AYURVEDAThe Body Matrix
Life in Ayurveda is conceived as the union of body, senses, mind and soul. The living man is a conglomeration of three humours (Vata, Pitta &Kapha), seven basic tissues (Rasa, Rakta, Mansa, Meda, Asthi, Majja&Shukra) and the waste products of the body such as faeces, urine and sweat. Thus the total body matrix comprises of the humours, the tissues and the waste products of the body. The growth and decay of this body matrix and its constituents revolve around food which gets processed into humours, tissues and wastes. Ingestion, digestion, absorption, assimilation and metabolism of food have an interplay in health and disease which are significantly affected by psychological mechanisms as well as by bio- fire(Agni).
According to Ayurveda all objects in the universe including human body are composed of five basic elements (Panchamahabhutas) namely, earth, water, fire, air and vacuum(ether). There is a balanced condensation of these elements in different proportions to suit the needs and requirements of different structures and functions of the body matrix and its parts. The growth and development of the body matrix depends on its nutrition, i.e. on food. The food, in turn, is composed of the above five elements, which replenish or nourish the like elements of the body after the action of bio-fire (Agni). The tissues of the body are the structural whereas humours are physiological entities, derived from different combinations and permutations of Panchamahabhutas.
Health and Sickness
Health or sickness depends on the presence or absence of a balanced state of the total body matrix including the balance between its different constituents. Both the intrinsic and extrinsic factors can cause disturbance in the natural equilibrium giving rise to disease. This loss of equilibrium can happen by dietary indiscrimination, undesirable habits and non-observance of rules of healthy living. Seasonal abnormalities, improper exercise or erratic application of sense organs and incompatible actions of the body and mind can also result in creating disturbance of the existing normal balance. The treatment consists of restoring the balance of disturbed body-mind matrix through regulating diet, correcting life-routine and behaviour, administration of drugs and resorting to preventive Panchkarma and Rasayana therapy.
In Ayuveda diagnosis is always done of the patient as a whole. The physician takes a careful note of the patients internal physiological characteristics and mental disposition. He also studies such other factors as the affected bodily tissues, humours, the site at which the disease is located, patients resistance and vitality, his daily routine, dietary habits, the gravity of clinical conditions, condition of digestion and details of personal, social, economic and environmental situation of the patient. The diagnosis also involves the following examinations:
General physical examination
Examination of the faeces
Examination of tongue and eyes
Examination of skin and ear including tactile and auditory functions.
Types of Treatment
The treatment of disease can broadly be classified as
Shodhana therapy (Purification Treatment)
Shamana therapy (Palliative Treatment)
PathyaVyavastha (Prescription of diet and activity)
NidanParivarjan (Avoidance of disease causing and aggravating factors)
Rasayanatherapy(use of immunomodulators and rejuvenation medicines)