General Concepts

DEFINITION

Ayurveda means the Science of life.

The classical works on Ayurveda describe it as under :
“It is that knowledge of life which deals elaborately and at length with conditions beneficial or otherwise to the humanity, and, to factors conducive to the happiness, or responsible for misery or sorrow besides indicating measures for healthful living for full span of life”.

Ayurveda is also considered as ‘Science of life’. This probably makes it the earliest medical science having a positive concept of health to be achieved through a blending of physical, mental, social moral and spiritual welfare.

According to the ancient books of knowledge, health is considered as a prerequisite for achieving the supreme ends of life consisting of righteousness, wealth, artistic values and spiritual freedom. Preventive and curative aspects of diseases are considered as important components of the concept of positive health.

Ayurveda deals elaborately with measures of healthful living during the entire span of life and its various phases. Besides dealing with principles for maintenance of health, it has also developed a wide range of therapeutic measures to combat illness. These principles of positive health and therapeutic measures related to physical, mental, social and spiritual welfare of human beings. Thus Ayurveda became one of the oldest system of medicine dealing with both the preventive and curative aspects of life in a most comprehensive way.

THE BODY MATRIX

Life in Ayurveda is conceived as the union of body, senses, mind and soul. The living man is a conglomeration of three humours (Vata, Pitta & Kapha), seven basic tissues (Rasa, Rakta, Mansa, Meda, Asthi, Majja & Shukra) and the waste products of the body such as faeces, urine and sweat. Thus the total body matrix comprises of the humours, the tissues and the waste products of the body. The growth and decay of this body matrix and its constituents revolve around food which gets processed into humours, tissues and wastes. Ingestion, digestion, absorption, assimilation and metabolism of food have an interplay in health and disease which are significantly affected by psychological mechanisms as well as by bio- fire (Agni).

PANCHAMAHABHUTAS

According to Ayurveda all objects in the universe including human body are composed of five basic elements (Panchamahabhutas) namely, earth, water, fire, air and vacuum(ether). There is a balanced condensation of these elements in different proportions to suit the needs and requirements of different structures and functions of the body matrix and its parts. The growth and development of the body matrix depends on its nutrition, i.e. on food. The food, in turn, is composed of the above five elements, which replenish or nourish the like elements of the body after the action of bio-fire (Agni). The tissues of the body are the structural whereas humours are physiological entities, derived from different combinations and permutations of Panchamahabhutas.

HEALTH and SICKNESS

Health or sickness depends on the presence or absence of a balanced state of the total body matrix including the balance between its different constituents. Both the intrinsic and extrinsic factors can cause disturbance in the natural equilibrium giving rise to disease. This loss of equilibrium can happen by dietary indiscrimination, undesirable habits and non-observance of rules of healthy living. Seasonal abnormalities, improper exercise or erratic application of sense organs and incompatible actions of the body and mind can also result in creating disturbance of the existing normal balance. The treatment consists of restoring the balance of disturbed body-mind matrix through regulating diet, correcting life-routine and behaviour, administration of drugs and resorting to preventive Panchkarma and Rasayana therapy.

Source: Dpt. Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy

Última actualización: 27/02/2007

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