Ayurveda is based on the principle that diseases are nothing but excesses of one or more of the five primary elements (the body is made up of five primary elements, which also form the basis of the entire universe. The elements are ether (space), air, fire, water, and earth). For example, hyperacidity and hot temper are excesses of heat, the fire element. This principle is based on the fact that what is inside the body of an individual is the same as what is outside. The microcosm (individual consciousness) is the same as the macrocosm (cosmic consciousness). Each cell of our system represents the whole body in every aspect. Ayurveda simply interprets the laws of nature that are responsible for the health or the disease.
These five elements influence everything in this universe. Food, weather etc. too have specific effects on our system, depending on their element-composition. Each constitution (Vata, Pitta or Kapha) tends to become unbalanced or excessive. By following a diet and a routine that reduces the excesses, one regains and retains this crucial balance. Balancing produces healing and prevents and reverses the ageing process, and is achieved through foods, herbs, yoga, meditation, routine, lifestyle etc.
While Ayurveda considers symptoms as part of the picture presented by the patient, its aim is not the elimination of symptoms. It is concerned with the uniqueness of each patient, and how his/her makeup, personality, history and lifestyle have led him/her to the current discomfort. Each symptom is examined in terms of the implied imbalance/disharmony to which it points, and the true cause of the problem is understood. Ayurveda then educates the patients to them help understand their body and how their thoughts, speech, actions and lifestyle, in general, have affected their health. They are shown how to live by their body’s propensities and susceptibilities, as well as to be in harmony with their environment and the laws of nature to restore themselves to health.
Treatment of the disease consists in avoiding causative factors responsible for disequilibrium of the body-matrix or any of its constituent parts, through the use of Panchkarma procedures, medicines, appropriate diet, activity and regimen for restoring the balance and strengthening the body mechanisms to prevent or minimize future occurrence of the disease. Normally treatment measures involve the use of medicines, specific diet and prescribed activity routine.
What is important to bear in mind is that, in other systems – where a remedy might be given to alleviate the symptom, say a persistent headache – the underlying malaise may continue to grow and spread as the strain of one organ causes another to malfunction, and so on, Ayurveda seeks to solve the problem from the root, leading to an all-round healthy body.
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