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Teachings of Ayurveda
Ashtang Ayurveda: eight sections of Ayurveda
Traditional Ayurveda speaks of eight sections, known as Astanga Ayurveda:
1- Shalya Chikitsa describes surgery/surgical treatment and midwifery.
2- Shalakya (otology, rhinology, dentistry and ophthalmology) deals with the diagnosis and treatment of conditions of the eye, ear, nose, throat, nape of the neck, cervical problems, head, teeth, mouth, etc.
3- Kāyāchikitsā (internal medicine) deals with the diagnosis, treatment and management of body ailments.
4- Bhuta vidya (psychopathology/psychology/microbiology) deals with the diagnosis, treatment and management of psychological, psychogenic, somatopsychic and psychosomatic disorders.
6- Agad Tantra (toxicology, medical jurisprudence) describes the treatment of poisons (toxins).
7- Rasayana Tantra (science of rejuvenation) deals with maintaining longevity, intellectual behavior, rejunevating the body and general health.
8- Bajeekaran Tantra (science of aphrodisiacs/ maintenance of vigor) promotes sexual power, strengthens the body, vigor, etc.
The basic motive of Ayurveda is to keep the healthy person healthy and to cure the ill.
It could be said that the simple essence of Ayurveda is knowledge and awareness of the qualities of nature – called gurvadi gunah. By understanding the qualities inherent in the environment, in food, in activities, etc., one gains an appreciation of their effects on the individual constitution through the principle of similarities; i.e., that similarities cause increase while dissimilarities cause decrease. Thus hot qualities in the environment or diet will increase hot qualities in the body.
The gurvadi gunah are listed in Vāgbhata's Ashtānga Hridayam as:
Since everything in the material world possesses combinations of the 20 qualities, Ayurveda postulates that every material process or object can either harm or heal a person by influencing that person's unique original constitution (called prakrti). An Ayurvedaic practitioner will assess the qualities of a disorder, the patient's unique prakrti, and his/her influencing factors to arrive at a treatment plan. The treatment plan will consist of using herbs, therapies, diet, etc., with opposite qualities so as to assist the patient in re-establishing their prakrti.
The five elements
According to the ancient Sankhya cosmology, on which Ayurveda is based, the "five great elements" (Panchamahabhuta); combine in different proportions to form the material world. Each element possesses different amounts of the above-mentioned gunas; thus each element has its unique qualitative nature. The elements are:
Maulika siddhanta: basic principles
Every medical science has some basic principles on which the structure of the science is built and fabricated. Ayurveda has its own maulika siddhanta ("Basic / fundamental Principles"), upon which the theory of Ayurveda stands. Some of these Maulika Siddhanta or fundamental prinicples are given below:
Doshas: etiological factors of Ayurveda
Doshas are also called Tridosha, which means three dosha. Dosha is a Sanskrit word, which means "Abnormal". It is one of the main part of the Maulik Siddhant (Basic Principles) of Ayurveda. There are three primary Doshas and they are Vata, Pitta and Kaphha. Their existence in human body is considered singly, but when combined two doshas, that condition is known dwidoshaj that means combination of two dosha, which may be Vata-Pitta or Vata-Kaphha etc. When all three doshas combined each other, this situation is known as Tridoshaj or Sannipataj that means the combination of all three doshas.
The 3 main doshas (sometimes translated into English as humours) are: Vata (combination of the space and air elements), Pitta (analogous to the fire element), and Kapha (combination of water and earth elements). However there is no equivalent word to translate "Dosha" in the English language, because the concept of Humour is different to the concept of 'Ayurvedic Tridosha'.
In Ayurveda, all bodily processes are believed to be governed by a balance of the 3 doshas. Whichever dosha appears to dominate a person's behavior and physique is called his constitution type. Each constitution type has particular strengths and susceptibilities. 'Tridoshas are considered similar to Aetiological factors responsible to derange normal health condition. There is an interesting parallel with the Western concept of athletic (pitta), leptosomic (vata) and pycnic (kapha) constitutional types.
Those who are classified as Vata prakruthi tend to have lighter frames, and are either short or tall and thin. Their skin tends to be dry and cold with dark, thin hair. They have dark brown or grey eyes. Movements and speech are quick and sleep is light, interrupted, and fitful. Mentally, they are restless and have lots of ideas. They are vivacious, enthusiastic, creative and imaginative, but are fearful, anxious, and insecure.
Vata doshas' corresponding colours are warm and gentle, such as yellow, ochre, or brown.
Pitta types are generally average physically. They tend to have fine, soft, red or fair hair (though Pittas have been known to have dark hair.) Eyes tend to be blue, grey, or hazel. Their moods change slowly and they are busy people, usually achieving much in their lives. They are more intellectual and speech is clear, sharp, and precise. They are fiery, angry and judgmental.
The Pitta doshas' corresponding colours are cool, calming colours such as blue, green, or purple.
Kaphas' body types are sturdier and thicker than the other body types. Hair is thick and lustrous and eyes are blue or brown. They have the best strength and endurance and have a slow, steady pace. Mentally they are calm, steady, and stable. They can be greedy and possessive but are caring and not easily irritated.
Kapha governs bright, vibrant colours such as red, pink, and orange.
Tridosha existence in the human body
According to Ayurveda, the site of the existence of Tridosha has been established by keen observers. Charaka, Sushruta and others have determined the locations in the human body where tridosha mainly exist. Bhav Praksha clearly locates the part of human body where Tridoshas are presents.
Although the main site of Tridoshas are as described above, they work with each other in their respective functions to make equality and harmony in the smooth functioning of the body. In Ayurvedic tradition they play a comprehensive role for accurate diagnosis and treatment of the human body.
Tridosha Bhed: the physiological basis of diseases
Ayurveda divides each Dosha by establishing their functions or physiology in five parts/kinds/bheda. This is known physiology or pathophysiology of the main dosha into the dosha-bheda. Ayurveda have its own principles for perceiving the Physiological basis of diseases.
These three main Doshas are divided into the five each separate dosha-bhed according to their functions allotted in the human body.
Short details of the functions of the Vata five kinds
Sapta Dhatu: the pathological basis of diseases
Ayurveda have established its own Pathological Basis of disease conditions. According to Ayurveda our body constitutes of Dhosas Dhatus and Malas, when an equilibrium is meant between 3 of them body is deprived of any disease and vice-versa. All 3 are equally important and when considering about DHATUS, as they form the visible part of body and pathological changes associated can be easily understood. They are divided into Seven parts. These Seven Dhatus are again divided according to the dominance of the Tridosha status.
The Sapta Dhatus [Seven Vital elements] are considered to be:
Short descriptions of these elements:
1- Rasa Dhatu: The syndromes are found in the patient, if Ras Dhatu is in imbalance stage. The symptoms are; No desire for food, perverted taste. Diminished hunger, unable to feel the real taste of the food, insufficient saliva, nausea, loss of Appetite, heaviness feeling in body. After meal, after physical exertion, sleepiness in day time, bodyache, feels aching like pain in wholebody, sensation as if having temeparature, fever like sensation, feels as if entering in a dark place, Jaundice like syndromes, assimilative disorders, sexual weakness, impotency like symptoms, weak and lethargy feeling, weight loss with sick feeling, emaciation, white hairs, skin shrinkage, old look in young age.
Modern Ayurved experts understand that Ras [Fluid] Dhatu: Derived from the digested food and it nourishes each and every tissue and cell of the body and is analogous to the plasma.
2- Rakta Dhatu:
Skin diseases, Dermatitis, Erythema, Lichen, Ringworm, Urticaria, Allergic reactions, Spleenomegaly, Stomatitis, Boils, Dandruff, seborrhoic capatis, eczema, moles, inflammation of rectum, anus, of glans penis, bloody leucorrheal discharge, swelling, Skin discharges, Leucoderma, Leprosy, black patches and spots, scabies, Ichthyosis, Psoriasis. All Anomalies of Blood, etc.
Modern Ayurvedic experts understand that RAKTA [blood] DHATU regarded as the basis of life, analogous to the circulating blood cells. It not only nourishes the body tissues, but provides physical strength and colour to the body. Hb% TLC, DLC, ESR, infections, blood sepsis, problems related to blood serum is covered by this Dhatu.
3- Maamsa Dhatu:
Glands, Buboes, Abscess gland, tumours, cysts, ulcers, cancerous glands and cancerous ulcers, warty growth, corn, warts, lymphadenopathy, tonsillitis, hard flesy, extra fleshy growth, hardness of muscles, fibrositis, myositis, tendinitis, rigidity, shortness of muscles, tendons and ligaments. Anomlies of Flesh and muscular system etc.
Modern Ayurvedic experts understand that MAANS [the muscle tissues]: its function is to provide physical strength and support for the MEDA DHATU.
4- Meda Dhatu:
Deposition of extra fat, obesity, accumulation of Fat, early syndromes of Polyuria, Glycosuria, growth of glands, fat due to hyperglyceamia, excessive sweating, etc.
Modern experts understand, MEDA DHATU; consiste of adipose tissue providing support to Asthi Dhatu. It also lubricates the body.
5- Asthi Dhatu:
Extra Bony growth, extra formation of Teeth, tooth problems, caries of tooth, caries of Bone, Osteoporosis, Ostitis, Calcium Metabolism, weak bones, calcium deposits in joints, anomalies of calcium, formation of Renal Calculus, Gall Bladder calculus, problem related to skeletal system etc.
Modern Ayurvedic experts thinks that ASTHI DHATU: comprising of bone tissue, including cartilages. It s main function is to give support to the MAJJA DHATU and provide support to MAANS Dhatu, Serum Calcium etc.
6- Majja Dhatu:
Pain in joints, fear, unconsciousness, collapse, seeing dark in day light, problems of bone marrow and reticulo-endothelial system, extra hard root like formation in joints, anomalies of Bone marrow and reticuloendothelial system etc.
Modern Ayurvedic experts thinks MAJJA DHATU: denoting the yellow and red bone marrow tissue, its main function is to fill up the Asthi and to oleate the body.
7- Shukra Dhatu:
Anomalies of Semen, semen contents, semen quality, impotency, incomplete erection, impotency due to insufficient quantity of semen, desire for coition but fails, infertility, miscarriage, irregular menstrual cycles, painful menstruation, other menstrual problems, Pelvic Inflammatory diseases. Problem related to male and female reproductive systems, genito urinary male and female disorders etc.
Tridosha effect on the Sapta Dhatus
Sapta Dhatus are affected by the Tridosha. For example, when Rakta Dhatu is affected by the 'Pitta Dosha', the condition is known as 'Rakta-Pitta'. 'Rakta-pitta' presents syndromes equal to Haematomasis, Haemophillia, purpura conditions. When Rakta is affected by the Vata Dosha, the condition is known as Rakta-Vata, the syndromes are equal to Gout and Uric Acid diathesis. When Kaphha affects the Rakta-Dhatu, the condition isBloody Dysentery, Bloody Mucous Colitis etc.
Malas: the catabolic products
Ayurvedic Malas or bodily wastes are three in number, and aid in diagnosis i.e:
Agni: digestive fire
Concept of Ayurveda-Agni is very important in Ayurveda. It is instructed by the practitioners of the Ayurved that Agni [digestive fire]should be maintained of sick persons.
Ojas: vital power/vital force
Sushrut writes about Oaj that the last remaining conclusive material of the Sapta Dhatu, is known Oaj. In other words Oaj is known as 'Bal' [Bodily strength]. Some says that Oaj is equivalent to 'Vital force'. When Oaj is less than the normal limit, as a consequence it creates Unknown Fear, Constant Anxiety, Anxiety Neurosis, Worries, trouble to senses and sensory organs, weakness of the joints, low enthusiasm, Low Vital Power, Weak vigour etc. When Oaj is high than the normal limit, it creates more allertiveness, aroused senses, hurryness etc.
Panchakarma is a high profile process of internally cleaning and purifying the entire human body, as described in Ayurvedic Science. It aims not only to cure the disease but also to prevent the further recurrence of the particular disease. Only healthy men can take this therapy. Children and elderly people are weak. Women by nature don't require Panchakarma therapy.
There are five steps to complete the process.
The process is still practiced today, after more than 3000 yrs, without changing the line of treatment. Many Panchakarma centers have opened in large and small cities all over India and Sri Lanka, where specially qualified Ayurvedic practitioners provide the panchakarma treatment. In Sri Lanka and South India, there is still big Ayurvedic Centers exists, (India)in Madhya Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and etc. Among them only Kerala is ahead in Panchakarma Therapy with world class facilities. High quality Centers are also located in Sri Lanka in the very south of the island in the Southern Province nearby Matara and Kottegoda.
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