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AYURVEDIC THERAPIES IN BRIEF
According to ayurveda, in a living body all the ailments and sufferings are due to the disharmony and disequilibrium of the doshas. Hence the ayurvedic therapies' main aim is to treat disorders, prevent disease and rebalance the body doshas, dhatus, malas and mind gunas. Apart form the above said activities the ayurvedic therapies eliminate toxins from the body, increase immunity and soothe the senses thereby enhancing general physical and mental well-being.
In ayurveda the therapies are directed to eliminate the disease completely, permanently. To understand the ayurvedic therapies completely step by step understanding of the following is necessary:
Balancing the dosha
Increasing the power of digestion
Maintaining proper elimination of wastes
Developing a spiritual temperament.
Types of Therapies
Ayurveda defines therapy as any method that involves the process of balancing the doshas.
Therapies can involve activities like:
Methods to increase the weight and strength of weak patients
Use of gems
Herbal pastes and compresses
Types of therapies
Ayurvedic Therapies are divided into two broad types:
Santarpan or strengthening
The ayurvedic strengthening therapies are basically the rejuvenation therapies like (Rasayana) and aphrodisiacs (Vajikarana). These therapies further aim at enhancing the immunity, Ojas, happiness, peace of mind and longevity.
Apatarpan or emaciating
These therapies refer to the removal of toxins from the body and balancing the aggravated dosha. Internal medicines and specialized cleansing therapies are included in this.
According to Charaka Samhita the therapies depend on the status of the doshas. Such as:
If the disease is new and the aggravated dosha are not very strong, fasting on its own may be sufficient to balance the dosha.
If the dosha are medium in strength, specific medicines are induced to balance the dosha inside the body and this type of therapy is termed as shamana therapy.
If the disease is in a chronic stage and the dosha aggravation is strong, shodhana therapy is applied to eliminate the excess dosha from the body.
Shodhana- Elimination Therapy
There are two main things required by purva karma, namely:
The literal meaning of this term is to make smooth or to oleate. It is the main purva karma procedure and is a specific treatment for vatic disorders.
Example: oily preparations, ghee, oils, fats etc.
Following are the indications of snehana:
Dryness of the body
Snehana is also given to the patients of vimana and virecana.
The procedure followed involves the administration of oily preparations within fifteen to thirty minutes after sunrise. The quantity, duration and the type of preparation is pre decided and certain dietary restrictions are prerequisite. Warm, well-regulated liquid diet is preferred but one with stickiness or oleaginous is incompatible. The following signs will indicate the effectiveness of the remedy:
Accelerated digestive power
Intolerance to fat
Lightness of the body
Smoothness of the body
Passage of flatus
Visible fat in the stool
After the treatment patients are advised to abstain from sexual activities, to use of warm water; sleeping only at night; avoiding anger, anxiety or loud talk.
This refers to the remedy that involves practices involving heat to make the patient sweat. Following are the conditions for which swedana is given to patients:
On the second day of swedana, vamana is given and virecana after three days` interval. In case there is a need to give basti, nasya, rakta mokasana to the patients then they are given immediately after swedana.
The following signs prove the effectiveness of the therapy:
Disappearance of corrhyza
Relief from pain and stiffness
Remission of the disease
After the remedy the patients are advised to avoid cold water and take a nap after a light meal
This term literally means to expel the vitiated doshas through the oral route and is the pradhan karma of the panchakarma therapy. Vamana or the expelled material may consist of undigested food, kapha, and pitta.
Vamana karma is a specific therapy for kaphaja disorders and following are the indications of vamana:
A variety of vamana drugs are used induce purva karma before vamana as they are suitable in mobilizing the doshas.
Following indicates the effectiveness of vaman: ·
Maximum elimination of doshas with minimal dose
Minimization of the disease
Absence of complications
Pleasant taste smells and colors
After vamana the loud speech, overeating, continued sitting, too much walking, anger, anxiety, coitus, retention of natural urges should be avoided.
Literally meaning the expulsion of doshas through the anal passage, virechana is the specific therapy for pitta dosha disorders. Under the panchkarma therapy virechana karma is the next pradhan karma.
Virechana expels pitta from the amashaya (stomach and upper part of the small intestine) and is neither stressful nor painful and is the easiest procedure, usually unaccompanied by any complication. Following are the indications for virechana: ·
After virechana karma it is advisable to the patient to take plenty of rest and light diet.
The term basti has been derived from the fact that the Basti yantra (apparatus) used for introducing medicated materials is made up of Basti or animals' urinary bladder. Basti is among the major panchkarma procedures and is used to cure vatic disorders. This remedy is applied to restore the balance of the doshas and has the following effects also:
Increases weight in emaciated people
Decreases weight in the obese
Brings back luster and strength
For health and longevity
The Basti procedure that is applied through the anus may be Niruha basti.That consists of the use of decoction of appropriate drugs Following are the indications for Niruha Basti:
Retention of flatus
Retention of urine
Retention of stools
Loss of strength
Abdominal swelling and pain
In which oily substances are used. Following are the indications for Anuvasana basti:
Increase of vata dosha
Following indicates the effectiveness of adequate basti:
Proper passage of wind and urine
Proper balance of doshas
Feeling of lightness in the body
Increased appetite and strength
After the remedy of basti the patient must take light diet along with the following activities that are to be avoided after basti, such as:
Sitting for a long duration
Standing for it long duration
Sleeping during the day
Also known as nasaya it is generally the last step in pradhanakarma of the panchkarma therapy. This refers to the applications of medicines or medicated oils administered through the nasal passage spread throughout the head-and its constituent parts and influence all the doshas and the diseases situated in these parts.
It is referred to as the best and the most specific procedure for diseases related to head (shiro- roga).
Nasya karma prevents the diseases of the eyes, ears, throat, oral cavity and improves the speech, delays aging; and bestows a pleasant oral smell.
Following are the indications for the use of shirovirechana:
Stiff neck stiff jaw
Hoarseness of voice
Alteration of voice
Following are the four types of nasya procedures that can be administered:
It refers to the instilling of the drops of medicated oil in the nose.
It refers to the instilling of the juice (extract) of a drug through the nasal passages.
Dhamapana nasya and Pradhdmana nasya
It refers to the inhalation of fine powder (if drugs in the nasal passages with the help of a nadi- yantra. In Dhumanasya medicated fumes are inhaled through the nasal passages and are eliminated through the oral route.
During the nasya procedure, the head should not be excessively flexed or bent, and the patient should be supine.
The patient must avoid following things:
Clearing his throat
Following indicates the effectiveness of adequate nasya:
Lightness of the body
Lightness of the head
Feeling of pleasure
After the remedy of nasya the patient should avoid cold water, oil, ghee, alcohol, head bath and inhalation of dust and fumes.
Shamana- Balancing Therapy
Literally the word Shamana means to suppress or balance. Incase the doshas are not deep rooted and the disease is not chronic these therapies are advised. On the other hand the elimination therapy is time taking and time is an important factor for curing ailments in this modern age. In Shamana therapies a special diet, contradictory to the qualities of the increased dosha is prescribed to the patient for suppressing or balancing the aggravated doshas.
Example: Cooling diet to decrease the Pitta dosha.
Different types of herbal powders, tablets, decoctions, jams, medicated oil or ghee are used in this type of treatment. It is a noticeable factor that in shamana therapies medicines are not always the way to cure but sometimes a very simple diet, or an activity can help to alleviate the aggravated dosha.
This type of therapy involves following types of activities to cure the ailment:
Exposure to sun or air
Shodhana- Elimination Therapy
When the diseases are chronic it is difficult to treat through the balancing methods of shaman therapy as it takes a lot of time. Here comes the role of the elimination therapy that takes less time and cure the diseases in which the doshas are situated at a much deeper level. Shodhana therapies expel the aggravated doshas from the body by the use of different types of elimination therapies called the Pancha Karma.
It involves the use of the following five types of cleansing techniques:
Vamana- emetic therapy (supervised vomiting)
Vasti- herbal enema
Nasya- nasal administration
Rakta Mokshana - blood letting
Some preparatory treatments are first induced in order to soften the dosha and move it to either the stomach or the intestine from where the dosha is eliminated using the above-mentioned techniques. Shodhana is also used as a preventive treatment to gain positive health.
PIZHICHIL - In this therapeutic process, lukewarm herbal oils are applied all over the body by two or four trained therapists in a special rhythmic way. This is done continuously for about 60 to 90 minutes per day for a period of 7 to 21 days. This treatment is very useful for rheumatic diseases like arthritis, paralysis, hemiplegia, paralysis-agitanus, sexual weakness, nervous weakness and nervous disorders.
NJAVARAKIZHI - It is a course by which the whole body or any specific part of the body is made to perspire by the external application of certain medicated puddings. These healing puddings are in the form of boluses tied up in muslin bag. Two or four therapists apply this for about 60 to 90 minutes per day for a period of 14 days. This treatment is beneficial for all types of rheumatism, joint pain, emaciation of limbs, high blood pressure, cholesterol and certain kinds of skin diseases.
DHARA - In this process, herbal oils, medicated milk, medicated butter milk, etc., are poured on the forehead in a special manner for about 45 minutes in a day for a phase of 7 to 21 days. This treatment is mainly for insomnia, Vata-predominant diseases, mental tension and certain skin diseases.
VASTHI - Certain herbal oils, herbal extracts etc. are applied through the rectum daily for a period of 5 to 25 days. This treatment is for arthritis, paralysis, hemiplegia, numbness, gastric complaints associated with rheumatism and constant constipation.
SIROVASTHI - Special lukewarm herbal oils are poured into a cap fitted on the head for 15 to 60 minutes per day according to the patient's disorder for a period of 7 days. This treatment is highly effective for facial paralysis, dryness of the nostrils, mouth and throat, severe headaches, and other Vata-originated diseases.
UDVARTHANAM -This is a typical massage with herbal powder done for about 30 to 45 minutes daily for a period of 14 to 28 days. This treatment is for the diseases like hemiplegia, paralysis, obesity (excessive fat) and certain rheumatic ailments.
ABHYANGAM -A special type of oil massage in which the body is stroked in different ways according to the diseases. This is done for 45 minutes a day for 14 days. This treatment is very useful for obesity, especially for diabetic gangrene and the like.
NASYAM - Herbal juices, medicated oils etc., are applied through the nose for 7 to 14 days. This treatment is highly effective for certain types of headaches, paralysis, mental disorders, some types of skin disease, etc.
SNEHAPANAM - Medicated ghee is given internally in a proportionally increasing quantity for a period of 8 to 12 days. This treatment is excellent for osteoarthritis, psoriasis, leukaemia etc
KIZHI - Leaves of herbs as well as whole herbs and herbal powders are applied to the entire body in boluses along with hot medicated oils for 45 minutes per day. This continues for a period of 7 to 14 days. This is an excellent therapy for osteoarthritis, arthritis with swelling, spondylosis, sports injuries, etc.
DHANYAMLA DHARA - Warm herbal liquid is poured all over the body in a rhythmic way through a special vessel for 45 minutes to an hour daily. This treatment is extremely effective for hemiplegia, paralysis, rheumatic complaints, etc.
YONI PRAKSHALANAM -Herbal oils and decoctions are applied through the vagina. This treatment is good for gynaecological disorders. It is also a process of purification for genital organs.
KATIVASTHI - In this procedure, specially prepared warm medicated oil is placed over the lower back with herbal paste boundary. This treatment lasts for 45 minutes to 1 hour and it is good for any type of back pain and spinal disorders.
UROVASTHI - Like Kativasthi, warm medicated oil is kept over the chest for 45 minutes. This is an effective treatment for asthma, other respiratory problems, heart diseases and muscular chest pain.
KSHEERADHOOMAM -This comprises a fomentation with medicated cow milk. This treatment is good for facial paralysis, Bell's palsy, speech disorders and other nervous disorders of the face.
THALAM - Special powder is mixed with medicated oil and applied on the top of the head for 20 to 45 minutes. This treatment is useful for ENT problems, insomnia, migraine, etc.
LEPANAM - This is a process by which medicated herbal paste is applied on the affected part. This is excellent for the different kinds of inflammatory conditions.
PRIME BODY CARE IN AYURVEDA
REJUVENATION THERAPY (Rasayana Chikilsa) - This treatment includes body massage using hands and feet by two therapists with medicated oil and cream, internal rejuvenative medicines and medicated steam bath. This therapy lasts for 90 minutes to 2 hours per day for 7 to 14 days. This therapy helps rejuvenate the mind, body and soul; to tone the skin; to strengthen all body systems in order to achieve ideal health and longevity.
BODY PURIFICATION THERAPY (Shodhana Chikilsa) -It is a process of purifying the whole body to attain proper balance of Vata, Pitta and Kapha based on Panchakarma and Swedhakarma treatment. The 15-day package includes body massage, snehapanam, nasyam, virechanam (medicated purgation), snehavasthi, dhara, pizhichil, njavarakizhi, karnapooranam, tharpanam, sirovasthi, steam bath and internal herbal medicines.
BODY IMMUNIZATION / LONGEVITY TREATMENT (Kayakalpa Chikilsa) - 28 days- This is the most effective age-reducing treatment in Ayurveda, which arrests the degeneration of the body cells and immunization of the system. Taking Rasayana (potent Ayurvedic Medicine) internally is the main part of this programme, based on the Panchakarma and swedakarma treatment. The 28-day package programme includes body massage, snehapanam, virechanam, nasyam, snehavasti, dhara, pizhichil, njavarakizhi, tharpanam, sirovasti, karnapooranam and medicated steam bath. This treatment is most effective if taken before the age of 60.