Ayurveda is one of the oldest forms of medicine. It is the traditional medicine of India and practiced for over over 5,000 years. Ayurveda emphasizes on holistic approach in establishing balance in the body and to cure the disease completely by focusing on the cause rather than on the symptom.
Though it a complete medical science, the western world is yet to accept it as a medical procedure and is often considered a form of alternative medicine. Ayurveda, Siddha and the Chinese medical systems are whole medical systems, as they are based on theories of health and illness and focuses on the causes for the imbalance in the body which triggered the disease.
The effect of Imperialism
Ayurveda flourished in India, and the Chinese and the south Asian folk medicines have a lot in common with Ayurveda. However the British rule in India slowly sidelined Ayurveda. The practice of Ayurveda dropped between 1850 to 1970.
After being dormant for nearly 2 centuries Ayurveda is now flourishing again, not only in India but all around the world. Isha Yoga has opened Ayurvedic Centers in India and in many parts of the world and there are the likes of Dr. Deepak Chopra, M.D., who is promoting Ayurveda (as a combo of western medicine and Ayurveda).
The most important things involved with the diagnosis are the naadi and the dosha. Naadi is the ‘pulse’, according to Ayurveda there are 12 important pulse points in the body. The appearance of skin, eyes, nails and tongue are observed. The flexibility of the joints (especially the knee) is observed.
Like many ancient systems according to ayurveda the world in which we live is made up of air, water, fire, earth, and space.[quotes_right] The root cause of all diseases is the imbalance between the three doshas.A combination of these five elements is what makes the ‘Doshas’.[/quotes_right] Both in Siddha medicine and Ayurveda the three doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. According to Ayurveda these doshas are also responsible for the way we behave.
Vata is a combination of space and air. It controls movement and speed. People with strong vata are generally fast, quick thinkers with dry skin and constipation.
Kapha is a combination of water and earth. It controls physical strength, immunity, and growth. It controls the bodily fluids like the fluids of nose, lungs and spinal fluid. People with strong kapha are generally slow and calm and they are susceptible to diabetes, obesity, sinus (and breathing problems).
Pitta is a combination of fire and water. It controls the digestive systems, enzymes and hormones. It controls the stomach, small intestine, skin, blood, and eyes. Pitta dominant people often have oily skin and will have fierce focus. They are susceptible to heartburn, ulcer, arthritis, nausea in the mornings and heart problems.
People get affected by all diseases when there is an imbalance between these three doshas. When the doshas are not in balance it will result in the interruption of the flow of prana (the life energy which flows in our body) and this in turn leads to various diseases. The focus of the treatment will be to bring these doshas to a balance. This is often achieved through a well formulated sattvic diet, herbs, yoga, meditation, and massage. There are advanced treatments as well. The disrupted energy flow is then thought to impair digestion and allow the build up of body waste, or ama, which further impairs energy and digestion.