases and muscular chest pain
Ksheeradhoomam
Tones facial nerves and muscles. Facial paralysis, speech disorders and other nervous disorders of the face.
Thalam
Improves sleep. Strengthens eyesight. ENT problems, insomnia, mi

DIAGONOSIS IN AYURVEDA

Indian medicine names three main causes of disease – 'overuse', 'disuse' or 'misuse’ of faculties; 'errors in judgement'; and influence of seasonal changes. According to Ayurveda all human diseases can be classified into the seven broad categories, namely :
1. Genetic (Adibalapravritta)

*Consists of ailments as obstinate skin diseases, hemorrhoids, diabetes, tuberculosis and asthma that arise primarily due to defects in the sperm (sukra) of the father – when it is called pitrija or the ovum (sonita) of the mother – when it is termed matrja.
*Undigested food, abnormal behaviour, addiction of any type and stressful situations affect the reproductive elements of both the male and female, resulting in a defective foetus.
2. Congenital (Janmabalapravritta)

*Caused essentially due to nutritional disorder (rasakrita) and unfulfilled cravings of the mother during pregnancy (dauhrdya)
*If diet and / or conduct of the mother aggravates vata, the foetus might end up with deformities as kyphosis (hunchback), blindness and dwarfism; increased pitta may cause alopecia and yellowish pigmentation of skin; and enhanced kapha might result in albinism.

3. Constitutional (Doshabalapravritta)

*Arise out of any dietary or behavioural disturbance brought about by an imbalance in any one of the three vital physical energies (Tridoshas) or the three vital mental energies (Trigunas).
*Thus constitutional disorders are of two types : somatic (Sharirika) & psychic (Manasika).

4. Traumatic (Sanghatabalapravritta)

Undergoing any trauma causing experience – external or internal – leads to this.
*External trauma is induced by injuries inflicted by sharp instruments and bites of animals or venomous insects.
*Stress and overstrain lead to internal trauma.

5. Seasonal (Klabalapravritta)

*Brought about by changes in the nuances of seasonality.
*Sometimes the body fails to adjust itself to the sudden and abnormal climatic changes – extreme cold might lead to frostbite and rheumatic disease. While extreme heat may cause sunstroke or fever.

6. Infectious and Spiritual (Daivabalapravritta)

*Either born out of natural calamities as lightning, earthquakes, floods and the invisible, malignant forces of nature.
*Or contacted through sexual & physical intimacy and sharing of food, plates, bed, clothes, towels and cosmetics with effected friends & relatives.
*Or as a result of sheer jealousy.

7. Natural (Swabhavbalapravritta)

Even the healthiest of people are struck by hunger, thirst, sleep, death or senility.
*Brought about by functional, organic and natural changes in the body.

In Ayurveda, physicians try to assess the symptoms of these diseases as much as the nature of ailment and its root causes (nidana). This is of utmost importance in ensuring correct choice of remedial & preventive measures for treatment of the disease. For otherwise, even after therapy, one might not get the desired response and there would remain a chance of recurrence.

The early signs and symptoms (purvaroopa) provide useful warnings and the opportunity for taking necessary action before a disease can assume dangerous magnitudes. The main signs and symptoms (roopa) reflect the true nature and intensity of the disease. Another oft used method of diagnosis is exploratory therapy (upasaya) which uses diet, medicines and routines to detect diseases otherwise difficult to diagnose. Acting either against the cause of disease or the disease itself or producing relief. For example a swelling that is alleviated by an oily & hot massage, is obviously caused by an imbalance of vata.

Examination Process

To confirm, evaluate and treat a disease, physicians need to perform clinical examinations of patients – wherein textual knowledge (aptopadesa), direct perception (pratyaksha) and inference (anumana) are all very important components. The examination of patients can be carried out in the following manners:

Three (Tri) fold (Bidha) Examination (Pariksha)

Covers a general examination of the patient.

Involves:

1. Visual observation (Darshan)
2. Tactile perception (Sparsha)
3. Questioning (Prashna)

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