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Ayurveda – Principles & Practice
Ayurveda which has been evolved around 600 BC, apart from treating ailments concentrated more in its prevention. This was followed by the Aryans & Dravidians who were inhabiting India and has been practiced ever since. In the 21st century, Ayurveda has become an indispensable branch of medicine due to its naturalistic approach, that depends on the diagnosis of ones physical base ie Vata, pitta and kabha, and to maintain a right balance.
One of the important principle of Ayurveda treatment is that , treatment is given not only to the ailments or the affected part, but to the person as a whole. This creates an enviornment for purifying your body naturally, which eliminates all toxic imbalances from your body, enabling you to regain natural resistance from diseases and attain good health.
Kerala’s equable climate, natural abundance of forests, which caters to the demand for herbs and medicinal plants, and the cool monsoon season (June-November) are best suited for Ayurveda’s curative and restorative packages. In fact, today, Kerala is the only State in India which practices this system of medicine with absolute dedication.
Every object-plant, animal or human – according to the Panchabhootha Philosophy (5 elements of philosophy), is constituted of Vata, Pitta, Kapha.
The concentration of these elements vary in each individual and therefore the time, place, duration and kind of treatment required to restore the balance also needs to change. This is why Ayurveda have a separate system of diagnosis and treatment for each patient. And a season for undergoing Ayurvedic programmes – the monsoon. The atmosphere remains dust-free and cool, opening the pores of the body to the maximum, making it most receptive to herbal oils and therapy.
The following are the major rejuvenational therapies practacied in Ayurveda.
Tones up the skin and rejuvenates and strengthens all the tissues so as to achieve ideal health and longevity. Increases Ojas (primary vitality) and improves Sattva (mental clarity) and thereby increases the resistance of the body. Includes head and face creams, body massage with herbal oil or powder by hand and foot intake of rejuvenative medicines and medicated steam bath. Herbal baths are also used.
Prime treatment for retarding the ageing process, arresting the degeneration of body cells and immunization of the system. Includes intake of Rasayana (special Ayurvedic medicines and diet) and comprehensive body care programmes. Most effective for either sex if undertaken before the age of 50.
Medicine steam baths eliminate impurities from the body, improve the tone and complexion of the skin, reduce fat and are recommended for certain rheumatic diseases, particularly for pain. Precious herbs and herbal leaves are boiled and the steam is passed over the entire body for 10 to 20 minutes daily.
Hand massage with herbal oils or herbal powder improves blood circulation and tones up the muscles.
Meditation and Yoga
Mental and physical exercises meant to isolate the ego from the body and mind-designed to home your concentration, improve health and help attain peace of mind through 8 stages of training.
Disciplined behaviour yama Self purification niyama Bodily postures such as the lotus position asana.
Control of breathing Pranayama Control of the senses Pratyahara, fixing of the mind on a chosen object dharsana. Meditation dhyana and Samadhi – a state of being where you experience absolute tranquility and well being.
Herbal face pack, herbal oil massage, intake of herbal tea etc. improves complexion and beautifulness of the body.
Medicated herbal powder and medicated herbal oil massages, and Ayurvedic diet of herbal juices etc. are part of the programme.
A five fold treatment for mental and physical well being tunes the body, organs, mind, breath, nerves and purifies the blood.
Treatment for chronic head-aches, insomnia, mental tension and cases of hysteria, hallucination and insanity.
Dhara: Herbal oils, medicated milk or buttermilk and decoctions are poured on the forehead/whole body in a special manner.
Variations include Oorhwanga Dhara (good for diseases of the eyes, ears and skin). Takra Dhara (for those suffering from memory loss, severe headache or insanity) and Sarvanga Dhara (for both head and body).
Treatment to alleviate osteoarthritis, leukemia etc.
Snehapanam: Medicated ghee is given internally in a gradually increased quality of specific periods.
Treatment for spondilosis, rheumatic diseases like arthritis, paralysis, hemiplegia, nervous weakness and nervous disorders.
Pizhichil: Lukewarm herbal oil is applied with fresh linen all over the body by trained masseurs in a rhythmic manner for a period of 1 to 11/2 hours daily for 7 to 21 days.
Treatment for diseases like hemiplegia, paralysis, obsety and certain rheumatic ailments.
Udvarthanam: Therapeutic massage with herbal powders.
Treatment for musculoskeletal ailments due to trauma or accidents.
Marma Chiksta: Treatment that works on the extremely sensitive vital points of the body (the 107 marmas).
Treatment for nasal ailments:
Nasyam: Inhalation of medicated herbal preparations, decoction oils, ghee etx. to eliminate the morbid factors from the head and neck area.
Treatment for ear ailments
Karnapooranam: Medicated oils are applied to the ear for 5 to 10 minutes daily to clean as well as treat specific ailments.
Preventing cataract and strengthening vision:
Tharpanam: A treatment for the eyes effective in preventing cataract and strengthening the optic nerve.
Treatment for wasting of muscles, all types or rheumatism, sports injuries, pain in the joints, emaciation of the body or parts of the body and certain kinds of skin diseases.
Navarakizhi: The whole body is made to perspire by the external application of medicated rice packs in the form of blouses tied in muslin bags.
Treatment for dryness of nostrils, mouth and throat, severe headaches, facial paralysis and burning sensation in the head.
Sirovasti: Lukewarm herbal oils are poured into a leather cap fitted on the head for specific durations as per physician’s recommendation.