Ayurveda the science of life is getting world wide momentum with recommendation due to its preventive and effective role in curing physical and mental disorders of modern era.Ayurveda is one of the most ancient medical sciences of the world.It is considered as the Upaveda of Atharvaveda and has thus its origin from Vedas, the oldest recorded wisdom on the earth. The term ‘Ayurveda’ comprises of two words ‘Ayuh’ which means ‘Life’ & ‘Veda’ means ‘Science or Knowledge’. Thus Ayurveda is defined as the science in which the knowledge of life exists or which helps a man to enjoy a longer duration of life. It presents a total life science and visualises the total health of the total human being in a holistic way through proper diet and regiment therapy.
The main principle of Ayurveda is
“Swasthasya swatha rakshanam aturachya cha vikaraprasamanam swasthya iti abhidhyate”
i) to maintain the health of the healthy person
ii) to cure the diseased person.
It advocates a complete promotive, preventive and curative system of medicine and appears to have been practiced in ancient times in the form of eight major clinical specialities of medicine viz,
i. Kayachikitsa (medicine)
ii. SalyaTantra (surgery)
iii. SalakyaTantra (eye & ENT)
iv. Kaumarabhritya (paediatrics, obstetrics & gynaecology)
v. Bhutavidya (psychiatry)
vi. AgadaTantra (toxicology)
vii. RasayanaTantra ( rejuvenation & geriatrics)
viii. Vajikarana (aphrodiasics)
In Ayurveda, Health is defined as
“Samadosha Samagni samadhatu malakriya prasannaatmaindriya manaha swasthya iti abhidhiyate”
This means that health is balanced when all the three doshas or bioenergy and agni or metabolic process are balanced, and excretion process are in proper order. When atma or soul, senses, manah or intellect are in harmony with internal peace, swasthya or optimal health is achieved which clearly relates the definition of Health as defined by WHO i.e., health is a complete state of physical, mental ,social and spiritual well being and not merely the absence of disease.
According to Ayurveda, the living body is composed of five basic elemental substances name as:
i. Akasha (Ether)
ii. Vayu (Air)
iii. Teja (fire)
iv. Jala (water)
v. Prithvi (earth)
These 5 physical elements constitute the three essential bio- components of the living body which are termed as the Tridosas viz., Vata (physical activities or the motion in the organisms), Pitta (the entire physio- chemical phenomenon including the bio-chemicals and metabolic activities as well as the endocrine functions) and Kapha (gross structure of the body both solid & liquid). These three dosas have contradictory physical and physiological characters and so they are capable of antagonising the activities of each other, thus maintaining an inherent equilibrium. The total spectrum of their physical and physiological characters is reflected in the final constitutional set-up of a man, which is known as Dosa Prakriti or the psychosomatic constitution of a particular individual. According to the predominance of one or the other of the three dosas in the body composition, the prakriti may be predominantly of three types viz, vatika, paitika and kaphaja. Thus Ayurveda recognises three basic human types in which the total living population can be classified. The Ayurvedic classics have put a great emphasis on this classification of human types because each of these types requires a different type of handling, specific to each Dosic Prakriti, in the preservation of health, prevention and treatment of diseases.
In Ayurvedic classics, case taking and clinical examination are carried out under certain unique approaches viz,
A. Examination of the patient (Rogi Pariksha)
B. Examination of the disease (Roga Pariksha)
A) In rogipariksha, the most popular practical schedule is Dasavidha pariksa or ten examination points. They are:
i. Prakrti or constitution.
ii. Vikriti or disease susceptibility
iii. Sara or quality of dhatus
iv. Samhananaor body compactness
v. Pramana or Anthropometry
vi. Satmya or Adaptability
vii. Sattva or Mental stamina
viii. Aharasakti or Digestive power
ix. Vyayamasakti or Physical strength
x. Vaya or Age
B) Rogapariksha is generally carried out in two parts:
a) Nadi or pulseexamination
b) Mala or stool examination
c) Mutra (urine examination)
d) Jihva (tongue examination)
e) Sabda (voice or speech or sound)
f) Sparsha ( sensation of touch)
g) Drika (eyes)
h) Akriti( appearance and gait)
a) Sirogriva (head,neck)
b) Antaradhi (the trunk)
c) Uras (chest)and Udara (abdomen)
d) Sakha (the four limbs)
Ayurvedic treatments are broadly classified into two major procedures:
i) Samsodhana (purificatory or eliminatory therapy): it is the radical treatment of a disease and is supposed to eradicate or eliminate the vitiated dosas from the body thus completely preventing or curing the disease
ii) Samsamana (pacificatory therapy): it is the conservative treatment which consists of conservative measures like langhana (fasting), pacana (digestion) etc. by administration of appropriate drugsdesigned for subsiding or alleviating the vitiated dosas thus preventing temporarily or subsiding a disease.
Panchakarma comes under sodhana or purification therapy plays a vital role in Ayurvedic therapeutics and occupies an important place in Ayurvedic Medicine. These are five in number viz, vamana (medicated emesis), virechana (medicated purgation), basti (medicated enema), nasya (medicated errhines) and raktamokshana (blood letting).
i.Vamana or medicated emesis therapy which definitely removes the excess toxins poised in the stomach and respiratory area indicated mainly for bronchial asthma, Gastritis and skin disorders.
ii.Virechana or medicated purgation therapy which eliminates toxins from the body accumulated in the liver, gall bladder and gastro-intestinal tract. Indicated for gastritis, skin disorders, obesity etc.
iii.Basti or medicated enema therapy which cleans up the accrued toxins of body through colon indicated for arthritis, neurological disorders, joint pains, obesity etc.
iv.Nasya or Introduction of medicated oil/decoction through the nose to clean accrued toxins from the head and neck region. Indicated for sinusittis, Migraine, hemiplasia, facial paralysis, cervical spondylosis, etc.
v.Raktamokshan scientific way of impure bloodletting therapy indicated for skin disorders and delayed wound healing and arthritis.
Sub types of Panchakarma:
Abhyanga: Scientific way of massage as per individuals’ mental and physical constitution and disorder.
Swedan: Fomentation with medicated herbal steam, steam bath, herbal poultice which improves blood circulation & eliminates toxins, relieves pain, stiffness & enhances mobility.
Dhara: A process of pouring medicated oil, decoction, medicated milk & butter milk to body and head. Effective in relaxation of Nervous system, Insomnia, Depression, Hypertension, Memory loss, Migraine, Paralysis, Epilepsy and Psoriasis.
Kati basti, Grivabasti, Hridbasti, Janubasti &Nabhibasti: for lumbar spondylosis, cervicalspondylosis, Hypertension, knee joint pain & gastritis.
Netra tarpan: Special treatment for Glaucoma, Myopia, Hyper myopia, eye strain.
The importance of Panchakarma is essentially applicable to all cases, covering a wide range of preventive, curative and promotive conditions. It is essential for the maintenance of health in relation to the Dinacharya or circadian and ritucharya or cirsannual variations of the dosas.
Another specialty of Ayurveda is Kshar sutra and Agni karma which comes under Salyatantra i.e Surgery. Susrut the Father of Surgery, his famous treatise “SusrutSamhita” is an ancient authoritative book on Surgery. There are many significant features of Ayurvedic Surgery one of them is Anushastra karma i.e. minimal invasive Para-surgical measure.
Agnikarma or a medical cauterization has been used widely in the clinical practice since time immemorial and is said to have immediate and long lasting results.According to Ayurveda, this procedure aims at management of various afflictions by inflicting burns on the tissue surface directly by using different materials known as ‘Dahanopakaranas’(tools of cauterization). Even in the modern surgery, the principles of Agnikarma have been adopted with advanced technology like, Radiation therapy, Cauterization for haemostasis, excision of unwanted growth etc.In classics, for the diseases of skin surfaces the materials used for Agnikarma are Pippali (Piper longum), Ajashakrit (feces of Goat), Godanta (Teeth of Cow), Shara (Arrow), Shalaka (Probes), Varti(Wicks), Suryakanta (Variety of stone) etc. Likewise, for the diseases of muscles Loha (Iron), Swarna (Gold), Tamra (Copper) and Kamsya (bronze) are used. In deeper and strong tissues like bones, ligaments, tendons, vessels etc., Madhu (Honey), Guda (Jaggery), Vasa(Fat), Ghrita(Ghee), Taila(Oil), Madhucchishta(Beewax ) are used.
The Ksharsutra was first mentioned by the “Father of Surgery” Sushruta for the treatment of NadiVrana(sinus), Bhagandara (fistula- in – ano), arbuda(excision of small benign tumour) etc. Kshara-sutra is prepared by repeated smearing of alkali of Achyranthesaspera plant, latex of Euphorbia nerifolia and turmeric powder on a 20 zero Babur’s surgical linen thread. The material, possess proteolysis, caustic and anti septic properties and promotes simultaneous cutting & healing. The Kshara-sutra therapy provides cutting and healing process simultaneously. The Ksara-sutra being and OPD procedure does not require anaesthesia, heavy medication and hospitalization. After application of Ksara-Sutra, patients can perform their routine duties. There are no side effects/complications like incontinence of stool, delayed healing leading to infections.
The enhancement of medical technology has indeed opened new doors of capacities in this age, but the application of new technologies towards an optimum utilization of the age-old practice of Ayurveda and nature-based medication is a major alternative source in imparting preventive, promotive and holistic health care to the people. Since Ayurvedic treatment is base on natural resources and easily available to the local people it is the only resources of health care within the physical and financial reach of the poor people. Thus Ayurveda is not a mere healing system it is art and science of complete health care to attain longevity.
Hita Hitam Sukham Ayutasya Hita Hitam Manam Cha Yatrogatam Ayurveda sa Uchyate