Ayurveda, (meaning “science of life”), is a form of alternative medicine based on the principle that disease is caused by an imbalance of life forces. Derived from spiritual visions received by Indian sages 5000 years ago, Ayurveda is the oldest existing system of medical practice and is regarded by proponents as a complete way of life aimed at spiritual, mental, and social well-being as well as physical health. The theory that informs ayurveda is wide-ranging involving science and medicine. Traditionally, ayurveda stresses the importance of self-care and practitioners claim that treatments help maintain health and prevent illness, although they can also help a wide variety of health problems. Ayurveda’s stress on correct Lifestyle, simple procedures for preventive Health care and comprehensive management of chronic ailments has projected it as the perfect holistic Health Science. Ayurvea has two disciplines.
1.PREVENTIVE HEALTH CARE (SWASTHAVRITTA)
'Swasthavritta' explains how to prevent disorders and how to maintain social health. The branch parallel to Swasthavritta is 'Preventive and Social Medicine' (PSM) which is now considered to be one of the important branches in modern medicine. Ayurveda defines the healthy state as: 'A person, whose somatic and psychic humours are in equilibrium, digestion is uniformly healthy, with normal functioning of the fundamental tissues of the body and body wastes, accompanied by the processes of the soul, cognitive organs and the mind, is said to be a healthy person.’
Ayurvedic treatment aims at not just alleviating/removing the problems of the diseased person, but then to see to it that the same patient do not recur the same disease. A more interesting part of Ayurvedic treatment is that it discusses its treatment on three guide lines:
Diet Regimen (Aharachikitsa), Seasonal Regimen (Viharachikitsa) Medication (Aushadichikitsa)
In Diet Regimen Ayurveda has described the properties of different foods, starting from daily food articles such as grains, pulses, and cereals to various other articles such as milk, buttermilk, ghee, water and so on. It gives definite rules about Do's and Don'ts of eating, for healthy eating. In Seasonal Regimen, it speaks about certain things that are to be undertaken and some of the things which are to be avoided. For e. g. Ayurveda always mentioned that 'Vyayamam' i.e. exercise, is to be carried out daily, but also cautions against heavy, disproportionate work-outs/exercises . Also, it also gives hints and do's and don'ts regarding sleeping patterns and several other things. In Treatment with Medicines, Ayurveda discusses a huge, rich compendium of medication, basically natural in origin. 'Ayurveda' describes its eight well developed branches of different medical disciplines as follows:
thus ayurveda takes care of all aspects of the health problems for all age groups.
In Ayurveda treatment of diseases are classified into "Purification and “Pacification”.
PURIFICATION TREATMENT(SHODHANA CHIKITSA)
PANCHAKARMA AND KERALA TREATMENTS
Shodhana Chikitsa in Ayurveda is termed as Panchakarma. It is a curative line of treatment for all diseases which are not amenable to shamana chikitsa. Panchakarma procedures are purifacatory one. The word panchakarma is comprising of two words namely Pancha and Karma. Pancha means five and Karma means therapy. The five methods or procedures are the elimination of vitiated doshas from the body. They are:
1. Vamana Karma ( Emesis therapy )
2. Virechana Karma ( Purgation therapy )
3. Anuvasana Vasti Karma ( Unctuous enema therapy )
4. Nirooha Vasti Karma ( Decoction enema therapy )
5. Nasya Karma ( Errhine therapy )
Before doing this panchakarma procedures a physician has to consider the strength, age, sex, disease condition, constitution etc. of the patient.
Benefits of panchakarma:
1. The vitiated doshas will be eliminated from the body through the elementary
2. The power of digestion and metabolism is enhanced.
3. Diseases are cured and health is restored.
4. The sense faculties, mind, intelligence and complexion becomes clear.
5. Gains strength.
6. The individual will not be affected by old age and lives long healthily.
7. Rejuvenates the body.
8. Prevents diseases in the body. Increases power of Immunity.
9. Nourishes the body.
10. Revitalizes the nervous system.
PIZHICHIL - In this therapeutic process, lukewarm herbal oils are applied all over the body by two or four trained therapists in a special rhythmic way. This is done continuously for about 60 to 90 minutes per day for a period of 7 to 21 days. This treatment is very useful for rheumatic diseases like arthritis, paralysis, hemiplegia, blood pressure, paralysis-Gaitanis, sexual weakness, diabetes, nervous weakness and nervous disorders.
NJAVARAKIZHI - It is a course by which the whole body or any specific part of the body is made to perspire by the external application of certain medicated puddings. These healing puddings are in the form of boluses tied up in muslin bag. Two or four therapists apply this for about 60 to 90 minutes per day for a period of 14 days. This treatment is beneficial for all types of rheumatism, joint pain, emaciation of limbs, high blood pressure, cholesterol and certain kinds of skin diseases.
DHARA - In this process, herbal oils, medicated milk, medicated butter milk, etc., are poured on the forehead in a special manner for about 45 minutes in a day for a phase of 7 to 21 days. This treatment is mainly for insomnia, Vata-predominant diseases, mental tension and certain skindiseases. It promotes rejuvenation and revitalization of the human mind and body, diminishing the effect of ageing .
VASTHI - Certain herbal oils, herbal extracts etc. are applied through the rectum daily for a period of 5 to 25 days. This treatment is for arthritis, paralysis, hemiplegia, numbness, gastric complaints associated with rheumatism and constant constipation.
SIROVASTHI - Special lukewarm herbal oils are poured into a cap fitted on the head for 15 to 60 minutes per day according to the patient's disorder for a period of 7 days. This treatment is highly effective for facial paralysis, insanity, dryness of the nostrils, mouth and throat, severe headaches, and other Vata-originated diseases.
UDVARTHANAM -This is a typical massage with herbal powder done for about 30 to 45 minutes daily for a period of 14 to 28 days. This treatment is for the diseases like hemiplegia, paralysis, obesity (excessive fat) and certain rheumatic ailments.
ABHYANGAM - A special type of oil massage in which the body is stroked in different ways according to the diseases. This is done for 45 minutes a day for 14 days. This treatment is very useful for obesity, especially for diabetic gangrene and the like.
NASYAM - Herbal juices, medicated oils etc., are applied through the nose for 7 to 14 days. This treatment is highly effective for certain types of headaches, paralysis, mental disorders, some types of skin disease, etc.
SNEHAPANAM -Medicated ghee is given internally in a proportionally increasing quantity for a period of 8 to 12 days. This treatment is excellent for osteoarthritis, psoriasis, leukaemia etc.
KIZHI - Leaves of herbs as well as whole herbs and herbal powders are applied to the entire body in boluses along with hot medicated oils for 45 minutes per day. This continues for a period of 7 to 14 days. This is an excellent therapy for osteoarthritis, arthritis with swelling, spondylosis, sports injuries, etc.
DHANYAMLA DHARA - Warm herbal liquid is poured all over the body in a rhythmic way through a special vessel for 45 minutes to an hour daily. This treatment is extremely effective for hemiplegia, paralysis, rheumatic complaints, etc.
YONI PRAKSHALANAM -Herbal oils and decoctions are applied through the vagina. This treatment is good for gynaecological disorders. It is also a process of purification for genital organs.
KATIVASTHI - In this procedure, specially prepared warm medicated oil is placed over the lower back with herbal paste boundary. This treatment lasts for 45 minutes to 1 hour and it is good for any type of back pain and spinal disorders.
UROVASTHI - Like Kativasthi, warm medicated oil is kept over the chest for 45 minutes. This is an effective treatment for asthma, other respiratory problems, heart diseases and muscular chest pain.
KSHEERADHOOMAM -This comprises a fomentation with medicated cow milk. This treatment is good for facial paralysis, Bell's palsy, speech disorders and other nervous disorders of the face.
THALAM - Special powder is mixed with medicated oil and applied on the top of the head for 20 to 45 minutes. This treatment is useful for ENT problems, insomnia, migraine, etc.
LEPANAM - This is a process by which medicated herbal paste is applied on the affected part. This is excellent for the different kinds of inflammatory conditions.
PACIFICATION TREATMENT (SHAMANA CHIKITSA)
It is mainly the oral medication system. The medicines used are Asavas, Choornas, Kashayas, Lehas, Pills, Ghees, Bhasmas, Sindooras. This method also includes external application of medicines such as oils and rasakriyas.