The word Ayurveda is made of two words, ‘Ayur’ meaning life and ‘Veda’ means knowledge, wisdom or essential truth. Ayurveda means knowledge of life. It is the principle of life that if applied results in to Holistic Health, Harmony and Happiness. It is the ancient wisdom of India, though a system of medicine but aims at self realization or knowing one’s essential nature.
Ayurveda is the collection of principles of healthy living that evolved thousands of years ago. Ayurveda, first recorded in the Vedas, the world’s oldest collection of knowledge, is still the most favored healthcare practice of millions. Ayurveda is strictly individual (the treatment is determined on the basis of given person’s constitution and state of his/her health). It aims at the elimination of causes, not the suppression of symptoms; since only natural remedies are used.
Ayurveda originated thousands of years ago in the hearts and minds of Indian sages, enlightened seers also known as Rishis. Evidence supports Ayurveda to be at least 5000 years old. The fact that Ayurveda is still alive not only in India but all over the world speaks for its power to deliver consistent positive and predictable results. Ayurveda originates from the creative intelligence behind this universe, the same intelligence that makes a flower bloom, a baby smile and planets revolve around the sun.
Ayurveda is the science of positive health and fulfillment in life. The two basic aims of Ayurveda are:
The essential principle of Ayurveda is life in compliance with one’s constitution and with the laws of nature. Ayurveda is a holistic science; it concerns the whole human being. It does not aim at the suppression of symptoms but searches for and cures the cause of illness. It directs itself to the maintenance of energy balance in the body, the most important condition for health.
Biological application of Panchamahabhutas reflects in the form of Tridosha. Here ‘Tri’ means three and Dosha’ represents to humor (bio-entity). Thus the word ‘Tridosha’ denotes to three humors i.e. Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These are said ‘Dosha’ because these have tendency to get vitiated and also to vitiate others. This bilateral tendency of Dosha is cause of health and diseases. State of balance of Dosha represents health while imbalance to the disease. Every Dosha has definite place/location and functions in our body. All have their five types respectively.
When the three Doshas are well harmonized and function in a balanced manner, it results in good nourishment and well-being of the individual. But when there is imbalance or disharmony within or between them, it will result in elemental imbalance, leading to various kinds of ailments. The Ayurvedic concept of physical health revolves round these three Doshas and its primary purpose is to help maintain them in a balanced state and thus to prevent disease.
The term Prakruti is a Sanskrit word that literally means, ‘nature,’ or ‘basic trait’. The combination of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha which is present in the individual at the time of conception is maintained throughout his lifetime. Different persons can have different combination of Vata, Pitta and kapha as their basic constitution or Prakruti. That is why; two people react differently when exposed to a similar situation. Thus, according to Ayurveda everyone is unique and each one of them has a distinct body constitution, which is totally different from each other.
The harmony and the balance of the Doshas, Dhatus, Malas and Agni in the body is the primary condition of the health. The equilibrium is maintained through a life in conformity with the laws of nature. A wrong behavior and food habit disturbs the harmony and lead to diseases.
'Healthy' is termed as 'Swasthya' in Ayurveda - one who stays in his 'sva' (self). This 'sva' involves the total personality of man including consciousness (atman), body (sharira) and mind (manas). "sva' also denotes “Prakriti’ or constitutional normalcy -which makes the concept of sva different from person to person.
In Ayurveda one is in good health when our inner and internal environment is in balance:
According to Ayurveda up to 70 % of illnesses can be influenced by correct diet. A maximally satisfying diet that leads the organism to balance can be designed in compliance with the constitution. Ayurveda does not forcibly forbid any food, nor does it incline to any artificial unnatural diet, but rather in each group (fruit, vegetables, meat, cereals and dairy products) there are certain foodstuffs that are more appropriate and others less so. Properly chosen food, through its own quality, has a curative influence on particular organs.
“When the body is purified, the metabolism and digestion improve, health is renewed, the sense organs retain their vitality, the ageing process slows, and illnesses disappear”
Panchkarma is a Sanskrit word that means "five actions" or "five treatments". This science of purifying the body is an ancient branch of Ayurveda. Panchkarma is the cornerstone to Ayurvedic management of disease. Panchkarma is the process, which gets to the root cause of the problem and re-establishes the essential balance of 'Tridosha' (three doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha) in body. Panchkarma is not only good for alleviating disease but is also a useful tool in maintaining excellent health. Ayurveda advises undergoing Panchkarma at the seasonal changes in order to clean the body and improve the digestion and metabolic processes..The main benefits derived from Panchkarma therapy: