The entire Ayurveda medicinal theory is based on the development of a healthy metabolic system, attainment of good digestion, and achievement of proper excretion for vitality, health, and long life. Balance is essential to lead a healthy lifestyle. We should neither control or suppress our natural urges or indulge too much in them. Food intake, sleep, sexual intercourse, physical exercises and activities and emotional matters should always be moderate, neither excessive nor deficient.
Further, Ayurveda stresses that the dividing line between well-being and ill-feeling is very thin. You may have observed yourself that you feel fit and perfectly healthy one moment but immediately develop a feeling of unease within a few seconds or minutes. This change is due to the subtle disharmonies that arise within our body and mind complex. Good health is only an indication of all normal biological processes, when the physical and mental aspects remain balanced and in complete harmony. Any discord or imbalance leads to deterioration of health. As such, the approach of Ayurveda to diagnosis and treatment is completely holistic, addressing all aspects of human life, instead of concentrating on one part or organ of the body that has been affected.
Diagnosis Process in Ayurveda
With the above principles in mind, the approach to diagnosis and treatment of people suffering from various ailments and diseases differs widely in Ayurveda, compared to other branches of medicinal practices like Allopathy, Unani, Homeopathy, etc. According to Charaka Samhita, the Ayurveda doctor should conduct ten basic examinations to ascertain the present physical condition and afflictions of the patient. They are
- Body measurements
- Physical fitness
- Psychic strength
- Digestive capacity
- Diet suitability
Other practitioners include five more crucial criteria in the process of Ayurveda diagnosis. They are
- Origin of ailment or disease
- Precursory or prodrominal symptoms
- Typical symptoms of the disease at various stages, such as initial, middle, and terminal
- Observation of actual effect of all therapeutic procedures
- Pathological processes
A good Ayurveda doctor uses all five senses to diagnose a patient. Ayurveda lays special emphasis on the study of marman marma or lethal points in the human body and mind. In Ayurveda, physical existence, mental existence and individual personality combine to make a single unit as a human being, with each element influencing the others. Further, personal hygiene is given high importance in Ayurveda, with standard hygienic practices like regular bathing, skin care, eye washing, cleansing of teeth and anointing the body with oil either daily or at least once or twice a week.
Treatment Process in Ayurveda
Ayurveda treatments for physical ailments and diseases are invariably based on plant-based medications but animal products and minerals are also extensively used. They are supplemented by yoga postures, pranayama or breathing exercises, meditation, etc. to bring a balance between body and mind. The pharmacology of Ayurveda is termed as dravyaguna. The medicines used in Ayurveda treatment are synergetic combinations of substances existing in nature. Dravyaguna uses herbs, leaves, barks, roots, fruits and other parts of a single plant or a combination of these products of more than one plant for maximum effectiveness and impact for a particular disease. At the same time, Ayurveda medicinal preparations take adequate care that the materials used for a single medicine are complimentary and supplementary, without any disagreement or inconsistency in their compatibility.
Simultaneously, Ayurveda insists that the practitioners of Ayurveda should use only those plants, herbs, animal products and minerals that are available within their region, since only such products will suit the people living in that region. A herb native to a particular region in India but totally strange to a region in the United States may not provide the same results in that US region as it does in the region in India to which it is native. Charaka emphasises this point clearly when he states, “Yasmin desehi yo jathah tajjam tad aushadham hitham”, meaning “What is born and grows in one’s own country alone is the most suitable and best medicine for people in that country”.
The basic treatment processes of Ayurveda concentrate on factors such as dosha, rasa, vipaka, prabhava and guna, factors related to human body and mind. These factors and their individual characteristics will be discussed in our next article. Our other articles will cover the individual nature and curing ability of each herb or plant and treatment of various disorders. Kindly hold your questions until we finish these series of articles. Still, if you have any specific doubt or question on any aspect of Ayurveda, you can contact us anytime and we will be happy to answer you. Kindly feel free to communicate to us and share your views with us.