The science that deals with every aspect of “Ayuh” ( the span of life) is called Ayurveda. This is a definition of Ayurveda in its most concise form. However, the science of Ayurveda is an ocean of knowledge –A knowledge of life. It is not merely a physical or a medical science but an eternal science dealing with the origin and maintenance of life, death and so on.
However, Ayurveda in today’s life has gained importance in the field of prevention and cure of diseases and is gaining popularity worldwide for its effectiveness in the same.
MISSION OF AYURVEDA
Prevention of disease in the healthy and treatment of diseases in the disease is the main aim of Ayurveda. Ayurveda stresses not only on one’s physical well-being, but also on one’s mental/ emotional and spiritual well-being, which is now recognised by the world health organization and stated in the definition of health by this global authority.
DIAGNOSIS IN AYURVEDA (RUGVINISHCHAYA)
Diagnosis in Ayurveda is through the means of the five important diagnostic elements collectively termed as “the nidaanapanchaka” comprising of the five components viz.,
1. Nidana ( the cause )
2. Poorvaroopa ( the prodromal symptoms )
3. Roopa ( signs and symptoms )
4. Upashaya / Anupashaya ( aggravating/ relieving factors )
5. Samprapti ( the pathogenesis )
There are other important diagnostic tools that assist in rugvinishchaya, which include the assessment of the physical and mental constitution of the patient. The vitiated elements, the strength of the person, his appetite, habitat, stamina, mind, the essence of the seven dhatus ( factors supporting the soma ), the diet- lifestyle –habits one is accustomed to, etc…. According to Ayurveda, time (or the season) also plays a crucial role in disease formation.
The 8 important factors to be determined also include
1. naadi ( includes the examination of pulse but is not equivalent to pulse alone )
2. mutra ( urine analysis )
3. mala ( stool examination)
4. jihva ( tongue )
5. shabda ( perception of different sounds emanating from the body )
6. sparsha ( palpation )
7. drk ( eye / inspection )
8. aakrti ( appearance )
TREATMENT IN AYURVEDA (CHIKITSA)
The treatment of any pathological state is based on a skill full assessment of the doshas (the vitiating factors related to the psyche and the soma) and the dooshyaas (the vitiated elements), and all other elements mentioned in the diagnostic tools.
The basic line of treatment in Ayurveda includes:
1. Cessation of the exposure to the causative factors,
2. a) increasing the elements decreased,
b) decreasing the elements increased,
c) propelling the elements increasing the limits,
d) maintaining the elements in equilibrium.
Ayurveda believes that all diseases are psychosomatic, which is now accepted globally in all form of medical sciences. Hence Ayurveda aims at treating not only the body but the psyche too. Therefore, it can be rightfully said that Ayurveda treats not the ailment alone, but the patient as a whole.
THE TRIDOSHA CONCEPT
The 3 elements viz.. The Vaata-Pitta-Kapha collectively forms the Tridoshas. The understanding and assessment of the Tridoshas are crucial in understanding the diagnosis and treatment aspect of Ayurveda. One needs to know that
• The Vata dosha is not equivalent to air or the wind alone.
• The Pitta dosha is not equivalent to bile alone.
• The Kapha dosha is not equivalent to phlegm alone.
These Tridoshas have a deeper meaning; It is to be understood by an ayurvedic enthusiast. Ayurveda believes that –
• Health is a state of Tridoshic equilibrium, and disease is a state of doshic imbalance.
• All diseases emanate from the doshic vitiation by the Nidana (causes).
The line of treatment in Ayurveda aims at restoring the vitiated doshas to a state of equilibrium.
LIFESTYLE DISEASES AND AYURVEDA
According to Ayurveda, the majority of diseases/disorders are the result of improper diet and lifestyle patterns. Even in today’s world of medicine, a set of such diseases emanating from unhealthy diet and lifestyle are coined as “Lifestyle Diseases” which include a wide range of diseases like diabetes, obesity, spondylosis, PCOD, different forms of arthritis, etc.,
Ayurveda has been successful in treating such lifestyle diseases in an effective manner by adopting a wide range of treatment protocols and is hence gaining popularity worldwide.
STRESS MANAGEMENT AND AYURVEDA
All diseases are psychosomatic and stress is an important psychological cause in the development of diseases. In this regard, different ayurvedic treatment methodologies help in alleviating the stress levels and the subsequent hastening of the disease recovery process. One such treatment module called “Shirodhara” is being implemented globally in stress management.
RELEVANCE OF AYURVEDA
Ayurvedic principles have their existence since time immemorial although the famous texts of Ayurveda were authored later on. Ayurveda is eternal. The principles of Ayurveda hold good in any span of time. They were relevant in the past, are today and shall be relevant in the years to come.