The word Ayur-Veda comes from two Sanskrit words – Ayur meaning life and Veda meaning knowledge. This traditional Indian life science is the oldest known complete medicine system known to mankind. Its guiding principles are enshrined in the Vedas.
World Health Organisation recognises Ayurveda as traditional medicine system, which is widely practiced throughout the Indian sub-continent and has recently enjoyed success in the West as it is renowned for non-invasive and safe treatments. Ayurveda has a holistic (manas-mind, sharir-body and atma-spirit) approach to healthcare and a treatment plan may include detoxification-procedures, diet plan, yoga and meditation, use of herbs, and massage techniques to improve the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Branches of Ayurveda
Ayurveda is divided into eight branches, 1. KayaChikista (Internal medicine) 2. Kaumarabritya (Pediatrics and women’s health) 3. Shalya Tantra (Surgery) 4. Shalakya Tantra (ENT and Opthalmology) 5. Bhoota Vidya (Psychiatry) 6. Agada Tantra (Toxicology) 7. Rasayana (Geriatrics) 8. Vajeekarana (Eugenics and aphrodisiacs).
Dinacharya and the Effects of Seasonal Variations
In Ayurveda there is a strong emphasis on disease prevention and health maintenance. Ayurveda explains in detail the aspects of daily life that promote health and seasonal adjustments. This helps one to be able to live in harmony with daily routine (Dinacharya) and seasonal (Ritucharya) cycles.
Daily routine protocol is the practice that leads to the prevention of many diseases, which include for example; Early to bed, Early waking up, Answering nature calls, Cleaning one’s body, Massage, Exercise, Meditation, Yoga, and Eating.
The seasonal regimen is told in Ayurveda according to the characteristics of the season. One must adopt the principles and characteristics of the seasons (for example diet – consuming seasonal produce).
Ayurveda deals with every aspect of life, related to the individual and society. The two aims of Ayurveda are prevention and cure of diseases.
Ayurveda defines health as the state of equilibrium of elements (Tri–Doshas – theory of five elements explains the relationship between physical, physiological and psychological dimensions of human being), tissues (Dhatus), digestive fire (Agni) and wastes (Malas) accompanied with balanced mind (Manas), senses (Indriya) and soul (Atma).