Ayurveda and Yoga both evolved from India and have been practiced in the Indian sub-continent for centuries. Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word meaning the science of life (Ayur/Ayus = Life, Veda = Science). It is not just the knowledge of life but a complete way of life. This ancient art of healing provides a traditional and natural way of curing ailments. It has been perfected by great saints and forefathers, who trust nature and believe that it holds all the solutions for good health. The medicines are prepared from natural and organic materials making it the only totally eco-friendly medical science known to man.
The origins of Ayurveda dates back to the period when the Vedas (the oldest available religious texts of the world) were created. This traditional Indian system of medicine deals with the concept of “mind, body and spirit” for the maintenance of health and relief from disease. It emphasizes on exercise, yoga, meditation, and massage.
Ayurveda says that the human body is composed of five elements or Pancha Mahabutha, namely Air, Fire, Water, Earth, and Ether (Space). These 5 elements combine to form three primary life forces or biological humors (Tridoshas) that govern the body, known as Vatha, Pitha, and Kapha. Vatha pertains to air and space elements and deals with movement-related activities within the body. Pitha pertains to water and fire and governs metabolism. Kapha pertains to water and earth and is responsible for growth and protection. Proper health and well-being depend on the proper balance of these three life forces. An imbalance can cause a state of unhealthiness or disease.
The Ayurvedic treatment is known for its ‘Panchakarma’ therapy, which includes nasal medication, purgation, emesis (therapeutic vomiting), blood letting (detoxification of the blood) and cleansing enemas. There are a total of eight branches of Ayurveda treatment, namely:
• Kaaya-chikitsa (Internal medicine / general medicine)
• Salakyam (Treatment of diseases above the clavicle – teeth, eyes, nose, ears, etc.)
• Kaumarabhrtyam (Paediatrics)
• Agadatantram (Toxicology)
• Shalya-chikitsa (Surgery)
• Bhuta vidya (Demonic possession)
• Rasayanam (Anti aging and building immunity)
• Vajikaranam (Aphrodisiacs)
Ayurvedic therapies work on the processes of ‘Tonification’ and ‘Reduction’. As said earlier, an imbalance in the Tridoshas or humors of the body causes health problems. Tonification methods nurture insufficiency in the body while Reduction therapies reduce excess dosha in the body. Reduction therapies are further categorized into two types
- ‘Pacification’ (achieved with herbs, fasting, exercise, sunbathing and exposure to wind)
- ‘Purification’ (special therapies for elimination of the disease-causing humors).
Ayurvedic treatments in India offer a number of therapies specially designed for the treatment of different kinds of disorders/diseases. A few most popular therapies are Pizhichil, Njavarakizhi, Sirodhara, Sirovasthi, Snehavasthi, Nasyam, Tharpanam, Lepanam, Dhara, Avisnanam, etc.
Ayurveda is practiced in various Ayurveda Hospitals in various parts of India. The most popular place for Ayurvedic treatments in India is Kerala, followed by a few regions in north India. The tropical climate and natural abundance of medicinal plants and herbs in Kerala make it the best choice for availing Ayurvedic treatments. Kerala is believed to be the only state in India which practices the Ayurvedic system of medicine with complete dedication.
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