“Ayu” means life and “Veda” knowledge. Ayurveda, the knowledge of life, is one of the oldest medical sciences of mankind. The roots of Ayurveda go back more than 5000 years. The origin of this ancient medical science is described in the Vedas. The Vedas, the holiest scriptures of the ancient Indian civilization, are divided into four sections: Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda. Ayurveda is a subsection of the Atharva Veda.
The basic principle of Ayurveda is to prevent diseases in the body by means of appropriate life habits, correct food consumption, devotion and cheerfulness. Disease is a result of an unbalanced life. A life in harmony with nature prevents mental and physical illness. Ayurveda gives guidelines for correcting wrong habits and practices in order to re-establish the original harmony of microcosm and macrocosm.
Human bodies consist of the PANCHA BHUTHAS (the five elements), the TRI-DOSHAS (bodily humours), the SAPTA DHATUS (the 7 vital tissues: Rasam-plasma, Rakta-blood, Mamsam-muscle, Medas-fat, Asthi-bone, Majja-marrow and Sukla-semen) and the MALAS (waste).
PANCHA BUTHAS The five elements are: Bhumi (earth), Jalam (water), Agni (fire), Vayu (air), Akasha (ether). Combinations of these elements form the TRI-DOSHAS. The Doshas are instrumental in maintaining the health of the body; imbalance of the Doshas can jeopardize health.
The TRI-DOSHAS are: Vata (wind principle), which is constantly in motion and exerts a strong influence on the Dhatus (vital tissues). Vata moves everywhere but is concentrated in the body from the feet up to the navel. Pitta is the fire principle in the body; it regulates the digestive system. Pitta is located in the body from the navel upward to the heart. Kapha (mucus) is located in the body from the chest upward to the head; it is the water principle in the body.
Correct nutrition and correct habits help to achieve equilibrium of the Doshas. Any change in the proportion of the Doshas affects the health and stability of the body. A good healthy life is nothing but a life in harmony with nature. A well-balanced lifestyle maintains equilibrium of the Bhutas, Doshas and Dhatus.
Ayurveda is a system of treatment based on nature, which couples medicine and a healthy lifestyle. Almost all Ayurveda medicines are of plant origin and do not cause any side-effects.
Ayurvedic treatment is classified into eight categories (Ashta angams), which are:
- Kaayachikitsa (general medicine)
- Baalachikitsa (pediatrics)
- Grahachikitsa (psychiatry)
- Oordhwangachikitsa (ear, nose and throat)
- Salyachikitsa (surgery)
- Damshtrachikitsa (toxicology)
- Jarachikitsa (geriatrics)
- Vrishachikitsa (fertility treatment)