Ayurveda is a Sanskrit term, made up of the words “ayus” and “veda.” “Ayus” means life, and “Veda” means knowledge, or science. The term “ayurveda” thus means “the knowledge of life” or “the science of life.” According to the ancient Ayurvedic scholar Charaka, “ayu” comprises the mind, body, senses and the soul.

ORIGINS

Widely regarded as the oldest form of healthcare in the world, Ayurveda is an intricate medical system that originated in India thousands of years ago. The fundamentals of Ayurveda can be found in Hindu scriptures called the Vedas–the ancient Indian books of wisdom.

The Rig Veda, which was written over 6,000 years ago, contains a series of prescriptions that can help humans overcome various ailments. This forms the basis of Ayurveda practice, passed down to the present day.

Basic Principles

Ayurveda is based on the premise that the universe is made up of five elements: air, fire, water, earth and ether.

These elements are represented in humans by three “doshas”, or energies: Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

When any of the doshas accumulate in the body beyond the desirable limit, the body loses its balance.

Every individual has a distinct balance, and our health and well-being depend on getting a right balance of the three doshas (“tridoshas”).

Ayurveda suggests specific lifestyle and nutritional guidelines to help individuals reduce the excess dosha.

A healthy person, as defined in SushrutSamhita, one of the primary works on Ayurveda, is “he whose doshas are in balance, appetite is good, all tissues of the body and all natural urges are functioning properly, and whose mind, body and spirit are cheerful…”

The ‘Tridosha’-The Theory of Bio-Energies

The three doshas, or bio-energies found in our body are

Kapha pertains to water and earth elements. Kapha is responsible for growth and protection. The mucousal lining of the stomach, and the cerebral-spinal fluid that protects the brain and spinal column are examples of kapha.

This life force controls muscle growth, body strength and stability, weight, and your immune system.
You can disrupt it by sleeping during the day, eating too many sweet foods, and eating or drinking things that contain too much salt or water.
If it’s your main life energy, you may develop asthma and other breathing disorders, cancer, diabetes, nausea after eating, and obesity.

Those who practice Ayurveda believe this is the most powerful of all three doshas. It controls very basic body functions, like how cells divide.It also controls your mind, breathing, blood flow, heart function, and ability to get rid of waste through your intestines.
Things that can disrupt it include eating again too soon after a meal, fear, grief, and staying up too late.

If vatadosha is your main life force, you’re more likely to develop conditions like anxiety, asthma, heart disease, skin problems, and rheumatoid arthritis.Vata pertains to air and ether elements. This energy is generally seen as the force that directs nerve impulses, circulation, respiration and elimination.

Pitta pertains to fire and water elements. This dosha governs metabolism–e.g., the transformation of foods into nutrients. Pitta is also responsible for metabolism in the organ and tissue systems.

PANCHAMAHA-BOOTHA CONCEPT

Ayurveda is based on the premise that the universe is made up of five elements:

  1. Pradvi – earth
  2. Aap – water
  3. Tejus – Fire
  4. Vayu – Air
  5. Akash – Space

These elements are represented in humans by three “doshas”, or energies: Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

When any of the doshas accumulate in the body beyond the desirable limit, the body loses its balance.

Every individual has a distinct balance, and our health and well-being depend on getting a right balance of the three doshas (“tridoshas”).

Ayurveda suggests specific lifestyle and nutritional guidelines to help individuals reduce the excess dosha.

Ayurvedic Approach to Health and Wellness

To maintain the health of a healthy person (swasthavritha) and cure the disease of a diseased.

Preventive Medicine – Creates and maintains health and longevity of an individual by maintaining balance of a person’s prakturi (or constitution) by creating daily and periodic regimens.

These health routines focus on diet and exercise, herbals, massage, meditation, and social behavior and positive relationships.

Curative Medicine – Treatments to cure the disease by one or combination of the following approaches:

  • Internal measures, including shodhana (detoxification) and shamana (methods used to improve quality of life via palliative care).
  • External measures, including snehana (oil treatments), svedana (steam therapy using herbal steam), and use of herbal pastes.
  • Surgical methods, including removal of tissues, organs, and harmful growths.
  • Mental and spiritual therapies or daivyachikitsa.
  • Herbal therapy, including astute pharmacology.
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