What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is the oldest systematic medical knowledge in the world. The word Ayurveda came from ancient language of India, Sanskrit. The popular words like Yoga and Karma, are also from Sanskrit language. The authentic books of Yoga and Indian philosophy are written in this same language. Word ‘Ayurveda’ in Sanskrit language means “knowledge of long life” (ayur=long life, Veda=knowledge). In our modern lifestyle it has gained popularity in western community due to lack of side effects in curing diseases with herbs from nature.
What is the history of Ayurveda?
The knowledge of Ayurveda is evolved from the ancient texts called Veda’s, written in Sanskrit before 2500 BC. Before that period the knowledge was transferred from one generation to the next generation through oral tradition. Here the student or disciple of a teacher (Guru) would learn by heart the whole text from him. Ayurveda was in its peak from 500BC- 600AD and during this period three popular books evolved – Susruta Samhita, Charaka Samhita, Astanga samgraham.
Each book is divided into eight parts – and each describes- general medicines, paediatrics, communicable disease, ophthalmology – ENT and upper respiratory diseases, surgery, toxicology, geriatrics, gynaecology and fertility. Among the above books, author of Susrutha Samhita, Susrutha is honoured as the father of surgery. These big books describe elaborately about how to prevent diseases, how to cure diseases, how to increase lifespan with specific techniques and herbal medicines. It also teaches anatomy, physiology, pathology, ethology, medicine, properties of herbs etc. More than 20 thousand herbs are explained for different contexts in Ayurveda texts.
What is the difference between Ayurveda and Allopathic practises?
- Ayurveda treats the client with a holistic approach.
- The client is treated and not the disease; ie the related diseases also are cured with the treatment of primary disease.
- Physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual healing are all equally important for the cure of the person.
- The diseases are treated with herbal ingredients, predominantly herbs and so there are minimum side effects.
- Preventative aspects of health are equally important as the curing of the disease.
- Easy to practice as the diseases are a state of imbalance of natural constitution and treatment is bringing back to healthy constitution
- Ayurveda is build up with fundamental principles of constitutional elements and new diseases can be treated with the same principles.
Who can benefit from practising Ayurveda?
Ayurveda learning will not only to help diseased patients, but all people. Understanding the principles of nutrition helps us to eat the most suitable diet for our constitution and live with no disease. Ayurveda is beneficial for acute and chronic disease patients, rehabilitation, fracture and trauma management, toxin/poison victims including food poisons and those who have lifestyle disorders. Moreover, Ayurveda teaches how to live long life with peace and harmony.
What are some common ailments/illnesses that Ayurveda can treat/cure/assist?
Ayurveda describes how to treat the diseases of a different system of the body and classified into eight branches – general medicines, paediatrics, communicable disease, ophthalmology – ENT and upper respiratory diseases, surgery, toxicology, geriatrics, gynaecology and fertility. It also deals with the treatment of stress and emotional difficulties.
What are some of the different types of treatments used in Ayurveda?
Whole body massage with cooked herbal oil
Bolos massage with leaves, cooked rice, powder, sand etc
Marma Pressure points
Sirodhara – Brain supporting treatments
Oil pooling for the degenerative diseases of chest, eyes, and joints
Pancha Karma- five Internal cleansing treatments; colon cleansing, liver cleansing, stomach cleansing, naso- cranial cleansing and blood cleansing
How do you determine what treatments to prescribe to patients?
First analyse the systems and natural constitution of the client. Then find out the cause of the disease and changes from their natural constitution. Finally relate the symptoms and disease with pathologies described in the classical texts and prescribe the treatments, according to the patient’s condition and logic of the doctor.
How do treatments vary from client to client?
The symptoms of a disease and the constitution of the individuals vary in most of the cases. Detailed analysis and constitutional changes determine which treatment should be prescribed for a client
What are the fundamental Principles of Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is based on ancient Indian philosophies. According to Indian philosophy, every matter in the universe is constituted by five subtle elements in difference in proportions. They are solid, liquid, gas, plasma and space (earth, water, air, fire and ether). In Ayurveda, to make the treatment easier, ancient scholars developed three different functional elements called Dosha. There are three doshas namely – Vata (Space + Gas), Pitta (Plasma+ Liquid) and Kapha (Solid+ Liquid)