CHAPTER 13: AYURVEDIC TREATMENTS & AILMENTS FOR DOCTORS & PATIENTS
यथा ह्यल्पेन यत्नेन च्छिद्यते तरुणस्तरुः।
स एवाऽतिप्रवृध्दस्तु च्छिद्यतेऽतिप्रयत्नतः॥
एवमेव विकारोऽपि तरुणः साध्यते सुखम्।
विवृध्दः साध्यते कृछ्रादसाध्यो वाऽपि जायते॥
yathā hyalpena yatnena cchidyate taruṇastaruḥ।
sa evā’tipravṛdhdastu cchidyate’tiprayatnataḥ॥
evameva vikāro’pi taruṇaḥ sādhyate sukham।
vivṛdhdaḥ sādhyate kṛchrādasādhyo vā’pi jāyate॥
Just as a tender plant is easy to cut down, the same requires much more effort when fully grown. Likewise, any disease is manageable in the early stage; it becomes almost incurable when it grows.
13.1 Eighteen Disciplines of Ayurveda Specialization
AYURVEDA IS CONSIDERED AS A GREAT HOLISTIC HEALING SYSTEM, DUE TO ITS ATTENTION TOWARDS NOT JUST PHYSICAL HEALTH BUT ALSO MENTAL, EMOTIONAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL AND SPIRITUAL HEALTH. ALTHOUGH IT IS THE OLDEST NATURAL HEALING SYSTEM, AYURVEDA FOLLOWS THE SCIENTIFIC MECHANISM OF OVERALL WELL-BEING.
These eighteen disciplines or branches include:
- Ayurveda siddhanta, or the fundamental principles of Ayurveda
- Sharira rachana, or human anatomy
- Dravya guna vigyan, or materia medica and pharmacology
- Bhaishajya kalpana, or pharmaceuticals
- Prasuti tantra, or obstetrics and gynecology
- Kayachikitsa, or internal medicines
- Shalya tantra, or surgery and operations
- Manasa roga, or psychiatry
- Sangaharana, or anesthesia
- Ayurveda samhita, or dealing with Ayurvedic classics
- Sharira kriya, or physiology
- Rasa shastra, or metal and mineral processing
- Kaumarabhritya, or pediatrics
- Swasthavritta, or social and preventive medicine
- Raga nidana, or etiopathology
- Shalakya tantra, or the eye, nose and throat medication
- Agada tantra – toxicology and forensic medicine
- Panchakarma – cleansing for rejuvenation
Recognising and identifying ailments in the body can be a challenging process. For this very reason, Ayurveda prescribes ‘pareekshas’, or methods of examining a patient.
13.2 Know your Body – The different sorts of Pareekshas
There are various methods of prescribing treatments and medication. Ayurveda addressed Rogi, Ashtasthana, and Dasavadha Pareeksha as some examples.
13.2.1 Rogi Pareeksha
The word Rogi is derived from “rogaha asya asthi ithi” which means the one in whom the roga resides is called the rogi.
Rogi pareeksha considers a detailed examination of the patient to know the cause of a particular disease and the manner in which it affects the patient’s body. The latter is an important parameter in the diagnosis of a disease, as treatment prior to diagnosis is not possible. Both Ayurveda and contemporary science stress upon examination of the patient, while they do it in their own ways. Ayurveda deals with more natural ways of examining a patient.
Rogi Pareeksha stresses upon how a Vaidya (examiner) should judge the rogi (patient) minutely before commencing any treatment.
Ayurveda analyzes the total condition of a patient’s body to find out the underlying symptoms rather than finding methods to suppress the same. Thus, various tests (parikhsas) are done in Ayurveda, including Astasathana and Dasavidha Pareeksha.
13.2.2 Ashtasathana Pareeksha
Astasathana Pareeksha is an 8 fold examination, which includes;
- Nadi pariksha, or the examination of pulse
- Jivha pariksha, or the examination of tongue
- Sabda pariksha, or the examination of voice
- Sparsha pariksha, or the examination of skin
- Drka pariksha, or the examination of eyes
- Akriti pariksha, or the examination of physical appearance
- Mutra pariksha, or the examination of urine
- Mala pariksha, or the examination of stool
13.2.3 Dasavidha Pareeksha
Dasavidha Pareeksha means 10 fold examination which go slightly more into details. These include:
- Prakriti, or the examination of body constitution
- Vikruti, or the examination of pathological state
- Sara, or the examination of tissue vitality
- Samhanana, or the examination of physical build
- Pramana, or the examination of body measurement
- Satmya, or the examination of adaptability
- Satwa, or the examination of psychic constitution
- Ahara sakti, or the examination of digestive constitution
- Vyayama shakti, or the examination of capacity to exercise
- Vaya, or the examination of age
It is now apparent that the human body is a highly complex system, and is bound to have complications in its functioning. The practice of Panchakarma or detoxification is essential in reducing the likelihood of bodily malfunctioning.
13.3 Panchakarma or Detoxification
Sickness is directly related to accumulation and reaction of harmful toxins in the body. It often results from a particular dosha aggravation. Fortunately, Ayurveda has listed a number of treatments and therapies to get rid of such toxins, particularly stressing upon a proper diet, habits and lifestyle. Panchakarma is one such procedure which ensures proper cleaning and detoxification to cleanse toxins.
13.3.1 Procedure of Panchakarma
The body must be prepared prior to treatment, through Snehan and Svedana. The term ‘Snehan’ is an oil massage in which Ayurvedic oil is applied on the body, encouraging the flow of toxins towards the gastrointestinal tracts. Snehan is given regularly for three to seven days continuously. Svedana liquifies the toxins and increases the movement of toxins. It is believed that doshas ripen after seven days. Specific panchakarma treatments are given to the individuals according to their individual constitution or disorder, being prakriti and vikruti respectively.
13.2.2 Five Basic Shodans or Cleansing Methods
Varmana (Emesis Therapy)
Varmana is done to treat lung congestion which causes bronchial attacks, cold and cough and asthamatic problems. This ayurvedic treatment is therapeutic puking which is done to eliminate the kapha forming excess mucus. The release of excess mucus makes you feel relieved and heaviness in the chest and breathlessness vanishes.
Virechan (Purgation Therapy)
Excess bile secretion gets accumulated in the gallbladder, liver and small intestine which in turn results in rashes and skin inflammation, high fever, biliary vomiting and jaundice. Ayurveda suggests that purgatives help in relieving excess pitta causing bile imbalance.
Basti (Enema Therapy)
One’s vata is a dominating factor in causing disease, particularly when left uncontrolled. . Basti treatment administers the asthi dhatu. Any medication penetrating into deep tissues of the body can correct vata imbalances and prevent diseases.
Nasya (Nasal Administration)
Nasya is related to prana. It is the doorway from where you inhale your life force which goes into each part of your body, including the brain. Prana is responsible for governing all mental activities like memory, concentration etc. Nasal massage helps to improve breathing. For this treatment, oil is inserted in the nose and it is massaged. This treatment tends to open your emotions and you gently release these emotions.
Rakta Moksha (Blood cleaning and purification)
Rakta Moksha is a bloodletting treatment which purifies the blood. This treatment makes use of some herbs, gem therapy and color water therapy. This treatment helps in neutralising the toxins and strengthens the immune system and the body.
*Note: We do not practice bloodletting at Mekosha.
The doshas are located in all the body parts where diseases happen. All the excess doshas are collected in the kostha from where they are eliminated. This is done through Purvakarma. Snehana and Swedana are needed in preparation for treatment.
13.3.1 Stages of Purvakarma
Snehana disintegrates the toxins and helps to make the body internally soft and smooth. For internal snehana, oil or ghee called sneha is used. It works as a lubricant and helps in removing body dryness. External sneha includes all types of body massages. Snehana is beneficial for treating skin disorders.
This therapy is done to remove toxins from the body through sweat. Different sorts of fermentation practices include sunbath, steam bath, pouring hot water in a wooden sweatbox etc. These must be practiced under the guidance of Ayurvedic specialists.
Sarvang or Ekang Abhyang
For the smooth functioning of Abhyang, the mind and body both have to be well prepared. The accumulated toxins responsible for causing skin problems can be treated by these methods. It relieves stiffness and cervical spondylitis. It uses different oil and decoctions as a part of its procedure.
This helps to unlock the channels of mind and body and hence cures disease. This therapy uses some oils and liquids which aims at relaxing the mind. This treatment is excellent for mental disorders, discomfort and stress.
Through this therapy, oil is instilled into the ear for cleansing the ears and wax is removed by creating a hypothetical vacuum inside the ear candles. This treatment enhances vigor, strength and rest, and is beneficial in curing vata disorders.
Most individuals are familiar with the practice of acupuncture, or pressure points, in restoring energy. However, Ayurveda also suggests a far more effective yet unknown mechanism of revitalising energy – known as Marma therapy.
13.4 Marma therapy
Marma therapy is a traditional Indian practice which focuses on manipulating the vital energies, or Prana, in the human body to promote healing and wellness. Marma therapy is a gentle stimulation of specific points of the body where energy is stored. It is a typical sort of body massage with the use of natural essential oils. They tend to stimulate the marma pits and help in restoring lost energy which leads to physical and psychological relaxation. It also uses chanting of positive mantras and meditation to eliminate blockages and diseases.
Marma therapy is based on the use of 107 unique points in the body, mind and soul. The divine knowledge about marma allows the practitioner to influence the flow of prana in the body which restores the mental health and spreads serenity.
13.4.1 History and hidden science behind Marma
Marma science is regarded as a Gupta Vidya or hidden science. Marmas are not superficial marks visible on the physical body, but are deep-rooted vital physio-anatomical structures. Although largely unheard of, marma is way more powerful than any acupuncture or tapping points.
While this emerged as a science used primarily for martial arts and warfare, it is now used to cure a range of physical and mental diseases. This little known branch of Ayurveda is based on re-energizing the important points of the body. It is an untouched chapter of surgery in India, and houses multiple benefits.
13.4.2 Benefits of Stimulating Marma Points
Marma points can be used to keep both body and mind balanced. It has a clearing or regulatory effect when you press the marma or the point. This treatment can be incorporated as part of your lifestyle to maintain optimal health.
Even proper use of herbs can stress your liver and/or kidney. Herbs contain phytochemicals that are strong enough to override natural bodily intelligence. Regular use of herbs can be very safe, but overuse over time can weaken the liver and kidney. For both clients and practitioners, marma points are less invasive which means it’s a great way for prevention and maintenance.
Enhancement of mental well-being and awareness
Stimulation of marma points is said to be the gateway to thoughts, feelings, emotions. These openings are closely connected to the nervous system. Some parts of our body are areas where your nervous system affects your body and vice versa. Marma can identify and heal those places. Thus, it holds a profound ability in improving bodily awareness and health.
Greater skin care awareness
Many practitioners have recorded their Ayurvedic beauty treatment in Kerala and have shown great improvement in their skincare. Common skin diseases such as asthma, acne, blackheads may be eliminated with marma points stimulation, accompanied by a healthy lifestyle.
Improved respiratory function
Stimulation of marma enables ideal energy levels. If practiced once a day, you will keep your energy levels unblocked and free-flowing. Marma energy points help release tension and they stimulate circulation in a particular part of your body, they clear imbalances, restore regular function. Moreover, many have also documented that Ayurvedic treatment for breathing problems is highly effective in Kerala, where those suffering from breathing problems have seen improvement in their respiratory function. They no longer gasp for air when they do simple physical activities. Practitioners have claimed to live and breathe normally, as a result of the proper stimulation of marma points.
13.4.4 Common facial marma points
Your face has eight important marma points, responsible for creating regulated blood flow and energy stabilisation. If these marma points are pressed and stimulated at least once a day, your radiance and glow can improve. These 8 facial marma points include:
- Phana marma, which is located within the nasal cavity, beside the nose.
- Apanga marma, that can be found on the side of the head and the outer part of the eyes.
- Vidhur marma, which is located below the ears.
- Shankha marma, present between our ears and on the forehead.
- Utkshepa marma, located between the head and scalp, and on the forehead
- Avarta marma, located above the eyebrows.
- Shringataka marma is located on the head.
- Sthapani marma is found between the eyes.
Despite all this knowledge, you will need a well-informed doctor and nurse to guide you in attaining ideal health. Ayurveda provides tips for the same.
13.5 Picking the Right Doctor and Nurse
13.5.1 Qualities of a good vaidya (doctor)
- Dakshar, or alert and disciplined
- Shastra, or has detailed knowledge about diseases and treatment
- Drishti Karma, or holding practical experience
- Suchi, or cleanliness and hygiene
13.5.2 Qualities of a good nurse
- Anurakta, or compassionate and caring
- Suchi, or cleanliness and hygiene
- Daksha, or alert and active
- Budhiman, or intelligent and has presence of mind
This chapter looked at treatments and ailments, as well as the importance of the right doctor and nurse. Next, we’ll look at the importance of meditation and relaxation in Chapter 14.
You can refer to the broader course outline here.
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