Disease Management in Ayurveda
According to Ayurvedic principles, the natural state of human body is one with health, happiness and well being. One is said to be healthy when the body is clear of toxins, the mind is at peace, emotions are calm and happy, wastes are efficiently eliminated and organs are functioning normally. The physical and mental system accumulates toxins and deteriorates the efficiency of bodily functions due to the busy and stressful life. This eventually weakens the systems, and leads to degenerative and non-specific diseases. Gradually they evolve into serious specific diseases, ultimately damaging the health and well being of an individual.
Ayurveda is followed in a well-defined therapeutic structure, as preventive and curative methods, in order to deal with various ailments.
- Shodanam or cleansing,
- Samanam or palliation,
- Rasayanam or rejuvenation and
- Satvajaya or mental hygiene.
Shodanam (elimination) aims to remove excess Dosha (toxins) from the body. Shodanam includes Purvakarma (initial treatment) and Pradhanakarma known as Panchakarma (the main treatment comprising of five distinctive methods) and Paschathkarma (post treatment).
Samanam (alleviation) is a group of milder methods to remove toxins from the body of those who are not strong enough to undergo shodanam.
Rasayanam the rejuvenation therapy is aimed to restore the tissues through herbs and minerals. Rasayanam helps restore the vitality and leads to longevity and slowing or stopping of aging process. It compensates for wear and tear due to age and diseases. Rasayana chikitsa follows detoxification of the body through Panchakarma procedures. It presents youthfulness, energy, enhances memory and brilliance, nourishes the senses and ensures longevity.
Satvajaya (Mental Hygiene/Mental Healing) There are different categories to Satvajaya, that includes mantra (sounds), Yantra (physical devices), Tantra (directing energies of the body), meditation, gems and crystals etc. to bring equilibrium in the body and mind.
Introduction to Panchakarma
Panchakarma is the purification therapy that comprises of five distinctive methods practiced in the Kerala Ayurvedic Systems.
Panchakarma is a unique, health-enhancing series of therapeutic treatments that cleanses the body’s deep tissues of toxins, open the channels; bring energy thereby increasing vitality, inner peace, confidence and well being.
Panchakarma can help reverse the negative effects of daily living. It can restore the natural state of health and wellness by cleansing the body of toxins, bringing balance into the system and improving bodily function. It also helps to sustain this process by suggesting positive changes in lifestyle.
Shodhan and Shaman
Panchakarma is part of a group of therapies that belongs to a class of cleansing procedure called Shodan. (Another group of milder method called Shaman is applied in those who are not strong enough to undergo shodan.)
Pre-purification therapies (Purvakarmas)
Panchakarma treatments are normally administered after different methods of pre-purification therapies (Purvakarmas) that prepare the body for the main course of treatment. The purvakarma procedures are Snehanam and Swedanam.
Snehanam (Oil therapy or oleation): Internal and external oleation loosens the toxins accumulated in the body and moves it into the gastro intestinal tract. Oil massage also helps to make the tissues softer and helps to remove stress and nourishes the nervous system.
Swedanam (Sudation or sweating) dilates the channels, liquefy toxins and facilitates its movement in to gastro intestinal tract. These toxins are then removed from the body thru Panchakarma therapies.
Purvakarma procedures help remove aggravated Dosha and Ama (Toxins) from its places deeper in the body to locations in preparation for elimination. These toxins are then removed from the body by use of Panchakarma procedures individually or in a combination, as deemed appropriate by the physician.
The five methods of Panchakarma procedure:-
- Vaman: therapeutic vomiting or emesis
- Virechan: purgation
- Vasti: therapeutic enema
- Asthapanam - enema with decoction (Kashaya Vasthy)
- Anuvasanam - enema with medicated oil (Sneha Vasthy)
- Nasya: elimination of toxins through the nostrils
- Raktamoksha: detoxification of the blood
Panchakarma- Methods and benefits
Vamanam- Emesis (Therapeutic Vomiting). When the congestion in lungs leads to bronchitis or asthma, therapeutic vomiting or Vamanam is administered to eliminate the Kapha causing excess mucus. Once the mucus is released, the congestion, wheezing and breathlessness comes down and the patient becomes comfortable. Vamanam is also suggested in the treatment of chronic asthma, cold, diabetes, congestion, indigestion and oedema.
Virechanam (Therapeutic Purgation) When excess Pitta (bile) is secreted and accumulated in the gal bladder, liver and small intestine, it results in rashes, skin inflammation, acne, and chronic fever, biliary vomiting, nausea and jaundice. Ayurveda suggests administration of therapeutic purgation or therapeutic laxative in such cases.
Nasyam (Nasal administration of medicine) Nose is the doorway to brain and it is also the doorway to consciousness. The excess of bodily humours accumulated in the sinus, throat, and nose or head area is eliminated by application of medicines through nose. Nasyam is indicated for prana disorders, sinus congestion, migraine, headache, convulsions and certain eye and ear problems. Nasyam helps to improve breathing also.
Vasthy (Therapeutic Enema) Vasthy involves introduction of herbal oil or herbal concoctions into the rectum. It is the most effective treatment for Vatha disorders. Any medication given rectally goes into the deeper tissues of the body. Vasthy relieves constipation, distensions, and chronic fever, cold, sexual disorders, kidney stone, heart pain, backache, sciatica and pain in the joints. Many other Vatha disorders such as arthritis, rheumatism, gout, muscle spasm etc. also are effectively treated thru Vasthy.
Raktamoksham-Blood letting (Detoxification of blood) is the method of extracting a small amount of blood from the vein to relieve the tension created by Pittagenic toxins in the blood. Toxins present in the gastro –intestinal tracts are absorbed into the blood and circulated through the body. Bloodletting also stimulates the spleen to produce antitoxic substances and helps to stimulate the immune system.