What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a sanskrit word which is derived from two words ayu and veda. Ayu means life and veda means knowledge. Its a knowledge of life. It is considered as the oldest medical science in the world originated in India. Ayurveda is passed from one generation to another in the form of teaching. According to Ayurveda health means equilibrium in the three doshas (Vata-air, pitta-fire and kapha-water), dhatus (building blocks of our body) and digestive fire in our bodies. It's a broad term which also includes proper excretion of malas (toxins) and our mental as well as spiritual well-being. Its main aim is to maintain the balance of basic elements in the healthy body and correct the imbalance of the basic elements resulted in various diseases.
Basic principles of Ayurveda.
Earth, water, fire, air and space are considered as the five basic elements (panchamahabhutas) of the universe. In Ayurveda it is considered that there is a great cosmic relationship between the universe and our bodies. These five elements are present in our bodies also. The main aim of Ayurveda is to maintain the balance in these five elements.
All diseases are caused by the weak digestive fire. When our digestion is disturbed (digestion is a very broad term in Ayurveda which also includes the digestion happening at molecular level) due to this abnormal metabolism toxins (ama) are produced in our bodies. These toxins cause various diseases. Correcting the digestive fire is a important step in Ayurveda treatment. There are many detoxification therapies (panchakarma) available in Ayurveda to remove toxins from the body.
Vata dosha (air) is the strongest of all the elements of the body, it also regulates our mind so managing vata is a very important in Ayurvedic treatment (chikitsa). There are many treatments available including massage (abhyangam) for pacifying vata dosha which should be taken by the advice from qualified Ayurveda practitioner.
Holistic approach of Ayurveda
Mind, body and soul are the three pillars of our life. They influence each other to create the state of health or disease. Most of the diseases have psycho-somatic origin. Knowledge about the properties of mind and three doshas is very important in Ayurveda. Our diet, personality, digestive fire, symptoms of the diseases and treatment change according to our constitution. Ayurveda has an holistic approach towards the treatment which aims at physical, spiritual and mental health. This is the reason that we have in depth consultation with the patient which focuses on finding the causes of the disease. With the detail knowledge of these causes (nidana) we can give holistic treatment to the patients which includes diet and lifestyle changes. In Ayurveda we don't just treat the symptoms but we try to find the roots of the patient's illness. Ayurveda believes that normal digestive fire improves self-healing property of the body.