What is Ayurveda? Is really a tough question to answer. The Ancient Indian system of health and medicine has many dimensions. From whichever angle we see it, Ayurveda gives a refreshing look. If we sit and analyze the depth and reach of Ayurveda, we can differentiate many aspects of Ayurveda into different categories. Here is a personal attempt to explain Ayurvedic medicine system.
Different facets of Ayurveda:
1. Spiritual Ayurveda –
- Ayurveda has its roots deep in spirituality.
- Ayurveda tells us the very purpose of life, about the karma, why we take birth, various theories about the formation of this entire universe and the simple and humble ways of human existence.
- The origin of Ayurveda was to help people live long so as to follow righteous path.
- Many diseases like skin disorders are said to happen due to sin.
- In the Ayurvedic treatment of many diseases, like in selected types of fever, spiritual practices have been mentioned.
- In every ancient Ayurvedic text books, there is a separate chapter dedicated to righteous living. It is a well-known fact in Ayurveda that, as long as one is not mentally and spiritually healthy, one’s overall ‘health aspect’ is incomplete.
- Even in understanding health and disease, ancient Ayurveda scientists used to acquire the sacred knowledge of Ayurveda about health and disease through spirituality. Example: Sushruta used to do dissection of dead bodies to understand the anatomy and physiology of body thousands of years ago. He writes in a context – “The parts of body that can be seen through naked eyes are less, those that can not be seen are infinite. The knowledge of those unseen parts can only be had by the eyes of meditation and eyes of knowledge!”
2. Holistic Ayurveda
The health science that gave the concept of holistic approach to health and disease is Ayurveda.
In Ayurvedic treatment, Ayurveda gives importance to
- The strength of the disease,
- strength of the body of the patient
- Dosha body type of the patient
- Mental condition of the patient
While treating a patient, Ayurveda not only concentrates on just getting rid of the disease process or breaking the disease pathology. It tries to overall recovery of all the aspects of health – spiritual, mental and physical.
3. Ayurveda as preventive healthcare system:
If you open any Ayurveda book, the first few chapters are dedicated to explain how your daily routine should be, how your seasonal routine and rituals should be, what are the techniques to secure and maintain good health.
There are two aims of Ayurveda.
1. To maintain the health of the healthy.
2. To treat the diseased.
So, preventive healthcare is considered ahead of curative aspect.
4. Curative aspect of Ayurveda:
Set aside the aspects explained above, Ayurveda is a hardcore science of treating the disease. From the treatment of a simple fever to complicated cancers, Ayurveda books explain you volumes and volumes of treatment options.
Sushruta is considered as father of Surgery even by Allopathic fraternity. He used to do surgery of cataract, kidney stones, rhinoplasty (cosmetic surgery of nose) etc. 2000 years ago.
In general, Ayurvedic treatment comprises of
- Panchakarma – 5 sets of detox programs
- Ayurvedic medicines
- Diet and lifestyle, to follow and, to avoid, for quick relief from the disease.
- Rejuvenation program to gain back the original vigor and vitality.
5. Ayurveda for health promotion:
This special section comprises of aphrodisiac treatment, geriatric treatment to have high quality marital and old-age life.
Even the pediatric rituals called Samskaras (rituals to be followed at different stages of child growth) and pregnancy care can also be included in this section. This section is to have enjoy the extra benefits of health to have a successful and wholesome life.