What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a Science that propagates various methods by which the healthy person maintains good health and the sick person eliminates disease. It is more a way of life than the actual treatment of diseases. This is so because, Ayurveda believes that disease is the consequence of imbalance of the humors in the human body- VATA, PITTA and KAPHA, the TRIDOSHAS in Ayurvedic terminology.
A person is described as being healthy, when the tridoshas are present within his system in the correct locations and in the correct proportions – which imparts immunity against diseases. When this elemental balance is upset, the body becomes diseased, and Ayurveda strives to restore this balance in order to regain health.
How is Ayurveda different from other systems of Medicine?
The Ayurvedic way of life involves maintaining the ideal proportions of the Tridoshas i.e., VATA, PITTA, KAPHA. Ayurveda is highly individualistic in its mode of treatment, because it treats the individual and not the symptoms. The cause of disease in each individual is different. Ayurveda pursues a holistic approach, the natural way of healing, thereby negating the possibilities of unwanted side effects.
Is Siddha System similar to Ayurveda?
Yes, Siddha Medicine is very similar to Ayurveda in its basis and mode of treatment. Siddha is taught mainly in Tamil, while Ayurvedic texts are mostly in Sanskrit.
What is PATHYA, and why is it prescribed alongwith medicines in treating a disease?
PATHYA– is a regimen, a discipline, prescribed along with medicines in the treatment of a disease. It is to be followed to ensure maximum efficacy of the medicines in curing a disease. This regimen includes diet, sleeping and waking habits, body hygiene, physical and mental exertion, and anything that contributes to changes in the body system. It is to be noted that PATHYA is not for the medicine but the disease. It has been misconstrued that Ayurveda includes strict diet restrictions. In fact, PATHYA is prescribed depending on the nature and the severity of the disease; i.e., those habits that can aggravate the diseased condition are advised to be restricted. The regimen may be as simple as avoiding too much sugar or salt or it may be very stringent depending on the condition of the patient. Adhering to the prescribed PATHYA ensures faster and surer recovery.
Is it true that Ayurveda discourages Non-vegetarianism and the use of spices?
This is again another fallacy. Ayurveda as a rule does not prohibit the intake of non-vegetarian food or spices. It is a well-known fact that spicy and non-vegetarian food is not as easily digestible as vegetarian food. Heavy spices also tend to irritate the digestive system, more so when the body is sick. In such a condition, in order not to tax the system, and ensure a speedy recovery, it is advisable to follow an easily digestible diet and that which does not aggravate the diseased condition. It is also important to take the right kind of food in the right quantity at the right times. Lately, it has been accepted that the human body is designed to ingest vegetarian food rather than non-vegetarian food.
Is it advisable to follow any other system of medicine while under Ayurvedic treatment?
There is no harm in taking other medicines along with Ayurvedic medicines. However, if the patient is undergoing specialized treatment such as Dhara, Pizhichil etc., it is advisable to avoid other forms of medicines, because the body will have become tender and sensitive and hence may not be able to withstand strong drugs. As it is, there is no drug-interaction between Ayurvedic medicines and medicines of other systems and so they can be taken simultaneously. A qualified Ayurvedic Physician’s advise may be followed.
Can the patient switch over easily to a different system of Medicine if he so wishes?
Yes, the patient may switch over to any other system in between if he so wishes. Withdrawal symptoms are extremely rare with Ayurvedic drugs. The ultimate aim of any system of Medicine is the mental and physical well being of mankind and any method may be adopted to achieve this aim.
Is Surgery practiced in Ayurveda?
Yes, there used to be surgery in Ayurvedic medicine. Basically, Ayurveda pursues a holistic approach to health, the natural way of healing. So Ayurveda believes that each part of the human body has a specific function to perform and this, the body accomplishes successfully as long as the individual adheres to natural, intrinsic practices. However, if the individual taxes his system by indulging in practices that the body has not been designed for, the intrinsic balance gets upset and disease follows. Surgery as it used to be practiced in Ayurveda, was done very methodically. It is believed that Ayurvedic texts formed the basis for surgical methods followed today. Ayurveda has seen specialists like Charaka-for General medicine, Susruta-for Surgery, Agada-for Toxicology, and Mimi-for Ophthalmology.
How far is Ayurveda effective in emergency cases?
Ayurveda is not of much help in emergency situations. Ayurveda is slow acting and tends to remedy a diseased condition in a step-by-step method. But following the Ayurvedic way of life – observing healthy living habits as prescribed in Ayurveda goes a long way in keeping healthy and fit thereby eliminating the chances of such an emergency arising.
What is the final word to Mankind?
Just that a healthy mind nurtures a healthy body. Follow a holistic lifestyle – the right kind of food in the right quantity at the right times. Be active, have healthy thoughts, do not nurse negative feelings, be positive, do your duty sincerely – both on the personal and professional front. Some kind of spiritual nourishment i.e., following any kind of healthy religious attitude helps in adhering to this path. For the Physical nourishment also Ayurveda prescribes Yoga and other types of exercises.