What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda, the new age medicine system, has its origins in India’s vedic tradition. It is older than other systems of medicine and has been practised for over 5000 years in India. The system consists of eight branches and covers an immense body of knowledge. Primarily, it involves the synthesis of body, mind and spirit. Physical afflictions are caused if there is any imbalance in this symbiosis. Ayurveda seeks to harmonize the body with its environment.
Origin of Ayurveda
Ayurveda has nurtured Chinese and Unani systems of medicine. The contents of Ayurvedic medicine are taken from the Charaka Samhita (dating back to the 1st century AD), Vagbhatta’s Ashtanga Hridayam (dated circa 500 AD) and the Susruta Samhita. These three texts detail the theories and basic principles of ayurveda. They reflect a wealth of surgical and clinical information, enriched by later research, on managing ailments and diseases.
The Five Elements
Ayurveda is based on the five elements of space, air, fire, water and earth. The universe is believed to consist of these five elements. Ayurveda divides an individual’s constitution into three categories: Vata (air/ether), Pitta (fire) and Kapha (earth/water). Vata controls mental makeup. Pitta rules over digestion and Kapha is responsible for stability, cohesion and weight. Combinations of these types also exist in the form of subtypes.
Ayurveda says that Dosha or fault, Dhatu or tissue and Mala or impurity should exist in harmony, with properly balanced components. Internal or external causes may cause a discordant note in this alignment. Ayurvedic procedures are adopted to detoxify the body and strengthen the immune system. Panchakarma (five procedures) is very popular. So is Kaya Kalpa (anti-aging) detoxification therapy.