The total body matrix consists of 3 humours (vata, pitta, kapha), 7 tissues (rasa, rakta, mansa, meda, asthi, majja and shukla) and waste products like faeces, urine and sweat. The growth and decay of this body matrix depends upon the ingestion, digestion, absorption, assimilation and metabolism of food which gets processed into humours, tissues and waste products. Life, which is conceived as the union of body, senses, mind and soul depends upon this process.
The presence or absence of the balanced state of the total body matrix, including the balance between its constituents, decides the state of health or sickness. Any factor, from inside or outside, which disturbs the equilibrium, causes disease. Dietary impropriety, lack of or inappropriate exercise, undesirable habits, erratic application of sense organs, seasonal abnormalities, etc. can create an imbalance. Treatment is through restoration of the balance. Regulating the diet, correcting life-routine and controlling bad habits, administering medications or doing panchakarma and/or rasayana therapies are the methods of treatment.
The patient as a whole is diagnosed by the Ayurvedic physician. Internal physiological characteristics and mental disposition of the patient are studied together with the details of the affected tissues, humours, location of the disease, resistance and vitality of the patient, daily routines of food and exercise followed by the patient, dietary habits, the gravity of clinical conditions, digestive conditions and the personal, social, economic and environmental situation of the patient. General physical examination, pulse examination, urine and faeces analysis, tongue and eye examination, skin and ear examination, etc., are also used for diagnosis.
The methods of treatment are classified broadly into the following 6 types:
This method is very helpful in neurological disorders, muscular diseases, some vascular disorders, respiratory ailments and metabolic and degenerative disorders. Treatment involves pre-panchakarma procedures like oiling and induced sweating followed by panchakarma procedures such as emesis, purgation, oil enema, decoction enema, nasal administration of medicines, etc.
therapy (Palliative treatment)
Shamana is the process through which the disturbed humour subsides without creating any imbalance in the other humours. Appetizers, digestives, exercises, exposure to sun and fresh air and even some palliatives and sedatives are used in this treatment.
(Prescription of diet and activity)
This method is used to enhance the effects of therapeutic measures and to impede the pathogenic processes. Optimizing digestion and assimilation of food to strengthen the tissues is very important in this treatment. Do’s and don’ts of diet and related habits are emphasized.
(Avoidance of disease causing and aggravating factors)
Avoiding disease-causing factors in the life style, especially the diet, is the basis of this method of treatment. Refraining from factors which precipitate or aggravate the disease is also a part of the method.
This method is used in the treatment of mental diseases. It consists of cultivation of memory, concentration and courage and restraining the mind from unwholesome desires.
(use of immunomodulators and rejuvenants)
This method is used to promote the strength and vitality of the mind and body, preserve youth, luster and complexion, strengthen memory, intelligence and immunity, prevent the premature wear and tear of the body tissues and increase the total health content in an individual.