Ayurveda is a comprehensive system of evidence-based holistic health care that originated in India several years ago. Ayurveda comes from the words “ayu”, which means all aspects of life from birth to death and “veda”, which means knowledge or science — thus, Ayurveda is the “Knowledge of Life”! It’s objective is to maintain the health of healthy person and cure the diseases of sick people. It is a way of living based on the philosophy of:
Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, Sarve Santu Nir-Aamayaah,
Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu, Maa Kashcid-Duhkha-Bhaag-Bhavet !
Let everybody be happy,
Let everybody be free from all ailments,
Let everybody see the bright side of everything,
Let nobody be forced to undergo any suffering!
The great thing about Ayurveda is that it is the oldest of sciences. Caraka, Susruta and Vagbhata are regarded as the main and fundamental pioneers of Ayurveda. Of these Caraka and Susruta are more ancient than Vagbhata. Vagbhata based his work on the work of the other two. Ayurveda heals from the root-cause of an illness, not merely treating the symptoms. If the line of treatment that is selected does not eliminate from the body the toxins and excesses that cause illnesses, it is not a pure treatment. In such a situation, there is a possibility of recurrence of the disease. It may also lead to other serious diseases. Ayurveda deals with pure treatment by which healing happens, it does not aim at just a temporary cure. Ayurveda is one of the best natural treatments for prevention also for existing medical conditions.
Panchakarma is the Ayurvedic art of purification, healing and rejuvenation. It has for its objects the preservation of health in the healthy and the restoration of health to the diseased. It is a powerful way to address the root cause of disease and has been used for thousands of years as a method for staying healthy, young and greater longevity.
The 8 branches of Ayurveda:
Kayacikitsa: General Medicine, This consists of the diagnosis and treatment of General diseases, like Fever, Diarrhoea etc. Caraka samhita is the main text in this area.
Balacikitsa or Kaumarabhrutya: Paediatrics: This branch deals with the prenatal and postnatal baby care as well as the care of a woman before and during pregnancy. It also elaborates various diseases of children and their treatments.
Graha Chikitsa or Bhuta vidya ( Psychiatry) : The study of mental diseases and their treatments. Treatment methods include not only medicines and diet but also yogic methods for improving psychic power.
Urdhwanga Cikitsa or salakya Tantra ): This consists of diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the parts of the body restricted to the head (the part above the clavicle) and neck such as ears, eyes etc.
Salya Tantra (Surgery): Any foreign matter that gets lodged into the human body and causes pain to that part may be called a Salya and Salya Tantra means that branch of medical science that deals with Salyas. Maharishi ‘Sushrutha’ is the first surgeon who is also the author of Salya Chikitsa, the foremost speciality of Ayurveda. He describes various surgical operations using different surgical instruments and devices.
Damshtra Cikitsa or agata Tantra (Toxicology): This is the branch that deals with the treatment of snakebite, rabies, Rat-bite etc.
Jara Cikitsa or Rasayana Tantra ( (Rejuvenation Therapy): This branch which is unique to Ayurveda, deals with prevention of diseases, prevention of youthfulness and promotion of a long and healthy life. It also advises how to increase our health, intellect, memory power and beauty.
Vrusha cikitsa or Vajeekarana Tantra (Aphrodisiac treatment): This branch deals with the means of increasing sexual vitality and efficiency.
Ashtavaidyas are so known by virtue of their proficiency in all the eight systems of treatment. Vrukshayurvedam deals with the diseases of the plant kingdom and their treatments (known as Agriculture).
Ayurvedic system of medicine in all its aspects is largely dependent upon an understanding of the significance and nature of three humours – Vata, pitta and kapha, which is supposed to activate and govern the entire biological process from conception to death.
Vata, Pitta and kapha are the three Doshas of the body. Perfect balance of three Doshas leads to health, imbalance in Tridosha leads to diseases. The Tridosha are present all over the body, but their presence is especially seen in particular parts. If you divide the body into three parts, the top part upto chest is dominated by Kapha Dosha, between chest and umbilicus is dominated by Pitta, below umbilicus part is dominated by Vata. Similarly, in a person’s life, day and in night (separately), the first part is dominated by Kapha, second part is dominated by Pitta and third part is dominated by Vata. While eating and during digestion, the first, second and third part are dominated by Kapha, Pitta and Vata respectively.
Like the poison is natural and inherent to poisonous insects, similarly, the Prakruti (body type) is inherent to humans. The body type is decided during conception, based on qualities of sperm and ovum. Vata prakruti body type is considered as low quality. Pitta Prakruti body type is considered as moderate quality. Kapha Prakruti body type is considered good quality.
The quality of the three Doshas: The three Doshas possess qualities and their increase or decrease in the system depends upon the similar or antagonistic qualities of everything ingested.
Vata is : dry, cold, light, mobile, clear, rough, subtle.
Pitta is : slightly oily, hot, intense, light, fluid, free flowing, foul smelling.
Kapha is: oily, cold, heavy, stable, viscid, smooth, soft.
Tridosha body type – influenced equally by Vata, Pitta and Kapha is considered the best quality.
Anything dry almost always increases Vata, anything hot increases Pitta and anything heavy increases Kapha. Puffed rice is dry, cold light and rough – overindulgence in puffed rice therefore is likely to increase Vata in the over indulger. Mustard oil is oily , hot , intense , fluid , strong-smelling and liquid and increases Pitta in the consumer. Yoghurt which being creamy, cold, heavy, viscid, smooth and soft , is the very image of Kapha, adds to the body’s Kapha when eaten.
Benefits of knowing Dosha: Personal analysis of Dosha helps you know about your body and prepare your Ayurvedic lifestyle chart and balanced diet according to the requirements of your body to maintain optimal health. Knowing your Dosha can help you to know how an imbalance is likely to occur in yourself, It will help you to maintain a good and balanced personal, family and professional life.
Panchakarma is Ayurveda’s primary purification and detoxification treatment. Panchakarma means “Five therapies”. These 5 therapeutic treatments eliminates toxin from the body, they are: Vamana, Virechana, Nasya, Basti and Raktamokshana. The series of these five therapies help remove deep rooted stress and illness-causing toxins from the body while balancing the Doshas energies that govern all biological functions.
Pancharma is the most effective healing and preventive modality in Ayurveda. It cleanses the body thoroughly from harmful substances (toxins) that have settled in the body brought about by stress, disease, poor nutrition, lack of exercise and unhealthy lifestyle choices. Pachakarma is the ultimate mind-body healing and rejuvenation experience for detoxifying the body, strengthening the immune system, and restoring balance and overall well-being. It is recommended on a seasonal basis, as well as when an individual feels out of balance or is experiencing illness.
Vamana is a medicated emesis therapy which removes Kapha toxins collected in the body and the respiratory tract. This is given to people with high Kapha imbalance. Vamana benefit includes healing Bronchial Asthma, Chronic Allergies, Hay Fever, Vitiligo, Psoriasis, Hyperacidity, Edema, Obesity, Psychological disorders, Skin disorders.
Virechana is medicated purgation therapy which removes Pitta toxins from the body that are accumulated in the liver and gallbladder. It completely cleanses the gastro-intestinal tract. Virechana benefit includes healing Chronic Fever, Diabetes, Asthma, Skin disorders, Hemiplegia Joint disorders, Digestive disorders, Constipation, Hyperacidity, Psoriasis, Headaches, Elephantiasis and Gynecological disorders.
Basti (Enema) is considered as the mother of all Panchakarma treatments. It cleanses the accumulated toxins from all the 3 doshas : Vata, Pitta and Kapha, through the colon. Basti is also highly beneficial as a rejuvenating treatment. Medicated oil or ghee and an herbal decoction is given as enema to clean the colon and increase the muscle tone. Basti benefits include healing Cervical Spondylosis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Constipation, Digestive disorders, Backache & Sciatica, Obesity, Piles, Sexual Debility & Infertility.
Nasya involves administration of medicated oil through the nose to cleanse accumulated Kapha toxins from the head and neck region. Nasya benefits include improves memory & eye sight, insomnia, headaches of various origins, frozen shoulder, migraine, stiffness of the neck, neurological dysfunctions and sinusitis.
Raktamokshana is a procedure to cleanse the blood. It is very useful in the disorders of blood, when blood is vitiated by any/all of the Doshas. Leech therapy treatment is very effective in patients with Psoriasis, Eczema, Varicose Veins, Sciatica, Diabetic wounds,Thrombosis (blood clot), Abscess and Non healing wounds.
Shanti’s Panchakrama Therapy involves a five-fold cure, depending on patient’s Ayurvedic constitutional type, imbalances of Dosha, age, digestive strength, the level of immunity, individual needs, and many other factors. Panchakarma Therapy is effective only if special detoxification diet is consumed along with the treatments. We at Shanti Ayurveda are very aware of this and every individual undergoing Panchakarma receives guidance for Ayurvedic diet which is monitored every day by the doctor.
Panchakarma Treatment Therapies
Phase 1 – Poorva Karma
Firstly, all the toxins are dislodged from where ever it is and brought to the gut by administering fats (oil or ghee) externally and/or internally followed by applying heat.
Phase 2 – Pradhana Karma
Secondly, these are expelled out of the body by 5 procedures (Panchakarma)
1 Vamana (Emesis)
2 Virechana (Purgation)
3 Vasti (Medicated Enema)
4 Nasya (Nasal Medication)
5 Raktamoksha (Blood Letting).
Phase 3 – Pashchath Karma
Thirdly, the body has to be brought back to normal condition and rejuvenated starting with restricted diet and mild activity and gradually increasing it.
Shanti Ayurveda gives equal importance the first, second and third step as well. We believe that if proper accumulation of toxins are not done, the elimination procedure becomes ineffective. Likewise, if importance is not given to after care, immunity of the person is affected. Panchakarma is undergone both as preventive and curative mechanism. Annual cleansing is the tradition followed in India.
Shanti Ayurveda Panchakarma programs basically involve the following major treatments
‘Mother of all massages’. Abhyanga is the gentle massage with warmed up Ayurvedic oil infused with special herbs all over the body. Followed by herbal steam and hot shower.
BENEFITS: delays aging, remove fatigue, improve eye sight, induce longevity, induce sleep, improve immunity, improve complexion and skin lustre, and increases physical strength.
Udwarthanam is special therapeutic deep tissue massage using herbal powders. This massage involves upward stroking, where the powder is rubbed forcibly on the body. The massage is done in the opposite direction to hair follicles by two therapists. Followed by warm water bath.
BENEFITS: Indicated in obesity, diabetic neuropathy, paralysis, skin diseases, sciatica, indigestion and sclerosis of blood vessels.
Shirodhara is a purifying and rejuvenating therapy designed to eliminate toxins, relieves stress and mental exhaustion and any ill effects on the central nervous system. Shirodhara is a unique form of ancient therapy by pouring medicated oil on the forehead from a specific height and for a specific period continuously and rhythmically, allowing the oil to run through the scalp and into the hair.
BENEFITS: Indicated in premature greying of hairs, fatigue, insomnia, epilepsy, migraine and other headaches, impaired concentration, anxiety, depression, tension and improves memory.
- Patra Pinda Sweda
It is one of the major sudation process in which fomentation is done by the application of medicinal leaves processed in medicated oil. These are made into bolus which are warmed by dipping in medicated oil and applied over body.
BENEFITS: ailments affecting bones, joints and nervous system, give relief for body pain, arthritis, backache, muscular diseases, neuritis, neurological disorders, myalgia, chronic back pain, sciatica, spondylosis, lumbar spondylitis, cervical spondylitis, sprains and cramps, neuralgia and sports injuries.
- Kayaseka (Oil bath)
Kayaseka is the squeezing of warm medicated oil all over the body from a specified height with the help of cloth pieces, which are periodically dipped into vessels containing warm oil.
Benefits: neurological disorders, spondylitis, and nervous weakness, rheumatic diseases & arthritis, paralysis (hemiplegia and paraplegia) and Parkinson’s disease
This therapy is the continuous pouring of medicated butter milk processed with herbs over the forehead and then allowed to flow over the scalp.
Benefits: Relieves body heat and maintains the mental and psychological well-being. Indicated in treating sleeping disorder, stress, chronic skin diseases like psoriasis, headaches, diabetes related problems and maintaining healthy vision.
- Nimba Sweda
A hot bolus of lemon baked with herbal medicines is drenched in medicated oil herbs. During the treatment, the hot bolus is rubbed dynamically over the entire body with a special focus on the joints and muscle tissues.
Benefits: Indicated in chronic back pain, lumbar and cervical spondylosis, arthritis, joint stiffness and swelling. Sciatica, sprains, cramps and other musculo- skeletal problems.
- Shashtika Shali Pinda Sweda
A highly effective rejuvenation massage done by the application of certain medicinal drugs with Njavara rice puddings externally in the form of boluses tied up in a muslin bag.
The boluses are dipped in the mixture of warm milk and herbal decoctions, then skilfully massaged simultaneously by two therapists all over the body.
Benefits: Indicated in paralytic strokes, emaciation, debility, monoplegia, osteo arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It slows downs the ageing process, nourishes muscles and increases immunity.
This incredible hair and scalp treatment is performed with medicated herbal oil to nourish the hair, relax the mind and to release tension in the head, neck and upper back area. The head massage induces a state of calm, peace and tranquillity and promotes high levels of alertness and concentration.
It includes massage of the lower back, knees and feet as many nerves from many organs terminate in the feet. So this massage helps to strengthen these nerves and restores health of many parts of the body. It is very helpful for the people with lumbago (pain in the lower region), insomnia, fatigue, muscle pains, muscle spasm, muscle myalgia and cramps.
A gentle massage to ease away tensions on your back, neck, shoulders, arms and hands. It relieves fatigue, muscle pain, stiffness and muscle spasm.
Nasya therapy is a process where herbal oils and medicines are administered through the nostrils. Since nose is the gateway of the head, the therapy is highly effective in curing a number of diseases pertaining to the head and nervous system.
Benefits: Indicated to those with allergic rhinitis; diseases of mouth, nose, ear, eye and head; dryness of the eye & nose; facial Paralysis; frozen shoulder; hoarseness of voice; migraine; multiple sclerosis; Parkinsonism; shoulder pain; sinusitis and stammering stiffness in the head, neck, teeth and jaw.
A herbal facial with cleansing, toning, pampering and massaging using herbal powders, scrubbers, wrappers, oils and creams that let you positively glow with radiant energy and beauty.
- Kati vasthi
Kati vasthi is a special type of low back therapy or lumbar sacral rejuvenation therapy using a dough. The dough is made into a ring of four to five inches in diameter which is placed over the lumbo-sacral area of spine then lukewarm medicated oil or herbal decoction is slowly poured into the dough. Indicated in chronic and acute backaches, prolapsed disc, lumbar spondylosis, osteoporosis, sciatica, degenerative spine changes, compressed discs and spinal nerves.
- Janu vasthi
Janu Vasti is specialized knee therapy which rejuvenates the Knee joint. One dough ring should be made and pasted over the knee joint. Lukewarm medicated oil or herbal decoction is slowly poured into it. When that cools down, it is squeezed out with cotton gauze and refills with warm oil. It is indicated in osteoarthritis of knee joints, osteoporosis and arthritis of knee joints.
- Greeva vasthi
Greeva vasti is bathing the neck region with medicated oil or freshly prepared herbal decoction. A dough is prepared on the neck. A decoction of herbs with lukewarm medicated oil is slowly poured into the dough. When this cools down it is squeezed out and replaced with warmer one. Greeva Vasti gives relief from cervical spondylosis, cervical spondylitis, cervical disc lesion, vertigo, tingling, numbness of the hands, compression fractures, chronic pain in neck region and frozen shoulder.
- Sneha vasthi
A medicated oil enema used in Ayurveda to cleanse and purify the colon. It strengthens and nourishes tissues and controls dryness of the body. Indicated in emaciation, muscular atrophy and nervous disorders.
- Kashaya vasthi
An excellent enema therapy with herbal preparations aimed at effective removal of excess body waste and toxins from the colon and provides strength to the body. Indicated in arthritis, sciatica, paralysis, hemiplegia, numbness, abdominal distension and constipation.
- Ksheera vasthi
In this a combination of medicated milk, honey, ghee and medicated oil is used for doing enema. Useful in abdominal pain, ulcers and pitta diseases.
Some of the benefits of Panchakarma treatments are as follows :
- Removes the disease causing toxins.
- Balances Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
- Boosts immune system.
- Promotes deeper sleep
- Induces longevity
- Increases physical and mental strength
- Improves skin complexion.
- Helps you lose weight
- Alleviates insomnia, anxiety and mental problem.
- Removes fatigue
- Delays aging
Ayurveda is essentially being the science of life and longevity concern which reflects well in its Rasayana branch/Geriatric Care which is one of the eight branches of Astanga Ayurveda. Geriatrics Care in Ayurveda focuses on elderly people’s health care that aims to promote healthy lifestyle by preventing and treating diseases and disabilities in older adults. Ayurvedic Geriatric Care doesn’t involve specific disease but whatever the disorders and diseases that afflict elderly people.
Elderly people get more problems of Vata. With aging, the Vata constituent gets aggravated due to stress, strain, psychological weakness, imbalanced nutrition etc. Vata aggravation leads to inappropriate functioning of metabolism, respiration, digestion, musculoskeletal ailments, diabetes, hypertension, rheumatic illness, parkinson’s disease, cardiac disabilities, alzheimer’s syndrome, depression, insomnia, constipations and much more.
Most of the older people suffer as their channels get weaker due to old age. Their quality of life as a result also suffers and poses a burden on their family and the community. The channels should be nourished to make them stress free and disease free. Geriatric Care training program teaches Dinacharya (Ayurveda daily routine for elderly people), Ayurvedic massages, home remedies, balanced diet & nutrition, Yoga, adaptogenic or anti-stress and nutritive effects for health promotion and management of anti aging with improvement in the quality of life.