Almost Every Indian is now friendly with Ayurvedic health system along with its basic conceptions and misconceptions as well. With many reasons behind, people are getting aware of their own, autonomous system of health – Ayurveda !Not to mention, Ayurveda had been a care taker of our society not only at personal level but at social level too, for thousand of year without knowing, prevailing through many invasions.
The era in modern medical science changed with the discovery of viruses and bacterias in 19th century. And from that time, approach toward researches being carried out had always been concerned with these organisms which is said to be „reductive approach‟. But after late 1970s, as prevalence of Non communicable Diseases (NCDs i.e. diseases like HTN, obesity, DM etc.) goes on increasing, researcher’s viewpoint started to change the angle, seeking for better understanding of human body and nature of diseases. With these new aspirations, the concept of ‘Alternative medicines’ started growing up with their holistic and body-centric approach which was totally different from the concepts of modern medical science.
Concept of complete health according to Ayurveda
समदोषा समाग्ननश्च समधातु मऱक्रिय ।
प्रसन्नात्मेग्न्ियं मन स्वस्थ इत्यभिधीयते ।।
Verse from Sushrut Samhita
Swasthya, meaning health, consists of normality of following factors –
Doshas, which are vital controlling factors.
Dhatus, which constitutes and hold the whole body.
Agni, energy responsible for digestion and assimilation of every foreign body.
Malas i.e. excretory products.
Atman is soul.
Indriyas are our sense organs.
Mana i.e. mind.
In simple language the definition implies – normality of our intake of food-its proper digestion and excretion of harmful byproducts along with proper functioning of Atma (soul), our sense and mind together contributes to complete health. So, its not just what we usually say a ‘body-mind complex’ but our AYU or life comprises of ‘body-senses-mind-soul complex’ which was taken into consideration by Ayurvedic physicians of India, giving a solid base to the management of diseases.
Now what are Doshas ? (दोष)
Doshas which are three in number namely – vata, pitta and kapha are essential, fundamental, foundational and vital elements ( or forces ) within a human body who governs every activity, be it mechanical, organic or metabolic. These are like trustees of an institution responsible for everything happening in it.
Among these three, vata is more fundamental and crucial one than the remaining two, as it is responsible for the physical and physiological motion. Pitta is an essential element which carries out conversion and modification of all the things which are foreign to a human body, making it suitable for our own internal environment, so as to prevent any harm to bodily tissues. Kapha brings strength, stability, moisture, sustainability to every organ in the body.
The word Dhatu, literally means the elements which ‘holds’ anything. In our context, these are the elements which hold the body throughout our life. Seven in numbers namely – rasa (every liquid form of our body like lymph, water,
excetions etc.), rakta (blood), Mamsa (muscle tissues), meda (fatty tissues), majja (nerve tissues, bone marrow etc) and shukra (semen), these dhatus actually form and constitute our visible body. Along with their end products and their pathways in a body, they can be compared relatively to various systems of a body i.e. circulatory system,
lymphatic system, reproductive system etc.
Malas are the byproducts of whole digestion and assimilation process which has to be excreted out regularly. Their quantity and quality is maintained by the body except in diseased conditions. These 3 malas – mutra (urine), purisha(feaces) and sweda (sweat), if not excreted normally, accumulate in the tissues making them vulnerable for
Essentially a form of energy, responsible for adaptation of every alien thing making it suitable for internal environment and hence not just digestion of food but also the senses you perceive like – sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste are judged and are ‘digested’ by this system of assimilatory or adaptive functions.
( eg. Whenever you use face packs and creams, its an Agni in your facial skin which is responsible for its action and likewise…)
What is ‘Holistic’ approach ?
दष्ू यं देशं बऱं काऱ ं अनऱं प्रकृ तत ं वय: ।
सत्वं सात््यं तथाहारं अवस्थाश्च ऩृथग्नवधा ।।
These are the factors which are taken into consideration by good Ayurvedic physician while treating a ‘patient’ (and not a disease) i.e. The affected tissues/organs, habitat of patient, his/her physical strength, fortitude, agni, constitution, age, diet etc.
Evan a singular disease changes its phases in due course of time and the treatment changes accordingly.
To summarize, considering a diseased person as a whole and not just a disease makes Ayurveda a ‘Holistic’ package of health for an individual.
Aim of Ayurveda
धातुसा्यक्रिया चोक्ता तन्रस्यास्य प्रयोजनम ्।
Keeping harmony in each and every cell of human body along with its activities is THE AIM of Ayurveda and not just defeating the diseases !
And this holistic and body centric approach gives an upper hand to Ayurveda in the battle of Non Communicable Diseases. Hence, Ayurvedic system of health believes in what is aptly said by Dr. Carrel –
“Good health should be natural. Such innate resistance give an individual a strength, a boldness, which he doesn’t possess when his survival depends on physician”.
Let All Be Health & Happy!
Dr. Neelesh, MD (Ayurveda)