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What Is Ayurveda?
It’s natural to feel some anxiety when first going to physical therapy. What will happen? Will therapy hurt? These feelings typically quickly go away once you meet your physical therapist and get working on your rehab goals. By understanding what your physical therapist can do to help you, you can have realistic expectations about your rehab and a positive outcome with your physical therapy experience.
Ayurveda, a holistic system of health and healing, is the wisdom of ancient India on health. It is a time tested medical system that served humanity and survived in Indian subcontinent for more than last 5000 years. Ayurveda is developed on strong principles which are applicable even today. As these theories are developed from Indian philosophies (darsanas) on life which are based on inductive reasoning, you may find it sometimes hard to understand these theories as we are developed on the deductive reasoning of today’s science. Continue reading even if you can’t digest, by the end you will get some idea. An important hurdle in understanding these theories will be comparing them with modern science; it is a vast and deep process. So try to understand body in Ayurvedic way, than trying to understand Ayurveda in a modern way. An understanding of Ayurvedic principles will help you to take care of your body in a better way.
What are the five basic elements of material existence (Panchabhootas)?
According to Ayurveda all materials in this world are made up of five basic elements. They are
1. Space: Provides space for the material.
2. Air: Provides shape and movement.
3. Fire: Provides energy.
4. Water: Provides cohesion, keeps different particles of matter together.
5. Earth: Gives mass to the material.
This is applicable to any matter on this universe from an atom or even its constituents. If the matter has its own qualities and actions, then they are made up of five elements. The difference in relative concentration of these elements results into the formation of different materials. Ayurveda understands all the materials that can be used for treatments based on this theory.
What are the Three basic functional particles of body (Tridoshas)?
In a living body the five basic elements form different complex body constituents to maintain the complex functions. According to Ayurveda, the constituents particularly important are the three doshas. They are vata, pitta and kapha. Vata is formed mainly from space and air. It is the force responsible for movement and control. It is mainly involved in nerve impulses, circulation and movement of muscles and joints. Pitta is derived from fire and water. It is the force that brings transformations in our body. Enzymes and hormones are abundant in pitta. Digestion of food, vision, cognitive processing, etc are functions of pitta. Kapha is derived from water and earth; it provides lubrication and maintains the body.
In short, vata provides kinetic energy, kapha potential energy and pitta transforms one to other. Vata is depleting, kapha is nourishing, pitta balances. So it is clear that they are performing complex functions and a balance between them is necessary to maintain health. Dosha is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘err’. Doshas can be imbalanced easily, that is why they have got that name. In order to maintain health doshas should be of optimum quantity and quality. Clinically, Ayurveda mainly concentrates on the level of doshas and to correct the imbalances. There are other constituents of body like digestive fire (agni), tissues, waste materials, channels, ojas (essence of body) which are also needed to be in balance to maintain health. But doshas superimpose others and have an important role in maintaining the health of other body constituents as well.
What Is Panchakarma?
Panchakarmas are the detoxifying treatments of body. They are five in number. Panchakarmas are medicated enemas (vasti), purgation (virechana), emesis therapy (vamana), nasal cleansing (nasya) and bloodletting. All of these are performed in a controlled way using specific herbs or medicines that are suitable to your body type, diseases and season. Direct supervision by Ayurvedic practitioner and strict selection criteria are required to obtain best possible results. Usually before undergoing panchakarma treatments preparation of body using herbs, internal and external lubrication and sudation are required. Panchakarmas are recommended in Ayurveda to maintain health and wellness, increase seasonal immunity, prevention of diseases in particular body type and to address specific diseases.
What is ojas?
Ojas is the essence of body from which the body is developed during intrauterine life. After birth, proper metabolism of body is essential for nourishment of ojas. The quality of life is directly proportion to quality and quantity of ojas. Ojas provides lustre, strength, immunity, fertility, lucidity to mind and efficient digestion. It is the basis of existence of body, its absence lead to death.
What is ama?
Ama is an accumulation of materials in the body that turns toxic and causes imbalance of doshas (rumor) and other body constituents. An imbalanced digestive energy is the prime reason for the formation of ama. It can be metabolic wastes, toxic products of microbes, undigested food, accumulated waste materials due to improper elimination, etc. The presence of the ama is an important reason for diseases which lead to vague symptoms before producing specific pathology. Lack of taste, loss of appetite, belching, bloating, loose stools, constipation, fatigue, muscle spasms, loss of energy, low immunity, offensive smell of stool and flatulence, etc. can be due to ama. If it is controlled and corrected ama at this level, it is possible to prevent further pathology and future diseases.
Is Ayurveda Scientifically Proven?
Scientific studies on Ayurvedic medicines and treatments are going on in India and some other countries. The results are very promising. Researches have shown that individuals who practice Ayurvedic treatments are at a decreased risk for high blood pressure. In a controlled clinical trial of cancer patients in India, researchers found an Ayurvedic herb mixture worked as well as a standard laxative for relieving constipation caused by pain relieving drugs. In two small controlled clinical trials, a herb used in Ayurveda (Mucuna Pruriens) was found to reduce symptoms in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Studies with some herbs or Ayurvedic preparations prove that they can be successfully used to prevent or treat cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes mellitus and so on. More studies are required in various fields. Still now it is a paradigm for researchers to study on effectiveness of Ayurvedic herbs by including all of its efficacies. More than using the same research protocol for Ayurvedic medicines as of other medicines or systems, a new system to study need to be developed. But clinical experiences of Ayurveda are satisfying and it is a time tested system practiced in India for more than 5000 years.
What Are Doshas?
Doshas are the basic functional particles of body. They are sometimes referred as humors. They are vata, pitta and kapha. Vata is the energy for movement and control, pitta is the factor for transformations and kapha provides stability and maintain body parts together. So generally vata is consuming, pitta is transforming and kapha is conserving. A balance in these three doshas brings health and an imbalance, diseases.
What Is Ayurvedic Body Constitution (Prakruthi)?
Every individual is unique and differ from one another in their physical and mental characteristics. This is due to the difference in the basic pattern of doshas of their body from the time of conception, which remains unchanged throughout life. This is called Ayurvedic body constitution (prakruti). This can be vata type, pitta type, kapha type or combination of two or more doshas (functional body particles).
What Are The Treatments In Ayurveda?
Ayurveda tries to provide relief through every possible ways. Through advises on diet, daily activities, exercise, yoga, different massages, music, aromatherapy, colour therapy, relaxation, panchakarma, herbs, Ayurvedic medicines and so on. In Ayurveda treatments are mainly classified into two; • Pacifying treatments: Mainly using herbs and different massages to pacify doshas and other vitiated body constituents. • Cleansing/ purifying/detoxifying treatments: Different procedures (panchakarmas) are used to eliminate impurities from the body. Ayurveda suggests these treatments are superior to other treatments, as these cleansing treatments prevent relapse of diseases until you are not practicing the causes again. Generally Ayurvedic treatments include life style advises, diet advises, yoga and relaxation techniques, Ayurvedic medicines, Ayurvedic external treatments like massage, kizhi (pouch massage), sirodhara, pizhichil, pancha karma and so many other treatments.
Whether i Need To Be Vegeterian To Have Ayurvedic Treatment?
No, Ayurveda advises diet according to your problems, pathology, Ayurvedic body constitution and season. Generally Ayurveda recommends including lots of fruits and vegetables in your food. You can discuss with your Ayurvedic practitioner the proteins that are most suitable for you. Generally Ayurveda suggests minimising the frequency of foods that are not suitable for you, not to quit it, unless quitting is absolutely essential for you
what is prana?
Prana is the universal energy which forms most subtle level of doshas in our body. It provides vitality to body and energy to tissues. Prana is very important for respiratory health. It brings well being to every cell. It is inherent with fresh air, fresh food and well administered medicines and treatments. Pranayamas are popular practices that cultivate and control vibrant prana.
what is agni?
Agni is an Ayurvedic term for energy that digests food and thought and responsible for proper metabolism and nourishment of body and mind. A balanced agni is essential to maintain health.