Ayurveda treatment – holistic methods for health improvement
- Ayurveda and classical medicine
- What is “disease treatment” in Ayurveda?
- Diagnostic results in Ayurveda
- What kind of disease Ayurveda cures?
- Types of diseases
- Which and what are the methods for treatment according to Ayurvedic medicine?
- There is a certain algorithm that the Ayurvedic Doctor would follow if a patient visits him
- Periods for applying ayurvedic influence
- What kind of Ayurvedic products are being used for treatment?
- How the nutrition changes?
- What can be observed in the healing proccess?
The most precious possession of every human is their health. It is main factor for a complete life. Every one of us grows up with specific views and perceptions inherited by their parents, influenced by social traditions, or shaped by the tenets of Western medicine. The latter is also known as allopathic (a term coined by the father of Western homeopathy Samuel Hahnemann in 1810).
Modern ideas about health and the pathological changes caused by illness are influenced completely by Western medical science. Historically, Ayurveda, which dates back a thousand years ago, is a long-standing predecessor of our medicine. Ayurveda is known as holistic medicine (derived from the Greek word holos meaningthorough) because of the core belief that the physical, emotional and spiritual states of each person are interrelated.
Following the teachings of another Eastern science – yoga, Ayurveda maintains that the most important factor for a successful treatment is finding the cause of the symptoms described. According to the ancient science, the main disorders may affect the physical as well as the mental state of the patient. Thus Ayurveda aims to uncover the root cause and cure the illness in a careful and gentle way in order to prevent any side effects or unwanted reactions as well as the recurrence of the symptoms.
Ayurveda and classical medicine
If we draw a parallel between Western medicine and Ayurveda, we will notice major differences in their approaches and impact. Conventional medicine divides the physical body into anatomic organs and systems. We are very well familiar with this division reflected in the work of narrow specialists such as cardiologists, endocrinologists, orthopedists, nephrologists, neurologists, pediatricians, and so on. Each one of these is responsible for a specific body part often without taking into consideration any intervention carried out by a colleague at some earlier point during the treatment.
By contrast, an Ayurvedic doctor is trained to follow all eight branches of Ayurveda: Kaya Chikitsa (general medicine), Bala Chikitsa (pediatrics), Graha Chikitsa (psychiatrics), Urdhvanga Chikitsa (diseases in the area of the head and throat), Shalya Chikitsa (surgery), Damshrta Chikitsa (toxicology), Jara Chikitsa (geriatrics), Vrushya Chikitsa (reproductive medicine). That way he covers more or less the full spectrum of possible health disorders.
Ayurvedic medicine is very different from conventional medicine in its basic understanding of life and health. Its philosophy is based on the belief that the human body operates on the principle of unity as it is conceived from a single cell: the product of the fertilization of the egg by the sperm. This cell is then divided into many others which subsequently specialize and differentiate into tissues that form organs and their own physiological processes. Right at the start, though, it is only one single cell, and despite multiplying infinitely, it remains deeply connected to each subsequent cell along the chain.
Beyond the cellular structure of the human body, Ayurveda also endorses the idea that a direct connection exists between the body, mind, and soul. When a medical disorder occurs, it can often affect all three aspects of the human being.
Classical Western medicine places the emphasis on diagnostics, maintaining that the right diagnosis is of paramount importance for an effective treatment. As to Ayurvedic medicine, it doesn’t use the same terminology, and what is more, its understanding of disease is different. The main rules in Ayurveda are:
- As long as the three energies of Vata, Pitta and Kapha are well-balanced, a person enjoys good health.
- When one, two or three of the energies are out of balance, a disorder occurs.
What is “disease treatment” in Ayurveda?
It is important to clarify how the disease process unfolds. If one of the energies is imbalanced, it has a slightly negative effect on the person’s health; when two energies are in a state of imbalance, it leads to more serious disorders; finally, an imbalance in all three energies is defined as a severe and long-lasting illness that is difficult to treat.
To sum up, as far as Ayurveda is concerned, the concept of treating a diseasetakes on a different meaning so it would be more precise to refer to the process as balancing the imbalanced energies.
Each of the three main energies has its own distinct characteristics.
- Rooksha: dryness;
- Laghu: lightness;
- Sheeta: coldness;
- Khara: roughness;
- Sookshma: precision;
- Chala: dynamics.
- Sasneha: slight oiliness;
- Teekshna: deep penetration in the tissues;
- Ushna: heat;
- Laghu: lightness;
- Visram: unpleasant odour;
- Sara: poor mobility;
- Drava: liquid.
- Snighdna: oiliness;
- Sheeta: coldness;
- Guru: heaviness;
- Manda: softness;
- Shlakshana: smoothness;
- Mrustna: jelly-like texture;
- Sthira: motionlessness and stability.
Any one of these features can be mitigated or aggravated, which leads to symptoms in the body part(s) associated with the respective energy.
If we imagine dividing the body into three parts in order to facilitate the understanding of the concept, we could mark three areas of more prominent impact of these energies:
Zone 1 – from the top of the head by the virtual line to the bottom part of the chest
In it, the qualities of the Kapha energy are manifested more often. Congestive processes are typical, as well as the deposition of oily, heavy and damp mucus-like fluid. Colds, flu, coughs, etc. are common. Secretions from this part of the body through the mouth and nose are typical for an energy imbalance in the Kapha energy.
Zone 2 – from the bottom part of the chest to the line passing through the navel
Most qualities of the Pitta energy manifest in this zone. The sensation of burning, acidity, as well as deep colic pain is typical. Most digestive disorders, a heavy feeling in the abdominal area as well as a feeling of hunger if the digestive tract is empty are all characteristic symptoms of a Pitta imbalance.
Zone 3 – from the line of the navel to the basis of the heels.
It is related to the manifestation of the qualities of the Vata energy. Joint pains, muscle cramps, numbness of the limbs, as well as feeling weak or hypertonic are typical of this condition. Disturbances in the body’s motor functions are often associated with an imbalance of the Vata energy.
The curative aspect of Ayurveda does not resort to Western differential diagnostic nomenclature. During a consultation with an Ayurvedic doctor, you will hear the word Vikruti, which is interpreted as an energy imbalance.
We encounter two variants of an imbalance – an aggravated state of the energy (Vriddhi), or reduction of the energy (Kshaya).
Diagnostic results in Ayurveda
The curative aspect of Ayurveda does not resort to Western differential diagnostic nomenclature. During a consultation with an Ayurvedic doctor, you will hear the word Vikruti, which is interpreted as an energy imbalance
We encounter two variants of an imbalance – an aggravated state of the energy (Vriddhi),or reduction of the energy (Kshaya).
In order to comprehend the nature of Vikruti, it is important to bear in mind that the three energies are interconnected and if one goes in the direction of Vriddhi, then another one goes in the direction of Kshaya. For example, if you have accumulation of secretions in the lungs, you will have Kapha Vriddhi and Pitta Kshaya – an increase in Kapha, and a decrease in Pitta. For example, with an increased acidity in the stomach you will have Pitta Vriddhi and Kapha Kshaya. In order to impact this condition in a positive way, you have to reduce the aggravated Pitta.
Examining the Samprapti disease process in an isolated fashion, we will be looking for more aspects of Vriddhi, e.g. the accumulation of more energy in a given area.
How is the body affected by this imbalance?
- An imbalance of the dosha is considered a disorder;
- An imbalance in dhatu is a disorder;
- An imbalance in agni is a disorder.
These three aspects of the body are observed: the disturbed state of the energy, the manifestation of the level of agni, and the depth of datu.
Agni is a concept associated with the power of digestion related to the digestion of food and its metabolic transformation to all tissues. The digestive system is the leading part of the body associated with the intake of foods and their preparation for degradation and subsequent absorption of substances that give the body energy to exist. Often the cause of the health disorder lies precisely in the disturbed functions of agni.
There are several types of agni related to the influence of the three energies:
- Sama agni: balanced and strong digestion that breaks down all food perfectly well. This is the best state of functioning of the digestive system.
When certain amounts of energy accumulate in the functions of agni, certain disturbances occur that lead to the formation of toxins (ama):
- Vishama agni: this is a metabolic state associated with accumulation of the Vata energy. The digestive process requires a certain amount of heat, and since Vata is characterized with dryness, lightness, coolness and dynamism, it can either increase or decrease this heat. This creates a feeling of inconsistency as digestion is sometimes enhanced while weakened at other times.
- Tikshna agni: affecting digestion through an aggravated Pitta energy. The heat, lightness, and sharpness associated with Pitta enhance the agni, while at the same time leading to speeding up the metabolic processes. As a result, digestion is fast, and there is a strong and well-pronounced feeling of hunger. Food passes through the digestive tract faster, accompanied with intense heartburn.
- Manda agni: when excess Kapha energy is accumulated in the process of digestion, a delay in metabolic processes occurs. There is a clash between the heaviness, oiliness, coldness, and softness of Kapha, and the heat of the digestive process. As a result, digestion becomes slow and cumbersome. The sensation of hunger suddenly diminishes and a general reluctance for food is observed.
The specifics of agni
„Digestivefire“ is extremely important for determining the metabolic state of the body. This transformative force of the body is responsible for the transfer of energy to individual tissues.
Food is related to the formation and maintenance of all body-building structures.Therefore, it is crucial to find out what the state of transformation carried out in the tissues is. That state is defined as dhatu.
There are 7 tissue levels of transformation:
- Rasa: transformation from food pap to plasma, lymph, or intracellular fluid. It refers to a watery substance that also participates in the formation of breast milk and menstrual fluid. This transformation zone is associated with tissue nourishment. The leading element is water, there is increased density, and the qualities are liquid, cold, damp, soft, and heavy. Thus, rasa dhatu is an essential factor for the maintenance of the Kapha energy.
- Rakta: transformation of the food energy from the previous level of Rasa into blood; formation of blood. The very word Rakta means colored, reddish. It creates heat in the body and mind. The qualities of Rakta are similar to those of the Pitta energy, which means that this transformation zone supports the hot essence of the body.
- Mamsa: transformation of the food energy from the level of Rakta into muscle tissue. The very word means flesh, meat. The main quality that is given rise to is power supplemented by stability and density. The presence of the earthelement and the penetration of thefireelement further characterize this level. To a great extent, Kapha and Pitta have a leading role in this zone.
- Medas: transformation of energy from the level of Mamsa to the formation of fatty tissue. The meaning of this word is fat. This level reveals the purposeful storage of the elements of waterand earth. This essence is associated with softening, moisturizing and preventing the loss of body heat. Clearly, these are once again the basic qualities of the Kapha energy.
- Asthi: transformation of energy from the level of Medas to the formation of bone tissue. The word is translated as bone. The body support system is responsible for structural rigidity, which is why the leading quality is Dharana: keeping the body upright. The strong influence of the Vata energy is evident here. When it is aggravated, density drops. In turn, when Vata is reduced, Asthi dhatu rises.
- Majja: energy transformation from the Asthi level into the bone marrow or nervous tissue. This is the substance that fills in bone cavities. For example, the eye tissue and the brain also belong to Majja dhatu. The main quality is Poorana, e.g. filling in bone cavity. The influence of the Kapha energy is quite strong.
- Shukra: the essence of the Majja, which passes into the reproductive tissue (male and female sex cells). The main quality is Garbhotpadana: generation of posterity. Here, the Kapha energy has a strong influence, too.
Tracing the three main aspects of energy imbalance dosha, agni, and dhatu allows us to diagnose each individual condition as Sama (balance), Kshaya (reduced dosha), or Vriddhi (aggravated dosha), which determines the severity of the disease.
What kind of diseases does Ayurveda cure?
Ancient Indian medicine classifies diseases in two main types:
A) Sadhya (curable)
- Sukha Sadhya: easy to treat;
- Krichra Sadhya: difficult to treat.
B) Asadhya (incurable)
- Yapya: controllable through taking Ayurvedic medicines while the patient is alive;
- Anupakrama: diseases that cannot be helped (totally incurable).
Based on the degree of balance of the three main energies Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, diseases can be classified into:
1. Samanya Vyadhi
Diseases caused by the imbalance of one, two or all three Vata-Pitta-Kapha energies. This category also includes Agantu Vyadhis (diseases caused by external factors):
- 8 types of Udara Rogas: diseases in the abdomen;
- 8 types of Mutraghata: urinary retention diseases;
- 8 types of Ksheera Doshas: breast milk disorders;
- 8 types of Veerya Vikaras: disorders of the reproductive system and seminal fluid;
- 7 types of Kushta: skin diseases;
- 7 types of Prameha Pidakas: skin problems due to diabetes;
- 7 types of Visarpa: diseases associated with erysipelas or herpes;
- 6 types of Atisara: a diarrhea-like disorder;
- 6 types of Udavarta: a disorder due to the restraint of urination and defecation;
- 5 types of Gulma: processes of tumor formation in the abdominal cavity;
- 5 types of Pleeha: processes associated with an enlarged spleen;
- 5 types of Kasa: diseases manifested with a primary symptom of cough;
- 5 types of Shwasa: conditions associated with dyspnea and abnormal breathing;
- 5 types of Hikka: conditions associated with the hiccup symptom;
- 5 types of Trishna: disorders associated with an increased feeling of thirst;
- 5 types of Chardi: health problems associated with vomiting;
- 5 types of Aruchi: problems related to the loss of appetite and taste;
- 5 types of Shiroroga: disorders associated with headache;
- 5 types of Hridroga: heart diseases;
- 5 types of Panduroga: different types of anaemia;
- 5 types of Unmada: mental disorders associated with crazy ideas;
- 4 types of Apasmara: disorders associated with epilepsy;
- 4 types of Netra Roga: eye diseases;
- 4 types of Karna Roga: ear diseases;
- 4 types of Pratishyaya: flu conditions;
- 4 types of Mukha Roga: diseases of the mouth;
- 4 types of Grahani Roga: diseases of the duodenum; impaired absorption of food;
- 4 types of Mada: conditions associated with intoxication;
- 4 types of Murcha: disorders associated with fainting and loss of consciousness;
- 4 types of Shosha: conditions associated with rapid weight loss;
- 4 types of Napunsakata: impotence-related disorders;
- 3 types of Shotha: health issues associated with swelling;
- 3 types of Kilasa: disorders related to leukoderma (vitiligo);
- 3 types of Raktapitta: conditions associated with bleeding;
- 2 types of Jwara: disorders associated with increased body temperature;
- 2 types of Vrana: diseases related to the development of ulcers and the appearance of wounds;
- 2 types of Ayama: disorders associated with the body posture;
- 2 types of Gridhrasi: diseases of the sciatic nerve;
- 2 types of Kamala: jaundice-related disorders;
- 2 types of Ama: conditions associated with an immature state of digestion;
- 2 types of Vatarakta: disorders associated with gout;
- 2 types of Arsha: disorders related to the occurrence of haemorrhoids;
- Urustambha: a condition associated with muscle stiffness;
- Sanyasa: a condition similar to coma or resulting from syncope;
- Mahagada: mental perversions;
- 20 types of Krimi Rogas: intoxication with parasites;
- 20 types of Prameha: conditions associated with urinary disorders and diabetes;
- 20 types of Yoni Vyapat: diseases of the vagina.
2. Nanatmaja Vyadhi (diseases caused by an imbalance of one of the energies only):
- Vata Nanatmaja Vyadhis: diseases caused by an imbalance of the Vata energy only. They account for about 80 types of disorders;
- Pitta Nanatmaja Vyadhis: diseases caused by an imbalance of the Pitta energy only. There are about 40 types of disorders of this sort;
- Kapha Nanatmaja Vyadhis: diseases caused by an imbalance of the Kapha energy only. These account for about 20 types of health disorders.
CLASSIFICATION OF DISEASES
The detailed classification of diseases below is based on the following criteria:
Prabhava Bheda (based on the possibility of curing the disease)
- Saadhya Vyadhi: curable diseases
- Asaadhya Vyadhi: incurable diseases
Bala Bheda (based on the intensity of the disease)
- Mrudu Vyadhi: mild diseases with minor symptoms
- Daaruna Vyadhi: diseases with complications; serious disorders
Adhishtana Bheda (diseases affecting a specific zone of the body)
- Mano Adhishtita Vyadhi: diseases affecting the mind, i.e. mental disorders
- Shareera Adhishtita Vyadhi: diseases affecting the body i.e. physical diseases
Nimitta Bheda (based on the cause of the disease)
- Swa-dhatu Vaishamya Nimitta Vyadhi: disorders of the supportive elements of the body; diseases caused by the imbalance of energy, tissue (dhatu), or sub-tissue (upadhatu).The disorder might be Vriddhi, i.e. pathological tissue enlargement, or Kshaya, i.e. tissue breakdown. These are also called Nija Rogas or Nija Vyadhis.
- Aagantu Nimitta Vyadhi: disorders caused by external factors such as trauma, poisoning, etc.
Aashaya Bheda (based on the internal organs affected)
- Aamashaya Samuttha Vyadhi: diseases originating from the stomach and small intestine;
- Pakwashaya Samuttha Vyadhi: diseases of the colon.
Shalya Bheda – diseases based on the surgery classifications
- Shastra sadhya – diseases treatable by surgical procedures
- Swedadi kriya saadhya – diseases that can be treated by treatment using either combustion or hot steam.
Prakruta-Vaikruta Bheda (based on the impact of season change)
- Prakruta Vyadhi (natural diseases): each of the energies is associated with a particular season in which it worsens and tends to cause illness. For example, the Vata energy deteriorates in Varsha Ritu (summer) so it might cause a disease then. In turn, Pitta is disturbed in Sharad Ritu (autumn) and tends to cause diseases then while Kapha is disturbed in Vasanta Ritu (spring).
- If the energy that is naturally disturbed during the particular season also causes a disease in the same season, this disease (Vyadhi) is called Prakruta Vyadhi because it appears in the Prakruta Kala of the energy (the season in which that particular energy increases naturally).
- Vaikruta Vyadhi (unnatural diseases): this is the opposite kind of disorder to Prakruta Kala. It relates to the energy that is not naturally prone to disturbance during a certain season but causes disease in this particular season. In that case, the disease is called Vaikruta Vyadhi. For example, an individual’s Vata might worsen in Sharad Ritu (autumn) when Pitta typically increases. If Vata causes a disease in Sharad Ritu, this disease will be called Vaikruta Vyadhi.
Anubandhya – Anubandha (based on association):
- Anubandhya, or Swatantra Vyadhi: these diseases arecaused by direct external factors (as mentioned in Ayurvedic texts). They are manifested through typical symptoms and are alleviated by the treatments and medications collectively known as Anubandhya Vyadhi. These medical conditions fall into the category of primary diseases.
- Anubandha Vyadhi, or Paratantra Vyadhi: these diseases represent medical conditions that have arisen from other illnesses, or are manifested through the symptoms of another disease. Treatment or medications prescribed for the original condition usually affect these diseases positively. They are referred to as secondary, or associated with another disease. Thus, they do not appear on their own but develop against the background of other diseases (primary illnesses).
Diseases based on karma (one’s deeds)
- Pratyutpanna Karmaja: diseases arising from deeds (sins) committed during a person’s current life.
- Poorvakarmaja Vyadhi: diseases arising from deeds (sins) committed in previous incarnations.
Aadhyatmika Vyadhis: manifesting on the level of the body and mind (based on the assumption that body and mind are an inseparable whole). Psychosomatic diseases fall into this category. Diseases that occur due to an imbalance of energies (both physical and mental) belong to this category and can be sub-divided into 3 types:
- Adibala Pravritta Vyadhis: diseases caused by sperm and egg morbidity. Hereditary diseases inherited from parents fall into this category and are further subdivided into:
- Matruja Vyadhis: diseases stemming from maternal ovarian disorders (inherited from the mother, i.e. maternal diseases).
- Pitruja Vyadhis: diseases stemming from sperm morbidity (inherited from the father, i.e. paternal diseases).
Primary examples of Adibala Pravritta diseases are Arsha (haemorrhoids), Kushta (skin diseases), Rajayakshma (tuberculosis), Madhumeha (diabetes), Shwitra (leukoderma/vitiligo) and Apasmara (memory disorders, epilepsy).Other diseases that belong to the same category are cancer, lipoma, haemophilia, hemicrania or migraine, eczema, asthma, autism, gout, osteogenesis imperfecta associated with tissue incompatibility, hay fever, Huntington’s Chorea, hysteria, myopia, color blindness, cataracts, high blood pressure, obesity, hormonal disorders, peptic ulcers, clefts on the palate and/or lips, and others;
- Janmabala Pravritta Vyadhis: diseases occurring in children due to the improper diet and lifestyle followed by the mother during the conception and the different stages of fetal development. Examples of Janmabala Pravritta diseases are lameness, blindness, deafness, impaired mental development, stuttering, etc.
These diseases are manifested in two ways:
- Improperly developed or abnormally developed children: they may have more organs, more or fewer fingers, be obese, have improper or insufficiently developed organs, lip and palate rupture, lack of anal opening, deformities in the shape and structure of the body and organs, location of the heart more to the right, location of the liver on the left, and so on.
- Diseases due to infections occurring in the mother, for example, syphilis, typhus, etc. Diseases occurring in the newborn during birth such as birth traumas and infections also fall into this category.
Janmabala Pravritta Vyadhis has 2 subtypes of diseases:
- Rasa Krita: when the expectant mother takes in any food or a specific taste in excess, these habits can cause illness to the child:
– sweet-tasting foods will cause diseases such as Prameha (diabetes), Mookata (delayed mental development) or Sthoolata (obesity);
– the salt taste causes Vali (wrinkles in the skin), Palita (premature greying), Khalitya (premature balding), etc.;
– the sour taste will cause Raktapitta (bleeding disorders), Netra Roga (eye diseases), Twak Rogas (skin diseases), etc.;
– savory foods will cause Shukralpata (less sperm production) or Snatana Haani (miscarriage; fetal death in the womb);
– the bitter taste leads to diseases such as Shosha (diseases of malnutrition; dryness of the body), Nirbalata (loss of strength, weakness), etc.;
– the astringent taste will cause Karshya (being underweight), Aanaaha (flatulence), and Udavarta (disrupted direction of the apana energy), etc.;
– alcoholic beverages will cause Trishna (thirst), Smriti Nasha (loss of memory), Unmada (madness), etc.
- Dauhrida Apachara Krita: a mother with a child in her womb is called Dauhrida, or “the one with two hearts”. When the heart of the child becomes functional in the mother’s womb, the child’s wishes manifest through the mother. Ayurveda insists on fulfilling all the demands placed by the mother in the Dauhrida period. If these desires are not fulfilled, they will manifest in the form of physical or mental disorders in the child. The illnesses of the child caused by the mother’s failure to fulfil her wishes during pregnancy are called Dauhrida Apachara Krita Vyadhis.
Adhi Daivika Vyadhis
- Kala Bala Pravritta: diseases that are manifested due to abnormal variations in coldness, heat and rain occurring during the 4 seasons (respectively, 6 seasons in India: Shishira – end of winter, Vasanta – spring, Grishma – summer, Varsha – monsoon, Sharad – autumn,and Hemanta – early winter).
- Vyapanna Ritu Kruta: caused by abnormal seasonal fluctuations;
- Avyapanna Ritu Kruta: diseases due to the imbalance of the Vata, Pitta,and Kapha doshas occurring naturally during the different seasons.
– Vata accumulates in summer and aggravates in the monsoon season;
– Pitta accumulates in the monsoon season and aggravates in autumn;
– Kapha accumulates at the end of winter and aggravates in spring.
If a strict diet and lifestyle appropriate to the season are followed, these energy imbalances will not progress to cause disease.
- Daivabala Pravritta – Diseases caused by anger, curses, improper spiritual practices harmful to others, infections, contagious diseases, polluted environment.
Theyare 2 types:
a) Vidhyut Ashanee Krita: diseases and/or traumas caused by natural disasters such as lightning, thunderstorms, asteroids and comets, etc.
b) Pishaachaadi Krita: diseases caused by pishacha (ominous supernatural powers such as ghosts, spirits, demons, etc.)
In turn, the latter are also classified into 2 types:
1) Samsargaja: diseases caused by the presence of people who place a curse on us. Alternatively, these might occur through direct contact with people who suffer from contagious diseases.
2) Aakasmika: diseases of unknown causes that occur suddenly.
- Swabhaava Bala Pravritta: natural manifestations of the body that are seen on a daily basis. Since these bother us for a short amount of time before they are removed, they can be called ‘medical conditions’ only prior to their elimination.
There are 2 types of those:
- Kaala Krita: issues that occur at the proper time are called Кааlа Krita Vyadhis. Example: a sense of hunger when it is time for a meal, need for sleep when it is time to sleep, getting old when we are 70 years of age, death when the time of death comes (after 100 years of our lives have elapsed), etc. These occur due to the effect and influence of the time factor. All of these illnesses occur when they need to occur, at the appropriate moment scheduled for them. They are also called Parirakshana Krita Vyadhis. These conditions manifest when people take care of themselves properly and observe the rules and principles of a systematic way of living and eating.
- Akaala Krita: diseases that occur at the wrong time. They are due to our negligence and improper maintenance of ourselves when we follow the wrong way of life and nutritional practices.
Aadhi Bhoutika Vyadhis: the alternative name of this type of diseases is Sanghaata Bala Pravritta Vyadhi, and it is subdivided into 2 types:
- Shastra Krita Vyadhis: illnesses caused by weapons or instruments. For instance, it could be an injury or an attack with a stick, wood, arrow, sword, stones, weapons, etc.
- Vyala Krita Vyadhis: illnesses caused by the attack of animals. Examples include traumas caused by bite (tooth), scratches (nails), stab (horns), or poisoning (poison).
Nija, Aagantuja, and Maanasa Vyadhis:
- Nija Vyadhi: these diseases are caused by disturbed energies and have physical manifestation. Example: Vataja Jwara (fever caused by Vata imbalance), Pittaja Jwara (fever caused by Pitta imbalance), and Kaphaja Jwara (fever caused by Kapha imbalance).
- Aagantuja Vyadhi: these diseases are caused by microorganisms, polluted air, contaminated water, fire, trauma, and other external reasons.
- Maanasa Vyadhi: these diseases are caused by the disturbance of energies at the mind and mental levels. This happens when one does not get what one likes or wants.
The classification of diseases is absolutely comprehensive and covers all known causes of health disorders, discomfort, or the onset of a mild or severe disease process.
TREATMENT METHODS ACCORDING TO AYURVEDIC MEDICINE
It is extremely important to make it clear that the Ayurvedic Doctor attempts to balance the disturbed aspects of the three energies Vata, Pitta, or Kapha.
Disease management is done in two directions:
- SHODHANA: principle of elimination;
- SHAMANA: balancing the disturbed energies and mitigating the symptoms of the disease.
THE LINE OF SHODHANA involves the use of drugs, substances or therapies that remove a certain amount of energy from the body or its individual parts, for example:
- Udharva bhag hara: directing the energy flow from the upper part of the body downwards, i.e. from the head to the lower chest area. The function of the respiratory system plays a major role in this approach, and some of the techniques used are:
- Induced vomiting: vamana;
- Retention of healing oil in the area of the head: shirovasti;
- Clearing the cranial cavities of the head and neck area by pouring healing oil into the nose: nasya.
- Adhobhaghara: impact on the area of the lower part of the chest down using methods such as:
- Induced laxative effect: virechana;
- Cleansing the area of the colon with enema: vasti.
- Ubhayato bhag hara: removing energy from the upper and lower body parts simultaneously.
There are three main methods of taking Vata, Pitta or Kapha out of the body.
- Vata: vasti (enema);
- Pitta: virechana (induced laxative effect);
- Kapha: vamana (induced vomiting).
Shodhana Chikitsa relies on three types of impact:
- Purvakarma: preparation for body cleansing using the methods of Snehana (internal and external oleation of the body), and Svedana (heat therapies to induce body warming and sweating).
- Panchakarma: includes the top five purifying therapies known as vamana, virechana, vasti,nasya, and raktamokshan.
- Paschatkarma: therapies and products to recover from Panchakarma.
THE LINE OF SHAMANA relates to balancing the disturbed energy balance. This method aims at improving agni and the digestive system. Digestive and appetite suppressants controlling increased hunger and thirst as well as various forms of physical exercise, sunbathing, or spending time out in the fresh air are common types of therapy. Shamana is often recommended for low-temperature periods such as winter. During this season, people with weak aspects in their body physiology or conditions such as water retention, obesity, or increased accumulation of toxins often receive recommendations for this type of impact.
Shamana is performed through:
- Bahya Samshamana: external treatment with herbal powders, pouring curative mixtures on the body, and anointing certain body parts with therapeutic herbal oil. Gargle as well as gurgling with healing oil is another effective method pertaining to this therapy.
- Aabhyantara Samshamana: treatment through internally applied healing substances and mixtures that break down toxins and fat depots; use of aphrodisiacs as well as immune stimulators and products capable of detoxifying the body in case of poisoning.
Shamana makes use of the following methods:
- Deepan: the word literally means illumination. Here, it stands for strengthening the agni (digestive fire) so as to stimulate the appetite. Deepan involves prescribing herbal medicated Ghee, eating food that is spicy and high in fat in order to reduce the aggravated energy or boost the shortage of energy to restore the balance.
- Pachan: involves methods aiding the digestion of the toxic waste known as ama. There are various herbal combinations that help for the absorption of undetected toxins.
- Kshuda Nigrah: it literally means killing appetite. This is a technique of starvation. Total or selective starvation is prescribed to the patient to balance energy in the body.To avoid the accumulation of specific energy (for instance, Vata), avoid the food or lifestyle that aggravates this energy. The Ayurvedic principle behind Kshuda Nigrah is used as a means to restore the balance of Tridosha. This is particularly beneficial for diseases associated with the digestive tract.
- Thrisha Nigrah: literally meaning quenching thirst. This is a method to treat problems related to the retention of body water, which helps to remove toxins accumulated in the kidney and urinary systems.
- Vyayam: the word means physical exercise. Specific exercise routines are prescribed for disorders such as obesity, digestive problems, diabetes, etc. Sometimes these are combined with drugs for optimal results, but the method mostly works without medications.
- Atap Sevan, or thermal treatment. It involves sunbaths for skin diseases, rheumatism, or conditions associated with arthritis. This treatment pacifies the Vata energy.
- Marut Sevan, or dry-air treatment. The therapy involves the use of fresh air, especially for treating asthma and diseases associated with tuberculosis. According to Ayurveda, breathing is prana, or life. This is a method of enhancing the vitality of the body.
ALGORITHM FOLLOWED BY THE AYURVEDIC DOCTOR
There is a certain algorithm that an Ayurvedic specialist follows with any patient:
- Individual patient consultation;
- Determining prakruti (dominant energy at birth) and dosha (imbalance in the energy state);
- Recommending changes in lifestyle to reduce and correct the energy imbalance leading to the health disorder, e.g. a new nutritional and motor regimen. The prescriptions are specific and oriented towards the individual patient and their condition;
- Prescribing Ayurvedic medicinal herbal products;
- Prescribing Ayurvedic therapies or recommendations for undergoing Panchakarma procedures.
DURATION OF THE AYURVEDIC TREATMENT
Theduration of theAyurvedic treatment is strictly individual. It is related to the Ayurvedic doctor’s competence and professionalism as well as the patient’s persistence and willingness to follow the prescribed treatment and not modifying it in any way except with the explicit consent of the doctor.
The minimum duration of the treatment is three months, and it should be continued as long as necessary. The therapy can extend over unlimited time. Particularly serious conditions might require life-supporting treatment involving a daily intake of Ayurvedic herbal medicinal products to alleviate symptoms. Such therapy could continue all the way through a person’s life.
AYRVEDIC PRODUCTS USED FOR TREATMENT
The treatment uses different Ayurvedic products made from herbs, metals or minerals, as well as a combination of the three. These medications are 2 types:
- Traditional Ayurvedic medicines: prepared according to recipes described in the sacred books of Ayurveda
- Proprietary Ayurvedic medicines: patented formulas based on the manufacturer’s own experience, which do not follow traditional Ayurvedic recipes.
Types of traditional Ayurvedic medicines:
- Ark: herbal distillates, for example rose water (Gulab ark);
- Asava and Arishta: naturally fermented herbal liqueurs;
- Avaleh: sweet paste and jam from herbs mixed with jaggery, sweet juices or herbal decoctions;
- Bhasma: very fine medicinal powder prepared by heating metals, minerals and other substances at high temperature, leading to converting them into their oxide compounds;
- Churnam: dried herb powder sifted through fine sieve. It can be mixed with other ingredients according to Ayurvedic recipes;
- Ghritam: therapeutic purified cow butter enriched with herbs;
- Guggulu: pills containing resin from the Commiphora mukul tree;
- Kwatham: herbal decoctions in the form of pills;
- Kashayam: herbal decoctions;
- Pak: thick herbal paste;
- Ras Rasayan: herbal and mineral products;
- Thailam: therapeutic herbal oils;
- Vati, Vatika: pills made from herbs or minerals, or both;
- Gulika: pills that look like small balls made from herbs or minerals, or both.
HOW DOES NUTRITION CHANGE?
Depending on the extent of disturbance of the digestive fire (agni), certain changes in the nutritional regime are recommended. According to Ayurveda nutrition, it is not important what kind of food you consume, but whether you are able to digest and absorb it.
After consulting the Ayurvedic Doctor, he will determine:
- Your hours for meals: breakfast, light snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner;
- What food to include in the different meals;
- Which foods are good for unrestricted consumption;
- Which foods should be taken more often and in larger quantities;
- Which foods should be avoided or consumed rarely in minimal quantities.
Just like Western medicine, Ayurveda also divides the food into:
- Food of animal origin: meat, fish, dairy products and fresh milk
- Food of plant origin: fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes.
In cases of more serious disorders and weakness of the digestive fire, the intake of most animal products is reduced or stopped for a certain amount of time until the strength of digestion is restored. There may also be restrictions on some of the plant products.
The prescriptions for a change in nutrition necessarily include taking into account the specific influence of the six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent) on each of the three energies (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha):
- Sweet foods reduce Vata and Pitta but increase Kapha;
- Sour foods reduce Vata but increase Pitta and Kapha;
- Salty foods reduce Vata but increase Pitta and Kapha;
- Bitter foods increase Vata but reduce Pitta and Kapha;
- Pungent foods increase Vata and Pitta but reduce Kapha;
- Astringent foods increase Vata but reduce Pitta and Kapha.
WHAT CHANGES CAN BE OBSERVED DURING THE HEALING PROCESS?
The fundamental idea at the root of Ayurveda is Health, which means the balance of the three energies of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. When their balance is disturbed, this is reflected in abnormal body functions, discomfort, heaviness and pain as well as emotional instability expressed through feelings of anxiety, sadness and despair, including serious mental health disorders.
During the healing process, each organism goes through a variety of highly individual sensations. Note that Ayurveda places the primary focus on intuition and sensation!
The transition from imbalance to balance leads to an improvement in the functions of the different systems and tissues in the human body.
- You feel your stomach light after a meal;
- Tension as a result of the gases formed in the small and large intestine is reduced;
- Defecation becomes regular.
- Blood circulation is improved;
- Cold hands and feet get warm;
- Skin color improves from pale to ruddy;
- The heart rate is stabilized;
- Blood pressure is normalized.
- Strength and endurance are increased;
- Motor reactions are improved.
- Joint pain is reduced and joint mobility is enhanced;
- Bone density improves (if low).
- Nerve conduction improves;
- One experiences lightness, joy, and happiness;
- Sensory organs begin functioning better: the eyesight gets stronger, hearing improves, tastes become stronger and clearer, smell intensifies, and tactile sensitivity improves.
- Interstitial glands start working better;
- Hormonal imbalance is reduced.
- Female reproductive system: if a woman is of reproductive age, her reproductive ability increases as her monthly cycle is regulated and various formations in the uterus and/or the ovaries decrease or disappear. The menopause slows down or its symptoms are alleviated.
- Male reproductive system: sperm production and quality is improved. Libido is increased.
On the whole, the healing process brings about improvements in the functions of all organs and systems. Ayurvedic medicine is a holistic approach that affects all levels of the human body. Having existed for more than 5,000 years, it has enormous experience and knowledge to influence human health as well as offer solutions for prevention and treatment. The methods have been tested for millennia and their effectiveness has been proven many times. Ayurvedic medicine is not subject to examination, proof or experimentation, which is a testament to its high value and significance for humanity.