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Introduction to Ayurveda

Ayurveda means “knowledge of life”. But most if not all think Ayurveda to be either limited to massage or medicines. There are so many myths popular among the masses. In this post, we will discuss Ayurveda in details and get to know what it consists of.


There are Eight Branches or specializations in Ayurveda. In the colleges of ancient India, students could choose a specialty from eight branches of medicine.

1. Káya Chikitsá (Internal Medicine)

Váyu (air/energy), Pitta (fire), Kapha (water), Váyu/Pitta, Váyu/Kapha, Pitta/ Kapha, and a combination of all three (tridosha). Although finding the cause of an illness is still a mystery to modern science, it was the main goal of Áyurveda.

Six stages of the development of the disease were known, which are as follows:

  • Aggravation
  • Accumulation
  • Overflow
  • Relocation
  • A buildup in a new site
  • Manifestation

Modern equipment and diagnosis can only detect a disease during the fifth and sixth stages of illness. Áyurvedic physicians can recognize an illness in the making before it creates a more serious imbalance in the body.

Health is seen as a balance of the tri-doshas whereas disease is an imbalance of them. Surgery is seen as a last resort. Additionally, there are over 2,000 medicinal plants classified in India’s materia medical.

A unique therapy, known as pañcha karma (five actions), completely removes toxins from the body. This method reverses the disease in its path. It is achieved through special diets, oil massage, and steam therapy. At the completion of these therapies, special forms of emesis, purgation, and enema remove excesses from their sites of origin. Finally, Áyurveda rejuvenates– rebuilding the body’s cells and tissues after toxins are removed.

2. Shálákya Chikitsa (Ears, Nose, and Throat)

Sushruta reveals approximately 72 eye diseases, surgical procedures for all eye disorders (e.g., cataracts, eyelid diseases), and for diseases of the ears, nose, and throat.

3. Visha Chikitsa (Toxicology)

It deals with all types of toxins. Topics include air and water pollution, toxins in animals, minerals, vegetables, and epidemics; as well as keys for recognizing these anomalies and their antidotes.

4. Kaumára bhritya (Pediatrics)

In this branch, prenatal and postnatal care of the baby and mother are discussed. Topics include methods of conception; choosing the child’s gender, intelligence, and constitution; and childhood diseases and midwifery.

5. Surgery (Shalyá Chikitsa)

It deals with the methods and procedures of surgery & design of surgical tools. More than 2,000 years ago, sophisticated methods of surgery were known. This information spread to Egypt, Greece, Rome, and eventually throughout the world. In China, the treatment of intestinal obstructions, bladder stones, and the use of dead bodies for dissection and learning were taught and practiced.

6. Graha Chikitsa (Psychiatry)

It deals with treating traumatic and psychological problems. A whole branch of Ayurveda specifically deals with diseases of the mind. Besides herbs and diet, yogic therapies (breathing, mantras, etc.) are employed.

7. Vájikarana (Aphrodisiacs)

This specialization deals with two aspects: infertility (for those hoping to conceive) and spiritual development (for those eager to transmute sexual energy into spiritual energy).

8. Rasáyana (Rejuvenation)

Most people in Western countries think this is what Ayurveda is. Prevention and longevity are discussed in this branch of Ayurveda. Charak says that in order to develop longevity, ethics and virtuous living must be embraced.

How patients are treated?

The instructions and procedures deals with how one is going to perform necessary treatments. It has five dimensions.

1. Sutra

General instructions on common procedures for physicians and training.

2. Nidhana

Instructions on decoding symptoms and diagnosis of the ailments and cause of the ailments

3. Sharira

Instructions on explaining the anatomy of human body.

4. Chikitsa

Instructions on identifying the plants, formulas for preparations and storage of medicines.

5. Kalpa

Instructions on analyzing the impact of inflicted poison and preparing the antidote.

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