Mother of Medicine –the ancient healing system, which has been used in India for over 6,000 years
As a science, Ayurveda is recognized by the World Health Organization in 1970
In today’s India, we have five recognized types of medicine by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unan, Sidha, and Homeopathy). Doctors of natural medicine go through the same education as doctors of classical medicine, after which their knowledge is upgraded by the tradition of some of the natural methods.
Ayurveda, the original science of health is as old as the human race. “Ayurveda” which is Sanskrit word that means “Science of Life”. [Ayur – life & Veda – science]. The written records of this complete system of natural health care are about 5,000 years old. From age to age sages and physicians have re-discovered this timeless health wisdom.
According to Ayurveda, man is a microcosmos or a child of the universe that is inseparable from the overall cosmic manifestation. The source of life is a field of pure consciousness, so the state of health is considered a state of harmony and balance – the state of the whole. To be healthy means to be grounded in Higher-self (in the soul, God, pure consciousness, being, unified field). Each individual has four biological and spiritual aspirations:
Spiritual aspiration (dharma or life purpose)
Aspiration to acquire goods (artha or material security)
Aspiration to preserve the species (kama – all the pleasures, from joy to sexuality, as well as social needs)
Aspiration for freedom (moksha or spiritual liberation)
In a practical meaning, Ayurveda helps a healthy person to maintain health, and sick to regain it back through a specific diet, taking herbs and rasayanas, spices, breathing exercises (pranayama), body cleansing, and other methods.
The foundation of health, according to Ayurveda is:
The digestive fire (Agni) must be strong and in a state of balance,
Biological doshas (Vata, Pitta & Kapha) must be in balance,
Three types of secretion/malas (urine, stool, sweat) should be eliminated normally,
Seven body tissues/dhatus (rasa-plasma, rakta-blood, mamsa-muscles, meda-fat, asthi-bones, majja-nerve, shukra-reproductive tissue) must function normally,
Mind, senses, and consciousness should be in harmony.
The physical body is made up of 5 basic elements or Mahabhutas:
Prithvi (earth) – smell
Aapa (water) – taste
Agni (fire) – sight
Vayu (air) – touch
Akasha (ether or space) – hearing
These five basic elements form 3 biological forces or doshas:
Vata – the principle of bodily air and motion (composed of ether and air) that controls breathing, heartbeat, nerve impulse movement, muscle movement, excretion, emotions, moods.
Pitta – manages metabolism, digestion, absorption of food, body temperature, skin color, vision, intelligence, etc. (composed of fire and water).
Kapha – biological water that connects elements in the body by creating the material for the physical structure, gives coherence to everything, lubricates the joints, supplies the skin with moisture, is responsible for immunity, gives stability and strength, and much more (composed of earth and water).
When the balance of elements in the body is disturbed, the man gets sick.
What is an imbalance Ayurvedic physician discovers through pulse diagnosis. Pulse Diagnostics is an ancient art and science of discovery of the current state of the body, mind, and soul of an individual. It provides information on the condition of doshas, body functions, and the health of shrotas (microcirculation channels). It is done with three fingers, representing three biological forces – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
In the surface pulse, each finger can gather information about specific dosha. Deep pulsation reveals genetic information and shows how people are unique and how they differ in their body constitution or prakriti.
The goal of ayurvedic therapy
Ayurvedic therapy is a combination of various treatments that meet individual needs – herbal preparations and rasayamas, individualized diet, therapeutic massage, relaxing oil treatments, pancha karma (5 cleansing procedures), breathing exercises, yoga asanas, and meditation.
The goal of this system is to prevent disease, heal diseases, and preserve health and life. We can sum it up:
Preservation of health and extension of life (Sanskrit: Swasthyas swasthya rakshanam),
Elimination of diseases and dysfunction of the body (Sanskrit: Aturasya vikar prashamanamcha).
Ayurveda is a wide area divided into eight branches practiced today just as in ancient times: